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  • Michael Warren

    TropicNow reporter

    Email Michael Warren

    Cairns Netball goes from strength to strength

    Netball in Cairns keeps scoring goals with awards, expanded competitions and grand plans for its newly redeveloped Martyn St complex.

    Cairns Netball has again cemented its status as one of the code’s leading sports bodies north of Brisbane after snaring two highly coveted and sought after awards.

    It’s been a stellar few months for Cairns Netball having claimed both a Netball Queensland Association of the Year Award and a separate Netball Australia "One Netball Award: for the pioneering work it did to establish the Indigenous netball carnival and program.

    The gongs are a huge reward for operations manager Kym Mcphee-Smith, her small team of dedicated staff and the army of volunteers that continue to drive the sport in Tropical North Queensland.

    Sharon Finnan was also instrumental in implementing the Indigenous carnival and program.

    Netball Australia delegates will present the One Netball Award to local officials in Cairns in the coming weeks.

    “I personally can’t take any of the credit for us winning such awards,” a very modest Mcphee-Smith said.

    “I’m very grateful to all of the wonderful local clubs that work very hard within our Association to make it what it is.

    “It’s been a privilege to lead those clubs to ensure our organisation runs smoothly, efficiently, and professionally. I hope all of our clubs feel proud of what our Association has achieved.”

    The well-deserved recognition comes just days out from Cairns Netball officially opening its revamped $3.6 million Martyn St venue, which now boasts 16 courts, a functioning clubhouse, toilets and changerooms, 250 carparks and four show courts that are likely to be fully roofed in the future.

    “Some volunteers have been helping the Association for at least 35 years so it’s great for them to finally see something like this,” she said.

    “As confirmed by Netball Queensland we now have one of the best netball facilities in the state and we can’t wait to formally unveil the improvements on November 11.

    “We could never have done it without the help of Cairns Regional Council, who we’ve had a good working relationship with for many years. Cr Max O Halloran was a big supporter of the project, as was Gavin King when he was a state MP.”

    Thanks to the upgrades Cairns Netball is now better placed to lure bigger netball events.

    At present Cairns is one of three destinations currently in contention to host next August’s QLD state championships.

    That particular event would attract 350 players to contest under-16s, 18s, opens, masters and mixed divisions. Cairns is also bidding to host the event in 2019 and 2022.

    Cairns Netball says that carnival alone would inject at least $1.6 million into the local economy.

    Cairns hosted this year’s QLD schoolgirls state championships and has a built a reputation for its inclusiveness. It is in the process of establishing a program for people with a disability.

    It already runs mixed and boys’ competitions and is looking to operate a future men’s competition. It also works with 20 schools in the region to develop the sport.

    In further news Cairns Netball is now the official licensee of the town’s state league team, the Marlin Coast Marlins, with a coach to be appointed in the coming days. Squad trials will be held on Sunday from 4-6pm at Martyn St.