The past 12 months have seen considerable growth in netball across Queensland providing Netball Queensland with a strong foundation to establish greater participation opportunities for young women as well as boys and men from 2022. This year, the Sunshine Coast will host over 2,600 players from across Queensland at the Nissan State Age Championships from 25 to 28 September, with the event rescheduled due to COVID lockdowns earlier this year. With the Nissan State Age Championships reaching beyond capacity this year, we are excited to announce that Netball Queensland will be increasing the opportunities for players, coaches, managers and umpires to participate from next year by offering two State Age events. An annual highlight on the calendar for up and coming netballers, next year will see representative opportunities continue for junior teams (12-14 years) and provide new opportunities for senior teams (15-17 years) to compete. The expanded format will make room for growing demand from male participants to have complete pathways in the game. Catherine Clark, Netball Queensland CEO said she was proud of Netball Queensland’s bold vision to strengthen participation pathways for young women, boys and men. Plans are also in train to ensure men and boys have access to a wider range of Netball Queensland events, competitions and programs from 2022. “The growth and profile of netball in Queensland has gained momentum over the past few years and we are excited about expanding the opportunities for young women and men to play, coach and umpire in our great sport,” Clark said. “We have reached capacity in the current format for our State Age Championship due to infrastructure constraints – we simply do not have venues with enough courts. We have outgrown even our largest netball facilities so, we are looking for other avenues to accommodate growth and offer opportunities for more people to play netball.” “This year we hosted the inaugural Men’s Netball State of Origin series at Nissan Arena and we’re establishing a board sub-committee to focus on strengthening male pathways and increasing male participation into the future. Of course, we’ve had men play in mixed teams for some years, but this will provide an opportunity to improve men’s participation pathways across Queensland.” “We are seeing growing demand from parents seeking a sport which both provides all the health and social skills of a “team sport” that both their girls and boys can enjoy. Netball is truly unique from that point of view and can play a powerful role in changing gender stereotypes. As a mother of two boys, I see it for myself. In netball, girls, boys – everyone is equal. We develop healthy humans who treat each other as equals. I believe this translates off the court and society will be better for it.” “We’re also calling on state and local governments to support capital works to improve and increase netball facilities and encourage greater investment in netball across Queensland. We are a massive participation sport and we need the support of Government to improve access to netball across our vast state.” Netball Queensland will work with key stakeholders over the coming weeks to confirm the venue and dates for the 2022 State Age Championships in the new format.
Netball Queensland website 14 August