Round The World – March 2023

Round The World – March 2023

Another month means more hot off the press news from the world of netball. From new league announcements to new umpires, there’s much to talk about.


Start of the ANZ Premiership

New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership kicked off in Auckland on March 4, with a depleted Southern Steel team going down to an in-form Northern Mystics 64-38. Central Pulse faced the WBOP Magic in a one goal thriller (53-52), before the Tactix came out on top against the Northern Stars 55-49. We’ve had a whole host of debutantes and new names take to the court – I’m definitely not brave enough to call this year’s league winners yet!

It’s going to be an exciting season to keep up with as players compete for a spot in Noeline Taurua’s Silver Ferns squad headed for Cape Town, where they will be looking to defend their 2019 Netball World Cup title.


Super Netball Season launch

The Suncorp Super Netball league had their official season launch in Melbourne last week, ahead of the opening round on March 18. This year, the league is focused on cementing netball in its rightful place in the Australia’s sporting landscape.

“For Season 2023, Suncorp Super Netball has launched a new campaign intended to challenge netball’s perceived ‘niceness’ while celebrating the world’s best netball league and solidifying its place in the Australian sporting landscape. 

“Titled ‘We Are Here’, the campaign aims to turn the passive phrase ‘here if you need’ on its head. 

The purpose is to challenge the stereotype that netball is an overly traditional, apologetic and submissive sport.”

Read the campaign story.

I really like that the focus is on netball as a professional sport, as well as the values behind it, from maternal support to inclusivity, Super Netball is contributing to the learning and growth of the sport, both within its own community and amongst those who are new to the game.


Teams showcase inclusive kit

As the return of Super Netball nears, fans were treated to some pre-season action in the Team Girls Cup last month. West Coast Fever took home the trophy after defeating the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the final and got people making big plans for their fantasy teams, but it wasn’t the only talking point from the competition. Three teams showcased their inclusive uniform options, offering a range that included singlets, skorts and leggings, as well as the usual netball dresses. 

Queensland Firebirds, Sunshine Coast Lightning and Adelaide Thunderbirds athletes took to the court in uniform of individual choice. There are many opinions about netball dresses – some love the dress, some hate the dress, and plenty of others sit somewhere in between – so it was great to see other options being shown as legitimate choices for elite level matches. 

Queensland Firebird Gabi Simpson said, “Netball is a sport for everyone and what we’ve found in the past is that uniform actually does prevent some people from attending and playing and we want to get rid of those barriers.

“Allowing people to feel comfortable, wear what they want to suit their beliefs or who they are, that’s so important because netball is a space where we want people to be the freest version of themselves.”

Read more about the Queensland Firebirds uniform changes.


Bermuda netball umpire trainee course 

We know that netball can’t happen without umpires, and the growth of the game often hinges on the availability of officials, so it was great to see Bermuda Netball post about their umpire training course this month, with 20 attendees all passing the qualification.

Sport often celebrate the players and the athletes, but the commitment to being a match official is not to be underestimated, so it’s fantastic to see people taking part in growing the game by becoming qualified umpires. 


Netball celebrates International Women’s Day

I’ve looked forward to seeing how netball around the world celebrate women within the sport. From athletes to volunteers, from CEOs to physios, netball has a brilliant opportunity to shout about and celebrate the women that make it happen. 

One of my favourite campaigns I’ve seen is from Strathclyde Sirens, who launched a COLLECTIVE POWER campaign, which celebrates the strengths and individuality of their players. Looking to explore the power sport gives women and how the Sirens players channel what they consider to be their super powers on and off the court. 

It struck a chord with me because women’s sport is often marketed as simply just exercise, or as a way to achieve weight loss, so to see these women celebrate their skills and how they implement what they’ve learnt from netball in everyday life is really powerful. 

The NSW Swifts are using their voice on International Women’s Day to call for greater awareness of period poverty in Australia. Read about that campaign here.


National League unveiled in Wales

Wales Netball announced the launch of a new national league, offering a competitive platform for adults across Wales to play for one of six teams around the country, with a view to expanding the league in 2024.

It often feels netball is targeted at a young audience, heavily focusing on the next generation rather than netballers who are playing now, so it’s fantastic to see that Wales Netball has created a competitive league for their regional athletes. The first trials for the teams take place this month, so keep your eyes peeled and decide which team you want to support! Stay up to date here.


Training Partners take to the court

It was really cool to see some of the Super Netball teams’ male training partners take to the court in recent pre-season matches. Riley Richardson and Jake Hederics represented the Collingwood Magpies, while Taylor Glassie played for the Giants, and Jerome Gilbard for West Coast Fever. We’ve seen huge growth in the men’s game in recent years, so it’s great to see these players getting opportunities on a bigger stage.


Tonga move up in World Rankings

As we hurtle towards the Netball World Cup, World Netball have released the latest rankings.

There has been one change in the top ten, as Tonga move up to 7th, pushing Uganda to 8th place. The move up for Tonga is as a result of their success in the PacificAus Netball Series, a 26-goal final victory over Samoa Tifa Moana ensuring they ended the tournament undefeated. See the full world rankings here


South African International unavailable

Leeds Rhinos fans will have been disappointed with the news that South African shooter, Elmeré van der Berg, will not be coming to the Netball Super League this season. Scheduled to join the Leeds side in January, van der Berg picked up an injury and the focus on recovery means that she won’t be seen in yellow and blue in 2023. Read the full statement here.


South Africa unveil new uniforms

On International Women’s Day, South Africa, in conjunction with Puma, released their new “United Warriors” playing strips for 2023.

The vibrantly coloured home and away dresses feature African artwork and symbols. The South African Marketing Director for Puma, Brett Bellinger, said, “South Africa is a diverse country and the story of this team, and this kit design is that our strength lies in our diversity. Makes us world beaters.”

The press release and inspirational video is here.


Jamaica Elite League gets under way

Featuring some of the Sunshine Girls not playing overseas, along with the rest of the countries top netballers, Jamaica’s Seprod Elite League got underway last Friday.

Across the four teams of ten athletes, twenty-three of them are currently in the Sunshine Girls squad.

Matches will take place at the National Sports Centre and National Arena in Kingston and will be shown live on SportsMax in Jamaica.

Teams will play eachother twice, before the third and fourth engage in a play-off match, with a best-of-three Grand Final between the top two sides, taking place on Friday April 14 (Game 1), Sunday April 16 (Game 2), and Friday April 21 (Game 3) if required.

See the team lists.


Sunshine Girls Assistant Coach appointed

Keyan “Shawn” Murdock has been appointed as assistant coach for the Sunshine Girls.

Murdock has over 20 years experience as a coach, having completed qualifications in both Australia and Jamaica, and having coached St Kitts and Nevis, and the Jamaican national men’s team. He’s the second male coach in the national set up, after Winston Nevers in 2019.

The nomination process included an application, two-hour interview and assessments to ensure he was the right candidate.

Although coaching in the sport for more than two decades, Murdoch didn’t necessarily set out for a role in the women’s national program.

“I just wanted to be the best coach I could be, even if it was just at club level. It’s a wonderful opportunity.

“I enjoyed working with Rob Wright delivering his coaching workshops around the island. He’s a big influence and the team are looking forward to continuing working with him in the lead up to the World Cup.”

Murdock will work closely with head coach Connie Francis in preparing Jamaica for the Netball World Cup later this year.

“Connie Francis is a legend of our beloved sport. Coaching alongside her will be a privilege and honour. I’m looking forward to complimenting her passion and knowledge for playing and coaching the sport, with my ability to connect with the players, some of whom I’ve coached before in the Elite League.”


If there’s any netball news over the coming weeks you think should be included in the next Round The World, let us know! 


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