Broncos Exec Drinkwater joins Netball NSW as CEO

Netball NSW is delighted to announce that Tain Drinkwater has been appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer.

A highly experienced and respected sports administrator, Drinkwater will join Netball NSW from the Brisbane Broncos where she has been a senior member of the club’s Executive Team for the past five years as General Manager of HR, Risk & Compliance as well as head of the club’s National Rugby League Women’s Program.

A Newcastle native, Drinkwater played a key leadership role in the design and delivery of the inaugural NRLW competition and helped secure three consecutive Women’s Premiership titles for the Broncos, expanding the financial and commercial portfolio of the club in the process.

Prior to the Broncos the 43-year-old held senior and executive management roles in the Australian mining industry for 16 years, leading major operational and business transformation projects in remote and regional communities.

Hailing from a passionate netball family, Drinkwater is no stranger to the game. She played representative netball for both Westlakes and Charlestown while her father is also a successful NSW State Titles coach.

Drinkwater said she was excited to be returning to the sport and outlined some of her vision: “I am energised by the opportunity to build on the all-important foundation of community netball and perpetuate the on-court success of both the NSW Swifts and GIANTS Netball into financial self-sustainability.

“By enhancing the commercial footprint of our professional clubs, we can bring our elite players and coaches the recognition and reward they deserve which will place Netball NSW in a strong position to offer our grassroots and volunteers even more support to continue to thrive.

“I can’t wait to be a part of Netball NSW, a prestigious organisation with such a rich history across the state. I thank the Board for their confidence in me and feel privileged by the opportunity.”

Speaking on behalf of the Netball NSW Board, President Louise Sullivan congratulated Drinkwater on her appointment.

“We are delighted to have Tain join us as we look to bounce back stronger than ever from a COVID-interrupted 2020,” she said.

“Tain has a lifelong connection to netball and is deeply passionate about the sport with a sound understanding of the challenges associated with participation and facilities.

“Pre-COVID-19 we had two consecutive record-breaking grassroots participation years above 115,000 and we are determined to get back to those levels and build on them.

“Tain has done wonderful things for the development of women’s rugby league and we are very happy to have secured her expertise as we look to not only consolidate netball’s place as the clear leader for women in sport, but also widen our horizons to ensure it is a game for all.

“She is a people-focused leader and strategic thinker who we are confident will bring together the many hard-working and valued stakeholders of netball in this state to reach our shared goals.”

Drinkwater’s appointment follows an extensive and thorough independent Executive search process. She will commence in her role in early April 2021.


Netball NSW is the peak state sporting organisation responsible for the governance, development, promotion and administration of netball throughout New South Wales and is affiliated to Netball Australia.

The proud home of the NSW Swifts and GIANTS Netball who compete in Suncorp Super Netball, Netball NSW also provides the framework for the state’s grassroots Clubs and Associations to enjoy the sport at all levels.

Netball is proudly the No.1 team sport for women and girls in both NSW and Australia, and Netball NSW aims to be innovative to retain this position state-wide and nationally, while also seeking to expand its reach.

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