Maffra netball facilities brought into the 21st century

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye, Councillors Carolyn Crossley and John Tatterson, and representatives of the Maffra Football Netball Club at the official opening of the netball court redevelopment on Monday.Photo: Wellington Shire Council.

Zoe Askew & Tom Parry

Maffra Football-Netball Club is celebrating after Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye officially opened the new, modern netball facilities at Maffra Recreation Reserve on Monday.

The project brings Maffra’s netball facilities into the 21st century, including two upgraded netball courts, fencing, lighting and improved provisions for players, officials and spectators.

The redevelopment of the Maffra netball facilities was a necessary step to ensure the Maffra Football-Netball Club maintains a strong player base and the continued encouragement to more women to play netball in the future.

At the official opening Cr Bye said the physical improvements to the netball facilities were obvious.

“We have fantastic new court surfaces here that alleviate slipping, fencing which means the netballers no longer have to run off and trudge through the winter mud to retrieve the ball and also comfortable facilities for officials,” Cr Bye said.

“The wider benefit of this upgrade is about encouraging female participation in sport and providing great, safe facilities to enable more women to participate for longer.

“The flow-on effect of more sports participation improves personal well-being, better health, social interaction, and better quality of life,” he added.

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye practices his goal shooting skills with Maffra netballer Brooke Anderson defending on the upgraded courts.Photo: Wellington Shire Council

Maffra FNC president John Brunt was pleased with the quality of the upgrades.

At Gippsland League level, we (previously) struggled to get finals because our netball facilities haven’t been good enough,” Mr Brunt said.

“We’ve now probably got the best set of courts in Gippsland, and I take my hat off to the Wellington Shire for doing a very good job with the finished product.”

The project cost $459,600 in total, with $250,000 received from Sport and Recreation Victoria through its Local Sports and Infrastructure Fund, plus a further $174,600 from Wellington Shire Council.

The Maffra Eagles contributed the remaining costs to the redevelopment, $25,000 of which was provided by the Maffra Community Sports Club.

Mr Brunt singled-out the organisation for their generous investment.

“We appreciate the Community Sports Club for putting in that, because what we’re doing is providing a lot of… young ladies an opportunity – an outlet to play netball and to play in the highest level in Gippsland,” Mr Brunt said.

Cr Bye congratulated the Club on its financial contribution.

“Through my involvement in local sporting clubs, I know how difficult and time-consuming it is to fundraise,” Cr Bye said.

“The Maffra Eagles’ $35,000 financial contribution is outstanding, and they should be congratulated.”