By Emily Farmer
Netball WA is introducing a new Metro League that will bring 50 new teams to the sport.
They’re even encouraging men to join as well.
The league will act as a feeder to the West Australian Netball League (WANL) and allow associations to showcase their best players.
Jo Smith, sports development manager for Netball WA, said the new league was a stepping stone for players who want to advance in the sport.
“Previously there was a gap in the competition, where teams played competitions within associations, but associations couldn’t play against each other,” she said.
“The Metro League is a competition for the best players from each association to compete and potentially be picked for the WANL and beyond.”
Netball WA currently has more than 221,000 members and the sport has the highest female participation rate in the state. Those players are split into regional and metro associations – and those associations currently don’t play against each other.
Ms Smith says they want to see the participation continue, but also want male players to join.
“This year in the WANL we trialled a men’s competition which was very successful,” she said.
“We currently have four men’s teams in the league which we’d like to grow, and there’s definitely an opportunity for a men’s competition in the new Metro League as well.”
Matt Bamford, WA Sports Federation operations manager, said that the league was an opportunity to boost the sport across the state.
“It’s a pathway for girls and women from the community level right the way through to the West Coast Fever,” he said.
“There’s definitely an opportunity here for men’s netball in WA too, we really do want everyone to love the sport,” said Bamford.
The competition is set to launch its pilot season in early 2019.