Girls’ sports should not be an afterthought

Girls’ sports should not be an afterthought
Ellen Sandell

Like so many girls across Victoria, I loved playing netball when I was growing up.

I wasn’t a superstar, but it kept me fit and having fun with my friends. I can’t wait until my daughter Ada and son Gabe can learn to play too.

I recently met up with the new president of the Kensington Junior Netball Club to discuss the lack of netball rings in our local area, and what we can do to work together to fix this.

Netball is the most popular sport among our local girls and women, but they have no public rings or outdoor half-courts to practice on in their spare time. We’ve got to fix this.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us more than ever how important it is to stay socially connected and fit, both for our mental and physical health, and sport is such a powerful community builder.

The Kensington Junior Netball Club was started by a group of local mums eight years ago to provide options for girls’ team sport. It started as just one team, and it’s exploded! Now there are 18 teams with 165 players from across Kensington and surrounding suburbs.

But while we have a lot of good facilities for sports that have traditionally been dominated by boys – such as basketball rings and half-courts, and football and cricket facilities – we don’t have any outdoor netball rings in our local area.

Don’t get me wrong, I think women and girls should be able to play any sport –  I’m a Richmond tragic myself and love watching a game of AFLW – but given netball is the most common sport for girls in our area, it deserves better facilities.

The upcoming redevelopment of the Kensington Community Recreation Centre will provide new indoor courts, including for netball, which is very welcome, but we need outdoor rings as well.

I’m working with the junior netball club and the City of Melbourne to make sure we can have some netball rings installed in our local area. Some of the options are pretty simple, like installing two permanent goal posts in JJ Holland Park, near the Venny, besides the cricket nets, or in the nearby Newman Street Playground and Tankard Reserve.

As always, I’m “here if you need!” Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss this or any other issue with me [email protected] or calling us on 9328 4637

Your local state MP and former goal shooter,

Ellen Sandell •

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