Bond University Netball is embarking on a First Nations tour of southwest Queensland to bring the sport to remote Indigenous communities.
The squad is travelling to Cunnamulla, Quilpie and Charleville to offer free netball clinics during the September school holidays.
Head Sapphire Series coach Bec Stowers and head Ruby Series coach Kim Boland, along with five Bond netball players, are making the trip.
While this is Bond University Netball’s first tour of this nature, Bec Stowers has been running similar clinics for the past six years.
“We offered this program last year but we held it here on the Gold Coast,” Director of Netball Kim Boland said.
“Some participants travelled up to 11 hours to attend, so we felt the need to put it on the road.”
In addition to Bond’s financial aid, the tour is receiving support from the local council areas they are visiting: the Shire of Paroo, the Shire of Quilpie and the Shire of Murweh.
“During our travels, our biggest goal is just to show the girls and boys a sport that they can all participate in,” Boland said.
“By offering free clinics, it ensures accessibility for all, provides a fun activity during the school holidays and also just shows them the type of programs that are available.”
For these small remote communities, the arrival of a sporting team like the Bull Sharks is a rare occurrence.
While the clinic’s objective is to create an impact in the communities, the experience will no doubt have a profound effect on the coaches and athletes too.
Jarrod Harbrow, a former Gold Coast Suns AFL player and a proud Yirrganydji and Kuku-Yalanji man, highlighted the transformative two-way impact the tour will have.
“I think the trip will be very beneficial for the Bond players and staff to experience the culture and lifestyle of these remote communities, and they will also get a really good firsthand insight into life out there,” Harbrow said.
“For the young people in those communities, it’s going to instil so much self-belief and determination just by having such high-profile coaches and players come into their communities to help teach the game.”
In 2010 Jarrod and his brother Marc co-founded Harbrow Mentoring and started providing similar clinics for the young people in communities on Cape York.
“Having elite sport introduced in these areas is really going to build on their community,” he said.
“Sometimes sport is the only vehicle that can help create a healthy lifestyle, self-discipline, and self-determination.
“It has the ability to change people’s lives and it’s proven to help First Nations young people.”