The Australian Diamond’s Coach Lisa Alexander thinks Australia could prolong the positive effect the Suncorp Super Netball is having and sustain future expansion in Super Netball. She believes that the new league has lifted the playing standard to another level.
So far, there have been two rounds of the inaugural Australian league and Alexander believes it is already evident that the intensity and physicality on court has lifted.
The Suncorp Super Netball League consists of 8 Australia teams including three new teams; the Collingwood-backed Magpies, Melbourne Storm-backed Sunshine Coast Lightning and the GWS aligned Giants. These three teams join the five existing teams from the former trans-Tasman competition namely, the Melbourne Vixens, NSW Swifts, the West Coast Fever, Queensland Firebirds and the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Alexander said the decision to revamp the national league had already been “well and truly” justified and believed there was room for further expansion in the future.
“It was always my concern that we would not have enough players on the court playing at the top level to have a deep Australian squad — and now we have,’’ Alexander said.
“We’ve got the ability to put our younger ones in there, too, so that’s exciting.
“I’m working with the (under) 17s and 19s in all of the states and territories and we’ve got a really beautiful athlete pathway and those kids deserve the opportunity.”
Alexander, busy planning the Diamonds’ defence of their Commonwealth gold medal for next year’s Gold Coast Games, said the playing standard had already been elevated.
Netball Australia acting chief executive Marne Fechner said the league had no immediate plans to expand within the five-year term of its new broadcast deal.
She added achieving the goal of having fully professional athletes in five years was the primary focus ahead of expansion.
“We’ve got an agreement for the next five years based on what we have now,’ and for us, we need eight highly successful commercial entities before we consider growth.” Fechner said.
Image: Netball captains at the launch of the new Super Netball series. L-R Madi Robinson — Collingwood Magpies, Geva Mentor — Sunshine Coast Lightning, Kate Maloney — Melbourne Vixens, Kimberlee Green — Giants Netball, Abbey McCulloch — NSW Swifts, Gabi Simpson — Queensland Firebirds, Erin Bell — Adelaide Thunderbirds and Nat Medhurst — West Coast Fever. Picture: Phil Hillyard