Sarah Wall took no prisoners on the netball court in her heyday playing for the Melbourne Vixens and NSW Swifts.
But the elite netball player always played with a smile on her face.
This love of netball, competing and keeping active prompted Wall to set up NETFIT Netball, a grassroots national program offering a range of netball services to all ages and abilities.
Wall’s desire to create innovative programs to ‘’activate and inspire all that love the greatest game in the world’’, also led to the formation of Beach Netball – a modified and simpler version of one of the highest participation sports in the country.
Beach Netball involves women’s, mixed and kids’ competitions at some of Australia’s most iconic beaches.
The inaugural event will be held at North Wollongong Beach from Friday.
About 100 teams from around Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia will be in town for the annual event from October 14-16.
“Illawarra is one of Australia’s largest netball districts so we thought it was fitting Wollongong earned the right to host the inaugural event,’’ Wall said.
‘’Also every time I went to Wollongong with the Swifts I always felt very welcome and I could just tell that the netball spirit was alive and kicking.
‘’This event will be just a great celebration of netball. We’ve got a DJ at the beach, we’ve got pop-up shops, we’ve got fitness workouts and mostly we want to create a really positive vibe around getting active.’’
The three-day festival starts on Friday with all teams playing a round robin tournament including finals on Saturday, with the Beach Netball 4 Kids round robin event happening on Sunday.
Thirroul netballer and new Giants Netball recruit Taylah Davies and Australian Diamonds vice-captain and current Swifts captain Kim Green headline some of the elite netballers taking part.
‘’I am very excited to be involved with Beach Netball, it’s all about doing what we love - playing netball, meeting new people, catching up with old mates and just having fun,’’ Green said.
Wall will also hit the court this weekend and celebrate her 32nd birthday in Wollongong on Sunday.
Her fiancee, former North Melbourne Kangaroos great Anthony Stevens, will join the celebrations and also take part in the Beach Netball celebrity match.
Ten netball courts, a DJ booth and a designated party area highlight the netball tournament with a difference, which also includes a free beach party for over 18’s.