For the very first time, Queensland will host the Marie Little OAM Shield (MLS), the national netball championships for women with an intellectual disability, from 5-7 October at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
The MLS finals will be showcased on the final day of the competition ahead of the Constellation Cup game between the Samsung Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns on 7 October.
Introduced in 2013, the Shield recognises Little’s dedication to improving the lives of people with an intellectual disability through the power of netball.
The competition provides women with an intellectual disability the chance to compete and represent their state at a national level.
The event is an important feature on the annual Australia Post One Netball calendar, alongside other national diversity and inclusion programs.
Proudly sponsored by Netball Australia’s Community and Social Inclusion Partner Australia Post, Australia Post General Manager Marketing & Community Andrea Pearman said they are excited to again support the Marie Little Shield and help build connections between people from different walks of life.
“Australian Post is proud to strive for more inclusive communities, where everyone feels they belong, are valued and respected. We believe an inclusive netball environment improves attitudes and behaviours towards people from diverse backgrounds, and importantly, builds empathy and understanding.”
“The Marie Little Shield is a wonderful opportunity to bring participants and their families together for what will be a truly memorable experience in front of a jam-packed crowd in Brisbane,” Ms Pearman said.
Netball Queensland CEO, Catherine Clark said the chance to host MLS for the first time was a welcome addition to the states competition schedule.
“The Marie Little Shield is an absolutely wonderful event. Beyond the on-court sporting performances, this event is special because of the wonderful people you meet and the personal stories that are shared. Learning about each other is at the heart of inclusion and the Marie Little Shield is just such a wonderful way of growing our whole netball community.
“The success of MLS is a reflection of netball’s commitment to provide pathways for the entire community to enjoy the game,” Clark said.
Netball Australia CEO, Marne Fechner said the event will be hard fought on the court but the benefits of MLS reach beyond game day.
“Like any national tournament, these athletes will have the opportunity to showcase their skills and state pride on the national stage.
“MLS is a great opportunity to bring the community together to allow participants to take part in the game they love.
“Netball Australia is delighted to support programs and events that ensure netball is accessible to the entire community,” Fechner said.
Netball Australia is committed to providing players with disabilities with opportunities to play netball. For competitions and specific programs for players with disabilities in your area, get in touch with your State/Territory netball inclusion contact.
Australia Post and Netball Australia have partnered to deliver the Australia Post One Netball Program (One Netball) since 2014. The program aims to engage Australia’s increasingly diverse communities with the sport of netball and the message that everyone, regardless of background or ability, is welcome.
To meet the One Netball Ambassadors and learn how your Club or Association can create a more inclusive environment for all, go to onenetball.org.au.