Neata Glass Giants Netball Club was the inspiration of two energetic sisters. Through their imagination, persistence and hard work they brought together a group of like-minded netballers, keen to put the fun back into their game. Some 30 years later, the members of Giants still promote a fun and friendly environment, where everyone is welcome and valued.
Josie Flanagan and Margie Leece had lived in Alice Springs for 7 years after moving from Kalangadoo, South Australia. Having always been fanatical netballers they were regular players in the Alice Springs Netball Association’s competition. Playing for ‘Westies’ they decided that a fifth team in the competition was a realistic dream. At the end of 1993, they rang around a few players in town whom they believed were A Grade standard and may be interested in joining a new club. They had enough initiative to approach Neata Glass for a sponsorship, and Max Klein and the team from Neata Glass were generous to offer $10,000 as an initial sponsorship. Neata Glass and Aluminium have continued to be our major sponsor since then –more than 28 years now!
Giants came 5th in their first season and were well accepted as a team who put up a good fight and enjoyed a good game of netball.
Things were looking very promising!
1996 saw a big move of David Yeaman joining Giants from Wests NC as our A Grade Coach. This move made headlines and was welcomed by many club executive and members. David brought many years of experience with coaching at a very high level and remained one of our coaches for over 20 years before retiring from committees just this year.
During the late 1990’s, Giants continued to grow and bring in junior teams. Garry Bentley and Andrea Collins, two of our Life Members, formed and developed the connection with St Philip’s College, introducing junior Giants to the ASNA competition. The teams trained after school and had modified uniforms, and at some stages there were up to 8 junior teams. Garry and Andrea were supported by other staff members from St Philip’s, parents and families to coach, umpire, coordinate uniforms and help all our young girls to access netball here in Alice Springs. This connection is still strong today with a number of our committee, coaches and players coming from St Philip’s.
Neata Glass Giants had good years and not so good years in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, premierships and wooden spoons, with numbers fluctuating and teams different from year to year. However, no matter the numbers, Giants continued to pride themselves on being able to provide an opportunity for lots of people to play, no matter the level, and to have fun. In 1999 when our Founding Member Josie Flanagan moved away from town, we were lucky to have Michele Turk take over as President, a role that she kept from when Josie left to the end of 2009 – a huge commitment! Michele’s kindness, positive attitude and dedication to our club has lasted all this time, with roles as President and on the Committee, coaching, umpiring, and being a positive influence around the club.
She has been a Life Member for many years.
Young members such as Anna Bruce (nee Ritchie), Crystal Pollitt (nee Cleghorn) and Elissa Wingrove were making a big impact on the club in the early 2000s. Whether it be umpiring, playing in our A squad, supporting the club through the Committee or being wonderful influences around our club. Between them, they received recognition within our club for their contributions on the Committee as President, being long standing members, helping on the ASNA Committees, etc.
Anna continued to be recognised for her sportsmanship and kindness through multiple Player’s Player awards through ASNA. Elissa took on many Committee roles and was always willing to help in many ways, including being our President for a number of years, and Crystal’s presence over the past in terms of contribution to our teams, coaching and spirit is always missed when she is not around. Giants were proud to award these ladies with Life Memberships in the past 10 years.
As we are heading to our 30th birthday, we are excited for the players that we currently have, are proud of our history and the players and members who have come before, and can’t wait to see what the next 30 years hold. There are so many of our players who are striving for big things and we are very happy to help them as much as we can.