Thursday, March 9, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Rapid Rise To Queensland Suns Honours

Expressions of interest last year in playing schoolboys netball have proved a life changer for talented 18-year-old Mackay athlete Ben Pease.

From a reluctant participant to Queensland representative honours in the space of six months – that has been the incredible journey for the versatile colt with a solid background in basketball and AFL.

Ben will represent the Queensland Suns Under 20s side at the National Boys Netball Championships to be staged in Perth from April 7 to 17.

The skilful centre or wing attack forced his way into the Suns’ train-on squad after superb performances at the Suns’ representative trials in Brisbane last December.

It was a significant moment for the netball rookie who volunteered to play the sport before last year’s Queensland Independent Schools Sport Netball Championships in Mackay.

When organisers introduced a Boys Netball competition to the annual event in 2022 it was the likes of Ben and his St Patrick’s cohorts that put their hands up for consideration.

Under the guidance of Malea Ballantyne, Nadine Becker and Sarah Gibbs an eleven man squad - comprised of schoolboy athletes with strong links to basketball, AFL and boxing – was formed and etched their names in history.

Leading into QISSN, the boys finished runners up to Emerald State High School at the Vicki Wilson Cup round robin tournament staged in Yeppoon where they registered three wins from four matches played.  

Pease was an instant success during QISSN and underlined his potential by earning the tournament’s Most Valuable Player  

Award and being named along with shooter Will Randell in the inaugural All Stars Boys Team.

With a determined Pease leading the way the St Patrick’s rookies adapted quickly as they mastered the fundamentals of netball – dominating matches through their incredible fitness and eye hand coordination.

Strong performances at QISSN and later at the Vicki Wilson State Championships earned the crack centre a trial for a berth in the Queensland Suns Under 20s squad.

Growing up in Emerald, an adventurous Ben showed interest in motocross racing and competed in various Queensland titles before taking up basketball where he shone as a small forward with the local Chargers from the age of 12.

When the Pease family moved to Mackay at the end of 2020, versatile Ben turned his hand to AFL and proved a midfield sensation with the Bakers Creek Under 17s and A Grade squads.

So impressive was the super-fit teenager that he was asked to participate in the Northern Hub of the Gold Coast Suns AFL Academy which is based in Mackay.

Currently residing in Byron Bay where he works as a station hand, Ben is keen to stamp his mark at the National Men’s Netball Championships in Perth next month and later in the Brisbane Men’s Netball League.

He still has a strong passion for Australian Rules Football and will continue his career with the Ballina Bombers club in the Northern Rivers AFL competition.

By Chris Karas

Queensland Suns Under 20 Boys Netball centre Ben Pease has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the sport. He is pictured in action during QISSN and displaying his Most Valuable Player Award and All Stars Team medals

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