Winning the Marie Little OAM Shield for your home state is special, but getting to defend it on your home turf is even more so; and that’s exactly what New South Wales will be doing next month at Netball Central.
The home of Netball NSW will host the 2016 Marie Little OAM Shield – which provides an opportunity for state/territory netball players with an intellectual disability to compete at a national tournament – on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August.
The Netball NSW Marie Little OAM Shield Team went through the 2015 tournament undefeated to bring the title home from Adelaide, and they’ll be hoping to retain it again with the backing of their home crowd in 2016. This year will also see the competition grow with Netball WA and Netball QLD submitting teams for the first time alongside inaugural participants Netball Victoria, Netball SA and Netball NSW.
“It’s really exciting to see Western Australia and Queensland joining this year,” Jenny O’Keefe, NSW Head Coach, said.
“The players are delighted to be playing at Netball Central – in fact they are both excited and nervous.
“We don’t get to see much of our rivals throughout the year and we are looking forward to taking part, doing our best and if we can do as well as we did last year then that’s a bonus.”
Representing your home state is no easy feat, and the NSW players were excited to be presented with their Waratah pins by Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander and Netball NSW President Wendy Archer at half time during the NSW Swifts’ ANZ Championship clash with Southern Steel at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre last month.
In what has been a long-time tradition, all NSW representatives receive a Waratah pin – a symbol of their home state – in recognition of their achievements.
“It was such a thrill for the players and a wonderful initiative by Netball NSW,” O’Keefe added.
“The girls were just so excited and were really grateful to have such a fabulous opportunity. Lisa and Wendy were so lovely with them and they were in awe of the fact that the Diamonds coach was out there presenting them with their Waratahs.
“It was a very special occasion.”
Click here for more information about the 2016 Marie Little OAM Shield and Netball NSW’s Disability programs.
The Marie Little Shield takes place at Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park on Sat-Sun 20-21 August – entry is free.