Netball fever is about to hit the Gold Coast, with more than 200 teams from around Australia and New Zealand set to take on the third annual NetFest event from October 17 to 20. NetFest is the end-of-season event for netballers.
More than just a netball tournament, NetFest is Netball Australia’s mass-participation event for female and mixed teams of players aged 18 and older. Teams can choose from the traditional outdoor competition format, or the increasingly popular beach netball competition played on custom-built courts on the sands of Surfers Paradise.
The on-court action will be supported by a program of social events overseen by NetFest ambassador Liz Ellis and include the official opening, a celebrity beach netball match and the NetFest Saturday night party at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre. ‘I’m just so excited to be returning to the Gold Coast for NetFest 2013,’ said Ellis. ‘Last year was my first experience of NetFest, and I loved every minute of it. There’s just so much positive energy around this event that you can’t help but get around with a smile on your face all weekend.
‘It’s a huge celebration of all the great things in life – good mates, fantastic weather, a bit of trans-Tasman rivalry, a lot of fun, all revolving around the world’s greatest sport – what more could you want?’
In a rare return to the court, Ellis will head up ‘Liz’s Legends’ in the Thursday night celebrity beach netball match. Liz’s 2012 teammates Trevor Hendy and Jessica Skarratt are returning to help her defend her title against the Sea FM All Stars, with Gold Coast Councillor Glenn Tozer completing the team of four. They’ll need to be on their best game, with Sea FM’s recruitment coup of recently retired Sharelle McMahon, former Australian captain and second most capped player behind Ellis herself.
NetFest has rapidly established itself as one of the most popular events on the netball calendar. From just 500 participants in its first year, NetFest participation more than doubled in 2012, and this year has attracted a whopping 1,800 netballers across the beach and outdoor competitions.
This year will see a record 35 teams (three female and two mixed divisions) take part in the beach competition, while the outdoor competition has attracted 168 teams comprising nine competitive, six social and two mixed divisions.
All teams play a round-robin tournament over Friday and Saturday, with the top four in each division progressing to the Sunday finals.
This year’s off-court action has been enhanced by the scheduling of the final match of the Coles International Netball Test Series at the Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre on NetFest’s penultimate night, coinciding with the NetFest Party. Queensland’s Laura Geitz will lead her team on to the court in her home state for the first time since being appointed captain of the Australian Diamonds in August.
For more info visit netfest.com.au, or follow NetFestAU on Facebook and Twitter.