Striking a netball blow for gender equality is Andrew Yazdani’s mission before he is deemed too manly for the traditionally female sport.
Andrew, who turned 11 in January, is the only boy playing among the 31 teams in Noranda’s Rovers Netball Club. But when he turns 13, rules will banish him from the game he loves.
“If there’s nothing, I’ll try to convince Netball WA to start a boys’ competition,” Andrew said.
His older brother Jason was a goal umpire for last Saturday’s AFLW grand final.
“It makes me proud for what I do and I hope I’m helping other boys join in netball,” Andrew said.
“Girls and boys are the same and can do anything and I just love it.”
Andrew, a lead singer in his school rock band, started playing netball in 2015, following older sister Kayla into his club.
He is one of the West Coast Fever’s biggest fans.
His mother Karen said he recorded Fever games so he could analyse the tactics.
“He would balance watching Kayla’s game with borrowing a ball and starting to imitate game play on a spare court,” she said.
“The gender thing for him is just not an issue. He has a go at anything and the thing I admire about him is that he’s doing what he wants to do. I hope, for him, they can fast-track getting a pathway in for boys.”
Rovers president Mel Symcox will coach Andrew at WA’s association championships in June and said he had become far more than a novelty among his female clubmates.
“He’s just fabulous and he even comes with his own little fan club,” she said.
“A lot of the senior players come down saying they’re there for the team, but they’re there for Andrew. They’re even talking about getting Andrew t-shirts and they love him.
“When he was old enough we threw a bib on him, off he went and he’s never looked back. I’m so proud, I cry every time I talk about it and hopefully we can build some more boys teams so they can keep playing.”
Netball WA plans to launch a men’s division in June.