Marie Little Shield goes virtual

A virtual version of Netball Australia’s competition for women with an intellectual disability has been described as a “huge success”.

Although it looked a little different from the event’s traditional delivery, the essence of the Marie Little Shield remained the same.

Held on Saturday afternoon, athletes from across the country dialled in for an online get-together filled with activities, games and Taylor Swift dance-offs.

After being cancelled for the second straight year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Netball Australia and charity partner, the Confident Girls Foundation worked together to reimagine the important event on the netball calendar.

Named in honour of disability pioneer Marie Little OAM and introduced in 2013, the Shield recognises Little’s dedication to improving the lives of people with an intellectual disability through the power of netball.

Netball Australia Executive General Manager Strategy, Infrastructure and Inclusion, Tim Klar was thrilled to see so many players involved.

“This unique edition of the Marie Little Shield was a huge success and we’re over the moon that pivoting to the virtual approach has given the athletes from each state and territory the opportunity to connect and enjoy the spirit of the competition from home,” he said.

“We were heartbroken that the competition was unable go ahead in its usual format for a second year.

“It’s always a terrific contest among the participation teams and the benefits of the tournament reach far beyond the court and the time that the teams spend together. But in the end, the health and safety of our communities must come first.”

South Australia’s Rubies bring home gold in 2019 One Netball Marie Little OAM Shield in Brisbane.

Confident Girls Foundation ambassadors Laura Scherian and Sam Poolman also joined in the fun.

Recently retired GIANTS Netball defender, Sam Poolman was delighted to take part in the initiative.

“With all the challenges this year, it was so nice to be able to connect online and do something special with those involved with the Marie Little Shield,” she said.

“You could see the smiles on their face, the positive energy and pure happiness in everyone.

“With dancing, singing and participating in some great activities it was a fun experience for all involved.

“I’m a proud ambassador of the Confident Girls Foundation and it was a pleasure to be involved in the opportunity for players and staff. Let’s hope we can be sharing the same enjoyment and energy next year on the netball court.”

Adding to the star power was Sunshine Coast Lightning midcourt dynamo, Laura Scherian who spoke about the importance of providing opportunities for everyone to participate in the game.

“The netball community wants everyone to be able to enjoy our sport and have healthy competition available for all abilities,” she said.

“The genuine love of our game is so visibly present at the Marie Little Shield. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to experience it and hope to see it the live event up and running next year.”

With Netball Australia committing to deliver the Marie Little Shield in October of 2022, Member Organisations will begin preparations for trials and team selection in the new year.

South Australia claimed the title when it was last contested in 2019, defeating Victoria 21- 18 at the Queensland State Netball Centre.

For more information on the Marie Little Shield please visit: