Netball Australia has today announced a revised format to the ANL competition for 2017, ensuring Netball Australia’s high performance competition pathway best prepares athletes for the new national netball league (NNL) and national representation.
Netball Australia’s Head of High Performance Andrew Collins, believes that the new ANL format will provide the best platform in developing our emerging athletes.
“The revised ANL competition will ensure that we are continuing to best prepare our athletes for elite competition, both in the NNL and longer term to become future Diamonds,” said Collins.
“It’s pleasing that every one of our member organisations is committed to becoming part of the ANL in 2017 and that talented young athletes around the country will be able to test themselves at this level.”
Collins further sees the importance in linking the ANL closely to the NNL.
“The training environment will be enhanced, with NNL and ANL teams in some locations becoming integrated in their training, performance support and preparation,” said Collins.
Round one of the ANL season will commence in mid-February 2017 with finals to be played in April 2017.
Two matches will be played per round (as per 2016) with fixture scheduling designed to allow NNL athletes to participate in matches ensuring that NNL training partners can obtain regular match play during the NNL season.
Other changes have also been made to the high performance pathway including the decision to not hold the 21 Under National Netball Championships in 2017.
“We will have nearly 200 athletes preparing week to week for intense NNL and ANL level competition, complemented by strong State and Premier League competitions around the country,” said Collins.
“We need to get the balance of competitive opportunity as well as providing time for athletes to continue to work on their physical and technical development outside of competition time.
“The 21 and Under National Netball Championships has been an important part of the netball calendar for many years, but our data shows that there is significant duplication with this championship and other national level competition and we needed to address this.”
The 17 and Under and 19 and Under National Netball Championships will be maintained with increased opportunities for team entry from 2018 and changes to athlete eligibility to ensure key athletes can access these events as part of their ongoing development.
Netball is Australia’s leading sport for girls and women, from participation through to its elite products. Each year, approximately 80,000 children aged five to 10-years-old take part in Netball Australia’s introductory netball program, a further 370,000 registered members playing through affiliated competitions and a total 1.2 million people participating in a form of the game across the country.