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NetSetGO offers opportunities, friendship for all

Netball Mimi visit

Image: Firebird players Mahalia Cassidy and Jemma MiMi attended the gala day event to cheer on each school.

Queensland Firebirds star Jemma MiMi returned to her old school in South East Queensland to see the success of the NetSetGO Sporting Schools program for herself.

It was the first time MiMi, who attended Canungra State School in Prep and Grade 1, had returned to her former school.

MiMi, who made her debut for the Firebirds last year, was happy to see how popular netball was in the rural community.

“It was great to be back here and see how many children are loving their netball through NetSetGO,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to meet others and make life-long friends.”

Lisa Caruana, Netball Queensland Development Officer, said the students really enjoyed the chance to meet one of the state’s best players.

“Having Firebird Jemma Mimi return to the area was great recognition for the schools bringing physical activity and healthy lifestyles to the forefront,” Caruana said.

“We’re lucky in netball to have such amazing role models for girls to look up to.”

The Sporting Schools program boosted their interest in netball, so much so that after the program ended they took part in a gala day with students from neighbouring Gold Coast hinterland towns (Canungra, St Bernard State School, Tamborine Mountain State School and Beechmont State School).

The event was organised by physical education teacher Leandra Thompson, who teaches at both Canungra and St Bernard, to connect students with community sporting opportunities.

“Leandra has done a fantastic job organising the gala day [after the Sporting Schools program] to bring the schools together, which gives students extra motivation to develop their skills during the program and provides an opportunity to make friends from different schools,” she said.

“Netball is unique in that you can’t succeed unless you work as a team. Once you have the ball in your hands, you can’t just run around the defence, so it’s a great game to include all students.”

Netball, she said, also had an “amazing ability” to build community connections.

The day was a community effort with Thompson, who coordinates all schools, creates the draw, and engages Tamborine State High School students to umpire the games with some assistance from Netball Queensland’s community coaches.

More than 700 boys and girls from Prep to Grade 6 enjoyed the NetSetGO Sporting Schools programs across the schools, with many experiencing netball for the first time.

Sporting Schools is a $200 million Australian Government initiative to get more children playing more sport, before, during and after school. Want to run a Netball program at your school? Check out all the details on the Netball Australia page.

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