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Video clip synopsis – We follow the Melbourne Phoenix Netball Club - the players, coach and administrators - through the pain and passion of a year in elite-level amateur sport.
Year of production - 2004
Duration - 1min 58sec
Tags - groups, health, self-determination, sport, see all tags


The Last Great Amateurs

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About the Video Clip


This video clip is an excerpt from the film The Last Great Amateurs, produced in 2004.

The Last Great Amateurs follows the players, coach and management through a year of pain and passion, rivalry and camaraderie, fund raising raffles and contract battles. These talented and dedicated sportswomen suffer injures and fight at the negotiating table to join their male counterparts as true professionals.

This season, the women of Melbourne Phoenix Netball Club will again put their personal lives and other careers on hold and train to exhaustion at least six times a week for the love of their sport and a shot at glory. These players are the best in the world yet, in an era of multi million-dollar sporting competitions, the clubs in the National Netball League operate on shoestring budgets and are run largely by volunteers.

The film is presented by one of Australia’s most popular comedians, Magda Szubanski, in her role as Sharon Strezlecki (star of Kath and Kim and the Phoenix’s number one fan).

A Film Australia National Interest Program in association with Apollo Films. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission and Film Victoria. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Curriculum Focus


Please consult the National Statement of Learning for Health & Physical Education.

Background Information


The first recorded game of women’s basketball in Australia was played in Victoria in 1897. Netball is now the number one team sport for women in Australia.

In the 1970’s an increased interest in gender issues in sports, the growing professionalism of sports and increased government funding repositioned women’s basketball as a new sport called netball. Netball was restructured as a professionally administered sporting organisation. Some resisted this change and the resulting power battles within the sport still exist today.

In 1997 the All Australian Netball Association (AANA) announced a National Netball League (NNL) of eight teams. Melbourne Phoenix is one of the most successful teams in the NNL. In 2003 they made netball history, winning back-to-back premierships.

To meet the demands of playing at an elite amateur level, team members train to the point of exhaustion at least six times a week. They often play two games a week and also run junior clinics. They are the best in the world yet, in the era of multi-million dollar sporting competitions, the clubs in the NNL operate on shoestring budgets and are run largely by volunteers. Phoenix players were at the time paid an annual sum of $2050.

Classroom Activities

  1. There are many factors that motivate us. Read the following statements below and outline how the co-captain, Liz Boniello motivated the other players of the Melbourne Phoenix netball team before their grand final.
    1. ‘All the sacrifices we have made’
    2. ‘Deserve to be here’
    3. ‘Opportunity of a lifetime’
  2. What are other motivational factors that influence people to participate in physical activity, especially team sports?
  3. What motivates you to play in team sports? What stops you from being motivated?
  4. How would you motivate your team members to play well? Write a two minute motivational speech. Share your speech with a classmate. Ask them to provide feedback about how inspiring your speech was. Make adjustments to your speech if necessary. You could even create a podcast of your speech.
  5. What are the benefits of playing sport, especially a team sport? Brainstorm as many reasons. Draw up a table with the following headings
    * physical health
    * social health and
    * emotional health
    and categorise your reasons according to these dimensions of health.

Further Resources


Go to Life Be In It website

Go to Australian Sports Commission website

Go to DIY DOCO website