The team from Australian Oztag recently held a training day for a group of eager Oztaggers from Stellar Experiences, ahead of their first Oztag season.
In late March, Australian Oztag (AO) had the pleasure of meeting the team from Stellar Experiences through a skill-development training day in preparation for the upcoming Winter competition.
With the motto ‘Empowering independence. Inspiring inclusivity’, Stellar Experiences provides social, recreational and community participation opportunities for 16-35-year-olds with mild to moderate disabilities and mental health conditions.
Stellar Experiences Program Coordinator, Ryan Willis explained in a nutshell, what Stellar Experiences aim to achieve.
“We try to give our guests the same opportunities that everyone else their age has,” Willis said.
“Social outings and travel are our main focus – we want them to get out in the community, get active and make friendships along the way,” he said.
With a lot of guests who are really into their sport, Stellar reached out to Oztag and enquired about entering a team in their local Sutherland Shire competition.
“We’re always kicking a footy and running around so we thought it would be really awesome to put a team in a mainstream competition where we can play with our peers and get active,” Willis said.
“Most people grow up playing Oztag in the Shire so we thought it would be something great for our guests to do,” he said.
To prepare for the upcoming Winter season, Stellar Experiences took part in a training day with Australian Oztag to familiarise players with the game and its rules, while focusing on skill development through a variety of game-specific drills.
The Stellar team jumped off the bus full of excitement, and were quickly decked out in their new playing gear – a gift from Cronulla Oztag.
Over the course of the day, the team picked up the skills very quickly before applying what they learnt to game situation – refereed by AO General Manager, Bill Harrigan.
“I think everyone thought it was cool learning new skills; everyone knew about Oztag but not quite how it worked and the intricacies,” Willis said.
“They really loved getting to meet Bill and the rest of the team from Australian Oztag,”
“Ever since the training day, the guys have not stopped talking about Oztag,” he said.
The ‘Stellar Squad’ are set to play their first game tonight as the Sutherland Shire competition commences and are very eager according to Willis.
“They’re really looking forward to getting on the field together, having that team bond and meeting their opposition” he said.
“They’re a really social bunch so we just hope that they enjoy themselves,”
“We’ve already had a lot of other guests express their interest to play next season, so hopefully we can make it ongoing and enter a few teams in the future,” Willis said.
Stellar Experiences also have a team participating in the Wollongong competition, who played their first game last week. Despite losing by one point, players were thrilled to be on the field with their mates and meeting new people.
That’s the beauty of Oztag – it can be played and enjoyed by all ages and abilities. It is, and always has been ‘the game for everybody’.
AO wish ‘Stellar Squad’ the best of luck as they kick off tonight.
Stellar Experiences have teams based in the Sutherland Shire/Illawarra and Gold Coast regions. Head to their website to learn more.