Bendigo will not play in the Bupa league.

BENDIGO’S bid to join the Bupa Victorian Netball League has been rejected.

Netball Victoria yesterday confirmed the 10 teams for the upcoming season of the state’s premier netball competition, and said applications to join the elite competition had been assessed by an independent selection panel as well as Netball Victoria’s General Manager – High Performance.

The successful licence holders for the 2019-2023 competitions are Boroondara Express, City West Falcons, Casey Demons (new in 2019), DC North East Blaze, Geelong Cougars, Hawks Netball, Melbourne University Lightning, Peninsula Waves, Wilson Storage Southern Saints, and the Ariels VCNA.

For the local consortium, this is the second time a Bendigo bid has failed to gain a franchise licence, having also fallen short in 2019.

The group had formed a partnership with Bendigo Stadium Limited, the City of Greater Bendigo and La Trobe University and had the support of several existing netball leagues and associations.

To be known as the North Central Strikers, the club hoped to provide a development pathway for talented netballers from across the region, based at Bendigo Stadium with a catchment extending through the northern corridor from Gisborne to Echuca and as far as Mildura.

Netball Victoria said it would continue to work with licensees in regards to the further development of the Bupa VNL competition, and ensuring it continues to grow and meet competition objectives, which includes the inclusion of additional teams in the future.

The organisation said it was committed to developing regional hubs across the state, in key locations, to enable access to our pathway for all of our netball community.

The regional centres will support associations, leagues and clubs and local communities, and are expected to maximise the opportunities arising from the State Netball and Hockey Centre redevelopment to benefit those who play our sport across the state.

The Bupa Victorian Netball League will commence in April 2019 at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.