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Should Netball Be Our National Sport?

By Alasdair McClintock on May 1, 2019 in Sport

Great for the joints, by Liz Ellis.

“Cricket is soooo boring!” “Rugby is a blood sport!” “I’ve no time for Aerial Ping-Pong!” “Soccer is for pansies!” You’ll hear nearly every big Australian sport cop a spray from someone at some stage, but when was the last time you heard a shot fired at the good name of netball?
Well, I think it’s about time someone did.
Joking! I’d never do such a thing. Heck, I love every sport. Except UFC, but I’d prefer those folks punched each other than me, so there’s that at least.
It’s fair to say netball is the favourite child of the Aussie family. The genial, good looking (but not too good looking) younger one, who doesn’t have the hang-ups of its siblings and just wants to go about its business, having a merry old time.
According to a very difficult government website to work out, it is the sixth most popular sport in the country, in terms of participation, in either New South Wales, the whole country, or just children aged from 0-14 years. Smarter people than me can probably work this out very easily, but I did not want to delve further because I got a headache and slightly angry just looking at the page.
But, while the numbers may not fully add up for it to be our national sport, I argue that it holds the dearest spot in our national hearts by default. We all like it. We all smile when we see it. Our national team, the Diamonds, is also very good. They win a lot of things. Which, years gone by, may not have been the biggest deal, but now is like hens’ teeth. They could rename them the Talpids – a naturally occurring mutant chicken with a complete set of nibblers.
The national netball comp, creatively named ‘Suncorp Super Netball’ will be in full swing during May. You should get down to a few games. Although, if you’re a bloke, maybe don’t go alone in a trench coat. You will get some looks. Possibly arrested.
You can also watch a few games live on free-to-air. Channel Nine, to be precise. You know, like most major sports. Apart from one of the most prominent ones, whose previous and current administrators should all be forced into full-time lock down and care, because they clearly don’t have the core competencies to function in civilized society, let alone run a major sports code. I’m surprised they can even cross a road.
The Sunshine Coast Lightning are the team to beat. Back-to-back champions and perhaps a good indicator to the NRL that the Sunshine Coast is a viable spot to house a successful sporting team. But they’d rather flog a dead horse. Good luck to them.
The local sides are in with a shot though. They have more familiar names to the casual fan, being the Giants and the Swifts. It would be nice if we can say the same of the players soon too.