Netball association forced ‘hysterical’ 9 year-old girls to play in wild storms or pay $250 fine.

On Saturday more than 50mm of rain was dumped on Perth in a wild winter storm featuring thunderstorms, hail and wind gusts of up to 111km/h. There was mass flooding, more than 50 sets of traffic lights went out, 60,000 people were left without electricity and roofs were torn from homes.

But if you were the parent of an Under 9 Rocket or the Under 9 Kangaroos there was no doona day for you.

Cause this is netball and netballers are meant to be tough.

The conditions on a netball court on Saturday. Via Facebook.

“In the 9 years I have been associated netball has never been canceled so please don't set your hearts on it lol. We will keep you all up If there are any changes...gotta love winter sports! “ Wrote one club as the fierce storms were predicted.

While other sports including indoor netball at a nearby centre in Jolimont and Austag and soccer were called off girls who played in the Wanneroo Districts Netball Association were told to turn up or pay a fine.

As the teams braved the weather fears of injury saw parents begin to beg to have the games cancelled.

"Our girls on both teams were crying, sore and shattered and yet when we advised officials of this we were forced to continue playing or pay a $250 fine and were advised that it was a winter sport and our girls needed to toughen up," wrote one parent on Facebook.

And still the clubs would not budge.

“Unless the wind is strong enough to bend the goal posts we are playing,” said a club official on a Facebook page.

WA Today reports that the Wanneroo Districts Netball Association, in a Facebook post on Saturday finally told its members just before 11am the remainder of the day's games would been cancelled due to severe weather conditions and "abuse" directed towards its volunteers.

Facebook pictures uploaded by parents show spectators shielding themselves with foldout chairs and windswept courts as girls battled to continue the game.

“Broke my indestructible bunnings umbrella!! ! Didnt even last from the car to the gate. Demolished in a second lol” wrote one mother.

Parents said they were concerned driving to the games in such weather. Via Facebook.

As the inclement weather set in parents debated whether or not to go to the games.

“We would have to pay a fine. And depending on how much it is, I think we should all chuck in and forfeit”

“Really disappoints me when netball still goes ahead in this weather. Surely the safety of our girls is the most important thing”

Surely the safety of our girls is the most important thing” Wrote on parents. Via Facebook.

But a club responded:

“WDNA does not cancel games due to "bad weather" but will cancel games due to "dangerous weather" and will post this info on their website. There is also the 30/30 lightning rule - if thunder happens < 30 seconds after a lightning strike then EVERYONE must immediately leave the court and take cover, especially away from the netball posts!“

And a second club wrote:

“Netball is a Winter Sport. As such is generally not cancelled if wet weather is forecasted. Netball games will only be called off if deemed too unsafe to continue by the umpires officiating at each game on a case by case basis. One such safety issue may be Inclement weather = thunderstorms with lightning. Therefore it is assumed all games will be taking place as fixtured unless prior notice has been given by a forfeiting team. Even if a severe weather alert is issued - it is still up to the umpires to cancel games. “

Trees were uprooted and roofs blown off. Via Facebook.

In response to its post parents told the Wanneroo Districts Netball Association that it was not abuse being leveled at the volunteer official but "desperate" attempts to alert the association to the extreme conditions girls were playing under reports WA Today.

“With all due respect, l saw no evidence of abuse. What l did see were parents voicing their concerns about their very emotional and soaked nine-year-olds being told that they had to complete their respective games or else risk receiving a $250 fine.”

"Using a $250 fine as a threat in a context where players had already been standing in severe weather conditions for over an hour was unreasonable and incredibly insensitive."

Another said on Facebook: “We were left checking the Facebook page all morning until the association finally saw some sense. I know it is a winter sport, but there's a huge difference between a bit of rain and wind and a severe weather warning.”

My girls played at 9am at Fremantle- it was cold, and a bit wild, but they all sucked it up and played a really good game.” Via Facebook.

But others agreed with the club’s decision:

“As a mother who spent 10 years at Freo watching netball these Parents and kids need to toughen up, you can bet the children were only crying in reaction to their parents behaviour. If as parents you don't your children to play in cold raining and windy conditions play indoor basketball,” wrote one.


“If you are too prescious [sic] to play in the rain. Give it away. It's a winter sport ….I have stood watching my girls play in some appalling conditions but we never walked away from the game. Sounds like the parents need to harden up as much as the kids.”

And more:

“My daughter is 9 and played on saturday in perth s severe weather..sucked..but didnt kill them..toughen up a bit.”

“My girls played at 9am at Fremantle- it was cold, and a bit wild, but they all sucked it up and played a really good game.”

“Omg seriously people other countries play in rain, wind, hail, snow, frost and ice. Winter comes with winter play a winter sport you put up with winter weather!”

"My daughter played in torrential rain and wind at 9:45am today … It gives us great memories to look back on. It's not going to kill. It's a winter sport. We had the best day and thoroughly enjoyed showers and hot drinks when we got home."

The association has told WA Today that the board plans to discuss its wet weather policy with club delegates at its next meeting and it had decided not to issue any fines for Saturday's games.

"As per our policies and procedures manual... no points shall be rewarded to any team as the round was cancelled," it said.

"We would like to acknowledge and thank those teams/clubs that did make the effort and followed the policies and procedures."

Tags: children , current-affairs , sport
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