The men’s netball invitational series between the Stars men and Mystics men begins on Saturday at Pulman Arena. We caught up with Stars defender and captain Dan Rich to get his thoughts on the upcoming series and the exciting innovations being introduced for the games.


How exciting is it that the Stars men and Mystics men get to square off in a three-game series for the first time?

“It’s extremely exciting, it’s been somewhat anticlimactic having the two-game series finish at one-all between the teams for the past two years, but having three games and a clear winner at the end will be great. 

How would you describe the way men’s netball is played for those who are new to the game?

“The game is less structured and more aerial, which probably results in slightly more errors than the women’s game. A lot of the guys can naturally jump quite high and in the shooting circle for example a lot of the players can jump higher than the rim of the hoop. You’re pushing the ball into tight spaces which makes it a high risk, high reward style of game. There’s also more play on natural instinct and feel, rather than clear through court structure.”

What can we expect to see from the Stars men on court this year?

“It will be about finding the balance between structure and instinct. You never want to go too much one way or the other. I think we are finding the right balance and have great coaches in Junior and Natalie, who are providing us with good strategy around our game plan. It’s also a different look with the introduction of the two-point shot, so will be a change from what we’re used to.”

The introduction of the two-point shot is an exciting innovation – how do you think teams will approach this on attack and defence?

“I think there’ll be a trial-and-error approach throughout the first game. The two-point shot means we’ll have to think more and be mindful of what’s happening with the clock and the scoreboard and when’s best to take each type of shot. Defensively, it’s about what strategies need to be put in place that differ to defending the one-point shot, but also trying to shut down any long shot specialists from the other team.”

A captain’s time out is another new innovation – how do you plan to maximise this?

“I think it’ll be about feeling where the momentum may be swinging. Last year there were times where the error rates were a bit too high and we needed to take control of that. Having the captain’s time-out introduced means we can take some time, reset and go back to the product we want to display out on court.”

Umpire audio will be heard at venues throughout the live game. How do you anticipate this will enhance the spectator experience?

It’ll be pretty cool if it can provide some clarifications around calls from umpires during the match which will give spectators some valuable insight. Hopefully the mics don’t pick up too much colourful language coming from players on the court though!”

How important has this series become for increasing the exposure of the men’s game?

“I think it’s really important. It’s an interesting landscape at the moment, in terms of trying to advance the sport from amateur status. Elevating to a three-game series is really exciting and we hope it helps increase participation across the country. For us older players it’s also great to see younger players coming through, as they bring energy and a new perspective of the game, which is awesome.”

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