THE expansion of popular sports to include national leagues for both men and women has been hailed a success for the likes of football and cricket in recent years.
Now Netball WA is hoping to emulate that success on a state level when the inaugural Men’s West Australian Netball League (WANL) kicks off on Friday night.
The inaugural season will include nine home and away games with two weeks of finals and will see four teams compete for the title-the South-East Demons, West Coast Warriors and the West Coast Men’s and Mixed Association’s Lions and Flames.
Jason Heard, who will play for the Lions this season, said netball had been the most enjoyable yet challenging sport he had ever played.
“Growing up I played a fixture of team and individual sports, but I have come to realise netball has been the most enjoyable,” he said.
“There are so many dimensions to netball and you need to use your brain, be physically fit and be athletic.
“The challenge to be at your best in all these dimensions at one or multiple individual positions while also focusing on the team makes netball so appealing to me.”
He said he was excited and proud that there was now a top-line netball competition for men in the state.
“The fact that we finally get the chance to showcase our skills and talent in a professional league is what we have been striving towards for years,” he said.
“I am also excited that we now get to play in a weekly elite competition where all our hard work and commitment to the sport behind the scenes will finally be recognised and is able to be seen by the public.
“We have all been training hard during the pre-season and it would be great to get the support and recognition at game days that the sport deserves.”
Netball WA chief executive Simon Taylor said he believed a men’s competition would create positive pathways for future male netballers.
“We are incredibly excited about the launch of the Men’s WANL Division,” he said.
“As the governing body for the sport we’re committed to advancing netball, advancing communities, and the Men’s WANL division is an outstanding way to build on that.”
Round 1 will see the Warriors take on the Lions and the Flames play against the Demons on June 29.
Both games will be held at the State Netball Centre from 9pm.