CRANES netball side took on the Ballina RSL Stingrays in friendly competition during the Grafton Netball Association senior representative carnival.
CRANES netball side took on the Ballina RSL Stingrays in friendly competition during the Grafton Netball Association senior representative carnival. Contributed

Netball exhibition a leap forward for all-inclusive sport

NETBALL: It was a memorable moment for Grafton Netball Association as two teams of all-abilities players took to the court for a netball first at the association's representative carnival on Sunday.

The homegrown talent of CRANES took on the visiting Ballina RSL Stingrays in two games of friendly competition, with CRANES coach Shanon Tough declaring netball the winner.

"It was unreal to see them both out there, you could hear the laughter through the gully,” Tough said. "It was played in the right spirits and the biggest thing for me was to see the sportsmanship from both sides at the end of the game.

"I think a lot of them made a bunch of new lifelong friends.”

For a lot of the players it was the first time they had played in front of a sizeable crowd, as the grandstands on either side of the court let out duelling cheers.

"Not many of them play sport besides the netball so they have never been in that carnival atmosphere,” he said. "They were lapping it up.

"This is just another massive step in making all sport inclusive.”

Tough said the next challenge would come in the form of a return match in Ballina.

"They have invited us up and are working hard on making it happen, so we look forward to that. It will be a bit of a bus trip for the guys.”

Tough will also be heading onto the football field with his CRANES team for the Special Olympics soccer program which will start up soon.



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