Netball Australia’s PacificAus Sports Netball Series will take to the Sunshine Coast next month as the international event returns for its second run in history.
Under the PacificAus Sports program and funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the series will run from Sunday 16 to Friday 21 October at USC Stadium in Sippy Downs, Queensland.
The series, which was held for the first time in March, showcases the skills, talent and athleticism of Pacific netball athletes, and aims to provide high-level competition for the national teams of Netball Australia’s PacificAus Sports partners – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.
The four countries last competed in July during the Oceania Netball World Cup Qualifiers in Suva where Tonga and Fiji qualified for the 2023 Netball World Cup.
Netball Australia Executive General Manager Strategy, Government and Community Glenn Turnor emphasised the significance of the series’ return.
“Netball Australia is committed to promoting netball excellence and strengthening linkages with our Pacific neighbours to grow our game for all,” Turnor said.
“Our One Court, One Family event slogan directs the nature of this competition as the perfect description of how we are connected by netball and can celebrate harmony through sport.”
The Fiji Pearls, Papua New Guinea Pepes, Samoa Tifa Moana and Tonga Tala will make their return to the PacificAus Sports Netball Series, with the event providing teams the experience to improve World Netball Rankings.
Tonga will be the team to beat in October after becoming inaugural champions at the March PacificAus Sports Netball Series.
Jaqua Pori-Makea-Simpson, Tonga Tala Head Coach, said the team preparation and approach to the upcoming series will differ to their March campaign.
“Although the undefeated March series win was exciting, it followed the tragedies of a volcanic eruption, tsunami and COVID-19 in Tonga and was a difficult time for all of us,” Pori-Makea-Simpson said.
“With the exception of Singapore, we have only played competition matches against other Pacific Nations this year. The October series is another chance to debut players and try various combinations ahead of the 2023 World Cup.
“How we prepare, adapt and respond will play an important part of our assessment, information gathering and planning.”
USC Thunder and an Australian pathway team will also enter the competition as domestic invitees, giving both Pacific and Australian athletes exposure to different playing styles at the international level.
The event will also be supported by the Sunshine Coast Council.
Entry to the October PacificAus Sports Netball Series is free. Spectators must adhere to all Queensland Government and venue requirements at the time of the event.
Every match of the Series will also be available to stream live and free at netballaustralia.tv