NEW South Wales made it three wins on the trot at Netball Australia’s tournament for women with an intellectual disability in Western Australia on September 3.
The Marie Little OAM Shield, held at the State Netball Centre in Perth, has been held every year for the last six years.
Port Macquarie’s Rebel Ervasti was a member of the squad – as she has been for the last four years – and said it was a strong effort, particularly in the final.
All players selected in the team have to be over 16 and anyone can play.
“But you have to have an intellectual disability; you don’t have to play netball because half our team are all basketballers,” Ervasti said.
Previously the tournament has been held in Adelaide, Sydney or Melbourne.
It was an entertaining gold-medal match against rivals South Australia – a team they have contested the last three grand finals against.
We were up by four with not long left and then they kept on intercepting.Rebel Ervasti
“We were up by four with not long left and then they kept on intercepting,” she said.
“It was 11-10 with 17 seconds left and it was their ball going the other way so it got a bit close in the end.”
In winning its third-straight shield, New South Wales has been undefeated for the last three years, with a draw to South Australia the only minor hiccup.
“We were in control for the first quarter of the final,” she said.
“And then it started to turn in the second quarter and the crowd gets to us too when you have coaches and managers losing their voice.
“We were all on the edge of our seats.
It’s sad to see another team lose, but it’s also exciting for us.Rebel Ervasti
“It’s sad to see another team lose, but it’s also exciting for us.”
Ervasti has been playing the sport for 15 years and moved to Port Macquarie from the Blue Mountains in November last year.
“When we moved I kept on playing down there,” she said.
While Ervasti didn’t make it onto the court for the final, she was still thrilled with her performance throughout the competition.
“I’ve been a part of the side since 2012,” she said.
“I improve a lot every year, this year was really cool, I caught the ball a couple of times.
“It was great because I wanted to win it and make it third time lucky so I was really stoked to get it.”