Netball goes through the hoops

The skill and technique levels of children in the Western Desert constantly surprises visitors – and, the children’s ability to adapt to netball is no exception.

As Ngurra Kujungka continues to develop its partnerships with State sporting associations, a recent trip to Punmu, Kunawarritji and Kiwirrkurra saw Netball WA community engagement coordinator, Eve Guelfi, travel with Indigenous Sport Development Officers Ebony Humble and Callan Hatchman for a week of netball clinics.

Introducing a new sport to children in the Western Desert is always a challenge, especially when basketball is the most popular court sport played in the communities.


The children soon found major differences in the rules between basketball and netball difficult to handle: with netball, they were not allowed to run with the ball; they had to stand still when receiving the ball; and they were not allowed to bounce the ball. These rule differences for netball proved to be early stumbling blocks.

However, after the foundation skills were demonstrated, children from Punmu’s RAWA School were confidently passing the ball down the court, eager to win a prize.

A netball game was soon under way between blue and green-bibbed teams with the kindergarten and preschool children using the junior basketball rings.

Modified rules ensured each community’s basketball court effectively became a netball court.


Kunawarritji was the next stop with the children excited and waiting for the team to arrive. An afternoon of school sport saw a mix of fun team games, such as ‘rob the nest,’ shooting competitions and passing games followed by a game involving the whole school.

With the lack of a basketball court, the teachers became great goal posts, holding up hoops for the children to practise their shooting.

The Kunawarritji School showcased a movie night to add a great atmosphere and finish a successful day of netball clinics.


The long drive to Kiwirrkurra filled Wednesday and the heat increased as the troopy disappeared further east into the Western Desert. The children were excited to see familiar folk walk through the front gates at lunchtime.

Teachers and students enjoyed an afternoon netball clinic, demonstrating basic skills of passing, running and shooting.

With a competitive spirit shining bright, a whole-of-school game was played, teachers included.

As prizes were on offer, the children worked hard at not moving their feet while passing the netball to team mates. As the siren rang, a ‘last goal wins’ shout from Eve lifted the intensity – all the children were eager to be on the winning team. They all were!


With the basketball lights in Kiwirrkurra recently repaired, the children and teenagers enjoyed an evening of netball.

Next morning and after a quick visit to the HACC Centre to view the talented Indigenous artwork on display, the Ngurra Kujungka team was back on the road, and then stopping at Kunawarritji for after-school sport before continuing on to Punmu for the night.


As part of Netball Australia’s NetSetGo program, each Western Desert community will receive a netball kit, together with resources to continue delivering netball.



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