Matthew Battams’s love of netball has taken him from the banks of the Murray River to Brisbane and now to Canberra.
He grew up in South Australia before finding his feet at Netball Queensland. While working in the corporate finance industry, he started his career in netball as president of a local association in Brisbane. The more time he spent working at the association after hours, the more he realised he wanted to make it a career.
“Whether it be netball or another sport, I decided about three or four years ago that I really wanted to get involved in sport as a career,” says Matthew.
“I took that opportunity a couple of years ago and now I have an even bigger opportunity down in Canberra.”
While the Queensland netball community is significantly larger than the ACT’s, Matthew is confident the opportunities and challenges that exist in Canberra are similar to those in Queensland. He is excited to get out in the community to listen and learn from volunteers and committee members.
“I am a big advocate that it is all about people, whether it is sport or business or anything” he says.
“I look forward to meeting all of those people and just listening for a while about what is working well and what’s not. I really hope I am very visible in the community and I want to spend a lot of time with the people who make our sport great.”
Matthew wants to ensure every committee and association has the same opportunity and access to support so there is more time spent on netball rather than bogged down in administrative tasks.
“We have an opportunity to build the capability of our committees,” he says. “They are often mums and dads who have gotten involved because they want to support their children.
“If there are some really inefficient processes they are using or they aren’t up to speed with the latest technology they could be using, I think it is important in my role to share that information.”
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Matthew believes there are opportunities to continually develop the netball community.
“I think there is absolutely an opportunity to understand how we can broaden the participants and the committees and all sorts of things in our sport,” he says.
“It would appear to me the ACT has done a much better job than Queensland in having that pathway for men. [Queensland] doesn’t have a men’s state league competition; it has a state team that represents Queensland at national competitions but no regular weekly fixtures.
“We need to make sure we are not missing out on things because we are too narrowly focused.”
Matthew has been told by numerous people that the ACT is a passionate netball territory and he’s looking forward to being a part of the community.
“I love the sport of netball,” he says. “I am really interested to see how it is operated and played in the ACT.
“I am coming to learn so I hope by working with the local community we can come up with some good ideas together to make sure our sport is resilient into the future and has a good opportunity to grow.”