Only a few years ago there were fears Kurri Kurri Netball Association was going to fold due to a lack of numbers.
“There were a couple of years we thought it would be our last year,” representative convenor Jessica Stephens said.
“In 2016 we only had three teams registered in our winter competition. We had more rep teams than social teams that year.”
But those days are long gone, with the strongest turnout of players to the club’s rep tryouts in many years.
The recent tryouts for next year’s sides attracted so many players, the association has filled all six age groups and created development squads for under 13s and 14s.
“When I turned up to the tryouts there was nowhere to park!” Stephens said.
“It’s really exciting for us.
“I started rep at Kurri in 2002 and I have not seen a development team in any age group in that time.”
There has been a gradual rebuilding of the club in the past two years. The association moved its winter competition from Saturdays to Wednesday nights this year, which attracted 13 teams.
Stephens believes greater exposure of netball on a national level has also had an impact, as well as the $100 Active Kids Rebate.
“I think the Active Kids voucher has played a role in getting more kids into the sport, and from there they’ve been introduced to the rep side of things,” she said.
While Stephens believed the increased interest would give the teams a boost when they head away for state championships next year, she was most excited about what it means for the players.
She said the decision to create development squads, which will compete in carnivals like the rep teams but won’t go away to the state championships, was to encourage those who didn’t quite make the rep sides.
“We just love the numbers, it’s massive for us,” she said.
“We just want to give the kids an experience, the most important thing is that they love their netball.
“It was really hard to split some of the players so we didn’t want to turn them away.
“Having the development squads gives them something to work towards.”
The association will hold a car boot sale at the Kurri courts from 8am this Saturday to help lower fees for the representative players. Visit the club’s Facebook page for information.
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