AIMING HIGH: Monique Murnae plays for the C-grade Clovers. The Gympie Netball Association is gearing up for an exciting 2017 winter season and believes the sport has an even brighter future.
AIMING HIGH: Monique Murnae plays for the C-grade Clovers. The Gympie Netball Association is gearing up for an exciting 2017 winter season and believes the sport has an even brighter future. LEEROY TODD

Here if you need: netball set to grow in Gympie

NETBALL: It is one of the most popular sports in Australia and, according to Gympie Netball Association president Colleen Miller, the game continues to expand in the gold city.

Speaking with The Gympie Times yesterday, Miller said a number of players had left the sport to try their hand at rugby union and AFL but local player numbers will be in excess of 350 for the 2017 winter season.

The recent inclusion of the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the national competition has brought unprecedented access for local players and Miller is confident Gympie will see the flow-on benefits in the near future.

"I can see the potential building,” she said.

"For our girls to have access to first-class players is great.

"I think it (the benefits) will be slow to filter through but they will.”

Like many of their male-dominated sporting counterparts, Gympie netball is using an inclusive method of recruitment and will look to run a mixed competition this winter.

"It is a very exciting time,” Miller said.

"We have some younger boys that have signed up for Net Set Go.”

Traditionally boys would gravitate towards basketball after the age of 10 but, such is the change of culture, Gympie now boasts two male junior coaches.

Miller was adamant netball and basketball couldco-exist and even assist each other in player development.

The Gympie Netball Association is also looking to expand their facilities on the back of several generous grants.