Partnership between PNA and IGSSA see participation numbers rise

More West Australian girls are playing netball thanks to a new partnership between the Perth Netball Association and the Independent Girls’ Schools’ Sports Association.

Already IGSSA’s most popular sport, a decision to move the Year 7/8 competition to Matthews’ Netball Centre on a trial basis in 2019 has been a huge success.

And there are already plans to move the Year 9/10 competition to the venue in 2020.

Perth Netball Association Executive Officer Troy Starcevich said the Term 2 Wednesday afternoon competition had been win-win for both organisations.

“They came to us looking for a central venue and we thought it was a great idea because a lot of the schools are actually clubs of ours that participate in our winter competition so it fits really well with that and it also makes use of our venue when there’s no one here,” Starcevich said.

“We have helped out with umpiring as well. That benefits us because it gives our umpires a chance to gain experience. These are our new, developing umpires so it gives them experience before they umpire at club level on a Saturday so that’s worked really well. “That’s another positive for us.”

IGSSA Executive officer Louise Carson said the competition had been hosted by the Schools in the past on a home-and-away basis, which had limited numbers due to court availability.

IGSSA has eight schools, with 163 teams and about 1600 players participating in weekday competition from Years 8-12.

Carson said moving to Matthews’ had allowed IGSSA to have 21 more teams in the Year7/8 competition.

“You are looking at nearly 200 extra girls playing netball just at that Year 7/8 level,” she said. “It’s just been really positive and the atmosphere at Matthews’ is wonderful as well. It’s like a carnival atmosphere every Wednesday afternoon. It’s the same as when you go there on a Saturday morning.

“It’s been really positive with getting more parents out there spectating too.”

Carson said the Schools had been extremely positive about the change and they hoped to expand in the future.

“We’re getting longer games, more meaningful games,” she said.

“My hope is that we will expand to our Juniors next year on a Thursday afternoon.

“That would mean we would be able to carry extra players at the Year 9 and 10 level. There will be a knock-on effect. We’ve now got more girls playing in Year 7 and 8, they hopefully will still continue to play in year 9 and 10.”