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Netball History

New Zealand netball player Irene van Dyke shooting for goal.

New Zealand Netball player Irene van Dyke shooting for goal.

The Netball competition is for women only and has featured as a full medal sport at the past two Commonwealth Games, following the introduction of team sports in 1998, however it also featured at the 1990 Games as a demonstration sport.

It is now obligatory to include Netball on each Commonwealth Games program.

In Kuala Lumpur, Australia beat New Zealand 42-39 in a thrilling gold medal match, and the bronze medal decider was just as tight, with England holding off South Africa 56-54.

In Previous Games

If anyone thought the 1998 final was a hard act to follow, they weren't counting on arch-rivals Australia and New Zealand battling out an all-time classic encounter to decide gold in Manchester.

New Zealand looked set to win in regulation time before Catherine COX netted a late goal to tie the scores at 46-46 and send the match into extra time.

It was goal for goal in the two added periods (seven minutes each) before the Silver Ferns again edged ahead, this time by two goals with two minutes to play. But once again Australia fought back to level the scores as the 74th minute expired.

Now into 'sudden death' extra time, a two-goal margin was required to secure victory - initially leading to some confusion - but Sharelle McMAHON converted for a heart-stopping 57-55 win after 76 minutes of fierce combat.

In another cliffhanger, Jamaica beat England 55-53 to claim the bronze medal.

At Melbourne 2006

The competition will be conducted according to the rules of the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) and consists of two pools of six teams playing each other in a round-robin tournament, with the two leading teams in each pool advancing to the finals.

The top eight world-ranked netball teams (New Zealand, Australia, Jamaica, England, South Africa, Samoa, Barbados and Fiji) are from Commonwealth nations and will be competing at the Games.

Pool A consists of New Zealand, South Africa, England, Fiji, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Malawi.

Pool B consists of Australia, Jamaica, Samoa, Barbados, Wales and Singapore.

The State Netball Hockey Centre (SNH), where the preliminary and classification matches will be played, is a community-based venue, so recreational players right down to junior levels have been playing on the same courts that the Commonwealth Games teams are using. The finals will be played at the Multi Purpose Venue (MPV) at Melbourne Park.

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