Collingwood Netball Program Under Threat as Review Begins
Netball Australia have confirmed that they are committed to running an eight–team Suncorp Super Netball competition in 2024, following news that Collingwood are reviewing their program.
The Magpies, who currently sit bottom of the ladder with a 2–7 record, have given Netball Australia notice of their review, with Magpies Chief Executive Craig Kelly reportedly calling a meeting on Tuesday morning to advise players and staff of the upcoming review.
The review has created uncertainty for all players and staff, since none of them are contracted beyond this season due to Netball Australia not having a Collective Player Agreement beyond September 2023. Netball Australia released a statement addressing the situation but did not detail what would happen if Collingwood did fold.
The statement read: “Netball Australia has been notified by Collingwood that it is reviewing its Suncorp Super Netball team program. We’re working with Collingwood and all stakeholders in relation to this matter. Netball Australia is committed to an eight–team Suncorp Super Netball competition in 2024.’’
The Magpies have been struggling to attract fans to games and have endured seven years of poor on–court performances and shaky financial stability. Last year, Netball Australia‘s sponsorship deal with Hancock Prospecting was withdrawn, leaving them in a financial crisis.
However, Visit Victoria – the tourism branch of the Victorian government – stepped in with a $15m sponsorship to fill the void. It is reported that state government assistance is being sought to keep alive the second Victorian franchise, backed by the nation’s biggest sporting club. The move comes after the publication of part one of CODE Sports’ investigation into the issues that have plagued the Magpies’ netball initiative since its birth in 2017.
Then, a new club now fully owned by the NRL’s Melbourne Storm – Sunshine Coast Lightning – was also introduced, while a second NSW licence was granted to Netball NSW, which runs GIANTS Netball, as part of a strategic alliance with AFL club Greater Western Sydney.