Men’s netball league takes off

Guardian Express - - SPORT -

THE ex­pan­sion of pop­u­lar sports to in­clude na­tional leagues for both men and women has been hailed a suc­cess for the likes of foot­ball and cricket in re­cent years.

Now Netball WA is hop­ing to em­u­late that suc­cess on a state level, with the start of the in­au­gu­ral Men’s West Aus­tralian Netball League (WANL).

The in­au­gu­ral sea­son will in­clude nine home and away games with two weeks of fi­nals and will see four teams com­pete for the ti­tle: the South-East Demons, West Coast War­riors and the West Coast Men’s and Mixed As­so­ci­a­tion’s Lions and Flames.

Ja­son Heard, who will play for the Lions this sea­son, said netball had been the most en­joy­able yet chal­leng­ing sport he had ever played.

“Grow­ing up I played a mix­ture of team and in­di­vid­ual sports, but I have come to re­alise netball has been the most en­joy­able,” he said. “There are so many di­men­sions to netball and you need to use your brain, be phys­i­cally fit and be ath­letic.

“The chal­lenge to be at your best in all these di­men­sions at one or mul­ti­ple in­di­vid­ual po­si­tions while also fo­cus­ing on the team makes netball so ap­peal­ing to me.”

He said he was ex­cited and proud that there was now a top-line netball com­pe­ti­tion for men in the state.

“The fact that we fi­nally get the chance to show­case our skills and tal­ent in a pro­fes­sional league is what we have been striv­ing to­wards for years,” he said.

“I am also ex­cited that we now get to play in a weekly elite com­pe­ti­tion where all our hard work and com­mit­ment to the sport be­hind the scenes will fi­nally be recog­nised and is able to be seen by the pub­lic.

“We have all been train­ing hard dur­ing the pre­sea­son and it would be great to get the sup­port and recog­ni­tion at game days that the sport de­serves.”

Netball WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Tay­lor said he be­lieved a men’s com­pe­ti­tion would cre­ate pos­i­tive path­ways for fu­ture male net­ballers.

“We are in­cred­i­bly ex­cited about the launch of the Men’s WANL Di­vi­sion,” he said.

Round 1 got un­der­way on Fri­day night, with the War­riors de­feat­ing the Lions (56-44) and the Demons de­feat­ing the Flames (47-38).

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