Novice netballers reign supreme

Netballers from remote Jilkminggan School totally overpowered their grand final rivals in a 20 to one goal drubbing, remarkable because the Roper River students had not even heard of netball before the competition.

The school’s two mixed under 15 and under 13 teams clashed with their nine-team junior division opponents in a 20-week regional challenge, before scoring a 16 to 1 quarter final win, a victory cementing their place in the ultimate match.

Trainer and Jilkminggan School teacher Hayley Walker introduced the sport to “expose the children to new skills and challenges” and as a reward for high attendance and positive behaviour.

“The training, and the contests in Katherine, have been enthusiastically embraced by our teams of seven to 13-year-old students,” she said. “They were all novices, and some had never left the community before.”

“Our teams, known as the Jilky Blues, travelled to the weekly play-offs in Katherine in two buses, and another two buses and six cars were needed to accommodate their families.

“It’s been incredibly rewarding and I feel humbled by how hard the kids have worked, but winning was far less important than having fun and making new friends. The kid’s horizons have been broadened by the experience, and helped them realise what is out there, beyond the community.”

Ms Walker has submitted an expression of interest for a two-day Indigenous level competition run by Netball NT in Darwin in November.

Jilkminggan Netballers