South Australia’s first ever weekly netball competition for boys was won by the Western Griffins.
The Junior M League grand final was held on 10 December, and Western Griffins defeated Central Werewolves, 32 vs 18.
The Junior M League was played at Priceline Stadium over six minor rounds, with four teams competing.
South Australian Men’s and Mixed Netball Association (SAMMNA) President Steve McInnes said the Western Griffins’ shooting duo proved unstoppable and across the competition it was great to see all boys improving their skills.
“Boys also started to bring their mates along, which helped grow participation numbers, and a few even joined our state teams,” he said.
Mr McInnes said his highlight was seeing the young boys mixing with and learning from the M League players.
“The boys were well supported by the players in the M League who came out to every game to encourage. Some weeks the junior boys were also able to watch the M League games,” he said.
“The M League players provided coaching and tips that the boys were then able to put out on court, and most importantly it was great to see the smiles when they tasted success at implementing the advice they were given.”
Mr McInnes said it is very exciting that there is now a complete netball pathway for boys in South Australia.
“It was vital for the future of men’s netball to finally bridge the gap that existed in the boys’ and men’s pathway where boys had to stop playing netball with girls after the age of 12 and couldn’t play in a men’s competition until they are 16,” he said.
“This gap has existed for a long time and resulted in the loss off many players to other sports such as football and basketball due to lack of opportunities to continue playing netball with their mates.
“Therefore, it was vitally important to fill this gap and generate this continuity. There is still a long way to go but we are supplementing this competition with clinics and academy sessions throughout the entire year.”
Plans for season 2 of Junior M League
Mr McInnes said all feedback received was very positive with many parents saying how much their sons had enjoyed the season and asking when the next one would be held.
“We will be looking at starting a new season of Junior M League after the conclusion of the summer school holidays and running it in line with the M League so we can make a spectacle of both competition’s grand finals on the same night,” he said.
Boys’ only school holiday clinic
The next Southern Dragons Junior Boys Netball School Holiday Clinic is on Wednesday 23 January from 9am until 12 noon at Priceline Stadium. Keep an eye out on the SAMMNA website to register.