Queenstown netball coach Sharron Ede wants to catch up with some familiar faces at the resort’s first trans-Tasman tournament this weekend.
Starting tomorrow, the Events Centre plays host to a three-day, pre-season warm-up tournament for Australia and New Zealand provincial teams.
Taking part will be New South Wales Swifts, Southern Steel, Northern Mystics, Central Pulse and Australian Institute of Sport.
Ede, the newly appointed president of Wakatipu Netball, has previously worked for Netball Southland with elite players – as well as alongside Steel and Silver Ferns coach Robyn Broughton.
She’s looking forward to seeing the return of veteran Steel and Silver Fern players Adine Wilson and Donna Wilkins to the court this season after both took time out to start a family. She expects these mums to get back to their best form in short time.
Ede reckons the hot ticket for the 12-game tournament is Saturday night’s “exhibition match” between local favourites the Southern Steel and ANZ champions NSW Swifts. “Young girls can go and meet some of their idols,” Ede says.
Due to the limited 400 seats available at the Events Centre, Queenstown often misses out on national and international netball games – a minimum of 2500 seats is required to host a game.
With 50 per cent of ticket sale proceeds going to Wakatipu Netball, Ede says the tournament’s “an amazing opportunity for the area and is really going to help with projects that we’ve got on” as funding in the area is harder to come by in tough times.
Weekend draw – all games at the Events Centre
10am Steel v Swifts
1pm AIS v Pulse
4.30pm AIS v Swifts
6.30pm Steel v Mystics
9.30am AIS v Mystics
11.30am Swifts v Pulse
1.30pm AIS v Steel
4.00pm Pulse v Mystics
6.30pm Steel v Swifts
9.45am Swifts v Mystics
11.30am Pulse v Steel