Flames extinguished from Australian Netball League

ANL Round 7The Australian Netball League will revert back to a nine-team competition after Netball Victoria opted against entering two sides for the 2015 season.

Following a review, Netball Victoria has announced that the Victorian Flames will no longer be part of the underpinning competition to the ANZ Championship.

The Victorian Fury, the reigning ANL champions, will now be the state’s sole representative.

The Flames program was trialled for two years as an extended development program for athletes and coaches. The Flames finished third in their debut season in 2013 and sixth this year.

Netball Victoria CEO Michelle Plane said the review of the state’s High Performance program had uncovered some gaps, particularly in the areas of coaching and umpiring development.

“Netball Victoria is constantly reviewing its priority areas of investment across all areas of the High Performance program,” Plane said.

“This review highlighted the need to shift focus towards the development of our future Melbourne Vixens and Australian Diamonds coaches and international standard umpires.

“We feel that our State Team, Zone Academy, Victorian Fury and Netball Victoria Talent Squad programs will ensure our athletes continue to develop to the best of their ability.”

Netball Australia’s Head of High Performance Andrew Collins said: “Victoria’s High Performance Program is the benchmark for state-based High Performance Programs in Australia. We understand Netball Victoria’s decision to target resources, in particular, to further developing coaching and umpiring standards in the state.”

“While it’s disappointing not to have a second team from Victoria competing in the Australian Netball League, we don’t expect this will have any adverse long term impact on our overall development pathway.”

Netball Victoria President Jenny Sanchez thanked all who had contributed to the Victorian Flames program over the last two years.

“We look forward to continuing to work with them in the Netball Victoria pathway,” Sanchez said.