- An Australian netball team made entirely of boys has been subjected to abuse after winning a state championship.
- The Queensland Suns Under-17 team won in Brisbane the state championship. There was outrage.
- As authorities seek to increase male participation in netball, which is traditionally played mainly by women, the tournament allowed boys to participate.
After winning a state championship, an Australian netball team that was entirely made up of boys was subjected teasing.
Queensland Suns Under-17 beat Bond University Bull Sharks 46-12 in Brisbane to win the Queensland U-18s championship. However, some spectators began shouting abuse at the team and benches throughout the match.
As netball is traditionally played mostly by female athletes, it was allowed for boys to compete in the tournament in an attempt to increase male participation.
“The abuse ranged from comments made courtside deliberately within earshot of the Suns contingent, to adults making vulgar comments directly behind the team bench,” Suns coach Tammy Holcroft told the Courier Mail.
“It’s disappointing that the frustration was directed at the players.
“Our boys simply wanted to play, and they were the ones who suffered the most from these comments and behavior and felt unwelcomed.
Andrew Voss, an Australian radio host, labelled the boys playing in the tournament as “bullshit” and called it a “farce.”
“The boys team, which was undefeated throughout the tournament and boasted an average winning margin of 29 goals, was allowed to compete against the girls.
“How is that common sense? You’re surely not going to endorse that as the way of the future, at under-18s level.
“They insist that they want to be inclusive, and not exclusive. This is nonsense. It’s a farce,” Voss said on his SEN breakfast show.
In a statement, Netball Queensland said that everyone has a place in the sport.
“We stand behind our decision to choose inclusion over discrimination. To invite the Queensland Suns to come back to the State Titles as they lack the opportunity to play in high performance environments due to their limited participation and restricted pathways.
“We recognise that change is sometimes uncomfortable, and we are buoyed by the support of our wider netball community who are embracing men and boys in competition formats and have done so for some time in a mixed netball capacity,
“We also want to express our deep disappointment at the behavior of a few members of the crowd.
“We want to explicitly say that this was not the behaviour of our players, rather spectators.
“We want to emphasize that we will not tolerate any form of vilification or abuse within our game. According to the body,
The body also addressed the complaint that women’s teams were being disadvantaged.
“Our intent, from the outset, was to ensure all athletes were encouraged to perform to their best ability in a high-performance environment.
“In 2021, both men and women were allowed to compete. This was done in order to give all netballers an opportunity to develop and play our wonderful game.
While we were subject to criticism about our physical differences, it is important to remember that both men and women are new players in the sport of netball. They play a different style.
The statement ended with the following: “We aspire to be a sport for all.”