By Romy Stephens
Two Drouin and District Netball Association All Abilities players helped Victoria take home silver in the national netball championship for women with an intellectual disability earlier this month.
Brooke Baker and Erin Munckton headed to the Queensland State Netball Centre to participate in the Marie Little OAM Shield.
Named after disability netball pioneer Marie Little OAM, the competition sees netball teams from each state compete.
Victoria ended up losing to South Australia 21-18 in a hard-fought gold medal match on 14 October.
Returning player Brooke helped mentor newcomer Erin throughout the tournament.
Brooke said the Drouin netball community was instrumental in helping her make it to the championship for the second year in a row.
“I love playing netball in Drouin and the fact that we have another Drouin player, Erin, in the Victorian team to compete is fantastic,” she said.
“Everyone is super supportive of the players and coaches and they have helped shape me so much.
“Without them, I may never have made it to the Marie Little OAM Shield last year or this year.”
She added how important netball has been throughout her life.
“Netball doesn’t make me feel different and it is something I love,” she said.
“Netball is just one big team sport where I feel included. It’s a challenge I love to take on and it teaches me so much.”
Erin agreed with how supportive the local community has been.
“I love the community and everyone involved. I’ve seen people progress because of all the support we receive and because it’s a tight netball community to play in,” she said.
“For Brooke and I to be playing together and representing our home area is so amazing.”
Netball Victoria’s community and junior development manager, Tanya Gamble, said the tournament was a great example of how inclusive netball is across the state.
“The Marie Little OAM Shield allows women with an intellectual disability the chance to represent their state in a game they love,” she said.
“We’re proud of the programs we have in place across Victoria which help pave this pathway for athletes, and we will continue to develop these programs to ensure netball maintains its inclusive environment.”
This year was the first time the tournament was included as part of the INA Global Games – the world’s largest sporting event for athletes with an intellectual impairment.