Bluejays players with Queensland Firebirds Laura Clemesha (L) and  Gabi Simpson (R)
Bluejays players with Queensland Firebirds Laura Clemesha (L) and Gabi Simpson (R)
11 March 2016

The University of Queensland and Netball Queensland today announced a formal partnership to help promote higher education to women and girls.  

The two organisations will work together to pursue excellence in sport through world-class research and prepare graduates for industry through quality internships.  

The new relationship with Netball Queensland, along with the Queensland Firebirds, follows UQ’s existing partnership with the Brisbane Broncos.

University of Queensland Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Max Lu said UQ was proud to partner with another of Queensland’s largest sporting teams.

“Netball attracts more fans and supporters than any other women’s team sport in Queensland, and has grown 27 per cent in the past six years,” he said.

“This partnership will allow us to harness that popularity to build on our teaching and learning initiatives, and to apply UQ’s top-quality sports science and sports medicine research.

“It will also open up significant opportunities for both organisations through internships for students, as well as professional experience and job placements.

“UQ is proud to partner with an organisation that shares many of the same values with the University, and I look forward to forging a strong relationship with Netball Queensland.”

Netball Queensland CEO Catherine Clark said the partnership with The University of Queensland was an exciting step for netball with both organisations dedicated to promoting women and young girls achieving their goals.

“It’s never been more thrilling to be involved in netball and it is fantastic to be working with UQ to not only provide pathways to play the sport at any level but to further the career aspirations for our young players,” she said.

UQ graduate and Queensland Firebirds player Clare McMeniman will be the UQ Queensland Firebirds ambassador.

“As a proud UQ alumnus I am excited about this new partnership,” Ms McMeniman said.

“As a high-performance female athlete, the demands of study, training and competition can be exhausting. During my time at UQ I was always well supported, which enabled me to achieve my goals in both my academic and sporting pursuits.

“In this role, I’m hoping to inspire our next generation of netballers to have a holistic approach to their future. I want our future netballers to pursue their academic aspirations while excelling in our great sport.”

Ms McMenamin has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Speech Pathology and juggles playing for the Queensland Firebirds and the Australian Diamonds with a part-time job as a speech pathologist.

In a further extension of netballing opportunities for UQ students, Graceville netball club the Bluejays has joined forces with UQ for the first time this year.

New members from the UQ student body now comprise more than 50 per cent of the club’s senior ranks. This is ahead of the Bluejays becoming a fully-integrated and affiliated UQ sporting club in 2017.

It is expected that the association between Netball Queensland and the Queensland Firebirds will benefit the newly amalgamated UQ Netball Club and its legion of players.

Media: UQ Communications,, 07 3365 1130 or Netball Queensland,, 0439 779 069.