Strathfieldsaye V Golden Square. Photo: Andrew Perryman.

Netball remains the leading team sport for women and girls in Victoria, according to the latest AusPlay data released by Sport Australia.

Netball Victoria chief executive officer Rosie King said this was a great result for netball in Victoria and reflects the work that the netball community has achieved.

“We love the fact that in the current climate there are more opportunities for girls to sample other sports, so with this in mind, our aim is to have the best facilities, pathway, coaches and most welcoming environment where people continue to have a connection with netball at all stages of their life.

“Victoria has such a strong athlete pathway, which is evident in national representation, our pre-elite team, Victorian Fury and the Melbourne Vixens, and with more visibility through media including the Channel 9 and Telstra TV broadcasts, the talent of our athletes is showcased and builds them as role models.”

Ms King said she hoped that recently implemented gender regulation and male participation policies would provide expanded opportunities for boys and men to play netball.

Elite netball matches played at the Bendigo Stadium continue to draw capacity crowds as a further demonstration of the sport’s growing popularity, both for participation and as a spectator sport, while participation among junior players at the grassroots level is also strong.

The survey showed that the top three motivations for people in Australia to participate in netball were social reasons (52 per cent), fun and enjoyment (50 per cent) and physical health or fitness (45 per cent).

The data also demonstrated that netball retains players for longer than other sports, with strong female participation into adulthood (18-24 years of age).