THE head of the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League has disputed suggestions that netballers are not as important as footballers after an obvious discrepancy in the size of the best and fairest trophies awarded to winning players on Monday night.
President Justin Balmer said there was no reason why the trophies awarded to the joint male winners, Nick Johnstone and Corey Rounds, were much larger than the trophy presented to netballer Sarah Higgins.
“It wasn’t a conscious decision. I think the fellas are more into glittery trophies,” Mr Balmer said yesterday.
“If the girls want the bigger, showy trophies we’re happy to look at that.”
There were mixed reactions from readers of The Standard, with one person asking: “What girl with good taste would want anything as big and ugly as the men take home?”.
Other comments on The Standard’s Facebook page included:
“Trophies for both should be the same, or similar, in size as both are just as important to the winner, and club.”
“Netball is the biggest female sport in Warrnambool so why shouldn’t it be the same size.”
“A lot more work is done by footballers than netballers. But the winner should get something useful, like a travel or gift voucher instead of a useless trophy.”
Mr Balmer denied netball was not as important as football and said nobody raised it as an issue at the annual presentation night.
He said after 20 or so years of competing in the league, the women were close to having a best and fairest medal named in honour of a legend of their sport, just like the J.A. Esam Medal for the top individual footballer.
“They’ve totally got my support, the girls. If I could get the conditions at the Reid Oval improved tomorrow for them, I would. I don’t know how they’ve been putting up with such shit conditions for that long.”
Trophies for the best and fairest winners in the Hampden Football Netball League are the same size.
Several netball leaders approached by The Standard yesterday did not want to comment, although one questioned why leagues bothered awarding trophies at all, suggesting a medal was enough.