Age group rep teams replaced

It appears Netball New Zealand and the Dunedin Netball Centre are at other ends of the court on the issue of age-group representative netball.

The national body is replacing its representative programme for year 7 and year 8 children with a player development programme.

It has been billed as an accelerated learning programme which will  provide players the chance to extend their technical, tactical and development skills as well as inspiring a lifelong love of the game.

It is quite the sales pitch and the theory behind it is it will encourage a broader talent pool.

The development programme will still include tournament play.

New Dunedin Netball Centre operations manager Joyce Andrew said the national body had taken that stance because it felt a more inclusive approach was needed.

However, Andrew said she could still see benefit in a representative programme.

"We have always had a development programme in place ...  and it is really good to help and support the kids," she said.

"It is open to anyone. So we see the value in wider development but some players do have a really good competitive drive and we don’t want to take that away.

"So at the moment we are in discussions about that but we can see the value of having it.

"We would like to continue with it but it is under discussion at the moment."

Mainland Netball axed part of its junior representative programme last year.

Former Silver Fern Margaret Foster told Fairfax at the time she was "horrified" by the decision and felt children would miss out on an important opportunity to build resilience through success and failure.

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