HOW IT STARTED?
Netball has evolved in Australia over the past four decades. Originally conceived in the early 1900s as a derivative of basketball for women, it is now one of the most played sports by women in Australia, competing with swimming, running and cycling (ABS, 2007).
Netball Australia, the sport’s governing body (formerly the All-Australia Women’s Basket Ball Association) was founded in 1927. In the mid 1970s, the Australian government recognised sport and recreational activities as a legitimate public policy issue of concern. Recognising that sport was a ‘public issue’, the government began to entrust funding towards community-based sport and grassroots initiatives such as the “Life. Be In It” programs. The 1980s saw the introduction of numerous sport agencies and organisations and a trend toward commercialised sports. This is when national sporting organisations (NSOs) – bodies responsible for the management of individual sports – began to receive portions of government funding as well as sourcing their own private sponsorship to grow the sport.
Over three decades, netball’s governing bodies in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Australian Sports Commission (ASC) have transformed the organisational format of the sport, positioning netball as the number one ranked team sport in Australia for the 15 to 24 year age group (Australian Sports Panel, 2008) and producing a multitude of successes across all levels of the sport.
For more information about the sport of netball including the emergence of the sport, the playing court and rules, click here.
Netball Queensland celebrated its 40th year in 2011. After the All Australian Women’s Basketball Association changed its title to the All Australian Netball Association in August of 1970, Queensland followed suit shortly after in 1971 and the Queensland Women’s Basketball was changed to the Queensland Netball Association. The organisation became incorporated on May 22, 1985. Since its establishment, Netball Queensland has grown in members to administer over 80 Netball Associations throughout the state with more than 45,000 registered members.
The scope of its organisational objectives have expanded over the years from focusing on athlete recruitment for national and international competition, to adopt more business practices and include the encouragement of greater participation and spectator involvement. Through engaging corporate business and local bodies, Netball Queensland is ensuring excellence in all spheres of the sport. The centralised pathway which has been developed for netball has secured the promotion and growth of the sport. New programs such as Netball Australia’s Netfest which was hosted on the Gold Coast in 2011 and initiatives such as the 2011 NQ Flood Relief Fund have been beneficial for both the sport and the state.
This continuous development has ensured that the organisation bridges gaps in the organisational process, making the sport accessible to all whilst building the talent pool for national competition in alignment with the ASC’s response to the Crawford Report, Australia’s Pathway to Success.
The ANZ Championship, constituting of five Australian and five New Zealand teams, is currently boasting the highest attendance numbers and television viewers in history of the competition (previously the Commonwealth Bank Championship). Queensland is represented in the ANZ Championships by the Mission Queensland Firebirds.
Of the 12 national players who competed in the national team at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, four were Firebirds players. The Australian Diamonds achieved a close 2nd place to the New Zealand Silver Ferns.
MAKING HISTORY: THE 2011 ANZ CHAMPIONS
In the 2011 ANZ Championship season, the Mission Queensland Firebirds created history as the only team in the competitions history to compete an undefeated season.
Playing in front of a strong home crowd at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Firebirds faced LG Mystics and won convincingly 57-44.
Not only was this a history making game in the fact the Firebirds achieved a clean sweep, but they also now hold the record for the biggest grand final win of 57-44, a massive 13 goals. Smashing the Swifts record of 11 in the 2008 Grand Final against the Magic.