Blake Smith will represent WA in mixed netball

Blake Smith will represent WA in mixed netball. About 80 players trialled for teams.
Blake Smith will represent WA in mixed netball. About 80 players trialled for teams.

WHATEVER you do, do not tell these guys that netball is only a sport for women.

More than 50 members of the West Coast Men’s and Mixed Netball Association are preparing to take on the best in the country, with a record four WA teams slated to compete at the 2018 Australian Men’s and Mixed Netball Championships in April.

Wellard resident Blake Smith said he was excited about the championships.

“I have been playing netball for four to five years now and it’s come so far in a few years,” he said.

“I enjoy the team spirit; it’s challenging mentally and physically.”

Club captain Dylan McPherson said participation in netball had grown exponentially among WA men in recent years.

“The idea of men playing netball can be hard to convince people about but once men have seen men’s netball live and can see the training required, the physicality and the dedication needed to play at a state or national level, there is a much greater respect about the sport,” he said.

“In 2015 we took two teams to Nationals, only competing at an aged (under-23s) and reserve level, but in 2018 we will take four teams, with two competing at an open level and two competing in reserves.

“Men certainly bring a level of raw athleticism and a bit of flair to the game. Men’s netball is more aerial than the women’s game and probably slightly more physical.”

Fellow captain Stuart Dent said it was a big deal for WA to have four teams competing at the national competition and the players were eager to show off their skills.

“It is an incredible competition, full of great athletes, coaches and support staff that are all chasing one thing – a National Championship – and the competition will be fierce,” he said.

“Our open men’s and mixed team are chock full of a mixture of youth, experience and great talent and are both expected to go very deep into the competition.

“Our men’s reserve have many returning players and are looking to push further than their semi-final result last year and our mixed reserve are a bit of an unknown, very young and have many debutants, but they have been training very hard and we anticipate big things from them in the coming years.”