Northern Ireland in Pool A of Gold Coast 2018 Netball Draw!   16/08/2017

The official match schedule and pools for the preliminary rounds of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) Netball competition have today been confirmed, following a draw ceremony held at Surfers Paradise beach.

Overseen and sanctioned by the International Netball Federation (INF), today’s draw ceremony saw the bottom six ranked teams randomly drawn into two pools in order to determine the match schedule for the preliminary round-robin stage of the competition.

They join the top six ranked teams who were placed into the two pools in a snaking pattern, according to the INF World Ranking list as of 1 July, 2017.

Each team will play every other team within their pool during the preliminary round matches which will be held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre from 5-12 April, before culminating in the finals matches at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre on 14-15 April, 2018.

The two pools determined today are listed below:

South Africa
Northern Ireland
New Zealand

Northern Ireland begin their campaign with an opening match against the World Number 1 and hosts Australia who they have not played in a ranking match since the 2011 World Championships in Singapore. What a way to open our competition!

The other matches for the Northern Ireland team see them take on Jamaica (ranked 4th in the world), South Africa (5), Fiji (7) and  Barbados (11) in what promises to be an exciting group stage with difficult matches at every step.

We asked our Head Coach, Chair and Executive Manager for their thoughts after the draw was announced - 

Head Coach, Elaine Rice

'This is an extremely challenging draw for us. However our players have a reputation of rising to challenges. In the majority of our preliminary group games we are underdogs. We play the world leaders in Australia as well as heavily financed and former medalists Jamaica. South Africa have been proven so strong with the introduction of their professional league and their players very sought after in the Suncorp super league. Fiji have been consistently in the 7th in World spot and we will learn so much about them as they are invitees at Netball Europe in October. We will look forward to renewing our rivalry with Barbados who we recently competed with in our Quad series. Our players will need to be at their absolute best to impact on this group. With an exceptionally busy netball season ahead then this is an added incentive to come out and display the best version of ourselves. I am confident that our players will approach this with the aim of upsetting the odds.'

Netball NI Chair, Geoff Wilson

'With the Commonwealth Games netball competition being made up of the the top 12 teams in the world, we always knew that whatever group NI were drawn in it would be a challenge, but this is our chance to compete against the very best in the world.  We are excited and very much up for the challenge. We believe we have a strong, determined and focused group of athletes and management led by Elaine who will prepare well and put out performances to give them the best chance of having a successful competition.'

Executive Manager, Karen Rollo

'Eight months out from the start of Gold Coast 2018 we now know who we will meet in the group stages. For me one of the most exciting parts is that we play teams from across all the netball regions. This is a great opportunity for our athletes as not only will we be challenged by the differing styles of play, we will be able to test our game against the best in the world. For our athletes to be on court competing against full time, fully funded athletes in packed arenas showcasing what they can do will be an incredible experience. Our squad have a massive few months ahead preparing for this, Netball Europe and World Cup Qualifiers, I'm sure the rest of Northern Ireland will get behind me in supporting them every step of the way.'