PLAY ON: Stanthorpe netballer’s will have their first taste of competition in 2020 at the Darling Downs inter district carnival on August 2.
PLAY ON: Stanthorpe netballer’s will have their first taste of competition in 2020 at the Darling Downs inter district carnival on August 2.

Netballers eye-off fast-paced rep season

NETBALL: Stanthorpe netballers are preparing for a short but electric season with confirmation the Darling Downs inter-district carnival will go ahead.

It will be the first time many have hit the courts in 2020 after the local season was abandoned with the outbreak of coronavirus.

Stanthorpe Netball Association secretary Kay Knight said five teams would compete at the reduced carnival.

“It’s been tough for all sports and tough on kids not being able to play the sports they love so we’re really excited that this week we have 50 players returning to the court to start training,” she said.

“We have an opens team, an under 16s, under 14s and two under-12 teams competing.

“The girls will start training this week, with the COVIDSafe plan in place.”

The inter district carnival will be played on Sunday August 2 in Toowoomba with teams from Toowoomba, Warwick, Goondiwindi, Kingaroy and Roma, just to name a few.

50 netballers across five age groups will head to the one-day carnival in Toowoomba.
50 netballers across five age groups will head to the one-day carnival in Toowoomba.

Knight said this year’s carnival would have a greater emphasis on players getting back on the court than retaining titles.

“This year we want the girls to be out and get active again,” she said.

“There are no expectations this year and I feel that’s pretty widespread among Darling Downs netball, we just want to see our players back on the court and having fun coming out of this.

“Getting the interaction with their friends outside of school too and all the wonderful things sports teaches you, tolerance, resilience and compassion.”

While a select group of players will return to competitions, Knight said initial virus restrictions ultimately cost the local competition.

“We won’t be having a local season this year. Normally we have two competitions that we have players in,” she said.

“Because we don’t have any courts. We have been using courts at Stanthorpe State High but the regulations and the uncertainty of where netball was going, we made the decision not to start.”

Knight hopes the development of the association’s new courts will draw more players into the growing sport.

“The profile of netball is increasing with strong Queensland teams and there is increasing interest in netball, which means more girls are interested,” she said.

“The competition in schools is becoming stronger at a regional level and there are quite a few representative opportunities for girls to move on and play at a higher level.

“We’re seeing it flow through small rural communities like Stanthorpe. And next year, we’re hoping it will be a big year for netball here.”