‘Don’t go in the lava’: Netball program caters for all

Is that three-feet away? Volunteer coaches Tenille Repko, Katrina Bartolo and Vince Gacic teach Manie Chung's the basics of netball. Picture: Chris Lane
Is that three-feet away? Volunteer coaches Tenille Repko, Katrina Bartolo and Vince Gacic teach Manie Chung's the basics of netball. Picture: Chris Lane

By day Manie Chung attends Cecil Hills High School.

At night, well at least on Tuesday nights, he becomes the lava police.

“I tell them all the time –  don’t go in the lava. It drives me crazy. If you go in the lava you will burn your feet I tell them,” he said

Them is other members of the Club Marconi All Abilities Netball program. The lava is the pretend portions of the netball field that players can’t go.

Its all part of the learning process for the young players with a disability who are learning netball and making friends at the same time.

The program started in term one with five players.

This term there are nine players ranging from ages 7 to 22 who have an intellectual disability.

Some have autism, others have development delays and a couple are non-verbal.

Club Marconi Sports president Mario Soligo said: “The all abilities program is a natural expansion of the clubs inclusive communities sports program which we started many years ago.”

Club Marconi Sports president Mario Soligo said: “The all abilities program is a natural expansion of the clubs inclusive communities sports program which we started many years ago.”

For Manie, who has autism, he loves coming to play netball.

“Passing and shooting,” he said are his favourite parts.

Program director Melissa Abrahams said her favourite part was seeing the smile on the children’s faces when they play.

“Its amazing how far the players have come,” she said.

“It gives the children an activity after school to attend and a chance to make new friends.

“We teach them fun based skill games to learn the basics of netball and build gross motor skills.

“We are trying to learn positions – but that doesn’t always work. But we are always able to have a laugh and have a good time.”

Melissa, along with volunteer coaches Tenille Repko, Katrina Bartolo and Vince Gacic, have been working hard to prepare the team for their first match against the club’s under-15/16s team.

GWS Giants player Kristiana Manu’a will be a special guest courtside at the game on June 19 which will be more a mentoring session for the players.

No score will be kept. And yes, some will go in the lava. But Manie, will make sure not too many.

Club Marconi All Abilities Netball program

  • Every Tuesday, during the school term, 6-7pm.
  • Cost: $20 per player per term.
  • Contact: Melissa: 0417 204 712, marconinetballallabilities@gmail.com