Girls netting results in life
DYNAMIC Lismore netballers have given their potentially "life-changing" new club plenty to cheer.
A whole-hearted performance saw the Lismore Bundjalarms side secure the under-18 crown at the Queensland Murri Indoor Netball Carnival.
The team is part of the Bundjalarms club, which has come together over the past two years and aims to provide social benefits for indigenous children and the wider community.
Club committee member Julijana Vranic, who managed the side at the Beenleigh event, said she had high hopes for the club.
"It was launched to increase pathways for the children, and make netball a community activity they can enjoy," she said.
"We hope it will be life-changing for everyone involved."
The club, which consists heavily of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, is part of the Bundjalarms Netball Program.
Devised by health and other community workers, the scheme aims to promote social benefits through sport.
Summer sign-on dates have proved popular, with scores of players registering for the 2014 campaign.
The club aims to field at least six sides in the Lismore winter netball competition, catering for players aged seven and upwards through to seniors.
"These girls will grow up and take roles in their community one day," Vranic said. "It will be good to develop good junior players and give them the opportunity to stand together.
"It should have benefits across the board in terms of healthy lifestyle, mentoring - all these skills."
Tamara Hamshaw coached the side at the Beenleigh tournament, which was run by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
After defeating the Casino-based Bundjalung Jargums at the competition, the Lismore side then took on open division teams in friendly action.
"It was a good experience for the girls," Vranic said.
"We have a healthy rivalry with the Casino players, so it was nice to beat them."
Non-indigenous players are also involved in the club, which aims to send teams to carnivals in northern NSW and south-east Queensland next year.
Vranic said she was confident the sport would play an important role in the development of players.
"I think netball is growing in popularity among indigenous children," she said.
"We've had children who have not played netball before getting involved. Sport can have good benefits in any number of areas."