The M1 Netball Super League (NSL) kicked off over the weekend, and this time the stakes are high, as besides vying for the NSL trophy, netballers will also be fighting for nominations for the national squad.
Teams line up for the opening ceremony during the M1 Netball Super League at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall. Photo: Sport Singapore
Apart from the regular club teams, competition at the current edition of the NSL is bolstered with the addition of two selection teams, Mission Mannas and Tiger Sharks, as well as two debutants SRC Barracudas and M1 Sunfish.
With a total of six teams, interim national head coach Yeo Mee Hong and the selection committee have more than enough options.
The selection committee will be announcing a 24-strong squad, upon the completion of the NSL.
“We’re looking at eight players to cover each unit – defence, midcourt and shooters,” said Yeo, who also helms the Mission Mannas team.
“From there, 18 players will be carded for the SEA Games squad and for the selection, we’re welcoming all players, including ex-national and retired players who are eligible and want to come forward to represent the country.”
While inheriting the reins from former head coach Ruth Aitken may seem daunting to most, Yeo welcomes the challenge, saying that it is “a privilege and honour” to lead the team.
“Definitely, no one can fill her (Aitken) shoes. She’s a world-class coach,” said the 52-year-old.
Cassandra Soh (left) of the Tiger Sharks competes for the ball against the Magic Marlins during the M1 Netball Super League. Photo: Sport Singapore
“I was privileged to work with, and learn from her several times such as during the 2014 Asian Championships and the 2015 SEA Games. And now, I am here to do my best and I just want to ensure the continuing success of the programme.
“Whether I’ll be appointed the SEA Games coach, or there will be an appointed coach coming in, I’m ready to hand over the reins and give my support in any way I can.”
For M1 Sunfish, whose squad comprises of national 21 & Under players, the NSL is a stepping stone for bigger goals – the Asian Youth Netball Championships in May and the Netball World Youth Cup in July.
The NSL is played in a double round-robin format which will last through April. The teams will eventually compete in the playoffs to determine their final positions. Members of the public can attend the games for free.
For the complete fixtures, visit: http://netball.org.sg/netball-events/item/1160-m1-nsl-2017