NETBALL: There is a new juggernaut tearing up the Grafton Netball Association courts this summer and they are ready to take on all-comers.
An extension of his Special Olympics sport program CRANES' Shanon Tough has helped organise a group of the organisations customers to join forces as the CRANES team.
But he takes no responsibility for getting involved in netball.
"This was an idea directed by the customers themselves," he said, "it was their initiative and they have pushed hard for it.
"One of our customers, Kate, wanted to play netball and it is the perfect game because it is something everyone can play. Netball is inclusive - male or female and all abilities."
With their bright yellow uniform, no one is going to miss the group as they tackle the Senior Twilight netball competition at the Bacon Street courts.
CRANES has taken the competition by storm so far this summer, winning three of its five clashes and despite a narrow loss to the Woolies crew this week, Tough said the smiles still wouldn't leave his players' faces.
"This competition has been fantastic in terms of the sportsmanship shown to our players," he said.
"Everyone has been fair and has supported these guys coming into the game.
"The best part about it is definitely the confidence these guys are gaining, they are able to do that because of the sportsmanship of other teams."
Tough, who earlier this year also organised an all-abilities soccer team and Special Olympics sports program, said playing sport gave the customers benefits that were unexpected.
"It gives them something to talk about and they are building as a team together," he said.
"These guys are becoming better netballers, better sportsmen and just better in general life. You can see they are working towards things as a team. Simple things like doing the dishes, just basic stuff in life, where they work together as a team now.
Tough thanked the Grafton Netball Association, particularly Brooke Burton and Donna Jackson, for their support.
"This is another great local sport that is getting on board with opening doors for people of all abilities," he said. "Getting people together through sport and it is unreal. "I am very proud."