In a milestone for men’s netball in South Australia, the SA Men’s and Mixed Netball Association (SAMMNA) has become the first men’s and mixed association to become affiliated with Netball SA.
The affiliation was made official at the Netball SA Board Meeting on 14 December with SAMMNA President Steve McInnes saying the recognition is a huge step forward for men’s and mixed netball in the state.
Steve, who has had held the Presidency role since 2013 and has played in the Association for a further 10 years, said a major driver for SAMMNA to become affiliated was the opportunity to work in partnership with Netball SA to build pathways for boys and men to be involved in the sport and develop their skills.
“Netball SA has a lot of experience in creating pathways and competitions for players, and this is a key focus for us now,” he said.
“Currently there are no competitions that allow boys aged 12 to 16 to play. We would like to see a competition running for this age group and for the competition to grow.
“One of our key goals is to send a South Australian 17/U player to the Australian Men’s and Mixed Netball Championships and having a competition in place will capture the younger market and in turn help fill this age bracket.”
In the 2017 Australian Men’s and Mixed Netball Championships, more than 60 players travelled to the Gold Coast to represent South Australia in the Open Men’s, Open Mixed, Reserve Men’s, Reserve Mixed and U/23 Men’s divisions.
“Creating pathways for our older players will benefit their skills and allow them to progress through the higher ranks of netball,” Steve said. “With South Australian male netballers playing at higher levels, it also provides younger boys players to look up to and aspire to.”
There are currently 270 players registered in the M-League, a men’s and mixed netball competition played at Priceline Stadium over two seasons throughout the year. The men’s M League division is the only full court pre-elite men’s competition in the state, with many of the current state representatives coming from these teams.
In addition to creating greater opportunities for players, Steve said the affiliation will also benefit the Association’s umpires and coaches.
“The affiliation will see SAMMNA’s coaches and umpires upskilled, with coaches striving to achieve their accreditations and umpires their badges,” he said.
“All of this helps our Association become more professional, which helps it become more recognised and in turn will see us with more boys and men playing netball.”
Netball SA’s General Manager of Sport Development, Lizzie Bermingham, congratulated SAMMNA on their affiliation.
“To build the relationship that SAMMNA and Netball SA enjoy has taken a couple of years, however, over this time we have been continually impressed by SAMMNA’s drive and dedication to improving pathways for male participants.”
Ms Bermingham said Netball SA is committed to increasing male participation and developing their pathways through the sport, and that the SAMMNA affiliation will assist greatly in achieving this goal.
“In 2015 we developed a Male Participation Strategy to define our commitment to getting more boys and men involved in the sport,” she said.
“Currently boys can participate in a range of Netball SA programs including NetSetGO, school holiday clinics, the Thunder Cup – an after-school competition run for students in years three to seven – and our Get Court Carnival, which is an interschool competition.
“Like SAMMNA we would love to see the M-League Junior Competition for boys aged 12 to 16 up and running, and encourage the parents of any young budding netballers to contact Netball SA if their son is interested in being involved.”
Men who are interested in getting involved can visit the SAMMNA website (www.sammna.com.au) for more information.