IT WAS more than a netball passed between players of the 62 teams that gathered at the Southern Districts Netball Association in Langford on July 19.
There was also an ample amount of National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week spirit.
The teams, their officials, volunteers and spectators were there for the NAIDOC Netball Carnival, an annual celebration of sport, cultural diversity and friendship and a highlight of the annual WA netball calendar.
A record attendance of about 2000 people this year included 750 players.
The carnival is supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation and Australian Sports Commission’s Indigenous Sports Programs, Netball WA, Nyoongar Sports Association, David Wirrpanda Foundation, Department of Health (Aboriginal Health Division), Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Service, Aboriginal Health Council of WA, WA Police and Healthway.
“Every day in my role I see the passion that exists among Indigenous Western Australians for sport and that’s what, year in, year out, makes the NAIDOC Week Netball Carnival such a huge success,” Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) state coordinator Indigenous sport Clem Rodney said.
The teams came from across WA including the Perth metropolitan area and regions including Bunbury, Narrogin, Bruce Rock, Albany, Moora, Kalgoorlie, Mandurah and Quairading. Some interstate players travelled from Ballarat in Victoria for the event.
“Importantly, the carnival provides pathway opportunities for our Aboriginal youth and women to further enhance their development and support their access into mainstream competitions,” DSR Indigenous sports development officer Julie Jackson said.
A NAIDOC Allstars team was selected by Netball WA to recognise talented under 15s and under 17s players.