Netball is a beloved sport in Australia not only because it’s exciting and a great workout for many, but also because it is known to bring the community together. Melbourne Social Netball, in particular, which conducts its games in various locations like the Riverside Golf and Tennis Centre’s netball courts in Ascot Vale, has a strong following especially with its popular teams composed of a diverse range of personalities.

Another quality of netball which draws in fans or enthusiasts is the fact that unlike other sports, there’s great attention to maintaining good values in netball competitions, especially with women and men coming together for mixed netball; it’s good, clean fun, and families that love the sport don’t ever have to worry about the little ones getting a sense of bad behaviour being acceptable during games. There are strict rules to netball and umpires make sure that they are honoured all the time.

And speaking of the little ones enjoying this tactical physical game, the Prahran Netball Association (PNA) is supporting the popularity of the sport by creating competitions for much, much younger players. Typically, only teams with players for 18 and over have legitimate games, but the PNA targets younger players and currently there are netball competitions intended for players 11 and under, 13 and under, 15 and under, and 17 and under.

For 11, 13, and 15 and under competitions, all teams compete following the Netball Australia rules; however, there are no Finals. The main requirement for those who wish to join the competitions is that they must at least have completed a season in the Rookie Grade prior to playing for their age bracket. Teams formed in school are more than welcome to join the competition, but players can only play forthe team in which they are registered with — they cannot fill in for any other junior team affiliated with association.To make sure that games (and training) do not get in the way of school, the PNA always schedules competitions during the school holidays.

As for the 17 and under teams, competitions are regularly conducted on Tuesday nights, in conjunction with the Open Ladies Blue Section.

These Prahran netball competitions are successful in cultivating early interest in the sport. By having competitions intended for the young, those who truly love the sport and may be considering a serious career in the sport can develop the necessary skills and attitudes to really excel while they are young. Parents laud the provision because netball for younger players rekindles the appeal of “traditional” physical activities in this digital age which are fun and can instil good values that can be applied in different aspects of life.

Likewise, as mentioned earlier, it truly brings members of the community together – young and old, male and female, all can enjoy the unique dynamics of the game.

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