The under-15 B netball competition is set to return this year after a recess in 2017.
The Wimmera Netball Association was forced to abandon the second under-15 competition last year with just three teams nominating, two less than the required amount as stated in the association’s by-laws.
Clubs had been given a deadline of December 31 to indicate whether or not they would be able to field a second under-15 team in 2018.
That number has jumped to the required five this year, meaning the B competition will return.
Horsham Demons, Horsham Saints, Stawell, Ararat and Minyip-Murtoa have expressed interest in restarting the competition this season.
The return of the competition has been welcomed by both the Ararat Rats and Stawell Warriors. Both clubs will enter teams in the two under-15 competitions this year.
Ararat president David Jennings said the Rats are excited to see the second competition return.
"It is exciting to see it return, it will good for the junior players to get another team back into the competition after missing last year,” he said.
"We will not have any problems fielding the team, we have plenty of players available.”
Stawell netball director Kathryn Clayton said the Warriors will be entering sides in both under-15 netball tiers.
“We definitely had the numbers last year so it was disappointing to see so many kids miss out,” she said.
“We certainly have an interest in entering two teams this year.”
Clayton said having two under-15 netball divisions is crucial for the development of the sport in the region.
“It is a critical time for the girls at that age,” she said.
“If they don’t get to play and get plenty of opportunities we lose them to the club or the sport as a whole.”
In a strong sign for netball in Stawell, the interchurch netball competition was reinstated to create interest and provide opportunities and learning experience throughout the summer.
Clayton said the return of the off-season netball plays a big role in keeping interest in the sport.
“It is a great way to develop girls locally and keep the girls involved in the sport.,” she said.
Wimmera Netball Association president Pauline Butler said she was excited for the competition to return.
“I know a lot of clubs missed the competition last year and a lot of players missed out because the competition wasn’t there,” she said.
“We welcome it back because it is great for the league, great for competition and great for the juniors.”
“It’s certainly pretty exciting to get that competition back up and running.
“It just means a lot more girls are going to be able to play netball – that’s what it is all about.”
A sixth team is also still weighing up whether or not it would be able to field a team.
“If we had six that would be even better,” Butler said.