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A tense debate has ensued after a netball team consisting of all-men won the title at a local juniors competition in Queensland.
But this wasn't an all boys league or even a mixed comp they were competing in, they were actually playing against all-girl teams.
And it seems the Queensland Suns' Under 17 team's victory has sparked outrage among sports fans.
According to The Courier Mail, players on the all-boys team were subject to abuse from spectators following their 46-12 against the Bond University Bull Sharks.
"The abuse ranged from comments made courtside deliberately within earshot of the Suns contingent, to adults making vulgar comments directly behind the team bench," Queensland Suns coach Tammy Holcroft said.
"It's disappointing that the frustration was directed at the players.
"At the very core of this, our boys just want to play and they copped the brunt of these comments and behaviours and were made to feel unwelcome and unsupported."
The abuse didn't stop there in the stands either with people also taking to social media to target the championship-winning players.
That said, most of the comments were directed at the sport's governing body.
One bloke tweeted: "It is an absolute disgrace. How these decisions get made who know. Absolute stupidity and inclusiveness gone mad. Done nothing to inspire girls who were humiliated."
While another added: "I don't know of any sport in the world that would have allowed this to happen, total disgrace."
As a third chimed in, saying: "I think Netball Queensland screwed up really badly here. Not only hurt the girls who have trained so hard and made a mockery of championships but put the Suns in a really s****y position too when they need more support from netball fans to get a boys/mens comp running."
This is why we have sex segregation in sport.
A mixed netball team and league is a totally different product and it's the choice of the female players to play that. If there aren't enough men's teams for a league, why not create a mixed one and carry on trying to get more men?
- Carolyn Hughes (@cazzrhughes) September 22, 2021
The comments at the end of that piece concern me? About let's wait & see how many want to play boys sport. Almost like it was done to screw over the boys? Coz, finding out they got abused, is NOT going to encourage more to play UGH!
As you said, massive Lose-Lose here.
- Noely :zap: (@YaThinkN) September 22, 2021
They could have been included in comp but as an exhibition team meaning they would get game practice but couldn't win championship. See this in swimming sometimes where state level swimmers can compete but not medal if lower level meet.
- Vivienne :syringe::syringe: (@viviennecichero) September 22, 2021
I just don't understand why does Netball Queensland keeps doing this to itself. I mean for god sake. Did no one have a slight ounce of common sense in organizing committee?
- Say My Name (@OnMyWhistle_18) September 22, 2021
I think they have really harmed sentiment towards boys/men's netball. So many are on the 'fence' about it and this has really harmed that.
So unfair, both for the girls and the guys at Suns, talk about lose-lose and Netball Queensland had to know this.
- Noely :zap: (@YaThinkN) September 23, 2021
Glad this story is being told/debated as it's rightly cause ructions in Qld. Citing Cadbury series ... is something.
Gender furore erupts at Queensland U18 netball titles as all-boys team sweeps to victory
https://t.co/zX3J4yMBpE via @couriermail
- Erin Delahunty (@della79) September 22, 2021
I think Netball Queensland screwed up really badly here.
Not only hurt the girls who have trained so hard & made mockery of championships but put the Suns in a really shitty position too when they need more support from netball fans to get a boys/mens comp running. https://t.co/mdoXQ36pfH
- Noely :zap: (@YaThinkN) September 22, 2021
While some of the criticisms were aimed at the Suns and its innocent players, Netball Queensland also found itself in the firing line and were subsequently forced to release a statement explaining their decision to allow the all-mens side to compete in a women's league.
"This year, in an effort to showcase the talent in both female and male pathways we offered the Queensland Sun's men's team the opportunity to play in the Nissan State Titles having welcomed the Suns in an invitational capacity in 2020," Netball Queensland CEO Catherine Clark said.
"Just as we have seen in New Zealand with the Cadbury Series, where the Silver Ferns play against the New Zealand Men's Netball team, we are hopeful this will be the catalyst for a stand-alone men's competition in 2022 and inspires more boys to get involved in netball."
An uproar has erupted at a Queensland junior netball competition after an all-boys team won the state championship title against their female counterparts. pic.twitter.com/HEu2ryHUCW
- Sunrise (@sunriseon7) September 22, 2021
But not everyone was buying it.
The sporting organisation's comments appeared to spark yet more debate among fuming fans online.
As people bickered online, perhaps the most damning assessment came from one of Australia's most well-known voices.
Respected NRL commentator and radio host Andrew Voss waded into the conversation, labelling the entire controversy as "bulls***" and a "farce".
"How is that common sense?" Voss told SEN.
"You're surely not going to endorse that as the way of the future, at Under 18s level.
"They say they want to be inclusive, not exclusive. That's bulls***. It's a farce."
Featured Image Credit: Netball QLD / Courier Mail / Twitter
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