While Australia’s elite netballers will be vying for Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow later this year, the next generation of stars will be showcasing their talents in the latest season of the Australian Netball League.
The 2014 ANL draw has been finalised with the seventh season of the feeder competition beginning in early July and feature 10 team representing all Australian states and territories.
The 2014 ANL season begins two weeks after the ANZ Championship Grand Final is played with Launceston to host the first round of matches on the weekend of 5-6 July.
Defending champions the Victorian Fury are scheduled to play their first match the following weekend in Perth against the Western Sting. The Fury are among six teams that have a bye the opening round.
Waverley Netball Centre in Melbourne will host the semi-finals and Grand Final over the weekend of 23-24 August.
Netball Australia’s High Performance Events & Logistics Manager Amy Petropoulos said the ANL is a crucial competition in helping to showcase the up-and-coming talent in Australian netball ranks to ANZ Championship franchises.
“It has proved to be a successful stepping stone between State Leagues and the ANZ Championship allowing all states and territories to compete and showcase some of our best young talent in action in a seven week competition over the July-August period,” Petropoulos said.
“Each year the standard of competition continues to improve, which is great as we still want to continue to do that in order for us to keep developing the depth of athletes in Australia into future Australian players.
“The 2014 season will run alongside the Commonwealth Games and it is safe to say the athletes will be more determined than ever to display their skills leading up to the 2015 Netball World Cup and trying to secure a spot in an ANZ Franchise and – ultimately – the Australian Diamonds squad.”
Games will be played in every capital city of Australia over the eight-week season.
All eyes will be on the local derbies between the two teams from New South Wales, at Sydney’s Anne Clarke Centre on Wednesday, 13 August and the Victorian sides at Waverley Netball Centre on Sunday 20 July.
The replay of last year’s Grand Final between the Fury and Netball NSW Waratahs won’t take place until the final round of the regular season – at Waverley Netball Centre on Saturday 16 August.
The ANL, established in 2008, bridges the gap between the State League competition and ANZ Championship by providing a national pathway for athletes, coaches, umpires and officials to the world’s best netball competition.