Fun not the only reward at Koori Games

The Malikas are long-time participants of the Koori Netball Tournament, so were never going to miss the action when Charlestown Netball Association hosted the 16th instalment of the competition last weekend.

Fifty-seven teams participated in this year’s event, with athletes from Under 12s to Opens in action on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 October. It was another successful year for the Malikas who were crowned Champions of each division they entered a team into: Under 12s, Open A and Mixed divisions.

Netball NSW spoke with team representative Naomi Young who, along with her co-Manager Vicki Thompson, helped organise all the Malikas players for the weekend – from accommodation to equipment, training and game day preparations.

The Malikas have attended every Koori Netball Tournament since 2009, with Young saying it was the fun and family environment that saw them return year after year.

“There’s such an awesome vibe at Koori Games; just in Malikas alone we have sisters, mothers, daughters, cousins, aunties – so many family members playing together,” Young said.

“When you meet the other teams they’re also from the same family or community, and it’s just a great atmosphere. Personally I think Koori Games brings families together – in my family we’ve had a consistent group of supporters make the trip up to support us over the last few years which is nice.

“I love catching up with friends from other parts of NSW who are like us and attend Koori Games every year; it’s like catching up with your old mates. You also recognise faces at places like State Age [Championships] and State [Championships] and it’s nice having that connection, of knowing where they’re from too.”

The Malikas are made up of players from all different clubs in the Hawkesbury City, Penrith and Mount Druitt competitions, however Young says it’s their shared passions that unite them when it comes to participating in the Koori Games.

“We’ve all got the same passion for netball, for our family, and for our culture. So I think when you put those three things together, it’s a deadly mix,” Young stated.

But most importantly, Young says it’s also a privilege for the players to be strong role models for their community – showing their family and friends that you can live a healthy and active lifestyle, while still having lots of fun.

“While it’s awesome to come together and have a netball competition dedicated to Indigenous people, it’s brilliant to be able to come home and share our experiences with our community – try and encourage them to get involved in leading healthy lifestyles,” Young concluded.

Congratulations to the following winners in each division of the 2015 Koori Netball Tournament;

Division Winner               MVP
Under 12s Malikas (U12) Janet Donovan (Malikas)
12-15s Bowra Jinders Hunter Flanders (Bowra Jinders)
Open A Malikas Tegan Holland (Bundjalarms)
Open B SWS Kookaburras Sherri Hill (SWS Kookaburras)
Mixed Malikas Mali Sini (Malikas)

Click here to view the full list of results via Charlestown Netball Association’s website. Please note; you may have to select Koori Netball Tournament from the dropdown menu.