14 October 2022: The University of Canberra mixed netball team has arrived home champions, after securing the division one title at the 2022 Uni Sport Nationals in Perth.
Led by Head Coach and UC Senior Research Fellow Simon Clulow, the team of 13 players won every match they played, before securing gold with a 69-35 win over Macquarie University to skyrocket from 26th seed to first in overall rankings.
Simon Clulow said that while the team didn’t have much time together before the tournament, it was fantastic to see the group come together so quickly and produce such impressive results.
“With UC being a small university and always being ranked far lower, we historically have found it really hard to compete against the larger universities from the big cities, who have a larger pool of athletes to draw on,” Mr Clulow said.
“To go from being ranked near the bottom of the pool, to taking out the competition is extraordinary.”
78 University of Canberra students, including four participants in the Elite Athlete program played 54 games across multiple disciplines over the week, winning 29 games. From netball, basketball, squash, beach volleyball and football, the combined teams recorded a 53.7 per cent win rate, one of the most successful years to date.
The University has consistently performed well in volleyball, securing the women’s division one title in 2019, as well as the women’s division two touch football trophy in 2018 - but this is the first time netball has been in the spotlight.
The team’s co-captain Caitlin Brady says this campaign will be hard to beat. Undertaking a Bachelor of Sports Management and Events and Bachelor of Tourism Management, this was Caitlin’s first Nationals competition, with the past two years cancelled due to COVID-19.
“Competing against other universities was an awesome experience and something very new to a lot of us which added more excitement to the week,” she said.
“It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends from other unis and play some good netball.
“As the week progressed, the idea of a medal match became extremely achievable for us and to have the whole team truly believe in our goal was extra special. To achieve that goal was just the cherry on top of a really special and successful week.”
The men’s basketball team also enjoyed success, coming away with third place in the division two competition. The win saw them increase their seeding from 28th to 15th. The men and women’s football teams enjoyed varied success, seeing them remain stable in their rankings, at seventh and sixth respectively.
“I’m incredibly proud of how our students are putting UC on the map, it has been a great honour to take such a talented group of students to compete in Perth,” UC Sport Administration Officer Annie Reeson said.
“UC really held their own against some pretty tough competition and proved that our competitive spirit and sporting culture continues to flourish.”
Mixed Netball Team
Sean Gray (cc)
Caitlin Brady (cc)