BASKETBALL: Sunshine Coast Rip official Jason Blanchard hopes his club and the Coast team set to debut in a new-look national netball league can have a healthy working relationship.
Concerns were raised about the Rip’s viability once a professional netball team was housed at the University.
Blanchard said the netball team’s arrival and subsequent improvements needed to the University of the Sunshine Coast Stadium to house a national league netball side would actually be a boon for Rip.
He said a new grandstand, which would lift the seating capacity from 500 to 1000 and the introduction of a high profile women’s team will have a flow-on effect for women’s basketball.
“We’ll promote them and hopefully than can (promote us),” he said.
“A lot of girls who play basketball, play netball and vice-versa. Unfortunately the women’s (basketball) teams don’t get enough attention as the men’s.
“We actually see more people come to the SBL men’s game than the Queensland Basketball League women’s game.
“They leave, and then come back for the men’s game.”
While Blanchard admitted the Rip women’s results this year had been below par, which is probably the reason crowd numbers are down, he said it was imperative to get behind them.
“Unfortunately it does come down to results sometimes,” he said.
“But they’ve got Frances (Donders) from Europe and Kristen Langhorn ... they’re like two pseudo-celebs. In two to three years time they’ll be dominating.”
Netball Australia officials are still working closely with the three ‘preferred bidders’ and the five existing Australian ANZ Championships teams ahead of next year’s new-look league.
No announcement on the make-up of the Sunshine Coast team is expected until August.
Article by Alex Nolan of Sunshine Coast Daily
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