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GALLERY: Big year ahead for Maitland District Netball Association

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Things could not be any better for the Maitland District Netball Association (MDNA).

The organisation celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2022, highlighted by functions and gala days as well as the official opening of its new $5 million complex at Maitland Park.

And, now, 12 months later, the hard-working committee members are revelling in further success.

Players take to the courts for the Maitland District Netball Association season. Photo: Rod Thompson

Two-hundred and seventy teams – representing Beresfield, Branxton District, Cessnock Leagues, Coalfields, East Maitland, Hills, Hunter Valley Grammar School, Maitland Christian School, Maitland Pickers, Maitland RSL, Maitland RSL Youth, Maitland Rugby Blacks, Majestic, Medowie, Paterson River, Rover Pet Product, Seaham, Thornton, Thornton Park District and West Rutherford Telarah Netball Club – have signed on in 2023, much to the delight of president Leearna Bennett.

“That’s at least 20 sides up from last year,” she said.

“It means we’re just shy of 2,800 members, which is fantastic after COVID.

“To be honest, we actually experienced an increase [in numbers] in 2022 and it’s continued this season, especially in the junior divisions.

“Our 13/14s and 15/17s have risen two grades each.

“For me, that’s huge.

“It shows kids are returning to the sport.

“And, overall, that’s great.

“They are the future of the association – and the game.

“It’s also beautiful to see a sea of children out on the courts, having plenty of fun and learning skills.”

Weekend action at the Maitland Park Netball Complex. Photo: Rod Thompson

Adding to Maitland District Netball Association’s hectic program will be the NSW Senior State Titles, from 10-12 June.

“We’re hosting that major tournament for the first time in more than a decade,” Bennett told the Newcastle Weekly.

“So, it’s very exciting for everyone connected to the MDNA.

“The championships are usually contested in Sydney, so this will be our opportunity to showcase our new amenities, clubhouse and courts.

“We’re expecting up to 5,000 visitors a day, from Friday to Sunday, so it makes 2023 a massive year for us.

“Maitland boasts the only purpose-built netball facility outside of the metropolitan area at a regional standard.

“That’s mainly due to a lot of support, particularly from Maitland City Council and Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison.

“They’ve both been great for MDNA.”

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