bulletOrigins of the Great Girlie Game
bulletThe Basics
bulletMy Netballing Life
bulletThe Tidewater Stars
bulletGo Aussie!

Origins of the Great Girlie Game

Netball derived from basketball and in fact it used to be called women's basketball when I was a pup. Apparently it resulted from some confusion when  the rules of the new game of basketball was imported into Britain in the late  1890s. It was then developed as a more lady-like version suitable for English school girls via strict non-contact rules and limitations on the amount of movement around the court. This therefore minimised the exertion the 'gels' were exposed to and also of course minimised their I mean their "glow". 

Things have changed a little since then. Although players  are still only allowed to take one step with the ball and the court limitations on each position remain, the game is now high paced, extremely energetic and, judging by the amount of times I fall down on court, far from  lady-like! Its a great game and is now apparently the number 2 participant sport in Australia (after golf). Its the number one women's sport in the world and now even the guys are getting into the act.

The Basics

As you can see, netball is played with seven players on each team on a court that is divided into three sections, plus two goal circles and a centre circle.

Netball Court Image
Diagram courtesy of the IFNA website.

The following is a list of positions and what each one does:

Posn Full name Court Coverage Shoot? Opposn
GS Goal Shooter Goal third plus goal Yes GK
GA Goal Attack 2 thirds (goal and centre) & goal Yes GD
WD Wing Defence 2 thirds, not goal No WD
C Centre Entire court with the exception of goals No C
WD Wing Defence As per WA except at opposite end of court No WA
GD Goal Defence As per GA except at opposite end of court No GA
GK Goal Keeper As per GS except at opposite end of court No GS

Basically the object of the game is to get the ball from the centre (where the action starts) to one of the goalies (i.e. GS or GA) in the goal circle and for them to shoot a goal which is worth one point. The ball returns to the centre after each goal and the centres of each team take it in turns throwing the ball off.

You can take one step with the ball but must throw it before you put the next foot down again. There is no dribbling (except by the male spectators who are just there for the short skirts).

You can defend the ball from three feet away from the person who has the ball. Any closer than this, or if you contact the player you give away a free. 

My Netballing Life

I began my netball life for Kangarilla at the age of about 6 or 7 and played at WD in a team that was all much older than me. Then when we were able to get together a junior team of my age group I played lots of places including GA before my blossoming height relegated me to a goal defensive role. And there I pretty much stayed, playing GD and GK before age finally dictated that I remain back as keeper for the rest of my days (see pic).

Netball_action.jpg (76350 bytes)Goal Keeper is a great spot although I didn't think so when I was a little younger and wanted to run. Its the last line of defence and so has a lot of responsibility associated with it. Its also a bit of a mind game back there, involving a degree of out-thinking and out-psyching your opponent who is normally the best goal scorer of the team. But the great thing about netball is that it is very much a team game. If the rest of the team isn't playing well then however well you are playing is pretty much irrelevant so this means that usually there are no real stars, just good team players. That's why I particularly think it is a great game for youngsters.

I have played in 4 or 5 states in Australia and many more clubs as my job has taken me round the country. I do remember playing in a very satisfying premiership win in Western Australia with the Padbury Netball Club back in 1991 which was a highlight. By far the majority of my time has been spent playing for the Kangarilla Netball Club in the Southern Hills Netball League, my first and most recent club. I won premierships at Kangy in juniors (D grade 1977) and seniors (B grade 1978; A2 1979) but by far the highlight was playing in an A1 winning premiership in 1986 (I think!). Some of those who played back then are Kangy_A1.jpg (61474 bytes) still playing for Kangy. 

The picture (left) is of the Kangarilla A1 team in the last game in 1999. Back Row (from left) Sue, Sherry, Ruth, Kelly, Annie. Front Row: Alice, Brooke, Warriordoc.

The Tidewater Stars

Now I have a chance to play in a whole 'nother country! Netball has finally returned to the place it all began and although most folks in the US have never heard of it, a lot of expats from Commonwealth countries have got together to form various leagues. While surfing the web for links for my site I even found a Tidewater Stars 4.jpg (140938 bytes) team here in my area, the Tidewater Stars Netball Club. This is their inaugural year and I am proud to be a member of this fledgling club. We have played two games so far against the Washington Steppers, and although we lost both times we are showing signs of improvement. I have put some pics from these games in a photo album entitled Tidewater Netball.

Go Aussie!

Aussie netty team.jpg (45312 bytes)Australia is the current World Champion in netball having beaten the Kiwis in a heart stopper at last years World Championships in Auckland. Though mostly played in Commonwealth countries, the game is spreading, and even the the US entered the Worlds last year. This can only be good for the game and the level of competition. After all, Australia needs some ;-)         
Picture courtesy of Netball Australia


For more information about this great game, try the following sites:


bulletNetball Australia - official site of Australian Netball. It gives you updates on the National Netball League and will probably tell you that the Adelaide Thunderbirds are on top as usual ;-)
bulletThe Adelaide Thunderbirds - homepage of the NNL champions for the past two years.
bulletThe Australian Institute of Sport - more background information on the game.
bulletLiz Ellis homepage - Australia's Goal Keeper extraordinaire and highest profile player


bulletInternational Federation of Netball Associations - links to the game throughout the world, maybe even in your own backyard. Also has a downloadable form of the rules.
bulletWorldsports Netball - latest international news
bulletUSA Netball Association
bulletUS Contacts  

Other Sites

bulletAndy's Netball Resources Page - UK based but a great source for international links.
bulletElizabeth's Australian Netball Gallery - links to everything and lots of news and facts about Aussie netball.
bulletNetskills - a resource page for coaches and players
bulletNetball Mania magazine
bulletIndoor Netball  - an indoor form of the game played on an Indoor Cricket court. The rules are a little different in this form (eg the ball bounces off nets instead of going out) and although its fun its not REAL netball. I mean you can't even get a bloodied knee when you fall over!

And don't forget the film that my brother and I are preparing - SCORING, a film about sex, drugs...and netball! The definitive netball film.

This Netball site owned by Warriordoc.
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