The countdown is on to the 2016 Netball NSW Schools Cup State Finals at Netball Central on Tuesday 20 September, and the tournament promises to be bigger and better than ever before.
Schools Cup is an initiative by Netball NSW to provide the State’s primary and secondary school students with the opportunity to enjoy our game in a fun and safe environment.
It is available to both male and female students from public, independent and Catholic systems in Years Five, Six, Seven and Eight. Now moving into its fourth year, the Netball NSW Schools Cup has grown from 3,000 participants in the inaugural year, to over 7,500 participants in 2015!
Continuing the positive news, the 2016 competition also marks the first time that all eight regions across NSW will be represented by a Years 7/8 Boys team in the State Final.
In previous years, some regions have found it difficult to even field a Years 7/8 Boys division due to lack of numbers, however, with netball growing at a great rate in Australia it’s no surprise the sport has also widened its appeal outside of traditional participants.
“I put an announcement out about submitting a team in Schools Cup and I had huge interest from our boys,” says Lacey McCormack, coach of the De La Salle College (Revesby) team which will be representing Sydney Metro at the State Final.
“We had around 40 boys try out, which we had to cut down to 10, and I think they really wanted to try something different.”
The all-boys school offers a host of sports from the rugby codes, football and cricket, but McCormack said to see netball’s popularity among the pupils is a testament to the sport.
“I think it surprised them – it’s way more physical than the boys realised and I think after playing it for the first time they realised it isn’t what you’d call a ‘typical girl’s sport’.
“The boys watched the men’s exhibition match at Netball Central (during the Sydney Metro Regional Final) and they saw that there were big physical guys with tattoos – who looked like they would be good at other sports – but were playing netball. I think it gave them a little inspiration.”
But coaching boys can be a little different too.
“The boys don’t have a netball background like the girls, and they find it hard to stop, not step and pivot,” McCormack added.
“In fact one of our main drills is getting them to stop… but we try to keep the training sessions fun for them.”
General Manager – Sports Development Nikki Horton said having all the regions represented by a Boys team in the State Final was a proud moment for Netball NSW.
“I would firstly like to say a big thank you to all of the teachers, students and coaches who have signed up to get involved in this year’s Schools Cup,” Horton said.
“It is absolutely fantastic to see all eight regions sending boys teams to the Finals of the Year 7/8 competition as it shows the great strides being made by netball in these communities.
“More importantly, it also gives these young men the chance to make new friends, develop as part of a team and get exposure to a sport they might not have thought about playing before. It’s really terrific to see.
“The Netball NSW Schools Cup is a hugely important date on our calendar and to see it grow year on year is great for both the individuals and collectives involved and we can’t wait to see everyone at Netball Central later this month.”
Netball NSW would like to take this opportunity to thank our partners, First National Real Estate, for their support in helping to make the Schools Cup a success.
The Netball NSW Schools Cup State Final takes place at Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park, on Tuesday 20 September.