Netball Tasmania enters discussions to bring more home games to the state

HOME SUPPORT: Public apathy towards Tasmania's only two scheduled home games at the Silverdome appeared to result in poor crowd numbers.

HOME SUPPORT: Public apathy towards Tasmania's only two scheduled home games at the Silverdome appeared to result in poor crowd numbers.

Netball Tasmania is pushing the sport’s national body for more than just two of its home games next year.

Netball Australia had only announced just weeks in advance earlier this year that the Silverdome would host a back-to-back Tasmanian Magpies ANL weekend while already scheduled for four home fixtures in Melbourne.

New chief executive Aaron Pidgeon admitted the sport’s community gave Netball Tasmania flak for its lack of connection to the state’s new Magpies entity.

The defunct Tassie Spirit would play seven matches in the state every year.

The Silverdome’s March matches at 5pm on Saturday and 10am on Sunday were in front of near empty arenas. 

“We’ve entered discussions around that,” Pidgeon said over more local games.

“That’s still challenging, but we certainly are discussing that possibility.

“We obviously want that team to be playing in front of a Tasmanian crowd as often as we possibly can.

We obviously want that team to be playing in front of a Tasmanian crowd as often as we possibly can - Netball Tasmania chief executive Aaron Pidgeon

“At the moment, it’s not the top of our pathway because the Collingwood team is.

“But it is the top of Tasmanian athlete pathway and for our girls to aspire to play in that competition, we need them to be coming along.

“At the same time, we also need to promote that right and get everyone to be behind it because, respectfully, the two games we had last year the crowd sizes were very disappointing.

“That’s on us to change that and go about things in the right manner to get the supporters there.”

The ex-Tasmanian Magpies assistant coach sat on the bench at the games.

Pidgeon accepts criticism over the partnership with the Super Netball club and the lack of Tasmanian representation in the state’s ANL side throughout the season.

The Collingwood Magpies training squad inundated most spots in the Tasmanian team that meant home-bred talent was often reduced to three players in some games. 

But Pidgeon believed the long-term benefits from the three-year deal would boost the standards of Tasmanian netball towards the state applying for its own Super Netball side post-2019.

“Last year was a really challenging year, if for no other reason than it was all pulled together very late and without any particular agreement in place that would govern Tasmanian netball and Collingwood around selection,” he said.

“I know there was a bit of criticism in the local netball community about the lack of opportunity for Tasmanian athletes to play.

“What I would say is we’ll be working through things in greater detail in the season lead-up this year to make sure there are some parameters in place around that relationship to give our girls the best opportunity possible.

“But opportunity comes from hard work and being capable, so we’re not just going to gift our girls the opportunity to play if they are not doing the work and are not ready.”

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