Regional netball 'super league' taking shape
By STEVE SPINKS
NETBALL on the Far North Coast is set for a major overhaul after six local associations joined forces to form a new 'super league' for the 2008 season.
Teams from Ballina, Lismore, Casino, Brunswick-Byron, Grafton and Lower Clarence will all compete on a home-and-away basis in a bid to even up some lopsided local competitions in the aptly named FNC Premier League.
The format sees the champion club side from each association being promoted to the new premier league to contest the series that starts on May 3.
From a Lismore perspective, Daleys is the nominated side after claiming the 2007 premiership.
A full draw will be finalised by mid-April but it is believed that the competition will be played over two full rounds plus finals.
The new competition will give the netballers a similar format to that of local rugby league, union, soccer and cricket.
Lismore netball administrator Lyn Webster believes the format is a great opportunity for locals to excel on a regional level.
"In some associations their A-grade competitions were very uneven with one or two teams dominating," Webster said.
"So we're trying to give the strongest teams stronger games and take them out of the mainstream draw.
"The competition was suggested by Chris Sironen from Ballina."
According to Webster, the new competition has been embraced by most and the premier league could be expanded to include further teams.
A few years ago local netball associations tried a similar competition that ran on Wednesday nights.
It ended in failure due to the distances having to be covered during the working week.
With matches scheduled for 3pm on Saturday afternoons, the FNC Premier League should prove a huge success.