It’s hard to know who deserves the biggest roasting over the farcical situation of an all-boys netball team thrashing an all-girls team in the final of an Under-18 Queensland state title.
Netball Queensland for letting the boys play, or their club, Queensland Suns, for entering them in the first place?
As for the boys, who were reportedly upset by the abuse they received from the girls’ supporters at the game and later on social media after beating the Bond University Bull Sharks 46-12 – gee fellas, what did you expect?
The 46-12 victory by the Queensland Suns men’s team in the state’s under-18 titles against the all-female Bond University Bull Sharks at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena drew an angry response from some of the crowd
You played against girls and trounced them. You were bigger, faster, stronger. It wasn’t fair, and nothing you can say will change that.
Not that it was really the boys’ fault. It was just another example of the world of sport as we once knew it changing by the day.
Of males-turned-female competing in women’s weightlifting at the Olympics or fighting against women in mixed martial arts.
Of cricket authorities officially changing the term ‘batsman’ to ‘batter’ and searching for suitable alternatives to insulting expressions such as ‘third man’ and ‘nightwatchman’.
Little by little, almost insidiously, the lines have become blurred, then stretched and now, in this case, snapped entirely.
‘Of course the boys were going to win, if they were serious about it – which obviously they were’, Mike Colman said
This isn’t the first time I’ve had to write about males playing netball. It happened ten, maybe 15 years ago, when a group of young men played the equity card and entered a team in a local competition.
The authorities at the time had to admit that there was nothing in the rules to prevent the men playing. There was, however, a rule that said that they had to wear skirts.
And so, with great hilarity and maximum media attention, they did.
It was all a big laugh and when the novelty wore off the males returned to whatever it was that they had been doing beforehand, no doubt with a lot of beer involved.
The opinion I voiced at the time, was that the boys should just butt out. We males had so many sports that we could play that women couldn’t – such as footy – that we should let them have netball to themselves.
Things have changed a lot since then. Women now play professional rugby league, AFL, football and cricket, and play very well – against other women.
Even the most radical campaigner for sporting equality would have to acknowledge that letting women play rugby league or Australian football against men would be disastrous – if not potentially fatal.
Netball Queensland defended the decision to include the boys was because they had no where else to play and encourage other male players of the sport
Which makes you wonder who at Netball Queensland thought that allowing a boys’ team to compete against girls in a state championship could possibly be a good idea.
Of course the boys were going to win, if they were serious about it – which obviously they were.
This was not a scratch team of blokes pulled together for a few laughs and a chance to meet some girls. It was a club side that had trained together for years in order to play against other boys’ teams.
Suns’ club president, Steve Curr, said that due to Covid the boys had not been able to play against another team for two years.
‘This was to try to give them an opportunity to participate,’ he said.
‘They could have pulled in boys from other clubs and played exhibition games during the championships’
Netball Queensland said the boys had been accepted into the championships, ‘in an effort to showcase the talent in both female and male pathways.’
If the association and the club had really been so keen to get the boys into their bibs and onto the court, they could have organised practice matches against the girls’ teams preparing for the state titles.
They could have pulled in boys from other clubs and played exhibition games during the championships.
Or, if they wanted the boys to get a taste of how it feels to be totally outclassed and embarrassed – like their opponents were in the state championships – they could have held a series of games against professionals from the Suncorp Super Netball league.
See how they like it.