High Performance competition reforms unveiled

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Netball Australia is implementing a range of reforms to its High Performance competition pathway, including changes to the Australian Netball League in 2016 and possible changes to the underage national championships in 2017.

The proposed changes are being implemented by Netball Australia following consultation with High Performance Managers, CEOs and delegates from all states and territories in November last year.

The key areas identified for changes include:

  • the ANL becoming more aligned with the ANZ Championship from 2016;
  • the opportunity to more closely integrate the School Sports Australia 15/U Championships into Netball Australia’s national pathway and;
  • Looking at the feasibility and implications of reducing the existing number of underage championships from three to two in 2017.

Netball Australia’s Head of High Performance Andrew Collins said enhancing opportunities for the sport’s best young talent to develop future ANZ Championship and Australian Diamond athletes was a priority.

He said in 2016 the ANL would be conducted over eight weeks – including the Finals Series – beginning in May and finishing in June and played concurrently with the ANZ Championship.

There’s also the possibility of playing double headers where an ANL match would follow an ANZ Championship fixture to allow fans to see their state’s best talent.

“This is a great opportunity to increase the profile and connections between the two competitions and, at the same time grow the competitiveness of the ANL,” Collins said.

“I think the ANL is one of the real strengths of the Australian netball system, but we can do more to raise its significance and the impact it has on challenging our developing athletes.

“In 2016 we will see more games played in the ANL and additional opportunities for players to move between the ANZ Championship and the ANL. We will work with our stakeholders in the coming months to look at the best ways of bringing these competitions more closely together.”

Collins said Netball Australia was exploring what the most effective age groups were for the national championships.

“There is potential to reduce the duplication that currently exists and we will use this year’s events and 2016 to guide our future decision in this area,” he said.

“There are also opportunities to enhance our connections with School Sport Australia in the implementation of the 15/U national championships.

“This event is a great place for the identification of new talent. I would like to see us working more closely with School Sport Australia at every level to maximize the role of this event in our pathway.”

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast will play host to Australia’s brightest young talent when the 2015 21/U National Netball Championships gets under way at Caloundra Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.