Record-breaking year for Championships

More than 3800 netballers and officials are expected to turn up at Wembley Sports Park precinct for the 2015 Smarter than Smoking Association Championships.

Among them will be 15 teams from Swan Districts, 10 from Kalamunda and Districts, eight from the Eastern Hills and seven from the Northam Netball Association.

The multi-venue arrangement will present new opportunities for Netball WA�s largest representative competition, with the new State Netball Centre facilities put to good use in conjunction with those of Perth Netball Association and Wembley Sports Park.

In a record-breaking year, more than 270 teams from across the State, including Tom Price and Albany, and seven international teams from Singapore, will travel to Perth for the championships.

The aim of the event is to promote healthy competition and increase understanding of the no-smoking message.

�The Smarter than Smoking Championships are designed to provide the opportunity for player talent identification, umpire testing and a wonderful opportunity for players and officials from across the State to come together,� said Netball WA chief executive Simon Taylor.

�These Championships have a rich history, having been staged since the early 1950s, but this year will see over 900 games played over the three-day competition.�

More than 5000 spectators are likely to attend the event.

This year sees the introduction of a No Limits (Disability) Division, in which four teams will compete.

Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton will attend Sunday matches and visit one of the mental health sessions run by Youth Focus.

About 200 coaches and players will receive suicide prevention-awareness training at the workshop under an agreement between Netball WA and the State Government.

In another first for netball in WA, the opening ceremony of the championships will take place prior to the ANZ Championship showdown between West Coast Fever and NSW Swifts at Perth Arena; a showstopper bringing grassroots and elite sport under one roof.

�We are excited to welcome our grassroots teams to the game, as this provides a great opportunity for some of our regional players to watch a Fever game and one that promises to be a blockbuster,� said Fever coach Stacey Rosman.

The opening ceremony starts at 9.15am at Perth Arena on Saturday, May 30, with first- round games from 2pm the same day at Wembley Sports Park.