The 2013 international netball season is almost upon us.
As always, the excitement surrounding games between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns inevitably reaches fever pitch, with only a handful of goals generally separating the two teams, and passion and pride on the line.
The Malawi Queens will bring their own brand of excitement to this year’s Coles Netball Test Series with their flamboyant style and incredible athleticism, giving fans at the Wollongong and Gold Coast Tests a taste of the different styles of international netball that will be on show when the Netball World Cup comes to Sydney in 2015.
Off the court, there’s a heap of fun activity taking place for fans of all ages. If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket in hand, check out below for what’s on offer at the different venues. If you haven’t got your seat booked yet, there are still good seats available for most venues so head to www.ticketek.com.au and make sure you don’t miss out.
PUT YOURSELF IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Make you sure you check out what Netball Australia’s sponsors have to offer at each venue.
The Foxtel All-Stars Studio gives you the chance to put yourself into the spotlight.
At each Test venue fans can make their own sporting stories come to life and share their FOX SPORTS News branded video clips via Facebook, Twitter & email.
So be sure to check it out to see if you have what it takes to be a Foxtel All-Star.
You can also preserve your memory by getting a photo taken in the New Idea photo booth outside each venue.
The best way to experience the event is to be at the game! If you haven’t got a ticket to any of the Tests, there are still plenty of opportunities to snap one up for the games at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre (October 4), Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne (October 7), Wollongong (October 16) and the Gold Coast (October 19).
Tickets for the Test match in Canberra have sold out, but there’s still an opportunity to experience the atmosphere first hand by visiting the Diamonds Live Site that will be set up adjacent to the AIS Arena.
To purchase a ticket for the Coles Netball Test Series, simply log onto www.ticketek.com.au by contacting 132 849 or at any Ticketek outlet.
CANBERRA LIVE SITE
Australian Diamonds legend Sharelle McMahon is one of the hosts of the special Live Site in Canberra, where the action will be shown on a big screen with regular crosses throughout the game to what’s happening around the precinct.
A special treat for those heading along is a pre-game chat with Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander.
All the sponsor activations will be at the Live Site and, if you are lucky, there’s the chance to win tickets to head inside and watch the game!
It’s also the only place where fans can meet the Australian Diamonds, have a photo taken with their favorite player or get an autograph.
Popular Australian singer-songwriter Sarah De Bono is performing live at the Tests in Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra, including singing the national anthem.
There are going to plenty of free giveaways : from cheer sticks that light up to sparkly ball necklaces.
If you really want to stand out as a Diamonds supporter, get your face painted or hair sprayed green and gold colours at the Diamonds Salon, operating at each venue.
An extensive range of Diamonds merchandise will be available to purchase at each venue.
Fans in Adelaide and Melbourne will have an opportunity to farewell two recently retired greats of Australian netball in Natalie von Bertouch and Sharelle McMahon, both former Diamonds captains.
McMahon, an icon of the game worldwide, played 118 Tests for Australia while von Bertouch represented Australia 76 times.
A special presentation will be made at three quarter-time in Adelaide to von Bertouch and in Melbourne to McMahon.
To celebrate their careers, a special individual commemorative poster has been produced – the only place to pick that up is by being at the venue.
Star Diamonds goal attack Natalie Medhurst is poised to become the 22nd Australian player to reach the 50-Test milestone the next time she steps out on court wearing the green and gold.
Medhurst has made 49 appearances for Australia and said reaching the milestone will be a special moment in her decorated career.
“To be wearing the green and gold is a huge honor and I certainly don’t take it for granted,” Medhurst said about the prospect of playing 50 Tests.
“It’s been an amazing career for me to date and hopefully I’ll still have a few more games left in me.”
Fans in Adelaide will also have the chance to celebrate the achievements of Australia’s triumphant 1983 World Championship-winning side, which is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its victory over New Zealand.
The team, captained by Julie Francou and coached by Joyce Brown, will be courtside to greet the current Diamonds when they walk out for the pre-game festivities.
So there’s your comprehensive guide to what’s happening in and around what is set to be an exciting Coles Netball Test Series.
All that’s needed now is for you to be there and cheering on the Diamonds!