GALLERY: Community efforts get Theodore back on the court
TRANSPORTING 28 children from Theodore to Biloela every week to play in the local netball competition is not a task for the faint of heart.
But the Theodore community banded together to ensure their children had a chance to play out their sports dreams on the court.
The local school initially attemped to put a team together after attending the Bilolea inter-school netball carnival last year and seeing how excited the students were to play in an event like that.
There hadn't been any netball played in Theodore for many years and after witnessing the interest, parents decided to try and start it up again.
Teachers at the school asked for expressions of interest to see who would be keen to play.
Natalie Dunk-Andrews, one of the mothers involved with the teams, said they initially received a huge amount of interest with nearly enough players to field five teams but as the planning progressed and transportation became an issue, numbers dropped off.
"We are proud to have four teams in the competition this year, a great achievement for our school community,” Dunk-Andrews said.
"We have a junior A team, junior B team and two teams in the eight to 10-year-old Net Set Go competition.”
Net Set Go completed their first season last weekend and about half of the players are expected to progress to the competition grades next year.
Theodore's junior B team made it to the semi-finals but were unable to seal a place in the grand final.
As for the junior A team, they impressed after enduring a hard start to the season.
"This was the first time they had all played together as a team and they were playing older children and teams who had probably been playing together for a few seasons or more,” Dunk-Andrews said.
"It was at the Gay Fraser Clinic where they junior A team really gained their confidence and cemented themselves as a team.”
Dunk-Andrews said the junior B team had been a force to reckon with from early on and as the season progressed they really started to shine.
She said the Net Set Go players had also advanced during the season with many of them playing netball for the first time.
"Getting our children over to Biloela every week has been interesting to say the least,” Dunk-Andrews said.
"Organising vehicles to get 28 children over every week has been a mammoth effort and for a few mums it has meant travelling over every week and without those ladies our task of organising vehicles would have been near impossible.”
A car roster was set up to help organise which vehicles needed to be taken over to Biloela each week.
"It was posted on our Facebook group every weekend who was available to come over to netball, how many extra seats they would have and from there a car roster list with children in each car was generated,” Dunk-Andrews said.
"The hardest part was making sure we left no one at the school and then no one at the courts afterwards.
"As most of us are working mums, the dedication that everyone has shown is remarkable with people having to leave work early every week, getting home late every week, sometimes not until 9pm or later and dropping off other children.”
The parents also ensured the children were always fed after games. Initially supplying dinner started off as a sausage sizzle where parents would cook up sausages and supply bread which they would hand out after games at the back of a car.
Towards the end of the season they would purchase dinner in Biloela, whether it be the canteen or a shop on their way home.
Dunk-Andrews said everyone thoroughly enjoyed the season despite the huge commitment needed from the parents and children each week.
"None of this would've been possible without the dedication of those parents who have travelled over weekly and others on the roster system,” she said.
"The coaches who have dedicated their time to this sport is remarkable and goes without saying is much appreciated.
"Not only have they coached them at the competition but they have also umpired weekly, committed to training our children weekly and helped them at the carnivals we have attended.
"Without them our teams wouldn't have been able to compete in this competition.”
Dunk-Andrews said all of the players intended to return next year, except those who were heading off to boarding school.
"Needless to say we are all extremely proud of our children and their dedication to this sport,” she said.
"It is also exciting that there has been a huge interest in the inter-school netball carnival again for this year which is coming up on September 19, so fingers crossed some of these kids will join in next season.”