Springing for Goals

The lure of being the first to play on the sprung timber floors of a new netball stadium has brought more than 200 athletes to the 30th Anniversary of the Alice Springs Masters Games.

The stadium was opened by NT Minister for Tourism and Culture Lauren Moss on Thursday – just in time for the first pass of the competition tomorrow evening.

Ms Moss said the Alice Springs Masters Games was a great fit with her new responsibilities, as the Games drew not only sports participants but visitors to the Territory.

She said after the Masters Games the netball centre would provide a solid base for the sport with the biggest participation in Alice Springs.

“To be able to provide athletes and their families with a state-of-the-art netball centre is very special,” she said.

“With the extreme temperatures that Alice Springs experiences, the new facility will keep athletes cooler in the summer and warmer in those cold winter months.

“The new courts are a significant step forward for netball in Central Australia and will facilitate further growth of the sport locally, enabling competitions to be run at a higher standard of professionalism.”

The facility was jointly funded with the Territory Government contributing ($4.25M), and Alice Springs Town Council ($1.5M). Local businessman Tony Smith of NT Link Transportable Buildings also contributed $500,000.

One of the teams looking forward to playing in the stadium is Spectrum, from the Hills region outside Perth, Western Australia. The team has been coming to the Games since 2000.

Team organiser Mardi Mules said the team, while based in the Hills area, comes together to play from all over Perth and interstate.

“We also have a recruit, Jo Whelan, who has joined us from the Adelaide Flames,” she said.

“All the players in the team have played in previous Games and can’t wait to play in the new stadium.

“It looks like Alice is going to be a lot of fun again.”

Spectrum will be playing in the 40-plus age division and players can be easily identified by their bright green colours.

The club organises the traditional ‘Pink Night’ when the team plays against a men’s side.

‘Pink Night’ is a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation and will be held on Monday night.

“Originally we either played the X-Men who were a Touch team or members of the Air Force in Darwin,” Mules said.

“But since they have left the service we’ve organised guys from other sports — cricketers from Queensland, baseballers from SA and Victoria and a couple of others.

“The guys seem keen to put their hands up and get into our old lycra body suits for the game.

“It is a great cause – not only for women as men get breast cancer as well.”