Men’s Netball…controlling its own destiny
Like many little known sporting communities, Men’s Netball has been persevering for years, almost like groundhog day, treading water from year to year, gathering together annually at its Australian Championships.
Come Easter 2016 netballers will again gather in Melbourne, but this time there is a clear sense of growth and development. For many years there has been differing views within the AMMNA community when debating the issue of quality versus quantity. In more recent years the attitude has shifted to a more all encompassing model that caters to both. From 2008 through to 2011, players, coaches, managers and a few umpires were asked a variety of questions about what they would ideally like to get out of their Men’s & Mixed representative netball experiences. Public notoriety, industry recognition and sponsorship, along with fun and friendship were recurring themes.
In addressing these wants AMMNA encourages participation at all levels. There is a long term goal in place to develop MLEAGUE competitions in each state and territory, which will foster participation and create a pool from which to develop players for representative competition. At the same time AMMNA has recognized that its annual championships has the potential to be the absolute showcase for elite Men’s & Mixed netball, as well as being the vehicle by which to create commercial opportunities. To facilitate financial growth, AMMNA has placed no limitations on the growth of its showpiece event, the Australian Men’s & Mixed Netball Championships. Respecting the integrity of the championships is a non-negotiable for AMMNA, which is why the OPEN MEN’S & OPEN MIXED divisions of the event will always only be reserved for the very best teams within Australia. Every other division at the tournament (Reserves and Under Age) are all thought of as development divisions. Participation is encouraged in these divisions from a variety of sources. AMMNA is keen to hear from any netball organization with the capacity to select representative teams. In recent years, AMMNA has formalized its relationship with the Australian Defense Force Netball Association (ADF), the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Netball Assoc, as well as having a solid relationship with the Cobra Netball Association in Malaysia.
In the future AMMNA can see a point where there are regional based universities, as well as regional netball associations getting involved with the Australian Championships. AMMNA Development advisor, James McCallum, has an optimistic view of the future, “Why can’t we have an event with teams from all over the region? PNG, Fiji, Singapore, Malaysia, Samoa, they can all come. There’s no point taking the Sonix teams to some of these nations. They’re national teams would be far better of coming here and playing in our reserves divisions, where they will get a heap of netball in a far more competitive environment.” And it’s not just our neighboring nations that Mr. McCallum sees as being future participants, “I see our organization as being a real opportunity for netball associations in regional areas of Australia. Why limit your representative netball program to a single gender activity? Surely netball associations have a responsibility to seek out opportunities in which their young athletes can excel and achieve.”
With all this speculative growth, it seems like the AMMNA championships will grow to become a significant event on the Australian sporting landscape. The reserve divisions have the potential to be one of the most enjoyable and highly competitive competitions within the tournament. With the “no limitation” mantra, there is nothing stopping the reserves from becoming 20 or 30 team competitions. Mr. McCallum is clearly excited about the future of the AMMNA Championships “our 2016 event will feature 40 teams. In the future this will double in size, it is this growth that will address our desire to establish commercial partnerships and give us the financial flexibility to invest in both our national teams, and youth programs.”
At the 2016 Championships, it will be the first time all five mainland states have been represented since 2008, and only the 3rd time in the past 13 years. AMMNA really is getting its house in order and taking control of its destiny.
AMMNA welcomes enquiries from all interested parties, and is keen to create relationships with netball organizations here in Australia and from around the world.
EMAIL: James McCallum firstname.lastname@example.org or PHONE: 0439 651 492