Junior netball growth the aim for Stars

Published on Thursday, February 2, 2023

With the junior netball arm of the NFNL continuing to expand, the Keon Park Stars Junior Football Club is hoping to use the growth of the competition to continue branching the club out beyond its football program.

The Stars are one of four clubs who joined inaugural sides Donnybrook and Epping in the first edition of the NFNL summer junior netball competition. They currently have a team in the 13&U Red division.

Secretary Lynton Martin explained how the prospect of creating a junior netball side was always on the cards, adding that he was glad to see the program had advanced so quickly following Covid.

“It’s always been something that’s been part of our vision, for a number of years, we’ve been talking about how we can incorporate netball into the club since footy and netball have always gone hand in hand in community sport,” he said.

“Last year, we started with NetSetGo and that was a big success, and then we thought we could go a step further and turn that program into our first junior team. So, we’re just trying to create the same opportunities that we provide for football with netball.”

The club’s first NetSetGo season was a huge step for their aspirations in getting a competitive side on the court and with the help of NFNL Junior Netball Development Officer Lauren Theodosis, the club was able to introduce a high number of kids to the sport.

Martin praised Lauren’s work and the great results that have come out of her training and the program itself.

“We ran NetSetGo alongside Auskick so we could make it a program where, families can come down and if they have one child that wants to play football and another that wants to play netball, it becomes accommodating,” he said.

“Lauren was a massive help throughout the whole NetSetGo season, she coached our very first season and now we’re looking for someone to continue the amazing work she did for us.

“As a result, we’ve had a number of girls, about three or four, from that NetSetGo program who are now playing in our junior team.”

The Keon Park Stars have ticked plenty of boxes in the development of their junior netball program over the last 12 months, but the aim for Martin is to continue finding ways to give kids the opportunity to play netball at the club.

“We’ve pretty much achieved what we wanted to achieve in the short term, in getting a team out on the court and just getting the kids to love being involved in the sport,” he said.

“We’re hoping to push for a second team in the winter season and just get them all continuing to improve week to week which is what they’re doing anyway.”

Martin is hoping with more teams on the court, will come more recognition of the netball sector of the club.

“When people think of the Keon Park Stars, they know we’re a football club… but we want to make it known that we’re a junior club of football and netball,” he said.

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