Sport

State’s best on our courts

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November 30, 2017

With 600 players to converge on Shepparton for next year’s state titles, Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe, Netball Victoria’s Pam Ferrari and Josie Logan, SNA president Dianne Orr, Goulburn Region liaison officer Gina Sozzi and Netball Victoria chief executive Rosie King are thrilled.

It is netball’s time to capitalise on the redevelopment of Shepparton’s sporting precinct.

After extensive redevelopments to the Brauman St courts, the Shepparton Netball Association will host next year’s Victorian State Titles.

With the Goulburn Region putting extensive time into training the teams it sends to the championships, they will benefit from staying in Shepparton.

The event has been in Werribee the past two years, while Bendigo and the State Netball and Hockey Centre have also hosted the event in recent times.

But the growth of the Shepparton association’s courts from 12 to 18 has paved the way for the titles to be take place on the first weekend in October.

SNA president Dianne Orr said the association was ready to host teams from across the state.

‘‘I think it’s fantastic, its going to be great for us,’’ she said.

‘‘Now that we’ve got the facilities, we want to utilise them and do what we can.’’

This year the Goulburn Region attempted to send an open age team to the titles, but not enough interest meant there was no side formed.

But with the event on their doorstep, Netball Victoria regional development manager Pam Ferrari is optimistic an open team will join the junior sides that enter.

‘‘Hopefully it might encourage a few more people to try out for the open team to make sure it’s got an open team with the 17s and 15s, as well as the All Abilities teams here,’’ she said.

‘‘Goulburn, who has been travelling (to the state titles) for years, gets to play at home, which is a big plus for the players and the coaches.’’

This year’s unveiling of a show court that allows room for spectators again lifted the attractiveness of Shepparton to host its first state titles.

‘‘It (hosting) used to fluctuate every a couple of years between metro and country, but it’s dependent on finding somewhere that’s got enough courts to play and we’ve got enough courts here and in Bendigo, but there are not very many places that have enough courts to play state titles,’’ Ferrari said.

Some 59 teams entered this year’s event in Werribee and about 600 players plus 200 officials are expected to converge on Shepparton for next year’s competition.

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