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New netball competition announced

A Pacific netball tournament has been confirmed by Netball Australia, which will add a much needed competition for the sport in the region.

The Pacific-Aus Sport Netball Series will be held in Queensland and will feature teams from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, along with a national Australian development team and the University of Sunshine Coast netball team. The tournament will be held at the university.

Action from the Samoa and Tonga match at the Oceania Netball Championship. Picture Netball Fiji
Action from the Samoa and Tonga match at the Oceania Netball Championship. Picture: Netball Fiji

Tonga, who surprised the Pacific in the Oceania Netball Championship by beating everyone, is looking forward to the competition. Head coach, Jaqua Pori-Makea-Simpson said this will allow her to test new players as they gear up for the Netball World Cup.

“The October Series is another chance to debut players and try various combinations ahead of the 2023 World Cup. It is the perfect event for us to assess some of our processes, gather more player data and understand areas for improvement in preparation for next year,” she said.

“This is an opportunity for us to be tested against an unknown opposition with a different style of play and ability.”

Fiji coach Unaisi Rokoura said her team has been in preparation over the last two weeks for the competition.

Fiji taking on PNG in the Oceania Netball Championship. Picture Netball Fiji
Fiji taking on PNG in the Oceania Netball Championship. Picture: Netball Fiji

“This past two weeks have been amazing performance from the individual players that took part. We had specialist camp and this week is putting everything on the court in terms of game situation. It’s been an amazing last two weeks,” she said.

“Today is the final day of preparation and next week, Fiji Netball will be releasing the names of the final 15.”

The inaugural competition ran earlier this year and organisers said it was a huge success in showcasing the skills, talents and athleticism of the Pacific netballers.

The tournament definitely helped the Tongan Tala to win the Oceania Qualifying Tournament in Fiji and to qualify for the World Cup for the first time.

It also serves as a key warm-up for Fiji and Tonga, who have qualified for the Netball World Cup next year. Fiji and Tonga have announced their intentions to play debutants and try out new combinations.

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