Pride's bid to stay in Victorian Netball League

BALLARAT Pride is adamant its future lies in the Victorian Netball League.

The VNL board is in the process of finalising criteria for new club licences from 2015 before it throws open applications from next month.

Pride interim club president Kaylene Trigg said the club would look to renew its place in the VNL, despite struggling performances in the marquee championship division since the league’s restructuring for the 2009 season.

But it remains a waiting game for Pride until the VNL unveiled its criteria.

“We’ll definitely be financial enough to go ahead.(Strategically) we want to apply. This year, we looked at just getting the club up and running this season,” Trigg said.

“We still need to know what we need to do.

“We certainly get the best home crowds of any club.

“One area we’re slightly down on is performance but, in saying that, over the course of the licences our 19/unders have been up there and our div ones have made finals or been just out of finals a couple of times.

“Our championship team hasn’t been able to show performance but we certainly aren’t the worst team and we didn’t finish bottom of the ladder last year.

“We are a club and we hope (VNL) looks at us as a club.”

On-court performance is only part of consideration to win a VNL licence.

The VNL also considers off-court factors like club marketing, community support and financial standing.

Trigg said that Pride’s strength was also in being the only regional club offering an elite netball pathway to players in western Victoria, Bendigo and those seeking a game from Melbourne.

VNL senior competition co-ordinator Rebecca Mellington said there were no guarantees – all clubs had to reapply and start the process anew on equal footing.

“It will be open slather again for clubs to apply from across the state,” Mellington said.

“Any club can apply and we want to see successful clubs on and off the court.”

Pride was awarded its VNL licence in the 2008 post-season when Netball Victoria’s state league was restructured with 10 clubs to sport teams across three grades – championship, division one and 19/under. It was cut down from 18 clubs in its previous format.

Ballarat Pride joined Netball Victoria state league competition in 1995 and climbed up the ranks to claim its first premiership, a division two flag, four seasons later.

Pride broke into division one in 2001, with a season relegation in 2003, and was a top contender in the grade until 2008.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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