More than 1.2 million Australians play netball, with local clubs and dominating elite teams making it a go-to for women in sport. But what makes it so great? Here are 7 awesome reasons (and they only just scratch the surface)!
By
Nicky Bryson

Source:
Zela
10 May 2016 - 7:25 PM  UPDATED 10 May 2016 - 7:30 PM

1. Netball is a sport where Australians shine

No, like seriously. Australian netball players strut some magnificent skills on an international scale. Out of the 14 World Cup events staged since 1963, Aussies have taken the gold 11 times and silver the other 3. When netball was added to the Commonwealth Games in 1998, our athletes snagged have snagged three golds and two silvers over the 5 events. This is a game we know how to play, damn it!

2. Netball actually does think of the children

From primary school PE to high school sport, regional and national comps, and elite-level participation, netball is all over the young Australian sporting landscape. It fosters team spirit, supports junior players with programs across a wide range of backgrounds, and makes a space for everyone who wants to get onto the court.

“Netball makes decisions based on principles of equity, so that individuals are not affected negatively by ability, body shape, disability, ethnicity, gender and sexuality, geographical location and socioeconomic status.”

Netball Australia, Junior Policy

3. Netball offers inspirational role models aplenty

Credited with inventing “throwing on the run”, legendary former Australian captain Pat McCarthy was inducted into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame during the 2014 Australian Netball Awards.

A little stroll through the Australian Netball Hall of Fame shows there’s no shortage of netball role models. From Myrtle Baylis who made her made her international debut representing both netball and cricket in 1948; to Australia’s first indigenous representative Marcia Ella-Duncan, recognised with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for services to netball in 1988; to Liz Ellis who is widely regarded as one of the greatest defenders to ever play the game with three World titles, two Commonwealth Games gold medals and four national league titles to back that claim; and a whole slew more.

4. Netball has a fan base to be reckoned with

Record-breaking crowds turned out the watch the 2015 Netball World Cup events in Sydney, including a whooping crowd of over 16K for the grand final – which Australia won because OF COURSE we did. #GoDiamonds

5. Netball is backed with awesome infrastructure

Half the fight for women in sport is visibility and support and this is one area where netball has its shit sorted. In 2016, fans can watch all 72 Championship games on Fox Sports Australia and Sky Sport NZ, plus all games can be streamed live and on-demand through the Netball Live App. Netball Australia’s sponsors also paid Channel 10 to broadcast the sport on free-to-air, in what is seen as a ground-breaking deal. National and international netball info is easy to find, thanks to well-funded and maintained websites, Twitter, Facebook and Insta accounts. What’s more, a huge network of stakeholders ensure that game is accessible to players and fans, including high-level sponsors and partners, the International Netball Federation, Netball Australia’s Board of Directors, state and territory member organisations and an army of clubs and volunteers across the country. 

6. Netball does more than just talk about inclusiveness

Kalkaringi Primary School in Central Australia, recipients of a 2015 Netball Nation grant, to fund a School Program. 

With major sponsors to pony up the dough, Australian netball players can access the kind of grants that make all the difference to the furthering the game. In 2016, over $100K worth of grants are available via ANZ Netball Nation to support grassroots netball with everything from club renovations, to equipment purchases and netball clinics.

So get your bib on and hit the court, rock up to a game and lend your support or just sit back on the couch and add your eyeballs to the viewer ratings. Netball is the greatest game ever and we can all play our part. 

7. Netball knows what it's like to be a netballer

Could Netball be in danger from the rise of Aussie Rules?
The AFL wants to poach the best female athletes in the country for its much-hyped women’s league, to begin next February, but the sport with potentially the most to lose, netball – Australia’s number one female participation sport – isn’t intimidated.