AN increasing number of boys and men are taking up netball, with pathways opening up to national level competition, Invercargill Netball Centre president Maree McMillan says.
Seven teams have entered Invercargill Netball Centre’s men’s competition this year.
When the Invercargill Netball Centre first introduced a men’s competition three years ago, three teams entered.
Men’s netball was fast and exciting to watch, McMillan said.
“It’s a great competition. It’s dynamic… they have such high elevation and speed.”
McMillan attributed the increased interest in men’s netball in part to the clubs which were supporting it. This year, five Invercargill clubs had entered men’s teams.
Invercargill hosting Netball New Zealand’s four-day national men’s championships last year which attracted 18 teams, and several men involved in Southland men’s netball actively driving the sport in the region, had helped to raise its profile further, she said.
In order to grow the sport for boys and men, it was important to demonstrate to players there was a pathway to national level competition, she said.
And, Southland men’s netball players were finding success nationally. McMillan said Southland men’s netball won the B grade competition at the nationals last year, and Southland players, Logan Simpson and Sam Dixon had been selected to play for the New Zealand men’s development netball squad this year.
And, for the first time, Southland was entering a mixed gender team in the national mixed netball competition in Auckland in April, she said.