Netball Australia will host the first PacificAus Sports Netball Series in Sydney this month to consolidate international netball relationships.
Their ambition is to provide the highest level of competition for the national teams of Netball Australia’s PacificAus Sports partners, including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.
Singapore has been invited to participate in the series as part of Netball Australia’s continued support of the Asian Netball region in the lead-up to the Netball World Cup to be held again in Sydney in 2027, after the city previously hosted in 2015.
“Netball Australia is a global leader in growing the game of netball and we can’t wait to showcase the talents and success stories of female athletes, coaches, and leaders from the Pacific,” said Netball Australia executive general manager of strategy, Government and community Glenn Turnor.
“The Singapore national team, while on their Australian tour, will be a welcome addition to the series.
“Australia, Singapore and the Pacific have long-lasting friendships and connections through netball.
“The opportunity to include Singapore will only help revitalise netball in the Asia-Pacific region and provide a platform for all teams to develop and grow leading into the 2027 World Cup.”
The series will mark the first time the teams have competed in an international competition since the pandemic started and offers an opportunity to analyse their strategies before the Oceania Netball World Cup Qualifiers in Fiji in July.
The event will also highlight the goals behind the PacificAus Sports programme, which consists of developing pathways for the teams to play in high-level sporting competitions, supporting Australian teams to increase their presence in the Pacific and creating more opportunities for those emerging athletes to achieve the best results possible.
Netball Samoa chief executive Rosemarie Esera mentioned that the series will be a great chance to advertise their national players and assess Samoa’s in-country programme.
“Just being able to get our team on the court will be a huge achievement,” she said.
“Bringing our regions together through netball will allow us to assess where we are, what needs to be worked on, and provides the opportunity of being part of an international fixture.”
The competition is supported by the Australian Government under the PacificAus Sports programme and was funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Admission is free for all spectators and the event is set to run from March 21 to 26 at Sydney Olympic Park.
Meanwhile, Tongan Prime Minister, Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni has wished the national women’s netball team all the best as they start competing in the Australia Pacific Netball series in Sydney today.
As the country continues to recover and rebuild from the 15 January Hunga Tonga Hunga Haapai events and the current COVID19 crisis, the national netball side will be taking on the best in the Pacific on the netball courts.
Hu’akavameiliku said the team’s participation despite the current challenges brings joy and hope to the country.
“Their participation brings hope as it shows that with perseverance and determination we will get though this difficult time,” Hu’akavameiliku stated.
Government, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has partnered the Australian Government and Netball Australia to enable the team’s participation.
The national netball side will meet Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Fiji and Singapore in the series.
They face PNG at 1.30pm Sydney time today (3.30pm Tonga time), Fiji tomorrow, Samoa on Wednesday and Singapore on Friday.
Finals are scheduled for Saturday.
All matches are being played at the Sydney Olympic Park.
SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES/TONGA GOVT/PACNEWS