Up to 100 ADF players are set to take the court at the Australian Men’s and Mixed Netball Association Championships in 2023 after a record turnout at this year’s Netball Championships.
CAPTION: Able Seaman Michael Catley looks to pass the ball during the 2022 ADF Netball Championships. Story by Corporal Jacob Joseph. Photo by Sapper Alexis Friedewald.
Seven teams across open, reserve and master divisions have been selected to represent ADF at four different tournaments next year in Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and the Gold Coast.
The representative teams were selected from about 300 players and officials who took part in the state and service-based competition in Brisbane, held November 26 – December 2, after it was postponed for 2 years due to the pandemic.
State women’s, men’s and mixed teams played off in round robin matches, before service teams were selected and inter-service games were held.
CAPTION: Australian Army Captain Rachel Williams (GD) defends against a shot. Photo by Sapper Alexis Friedewald.
South-east Queensland men’s captain and Army representative Corporal Targett said Army had the more experienced players so were the favourites to win all divisions. They did, ahead of Air Force, then Navy.
Soldiers accounted for half of all players but there was a jump in participation from other services.
It was the first time Air Force were able to field three full-strength teams.
Air Force Netball President Squadron Leader Paul Fournier said RAAF’s involvement almost doubled this year compared to previous tournaments.
“I’ve been involved in ADF Netball for 27 years and I have seen a steady growth and maturity of the sport within Defence,” Squadron Leader Fournier said.
In the state matches, south-east Queensland went undefeated winning the men’s and women’s division and Northern Territory also went undefeated as the mixed-division winner.
ADF Netball south-east Queensland President Captain Patrick Cochrane said there were plenty of new faces after the break and lots of talent on display.
“We had representatives from every state and it was the first time we had a team from Tasmania,” Captain Cochrane said.
“The level of talent on display from all the states was great to see and it made the selector’s jobs all that much harder.”
Captain Cochrane said the fortunes could change depending on where the players were posted, with no one state staying on top for long.
The tournament was the last for Air Commodore Nick Osborne, who was ADF Netball president for the last 12 years.
The next tournament is set for Darwin at the end of 2023.
CAPTION: Major Jarrod Anderson defends a goal at the ADF Netball Championships. Photo by Sapper Alexis Friedewald.