Orange Netball Association’s exhibition game and training session with the NSW Men’s state side was a massive success as men and women got the chance to brush – and bump - shoulders with some of the best players in the state.
The NSW side was in Orange over the weekend as part of a training camp for the second year running, but found time in their schedule to take part in a training session with local players on Saturday morning before lining up in an exhibition game against an all-star mixed side in the afternoon.
The line-up pitted the best of the ONA’s mixed division one and women’s division one leagues against the state side, but in the end the scratch match – which featured six quarters – mixed the teams around to give everyone a shot.
Three of the quarters featured just Orange’s men on-court, while the other three mixed the games up.
Division one mixed player Craig Harvey said the exhibition game was a blast.
"It was really good,” he said.
“I played last year and sort of went into it blind not knowing what I was in for but this year I was a bit more prepared and got some more out of it.
“I’m six foot five and the guy I was playing on was probably seven foot one so that was an interesting challenge.”
This year I was a bit more prepared and got some more out of itDivision one mixed player Craig Harvey
He said the men-only game was a bit of a shake-up.
“The men’s game is very different, it’s very aerial, very strong and very competitive, but playing against them was really, really good,” he said.
“They were encouraging and helping with tips and tricks and they’re coach came back and it was also good to see Slats [Adam Slattery] back in town again.”
Harvey and Slattery’s connection goes to both of their involvement with basketball, but Harvey has played in the ONA’s mixed competition on and off with injury in the Rolls Royals since 2010 and loves the sport.
He said he would absolutely jump behind the chance to play in a men’s only competition should the opportunity – and realistically, court space – arrive.
“We would flip out for the opportunity to play in a men’s competition, we’d love to play each week in a mid-week competition and we’d love the opportunity to build the men’s game,” he said.
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