After two years of COVID-enforced cancellations, the HART Junior State Titles are back and the next generation of NSW talent is set to converge on the Penrith District and Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Associations for three huge days of competition.
A flagship event within the Netball NSW (NNSW) pathway, the Titles showcase the strength of the grassroots game with young players from all over the state coming together to represent their respective Associations. It is also a key pathway competition for coaches and umpires.
Taking place from Saturday to Monday, 2-4 July, it is the largest community sport event run by NNSW, and doubles as one of the biggest of its kind of any sporting code nationwide.
Last held in 2019, its large-scale nature meant it sadly fell victim to COVID-19 lockdowns in both 2020 and 2021.
This year athletes will take part in three age-groups – 14U, 13U and 12U – with Penrith welcoming teams in Divisions 1 and 2, while Baulkham Hills hosts sides in Divisions 3 and 4.
Similar to this year’s Senior State Titles, which introduced Men’s Divisions for the first time, in 2022 the Junior Titles will have an inaugural Boys’ Division.
NNSW President Louise Sullivan noted that the hosting of the event this year was a major milestone in the game’s recovery as the nation learns to live with COVID-19.
“Given this is the largest grassroots netball event on the Netball NSW calendar, I think it’s fair to say that netball is back! How good is it to be able to say that?” she said.
“Absence certainly makes the heart grow fonder and I know we are in for three very special days as participants and fans from all over the state flock in their thousands to both venues.
“I would like to acknowledge the players, coaches, officials, volunteers, staff and wider supporters of the game who put so much effort into their Junior State Title campaigns in both 2020 and 2021, only to have their opportunities taken away as the nation grappled with the coronavirus.
“I hope many of those affected are taking part this year, but those who aren’t should still be immensely proud of their achievement in being selected for representative netball in the first place.
“When you see the sheer power of our grassroots game, that is no mean feat.”
Sullivan also emphasised the importance of inclusion in extending netball’s reach.
“Excitingly, for the first time ever, we will have Boys’ Divisions,” she said.
“The inclusion of male divisions in the Junior and Senior State Titles – the sport’s showpiece events at grassroots level – is a vital part of securing our game’s future.
“The last few years have shown us nothing is ever certain so we should appreciate the collectiveness events like this bring, and powerful impact netball can have across the state.”
Netball NSW would like to thank HART Sport, Naming Rights Partner of the event, for their support.