The pathway to elite competition for netballers in the ACT has taken another step forward with an ACT team being accepted into the 2020 Netball NSW Premier League competition.
The Capital Spirit will participate in the 10-team competition against the best sides in NSW, which includes a number of teams from Sydney, the Central Coast and South Coast.
The Capital Spirit is the first Canberra-based netball franchise in the Netball NSW Premier League and will deliver a competitive pathway for talented netball players from the ACT, along with the opportunity to excel without the taxing travel schedule that many players face.
Acting General Manager of Netball ACT Nicole Bowles said the announcement provides a pathway for the more than 10,000 registered netballers in Canberra.
“Inclusion of the Capital Spirit into the Netball NSW Premier League will provide greater opportunities for ACT-based athletes into the elite netball pathway and will allow Netball ACT to successfully deliver this strategic priority to our netball community,” Ms Bowles said.
“Netball ACT has a proven history of developing a number of talented athletes who have played within the Netball NSW Premier League. In 2018 we recorded the highest number of athletes to date, with 12 athletes playing across Premier League franchises.”
Netball NSW CEO and Premier League Commissioner Carolyn Campbell said the competition will also be a feeder to the elite Suncorp Super Netball competition, where netballers could be called into the Canberra Giants or NSW Swifts teams.
President of Netball ACT Louise Bilston said the Canberra franchise’s branding will be inspired by the iconic ‘Ethos’ that resides in front of the ACT Legislative Assembly Building.
Elements of the franchise branding will have distinct ties to ACT history, including the state flower, the Brindabella Ranges and the Ethos.
“Our organisation has worked towards being in a strong commercial position to actively focus on the delivery of a competitive and well-structured Premier League franchise,” Ms Bilston said.
“We have a passionate and engaged community that we know will embrace this exciting new chapter of the Netball ACT story.”
The franchise announcement follows a 12-month expansion planning project, with Netball ACT proving successful after an intensive vetting process, with other key regional areas also vying for a license to compete.
“Our vision has always been to develop a team brand that resonates broadly within the community, that identifies independently of any other sporting body in the region and has strong awareness and recognition. We want to be authentic to the ACT,” said Hayley Lia, Marketing and Communications Manager for Netball ACT.
The franchise will be officially unveiled in November 2019, including the appointment of the inaugural head coach and leadership team.