Community Awards

The Netball Victoria Community Awards celebrate the significant achievements of individuals and groups who have contributed to the sport of netball in Victoria throughout the year.

The growth and development of netball within Victoria is at the heart of everything we do and we love to highlight the great work of our Victorian netball community.

Nominations for the 2021 Community Awards open Wednesday 29 September!

While it hasn't been the year we were hoping, there have still been plenty of people in your netball community helping keep the connection to netball strong, whether that's been on the court or with at-home activities.

The categories celebrate volunteers, teachers, leagues/associations, umpires and coaches who contribute to your love of the game.

2020 Award Winners

The Mini Minties NetSetGO Program has doubled in size from an initial 20 participants to now over 40 and a waitlist of 10. The program is the largest NetSetGO Program in Bayside Victoria. 

They implemented weekly planning sessions which saw participants rotate through different activities each session to allow the children to focus on different areas, keep their minds engaged, experience different coaching styles and make new friends. 

The program was also created for first year coaches to be mentored and paired up with senior coaches to deliver the program to learn the foundations of netball and how to develop young players. This has led to more junior players taking up the opportunity to coach within the club.

Year 12 SEDA student, Lily, is a senior coach within the club and has been actively encouraging male participation in NetSetGO and has been instrumental in contributing to the overall increase of participation, diversity, and coach development. 

Throughout COVID-19, zoom training sessions were put in place, drills were emailed out with ideas to practice individually or as a family and information on netball was sent out to teach the children the positions, fair play and general rules of the game.

Leopold Football Netball Club’s NetSetGO program has been running for three years, going from 20 participants to now over 60 registered. Each year the club has a handful of helpers from junior teams ranging from ages 13 to 15 that attend each session to assist with skills and drills. 

These programs have led to younger players putting their hands up to volunteer and developing their coaching careers.

They have introduced a NetSetGO day, where the participants play a game of netball before the senior teams on a Saturday. They form a guard of honour and high five the senior teams as they run out and watch for the rest of the day. 

Although the NetSetGO program was unable to get up and running as normal this year, Leopold continued to adjust training sessions and implement weekly challenges to ensure their junior members were remaining active both physically and mentally.

The Kensington Junior Netball Club is an inclusive, welcoming club focused on participation and engagement for girls and boys from their diverse community. They have grown the club from 1 team to 15 teams in the last seven years through inclusive programs to engage with the CALD community and at-risk families by removing the barriers that these children may face. 

This includes but is not limited to understanding cultural requirements from a uniform perspective, working with local community groups to access grants and providing items at low or no cost. Any child regardless of ability and experience is welcomed and allocated a team.

The club has also worked throughout the lockdown period to ensure that all players have been communicated with and engaged with the club. Kensington have partnered with The Venny, a local community group working with at-risk young people to access funding to support their participation in sport, they also offer drop off and pick up support for training sessions. 

They have reduced fees and no-cost uniforms, included boys into mixed teams, provided virtual training sessions focusing on skills, intensity training, yoga and Zumba. Kensington were quick to source outdoor spaces to hold covid safe training sessions, which saw 75% of their players continue to participate, leading to 90% of players committed to playing a short round in Parkville.

Marg has been instrumental throughout the disrupted COVID-19 year for the Pakenham Lions and was a driving force behind maintaining positive wellbeing amongst the athletes and support staff. 

As President of 10 teams within the football netball club and another 15 in the local indoor competition, Marg still finds time to prioritise the club while balancing full time work, her family and her health.

Marg personally contacted every player, coach, committee member and sponsor on a fortnightly basis to check in on them and posted return to play updates daily on Facebook and via emails and attended informational webinars. 

She did not miss one person’s birthday, and organised weekly zoom sessions with various presenters that ranged from strength and conditioning, yoga, team chats, committee meetings and Sport and Life Training programs.

Sally has been the South West District League’s Netball Coordinator since the league first fell under the AFL WD Hub. Covering a large regional area, Sally respectfully supports all clubs within the league and is highly committed to umpire development, league coordination and advocacy for netball in general.

Alongside a small band of helpers, Sally was able to get a junior competition off the ground made up of 20 teams across the rural Victorian region – with clubs outside the league also joining. 

Larger venues were sourced, and junior netballers were given hope and she established pathways for 20 teams and their one allocated family member to ensure restrictions were met. Sally is also a C-grade badged umpire with a passion of advancing the skills and abilities of umpires in rural areas.

Michelle Johnson is a long-time member of Netball Victoria and is an endorsed umpire tester and B-grade umpire. Michelle recently returned to Richmond Netball Association as their umpire trainer and mentor to lead the umpiring panel. Michelle’s knowledge and interpretation of the rules is second to none and her contribution and positive change has been significant for their members.

Michelle has assisted in re-working their umpire training program to accommodate hearing impaired umpires, giving greater responsibility of their co-umpires to ensure that the testing process doesn't discriminate against them. Michelle has also taken on the mentoring of an interstate boarder from Melbourne Girls Grammar and helped to immerse her into the local community through umpiring.

Michelle has worked tirelessly with long time C-badged umpires to develop and train them to be the required standard of a B-badge and throughout lockdown has stayed in touch with some of their more vulnerable umpires. 

She also completed the COVID Safe Sport Coaches & Officials Certificate to ensure that she is up to date with best practice for the return to community sport and has worked with the Board to consider safe strategies including longer breaks between games, closure of courts for cleaning and the recruitment of volunteers.

Carly Webster has played an integral role in the wellbeing of her squad, their families, and the wider community pre, post and during COVID-19 lockdown for the Chelsea Netball Club. Carly has been a dedicated and committed member of the club, going above and beyond her coaching role – becoming everyone’s inspirer, motivator, teacher, role model and friend.

In her capacity as Head Coach, Carly has coordinated virtual squad training sessions live on Facebook each Thursday evening, has provided tips to stay connected via Facebook chat and offered support sessions, particularly for those in year 12. 

Carly devised a virtual competition placing members in location based teams to compete in weekly challenges, with points allocated for km’s ran or walked and getting involved in cooking classes, dress ups, gratitude and mindfulness sessions, sleep and recovery, pilates, virtual trivia nights and strength and resistance circuits. 

Carly’s initiatives allowed the players to remain connected and united, and her Netball Reboot challenge was offered to the wider community too, not just her Chelsea squad.  

Waverley District Netball Association were adamant that they were going to band together to continue enriching their community through the sport of netball after their competitions that consisted of 280 teams came to a halt. 

To keep their community engaged and active they created the WDNA ‘Netball at Home’ webpage for players, coaches and umpires, and ran a club challenge through term three promoting netball and fitness activities. They ran SALT sessions, monthly Presidents meetings, organised at home training guides and fitness activities and invited umpires to online workshops.

Waverley have established a Child Safety in Netball working committee from various clubs and have adapted their policies, implemented the mandatory completion of the Play by the Rules Child Protection course for those who are in a position of authority and updated bylaws to ensure they are current and relevant. 

They run Youth Mental Health First Aid courses, remind clubs that shorts are part of the uniform and celebrate Wear It Purple Day to spread awareness. They now have 176 teams playing again and 280 players registered for Come and Try sessions and Court Ready programs.

The Forest Hill College Netball Academy is an inclusive, development focused program that provides a wholistic approach to helping young aspiring netballers achieve their goals. 

They do this through on-court specialised coaching, strength and conditioning, umpiring programs, coaching accreditation and off-court netball and personal development including match analysis, sports psychology, goal setting, leadership, mental health and nutrition.

Their school has a rich curriculum and provides for indigenous students (Melbourne Indigenous Transition School) as well as the those who are deaf and hard of hearing – all welcome in their netball program. Their program has linked to Whitehorse Netball Association and with local primary schools to provide netball programs at lunch times. 

The academy students officiate the local School Sport Victoria netball competitions and participate in the Netball Victoria School Championships, with multiple players achieving positions in VNL teams and State Team trials.

Throughout lockdown, all students participated in six hours of netball each week, with individual and group-based tasks of netball, bingo and cooking challenges, online learning opportunities in webinars, goal setting seminars and self-awareness programs while also incorporating Dare to Develop a Diamond and the KNEE Program for strength and conditioning.

In partnership with their League and WorkSafe, Garfield Netball Club have implemented various safety practices this year, including ensuring goal posts are correctly padded, clearly fencing off any hazards and always ensuring their game day coordinator completes a safety check of the grounds and equipment at the beginning of each training session and game day. 

If any issues are raised these are dealt with prior and if facility degradation, the area must be segregated off and not used until repaired.

Garfield ensure there is always a designated first aid person on duty with stocked first aid kits and ice packs available on demand. They have 10 people within the club trained to use the defibrillator machine and all injuries are recorded and assessed, and if necessary, equipment, facilities and uniforms are tagged until repaired. 

They are currently in the process of raising the remaining funds needed to ensure their courts are resurfaced prior to the season start in 2021 as they have now deemed them unsafe until resurfaced.

Tooradin Dalmore Netball Club are a safety conscious club aiming to provide a safe environment for their whole netball community. They ensure they identify courts that are unsafe and work with the local council to see issues addressed, recently having their courts upgraded at the start of 2020. 

They have installed new netball rings and goal post padding and have employed a physiotherapist and strength and conditioning coach to implement a knee program for junior and senior players to ensure safe and correct techniques.

Tooradin are consistent in providing up to date first aid kits and stocking them regularly and have been running sessions with Sport and Life Training for their members throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.