Australia’s national netball league will kick off with a blockbuster opening round next February, with three local derbies to be played on the first day of the highly anticipated new competition.
Netball Australia has revealed a sneak peek at the 2017 fixture, which sets the scene for creating fierce local rivalries right from the outset.
The inaugural match of the new league will be contested between Giants Netball and the NSW Swifts at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on 18 February. With the transition of Swifts stalwarts Kim Green and Susan Pettitt to the newly created Giants – and both clubs owned and operated by Netball NSW – this sets up a tantalising spectacle for Sydney fans, who will be treated to double the netball from 2017.
Next up, the Melbourne Vixens will host the Diamond-studded Magpies Netball Club at Hisense Arena, with former Vixens captain Madi Robinson to line up for the first time in black and white against her former team and coach Simone McKinnis.
Reigning premiers the Queensland Firebirds will return to the scene of their dramatic 2016 Grand Final win in extended extra-time, when they host vibrant newcomers Sunshine Coast Lightning at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Round One concludes with a traditional interstate rivalry, when new head coach Dan Ryan leads the Adelaide Thunderbirds in their first home game against West Coast Fever at Priceline Stadium.
Saturday 18 February
Giants Netball v NSW Swifts, Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre
Melbourne Vixens v Collingwood Magpies Netball, Hisense Arena
Queensland Firebirds v Sunshine Coast Lightning, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Sunday 19 February
Adelaide Thunderbirds v West Coast Fever, Priceline Stadium
The full national netball league fixture will be announced on Monday 7 November.
Photo credit: Narelle Spangher