Dreams of the Sunshine Coast having our own national sporting team may soon become a reality, with the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club confirming it is seeking a licence for a Sunshine Coast based team to participate in the expanded National Netball League (currently known as the ANZ Championship).
Mayor Mark Jamieson said Sunshine Coast Council was 100% supportive of the club's expression of interest recently submitted to Netball Australia which, if successful, would be the first professional national sporting team for the region.
"Melbourne Storm and the University of the Sunshine Coast are partnering as owners of the prospective team, with Sunshine Coast Council as a key supporter," Mayor Jamieson said.
"The team would be based at the University of the Sunshine Coast sports stadium – a national standard indoor facility – as part of the University's High Performance Sports Strategy and ambition to be the preferred destination for elite athletes and teams.
"If successful, our first national senior sporting team will be a female team in a sporting code that is one of the fastest growing in the country.
"Providing leadership in this space is important for both Council and the University, particularly given that two-thirds of the university's 12,500 enrolled students are female.
"Netball is the highest female participation sport on the Sunshine Coast and has enjoyed substantial growth over the past three years with more than 6600 members in local competitions.
"Council will work with the local, state and national bodies to ensure pathways for our locals from grass root to elite athletes, allowing these netballers to pursue a professional sporting career right here on the Coast."
Mayor Jamieson said the well-regarded Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club had already demonstrated the value of such partnerships through its strong relationship with Sunshine Coast Council and affiliations with the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
The Melbourne Storm National Youth Competition and Academy is proudly based at Sunshine Coast Stadium and provides a pathway to Storm's NRL squad and elite coaching for 16-20 year olds.
He said the opportunity to promote the Sunshine Coast to a national audience was priceless with matches to be televised nationally 14 times a year and featuring up to seven home games.
"Closer to home, a new national netball team will help bring communities together, foster participation, encourage healthier lifestyles and enable residents to gain a wealth of experiences that would otherwise not be readily available or accessible," Mayor Jamieson said.
"It will create a legacy for generations, with players and spectators coming together to play, talk and share experiences.
"We still have a way to go in pursing this exciting opportunity being led by the Melbourne Storm and I look forward to being advised of the outcomes of the Netball Australia EOI process."
Courtesy of My Sunshine Coast
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