The recent Netball Australia state of the game review stated “Almost 80,000 men currently play netball representing growth of 28% between 2016 - 2019 - the highest growth rate of any adult men’s sport”.
Queensland Suns Men’s & MIxed Netball (QLD Suns) has witnessed & experienced this massive momentum shift in participation. Player participation at our representative trials (U17, U20, U23, Reserve Mixed, Open Mixed, Reserve Men’s, and Open Men’s) have continuously grown year after year.
In addition to this growth the QLD Suns have been receiving numerous enquiries from parents of young boys, under the age of 17, seeking opportunities for their sons to play and develop their netball.
Currently there are little to no opportunities for boys aged between 12 & 16 years to play netball. Boys are permitted to play netball, at their local association until the age of 12 and historically the QLD Suns have only offered opportunities for boys aged 17 and over to trial for Teams. This has left a massive gap in the current netball framework and needs to be addressed.
The Rising Suns Program is specifically designed to bridge that gap and create a broad range of netball pathways for young boys to either continue or start to play netball in Queensland. The program will include targeted skill based netball clinics and regular competitions with the aim of establishing Queensland's first junior boys netball league which will be based at the newly built netball facility at Wakerley.
QLD Suns president Steven Curr said “We are excited to announce the EOI for the Rising Suns Program. There is growing interest in the community for junior boy’s netball and it has been a key objective of the QLD Suns for many years to bridge this gap. We will engage with participants to determine the best dates and days in 2021 for the program to commence”.
The QLD Suns are committed to ensuring the Rising Suns Program long term success. It's imperative we create a framework that is suitable for all players, no matter the capability, as well as ensuring the program has the capability to adapt and grow in line with community demand. Therefore it is important we take small steps in the initial stages to understand the level of interest and range or development needs. The announcement of the EOI today is the first of these small steps.