The Netball New South Wales State team has taken home the Marie Little OAM Shield for the fourth consecutive year after defeating South Australia (13-10) in the Grand Final of the 2018 competition.

The Marie Little OAM Shield is the premier Australian netball event for players with an intellectual disability and is an inclusive competition that gives those players the opportunity to represent their State and compete in the sport at a national tournament.

Named after Marie Little OAM, who dedicated her life to helping those with a disability, the competition sees State teams from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory face off to be crowned national champions. The 2018 competition was contested from 5-7 October in Brisbane, with the Grand Final played before the Samsung Australian Diamonds v New Zealand Silver Ferns Constellation Cup match.

The New South Wales Marie Little OAM Shield State team entered this year’s competition undefeated in the tournament since 2015, having taken home the title for the last three years.

After going down to the South Australian side in their match up the day before, the New South Wales side rallied to come back from 3-0 in the early minutes of their Grand Final rematch. Displaying great teamwork and resilience, the team went on to win the tightly contested game and retain the Shield, along with the right to call themselves national champions. The victory further cemented their place as one of Netball New South Wales’ most successful State teams.

New South Wales Head Coach Jenny O’Keefe has led the team to victory since 2015 and is proud of what her team has achieved in the competition.

“The team was outstanding this year. I could not have hoped for better. They worked so hard and it was just an amazing finish for them. Everyone had their standout moments and it was a full team effort that got us across the line.

“We lost to them (South Australia) in the second round that we played them. It was a difficult game and we had to regroup and move on to verse them again in the final. I think in the end everyone seemed on task – they all went out there and did their job,” she says.

Team Captain Melissa Gallagher is thrilled that her side has been victorious once again.

“I’m very proud of the girls and how we worked together. We worked as a team and we helped each other out when we needed.

“It was a hard game. The girls did really well. I really am proud of them. The team played really well.

“Four years in a row – that’s pretty amazing for a Marie Little Shield team and for New South Wales. For us I think it just boosts our confidence,” says Gallagher.

Vice-Captain Dallas Austin is also pleased with Sunday’s results and the effort her team put in to secure the win.

“I’m so pumped at the moment. I was hoping it was going to happen but was not betting on it, especially after losing to South Australia yesterday. But it was good to just shake it off today and go back and do what we do best. The team was great – great teamwork and cooperation.

“It was definitely a harder competition this year. I could see improvement in everybody. Everyone is pushing more and that’s what I like to see in this competition,” Austin says.

2018 Netball New South Wales Marie Little OAM Shield Team

Brittany Anderson – Illawarra District Netball Association
Taylor Anderson – Illawarra District Netball Association
Dallas Austin  (VC) – Blue Mountains Netball Association
Melissa Gallagher (C) – Blue Mountains Netball Association
Kristin Mercer – Sutherland Shire Netball Association
Casey Stevens – Sutherland Shire Netball Association
Karina Baines – Penrith District Netball Association
Eliza Mills – Orange Netball Association
Bernadette Mills – Orange Netball Association
Nalyn Sirivivatnanon – Eastwood Ryde Netball Association