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New team ... Knapdale Netball Club is the first club in Gore to create a men's netball team. Knapdale Men's is un beaten in the Invercargill Netball Centre Boyz to Men competition. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A spike in male netball players in the region has led to Knapdale Netball Club creating the first men’s netball team in Gore.

Player and team manager Hamish McDonald approached the club late last year after previously coaching one of the club’s teams.

He was rapt to be given the green light from the club to create Knapdale Men’s.

“They were stoked to have us on board – it shows how far they’ve come as club,” McDonald said.

“The club’s been fantastic helping us set it up.”

He recognised the need for the team when he realised how many players were having to travel to be involved.

“Six of us were travelling to Invercargill to train and play.

“It’s really great having a Gore-based team,” he said.

The team included 12 players, and New Zealand development squad members Logan Simpson and Sam Dixon were in the mix.

Six of the players had represented Southland, McDonald said.

“We’ve picked up a couple of new players for this team as well which has been great.

“It’s a great mix of youth and experience for us,” he said.

Knapdale Men’s played in the Invercargill Netball Centre’s Boyz to Men competition with six other teams.

The team won its first three games, beating Southland Boys’ High School Red 77-10 last week to take top place on the leader board.

Former Silver Fern Donna Wilkins is coaching the side.

Wilkins was named as a specialist shooting coach to help with 2019 Silver Ferns selections last week.

“She’s just amazing, the way she’s strengthened netball in Southland,” McDonald said.

“She’s made us into a brilliant team.”

He was grateful to player Peter Newton, who paid for the team’s uniforms.

The MLT contributed $500 towards the club.

McDonald encouraged players interested in netball to attend the team’s training sessions.

Training is on Mondays from 6.30pm to 8pm at the Gore Multisports Complex.