14.6 C

Wallam to inspire next generation at Charlestown Koori netball tournament


Donnell Wallam might inspire the next generation of Australian stars when Charlestown hosts the 21st NSW Koori Netball Tournament this weekend.

The Diamonds’ late-bloomer, just the third Indigenous player to represent the “green and gold”, made a stunning Test debut during the week at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

With the scores locked at 54-all, Wallam produced a pressure-packed lay-up to steal the victory, 55-54.

And, Charlestown Netball Association president Dianne Pascoe expects her match-winning heroics will set the tone for more than 800 Aboriginal netballers when they hit the local complex on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October.

“I think Donnell’s proven herself to be a bit of a role model at the moment,” she said.

“I’m sure there’ll be plenty of girls, in action this weekend, wanting to follow in her footsteps.

“It’s going to be a massive event.

“We haven’t been able to stage it over the past two years, due to COVID, so we’re super excited to see it back at Charlestown.

“At this stage, we’ll have 80-plus teams, depending on how the Moree and Wee Waa areas are fairing with the floods.

“However, there’ll be representation from the South Coast, Newcastle, Tweed, Kempsey, Port Macquarie – everywhere.

“That means over 800 players and 2,000 visitors are heading to the region.

“Charlestown MP Jodie Harrison, Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser and a number of councillors, as well as reps from Netball NSW and the NSW Office of Sport, will attend the official opening and Welcome to Country.

“Then the games start from 10am on Saturday, wrapping up with the finals at lunchtime on Sunday.”

Ironically, Pascoe was instrumental in the Charlestown Netball Association securing the NSW Koori Netball Tournament more than two decades ago.

“I just love it [the event],” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“When it first began, there were only nine sides.

“So, it’s grown beautifully over the past 22 years.

“I was the president then – and I’m the president now,” she added with a laugh.

“But, the tournament boasts such an amazing atmosphere, it’s very, very different to many other competitions we run.

“While it is super-competitive, there’s the most magical feel about it, too.

“Because, for a lot of the mobs, this is the only opportunity they get to catch up with relatives who have moved or a former work colleague.

“It’s beautiful.

“I believe the tournament’s originality has held it in good stead.

“An event like this was unheard of 22 years ago.

“However, the Charlestown Netball Association rolled out the welcome mat.

“It’s somewhere they feel safe, can be themselves and embrace their culture.

“They enjoy themselves so much, they bring more people back each year.

“In fact, they’ve now created a fabulous tournament.”

For more sports stories:

Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, real estate, entertainment, lifestyle and more delivered straight to your inbox with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.

More Stories

Newcastle Weekly

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Newcastle Weekly. News, Community, Lifestyle, Property delivered direct to your inbox! 100% Local, 100% Free.

You have Successfully Subscribed!