Queensland’s premier netball competition, the HART Sapphire Series, is preparing for its most exciting season to date, with the addition of two newteams and the return of a fan favourite set to headline an enthralling 2021 campaign.
Returning to the competition following a COVID enforced break in 2020, the Northern Mendi Rays will host the Sapphire Series season opener against 2019 champions the Wildcats at Townsville Stadium on Saturday 17 April, with new Club QUT Netball to bookend the opening round against defending Premiers the Brisbane North Cougars at Morayfield Sports and Events Centre on Sunday 18 April.
In the second division Ruby Series, the Barastoc Darling Downs Panthers will host the Wildcats at Downlands College, taking the season opener to all corners of Queensland.
Netball Queensland High Performance Director, Demelza Fellowes, said the opening round shapes as a perfect representation of the competition’s statewide footprint.
“The HART Sapphire Series’ showcases Queensland’s incredible netball talent, and to see the return of the Rays’, as well as the introduction of QUT, provides more great netball for our passionate tribe of fans to enjoy.” Fellowes said.
“We see this as the country’s premier state league and our Clubs share that ambition, so I have no doubt our Queensland community will be treated to a season of fierce competition where their local heroes will shine.”
Having shared the court with the world’s best netballers in 2020 following the relocation of the Suncorp Super Netball competition to Queensland, the relationship is set to continue in 2021, with several Sapphire Series fixtures to be played as either curtain raisers or closers to Queensland Firebirds games at Nissan Arena.
A Round 3 Grand Final re-match between the USQ Jets and Brisbane North Cougars will follow the Firebirds season opener against the NSW Swifts on Sunday May 2, while the Carina Leagues Club Tigers will host QUT Netball a week later on Nissan Arena’s Show Court ahead of the Firebird’s Round 2 clash against the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
“We are thrilled to provide fans with a feast of netball through the double header Firebirds and Sapphire series fixtures, as well as exposing our rising stars to the professional match day environment.” Fellowes said.
“You only have to look back to last year and the unique opportunity COVID provided for players to be picked directly from our competition to join Super Netball Clubs to understand the standard of play within the Sapphire Series.”
The opening round of the 2021 HART Sapphire Series’ gets underway on Saturday 17 April in Townsville and Toowoomba respectively.
Click here to see the draw for the 2021 HART Sapphire and Ruby Series.
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