The thought of forming a new netball club was mumbled about in early 2002. The idea gained momentum when rumours began to spread that a netball club called the "Picnic Point Panthers" was about to start. By late 2002 and at the end of another netball season, interest from various avenues came flooding in. Overwhelmed and surprised by the interest being shown, it became obvious that a get-together was needed to determine if we were going to form a new club, whether it could be done and whether we had enough resources and interested people to make it all happen. All we knew was that we had six committed women who possessed equal enthusiasm, dedication, fresh ideas and an endless knowledge of netball willing to put in the hard work to get things started. Most surprisingly of all, we had nearly 100 interested people waiting for our decision. Late in November 2002, six excited women set off for Mollymook. Three days later and after much intense discussion which included too many late nights, cheese and crackers - a new netball club was born. It had a name, an executive and surprisingly a possible nine teams! All we needed was a few more players, a final decision on club colours, a uniform and money to buy our starting equipment... not much really.
There began the idea of sponsorship to help kickstart the club and again, luck was on our side! Len and Melina Pretti from Pretti Real Estate announced their support with an exceptionally generous donation. In all honesty, our club would never have happened if it had not been for the generous support shown by Melina and Len Prettu, a support that continues to this very day. With their donation, we could offer uniforms at a discounted price, outfit the club with training and playing equipment, and supply our team managers with bags and first-aid kits. This donation will always remain the most important and prominent event that shaped the Picnic Point Pumas Netball Club. After many more meetings and discussions with various companies and suppliers, the Picnic Point Pumas Netball Club became official. A letter was sent to all who had expressed an interest and on Saturday 18th October 2003, a uniform sizing day was held. To our surprise and delight, all those people who had expressed their interest way back in 2002 came eagerly along - our nine teams became 12... WOW!
Our very first registration day was held at Deep Water Motor Boat Club - it was an exciting day and the air was electric. Our uniforms were ready, our teams were set, we had umpires and coaches and we had already achieved a great deal. We were all exceptionally proud, hence the saying "proud pumas people".
The day finally came when Pumas would present themselves at Deverall Park during the traditional opening of March Past celebrating the opening of the season. The little ones had their faces painted to look like pumas, and not one member was missing. To make it even more special, Pumas won that March Past. At the end of the ceremony, we all ran to the hill and had a club photo taken - something that has since become a yearly tradition.
At the end of our first year, Pumas were proud to receive the accolade of club champions. We had done well and achieved so much in such a short period. We had banded together and believed in our dream. The dream lives on. Our club's motto represents fairness to all, pride in your achievements and respect for others. Our club possesses a great desire to achieve the greatest in the game that we love most.
... our club has grown immensely. We have won several awards for various accolades and have reached over thirty teams ranging in age from five years old to seniors, making us the largest club in Bankstown. Our sponsors continue to support us, enabling Pumas to purchase various items and apparel. Each year we pride ourselves on achieving something new. In 2004 we purchased our first club tent, which we utilised to proudly display our sponsors. That same year, we introduced the extension of our training apparel providing all our players with shirts promoting our sponsors. This year also saw our club grow from 12 to 24 teams.
In 2005, we purchased our club trailer which is used to house all our equipment. The trailer was made specifically for our design by Mario Trailers and spraypainted by Art'n'Soul Signs and Stuff, one of our major sponsors. That year we also introduced the club's junior coaching and mentoring program. This program paired interested young coaches with more senior coaches as a development pathway. This program continues today and has been successful with two of those junior coaches winning the 2007 Coach of the Year award. 2005 also saw our club grow from 24 to 28 teams.
In 2006, a decision was made to purchase a bigger and more weather-proof tent. The tent is bright orange and can't be missed.
In 2006 and again in 2007, we extended our executive by introducing assistant roles and various committees, taking our committee to a total of 16.
In 2007, our club grew from 28 teams to 31 - an overwhelming interest and a challenge to maintain.
We introduced the Talent Identification Squad for 9 to 10-year-old players in 2008. The aim was to enhance the development of players who had been identified as both talented and interested in pursuing their sporting career in netball. The program offered an intense ten-week training program focused on skill development and fitness similar to that of a representative player.
The same year, a memorable trophy was named in honour of one of our special members who lost her long battle with cancer. It was named the "Kathryn Brown Memorial Player of the Year Award". The idea of the award was to allow all players to be recognised for their efforts throughout the season by using a weekly voting system called "3,2,1". The points are tallied at the end of the season with the highest scorer winning. Our inaugural winner was Ellen Voukidis from the 11Bs.
In the future years, we hope to continue with our enthusiasm and promotion of young people playing, umpiring and coaching netball.