West Coast Fever player Shae Bolton says she hopes the construction of the $26 million State Netball Centre will encourage girls to stick with the sport.
The 1000-seat centre, which is due to be completed before the end of the year, will provide a venue for the State league netball competition, West Coast Fever training, development squads and community netball activities.
As West Coast Fever prepare for their first home game of the 2014 netball season tomorrow, Premier Colin Barnett toured the Jolimont centre with Ms Bolton and West Coast Fever head coach Norma Plummer.
Once completed, facilities at the centre will include four indoor netball courts, nine competitor change rooms, facilities for West Coast Fever, Netball WA offices and a kiosk.
The concrete slab has been laid at the Matthews Netball Centre site, the majority of the steel framework has been erected and work on the roof is under way.
Works on the Netball WA offices on the first floor, the building’s façade and the installation of sports flooring and spectator seating are yet to begin.
Mr Barnett said the facility was “long overdue” and would give younger players a chance to watch top-level sportswomen play.
“There are over 40,000 registered netball players in this state and the girls and women that make up the strongest sporting contingent have for many years lacked a high-class facility,” Mr Barnett said.
“I think this will do a great deal to support the highest levels of netball in this state but also encourage younger players to stay with the sport.”
Ms Bolton, who plays centre, said having a home base for netball in WA was an opportunity to create a great netball culture in WA.
She said people could expect big things from West Coast Fever in the coming years now they would soon have the facility to train in.
“There’s a lot of other states that have that – the history and the culture all in one spot that you can walk into and know that’s the hub of netball,” Ms Bolton said.
“I think that’s going to encourage all the younger girls to continue playing netball right up into higher and elite levels.”
Ms Plummer welcomed the new centre, saying WA netball had needed such a facility for some time.
“We will now be able to compete with the East Coast, where all of this is normal,” Ms Plummer said.
“It is important that we are up with the rest of Australia on these facilities and this is just looking sensational.”