Netball Queensland today announced the seven licence holders of their new state-wide Sapphire Series competition.
The Sapphire Series is intended to revolutionise the high-performance pathway for Queensland’s up and coming netballers.
Each game will be live-streamed worldwide as Netball Queensland look to develop the next generation of SSN players and Australian Diamonds.
The Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds can boast the most Australian players and the most home-grown players again in 2019 of all SSN teams and the Sapphire Series aims to ensure NQ continues to promote local talent.
The Sapphire Series will launch in 2019, with licences being awarded to clubs after a rigorous four month application process to ensure they can meet the administrative, commercial and high-performance demands to compete in the semi-professional Queensland competition.
Team staff recruitment will take place in the coming weeks, before the player contracting period opens in December and closes at the end of January 2019.
The Sapphire Series will provide an opportunity for players to be exposed to the high-performance environment week in week out. As well as putting Queensland’s best netballers on display locally, the league will be live-streamed worldwide, giving international and domestic coaches and managers the opportunity to identify talent from afar.
All seven licenses have links to previous QSNL teams however there has been significant changes in the management and partners of these teams. The majority of the licences will have alignment with a Queensland University to use facilities, provide expertise and support in club administration as well as provide real world placement opportunities for students across a range of areas.
Of the new entities involved, the Ipswich Jets Leagues Club will launch Jets Netball, while Bond University enhance their involvement. A new club to secure a licence will be the North Queensland based Northern Rays. Carina Leagues Club continue their long-standing involvement in netball partnering with Tigers.
Games will be played out of the $44mil Brisbane Arena, the new home of netball in Queensland, with construction set to be complete in early 2019. The Northern Rays will play their home games in North Queensland, while the remaining clubs can play two home games in their own venue each season.
Sapphire Series 2019 Licence Holders
Moreton Bay Thunder
Brisbane North Cougars partnering with Australian Catholic University
Carina Leagues Club Tigers partnering with Griffith University
Jets Netball partnering with University of Southern Queensland
Bond University Bull Sharks partnering with Bond University
QUT Wildcats partnering with Queensland University of Technology