The Samsung Diamonds will bring international netball to regional cities this year, playing a test match in Townsville for the first time, as well as Newcastle as part of the 2018 Quad Series and Constellation Cup.
The Diamonds are set to take on England at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Wednesday 19 September. The last time they played in Newcastle was 17 October 2012 against South Africa.
The series will move to Hisense Arena in Melbourne as part of a Quad Series double-header with Australia versus New Zealand and South Africa versus England on Sunday 23 September. The team will then shift its focus to the Constellation Cup, in which it will first face New Zealand at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday 7 October, and again at the Townsville Entertainment Centre on Wednesday 10 October.
The regional test matches will give thousands of netball fans the opportunity to witness international netball in their home city, many for the first time.
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said the team couldn’t wait to hit the court at the end of the Suncorp Super Netball season, and five months after Commonwealth Games.
“We are delighted to bring the Diamonds to regional Australia, with test matches in Newcastle and Townsville.
“The Commonwealth Games showcased the excitement and unpredictability of world netball, and this will be on show at the Quad Series and Constellation Cup.
“We look forward to playing for fans that may not have had the chance to witness us live before,” Alexander said.
Minister for Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games Kate Jones said hosting Constellation Cup matches in Townsville and Brisbane was another win for Queensland’s tourism industry and formed part of the 2018 Commonwealth Games legacy.
“Queensland has just hosted netball at the Games, showcasing our state’s ability to host world-class sporting events,” she said.
“Netball is one of the largest participation sports in Australia – it’s popularity together with the high-performing Australian and international netball teams which participate in these tournaments are sure to attract spectators to the host destinations.
“Events like these are key in driving tourism, boosting the local economy, supporting jobs and fostering community pride.
“They form part a stellar line-up of events on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar, which will inject $780 million into the state’s economy.”
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said it was a win for sports fans and the economy to host a netball test match in the city.
“Townsville is one of the premier sporting cities in regional Australia and hosting international matches is a major boost for the economy and local jobs,” Cr Hill said.
“We’re hoping to encourage as many netball fans from across the Tasman and throughout Australia to travel to Townsville to watch the match and enjoy everything North Queensland has to offer.
“Having international sporting matches in Townsville is also a great opportunity for our young athletes to watch the best in the world.
“We’ve got a lot of Diamonds fans up here in Townsville and I am sure they will be out in force and cheering on the girls when they play here in October.”
Tickets for the Quad Series and Constellation Cup will be on sale from early June. The Quad Series and Constellation Cup will be broadcast on the Nine Network, Telstra TV and the Netball Live App.
SAMSUNG DIAMONDS SCHEDULE
Saturday 15 September – AUS vs RSA – Auckland, NZ
Wednesday 19 September – AUS vs ENG – 7.30pm, Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle
Sunday 23 September – AUS vs NZ – 1pm, Hisense Arena, Melbourne
Sunday 7 October – AUS vs NZ – 1pm, Brisbane Entertainment Centre
Wednesday 10 October – AUS vs NZ – 7.30pm – Townsville Entertainment & Convention Centre
Sunday 14 October – AUS vs NZ – Hamilton, NZ
Thursday 18 October – AUS vs NZ – Wellington, NZ
Article: Netball Australia, Picture: Getty Images