The Collingwood Magpies will meet a new opponent in Launceston next season as part of two Super Netball matches to be played in Tasmania.
The 2019 Super Netball (SSN) fixture was released on Wednesday morning, with a round 13 match against the New South Wales Swifts at the Silverdome of most interest to Tasmanian fans.
The 3.30pm clash on August 17 follows two seasons where the Tasmania-affiliated Magpies have hosted and beaten the Queensland Firebirds in Launceston.
Rob Wright’s Magpies will also meet two-time premier Sunshine Coast Lightning in a practice match at the Derwent Entertainment Centre in Hobart on February 1.
“We’re thrilled,” said Netball Tasmania chief executive Aaron Pidgeon following the announcement that the state would again host multiple matches.
“To have two elite level matches in the state next year is fantastic and with the Swifts coming in for the game in August and the Lightning coming for the game in February, it’s two teams that haven’t played down here and that’s really good for the Tasmanian crowd.”
The Swifts finished sixth in 2018 – one spot above the Magpies - and the two teams played out a 57-57 draw in Melbourne in the third-last round of roster games.
Organisers are hoping new teams will result in an improved turnout for Launceston’s third Super Netball clash following two decent but not sell-out crowds.
Pidgeon said Netball Tasmania would work with local associations and plan State League fixturing with an eye on filling every seat in the 3500 capacity Silverdome.
“We need to make sure that we are realistically selling these games out or very close to it if we want to keep seeing that level of netball played in the state, so that’s certainly high on the list of priorities this year,” he said.
“There’s a couple of things we want to do, first of all we want to see more SSN games played in Tasmania, secondly we’d love to get the Australian Diamonds back playing a game in Tasmania and thirdly we don’t want to rule out the opportunity to field our own team in the SSN competition one day.
“To achieve all those things we need to make sure that every time there’s elite-level netball being played in Tasmania that the netball community and the Tasmanian community in general are coming out in force and throwing their support behind it.”
Practice match tickets are expected to go on sale January 7, while tickets for the round 13 match will go on sale later in 2019.