Newcastle Netball returned with a bang this weekend, as the revamped Greater Club Series — a ‘club championship’ format to make up for the shortened season — finally got underway, just a little later than expected.

The Newcastle netball community has been sweating on the start of the 2020 season, after it was delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak back in April. The association was finally able to give the green-light last weekend, and netball returned at National Park.

All eyes were on the Greater Bank Club Series, which has replaced the Championship for the shortened season. The top-grade sides would link up with their opens and 23s teams to contest a three-team club race during the nine-week competition.

Three Newcastle heavyweights have already taken an undefeated lead in the opening round of the competition; Souths, Nova, and 2019’s defending champs West Leagues all recorded clean sweeps across all three grades on Saturday afternoon.

In the top grade, West Leagues fought off a valiant attempt from Championship newcomers Inner Glow in a 38–31 battle in the early time slot.

Defending champs West Leagues chalked their first win over a determined Inner Glow on Saturday afternoon.

Souths and Nova had more convincing victories. The Lions roared to a 60–26 triumph over Charlestown-loaded Junction Stella, while Nova trio Brooke Fennings, Abbie Gray, and new signing Caitlin Lobston fired Thunder to a 33–point win over Kotara.

University (previously Forsythes) also got off to a flying start in the top grade. The ladies in maroon, still getting used to the swap from light blue, rolled to a 50–26 win over BNC. The club also won in the 23s, but fell 34–40 in the opens.

That middle-grade slip set UON right into fourth place on seven points, two ahead of BNC and four ahead of three-club pack Inner Glow, Kotara, and Junction. The trailing pack clocked up three points across the opening weekend.

Greater Bank Series Standings: Souths, West Leagues, Nova (9), University (7), BNC (5), Inner Glow, Kotara South, Junction (3).

Greater Bank Championship

  • BNC Whanau 26–50 University of Newcastle
  • Inner Glow 31–38 West Leagues Balance 1
  • Junction Stella 26–60 Souths Lions
  • Kotara South Tigers 32–65 Nova Thunder

Greater Bank Open

  • Newcastle Netball Invitation Team 31–31 Souths Roar
  • Kotara South Lynx 23–34 Nova Storm 34
  • BNC Koodidarra 40–34 UON Opens
  • Inner Glow Osborn Law 26–28 West Leagues Balance 2

Greater Bank Under 23s

  • BNC Ohana 26–53 UON 23s
  • Inner Glow Waratah 22–38 West Leagues Balance 23s
  • Junction Splice 34–57 Souths Pride
  • Newcastle Netball Association 31–31 Nova Fusion