The return of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) headlines the Australian Netball League (ANL) for the 2012 season, which kicks off on Friday 3 August, following the release of draw today.
The national underpinning competition returns to a ten team format this year with the return of the AIS and its new scholarship holders under the guidance of Australian Diamonds assistant coach Julie Fitzgerald.
The AIS enjoyed a successful stint in the first three years of the national competition with two grand final appearances, both losses to the Victorian Fury, in 2008 and 2009 followed by a third place finish in 2010.
The young scholarship holders will get no time to ease back into the competition as they host the opening round of the competition from Friday 3 August – Sunday 5 August with the AIS taking on the Western Sting, who finished third last year, in the league’s opening fixture.
The Canberra Darters will be calling upon their home crowd at the AIS Arena on the Saturday evening to help spur them to victory in their opening game of the season against defending champions NSW Waratahs.
Three-time ANL champions and 2011 runners-up, Victorian Fury open their 2012 campaign at home the following week on Friday 10 August against the AIS at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
The much anticipated 2011 Grand Final rematch between the Waratahs and Fury won’t come until the final round on Saturday 8 September when the action returns to the AIS Frank Stewart Training Hall in Canberra.
The ANL, established in 2008, bridges the gap between State League competition and the ANZ Championship by providing a national pathway for players, coaches, umpires, score bench and technical officials.
The six-week ANL commences on 3 August and concludes with the Finals Series to be held at the Waverley Netball Centre on 14-15 September ahead of the opening game of the Constellation Cup between Australia Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns the following day at Hisense Arena.
Click here for the 2012 Australian Netball League draw.
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