Victorian Netball League sets sights on August start

By Aydin Payne

A date has been pencilled in for the return of the Victorian Netball League next month.

The league has circled Friday, August 7 on its calendar as the date for its competitions to return after its postponement due to COVID-19.

Netball Victoria made the announcement on Tuesday morning and said the season would commence pending State Government restrictions.

The modified campaign comes following extensive consultation with all 10 VNL clubs.

It will allow the region's netball stars to get some game time following the cancellation of their local league.

Seymour's Elle McDonald (North-East Blaze), Echuca's Claudia Mawson (Melbourne Uni Lightning) and Mooroopna's Taylah Lloyd (North-East Blaze under-19) will feature in the upcoming competitions.

Netball Victoria pathways manager and VIS netball development coach Cathy Fellows said it was welcoming news to have the VNL return this year.

“The last few months have been unprecedented times for our whole netball community, so this is a fantastic opportunity for the Bupa VNL clubs to return to play,” Fellows said.

“As we know, the VNL is the elite development competition for Victorian athletes, coaches, technical officials and administrators, so it will be wonderful to have the clubs back on court showcasing the best that Victoria has to offer.”

The season is set to be delivered to fans online, due to the restrictions in place on crowd gatherings.

Netball Victoria’s chief executive Rosie King said the competition was working to live stream its matches.

“Given the current environment, we believe that delivering the VNL season virtually provides an even wider audience the chance to see some of the best netballers in the state at play,” she said.

“It’s a wonderful way for us to showcase what Victorian netball has to offer.

“I think this is a great outcome for the 2020 season considering the circumstances.”

The decision came before the Victorian Government announced metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire residents would return to stage three restrictions.

Netball Victoria is yet to make further announcements on the back of the latest restriction news on whether the season will still start next month.