Netball gains strength from the power of one


Our great game continues to go from strength to strength in so many areas of High Performance, Coaching, Umpiring, Administrators, Community, Commercially, Media Interest – the long list goes on.

One area that is having an enormous impact is the Australia Post One Netball Program.

In one year, the program has grown from six Ambassadors to 17; wonderful recognition of our sport and its impact at grass roots and community levels.

It is also terrific support from Australia Post and their diversity agenda, which is so important to our society as a whole.

The other part of this story is the ambassadors themselves. I have coached 12 of them at some point in time, many over a considerable timespan, including Geva Mentor, who I first coached when I was an assistant at the Adelaide Thunderbirds between 2008-2010.

I was also involved with Geva and Sonia Mkoloma when I served as an assistant to Julie Fitzgerald and Robyn Broughton with the World Seven team that played Australia in 2009.

I coached Mo’onia Gerrard at the Thunderbirds and then again between 2011-2013 with the Australian Diamonds.

Josie Janz-Dawson, Jo Sutton, Kimberlee Green, Johannah Curran and Clare McMeniman were all part of the Australian 21/U Squad that I coached in 2006-2007.

Who would have thought back then, just nine years ago, that our sport would have developed to the level that these athletes are now representing an iconic Australian company in Australia Post and Netball Australia in such a prestigious role?

They are all personally committed to the value of diversity and the real leadership that goes alongside it in our community.

All are magnificent role models and examples of authentic leadership in many diverse areas, ranging from professions such as social workers to speech pathology to teachers.

I am personally very proud of all of the ambassadors and the fact that they have willingly put up their hands to be involved in spreading the messages of this program.

One Netball aims to use the power of netball to attract new individuals and communities to our sport, and connects the growing and changing Australian community with the game we love.

Our One Netball Ambassadors are getting out into their local communities, encouraging Clubs and Associations across Australia to establish connections with new communities and participants.

They’re also rewarding and recognising the many individuals, Clubs and Associations that go above and beyond to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background or ability, is welcome in netball.

IMG_4811Another exciting initiative of Netball Australia, led by our Community Engagement Manager Julia Symons, is the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group who met last week at Netball HQ in Melbourne.

I got to meet up with a couple of my old opponents from New South Wales as a part of this meeting in Marcia Ella-Duncan and Sharon Finnan (pictured left).

Both Marcia and Sharon are also past Australian players, Marcia representing Australia at the 1987 Netball World Cup in Glasgow and Sharon part of the triumphant 1991 and 1999 world championship-winning sides in Sydney and Auckland respectively.

It was terrific to see them personally and catch up around all things netball and what they are doing in their communities. It is also fantastic to have their input and support in such an important area for Netball in Australia.

I will be speaking to them both again around their experiences at World Champs of the past to gain extra knowledge for the Australian Diamonds of today!

Looking forward to the beginning of the ANZ Championship next week!!

Go Diamonds!