Battle of sexes spills on to courts

WHOEVER said netball was a girls' sport didn't tell Devils rugby league front rower James Hogan.

Hogan is one of a new breed of male netballers plying their trade in Gympie's mixed competition on Wednesday nights and loving it.

Hogan, Jason Flikweert and Mark Wilcox are three blokes braving the Rose St bitumen courts and taking on the girls.

They reckon the game and the girls are a lot tougher than they look.

"Some of the girls are quite aggressive," Wilcox said

"Some of them are rougher than the blokes."

"They are bloody rough, Flikweert said.

"Its good fun," Wilcox added.

Despite having to deal with aggressive women the boys are still enjoying the sport and say it's great exercise.

Wilcox uses netball as extra training for his first love, squash.

"I have friends who play and it's a fast sport," Wilcox said.

He said he liked playing goal attack and shooting for goal.

Hogan plays centre and loves the challenge of learning a new sport.

"The best thing is it's a bit of variety instead of touch and footy, and it's a lot of fun," Hogan said.

"A few of the boys from footy are playing."

Flikweert plays in defence.

"It good for fitness and gets me off the couch," Flikweert said.

"I don't feel so lazy."

Hogan said the hardest thing about the game was learning to stop.

"It's a bit clumsy when you forget to stop," Hogan said.

"Yeah, you have to be careful not to bowl the girls over," Flikweert said.

Ashlyn Honour from team Advice Partners said she liked playing netball with the guys.

"Sometimes they get carried away when they are after the ball but it is great fun." Honour said.

Gympie Netball president Felicity Brown said the mixed competition had taken off this year with five teams taking to the courts.

She was also hoping to get a mixed representative side together to play in Nambour and was after more players for the mixed competition. She said only three males are allowed on the court at once.

One in attack one in the midfield and one in defence.

"I like playing mixed because the guys like to do all the running," Brown said

Anyone interested in playing mixed netball can turn up on Wednesday nights at 7pm.

Gympie Times

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