Tailem Bend sporting club bounces back after devastating cyber crime

Tailem Bend Netball Club junior player Sophie Edwards takes a shot supported by Thomas Foods International's Meagan Abott and Morna Young and fellow Eagle members Jade Capes, Leonne Capes, Taylah, Melissa and Denise Edwards and Elyssa-Kate Zadow.
Tailem Bend Netball Club junior player Sophie Edwards takes a shot supported by Thomas Foods International's Meagan Abott and Morna Young and fellow Eagle members Jade Capes, Leonne Capes, Taylah, Melissa and Denise Edwards and Elyssa-Kate Zadow.

A MURRAYLANDS sporting club is pleased to report it is financially back on track after a devastating cyber crime saw the club robbed of more that $150,000 last year.

In April 2021, the Tailem Bend Netball Club was the victim of a sophisticated scam after undertaking much-needed upgrades to the club's courts and facilities.

The theft of the money meant work completed was not paid for leaving contractors unpaid and the club with a huge debt, however, the club has reported it is back on track after many hours of fundraising.

Tailem Bend Netball Club president Denise Edwards said the club had been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of so many people and organisations.

"After months of worry and tireless fundraising we are pleased to report that we are now financially back on track," she said.

"Fortunately, our insurance claim was successful for part of the funds, and with a combination of our own endeavours, individual, business, and organisation donations, and a Go-Fund Me page we were able to finalise outstanding Contractor debts and pay back our Council Loan.

"We are 'paid-in-full' and breathing a huge sigh of relief."

Mrs Edwards said the club's committee, members and volunteers banded together to fundraise.

"We were all driven by the determination to see our contractors paid, our project completed, and our club financially back on track," she said.

"We tirelessly planned and facilitated eight major fundraising projects in four months - all of which were well supported and successful in raising much needed funds, and all whilst enduring the COVID curveball throughout the 2021 season.

Mrs Edwards said the reception from the Murraylands and netball communities and what did the positive action from the public mean to the club?

With so many people to thank we were truly humbled by the support we received from far and wide.

"Our local community and surrounding Murraylands communities were amazing; businesses, individuals, local netball and sporting clubs and organisations, and also other netball clubs from around the state.

She said that while the club was now debt-free, the cyber crime had left the club all feeling vulnerable but more alert before paying any future invoices.

"We have learnt a lot moving forward and are proud of what we were able to achieve in a short space of time to ensure a positive financial outcome," she said.

The club offered a warning to other clubs and not-for-profit groups to ensure they don't experience this kind of theft.

"Make sure that you have sound financial processes and procedures in place when paying large sums of money ... ask questions - seek clarification, check, double check and triple check every detail," Mrs Edwards said.

The club said it was thankful to the many businesses and groups who helped out in its time of need.

"This experience has highlighted how fortunate we are to be part of such a wonderful sporting community," she said.

"Contributions and ongoing support from opposing clubs within the River Murray has been a lovely reminder of the camaraderie and fellowship generated by sport.

"We are thankful to all that have shown their support and we look forward to sharing our new facility with our wonderful netball community."

Mrs Edwards said a special thanks went to Murraylands Star Club officer Marc Maddaford.

"(Marc) was on 'speed dial' throughout the whole ordeal creating an invaluable labyrinth of support between all stakeholders of our netball club ... his prompt responsive actions, knowledge, expertise and careful guidance enabled us to navigate a successful path through the situation," she said.