England Rose/Collingwood Netball defender Geva Mentor (Picture: England Netball)

A current legend within the netball and Women’s sport space, English Rose and Collingwood Netball defender Geva Mentor returns for her fifth season of Suncorp Super Netball.

As someone who has had as much experience in the game as Mentor, including over 200 national league games as well as over 150 international caps, she always returns to Australia for the SSN season.

With the further development of the Netball SuperLeague in the UK, she could stay at home and play in an up-and-coming league.

Speaking exclusively to The Inner Sanctum at the SSN 2023 season launch, Geva Mentor spoke about what brings her back each year and where the Suncorp Super Netball League sits within the domestic leagues around the world.

“There’s no doubt that [the SSN] is the premier league around the world. I often compare the SSN [with] what the NBA has done for basketball in the states,” Mentor told The Inner Sanctum.

“It’s the league you want to play in, it’s the one that the English and the Africans [and], the Jamaicans who come over and want to play against the best players in the world, [to] be umpired by the best, [and] they want to have the structures around media like this.

“[It’s also due to] the broadcast, that’s really able to elevate us as not just teams but individual athletes too and I think that the fact that the sport is growing and then the inclusion of men and boys as well, it’s a really healthy place for it to be.

“I also go back to England and I want to share that and I know they look at the sort of template that Australia has been able to do with SSN and try to emulate that.”

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With the focus on better coverage of the athletes within the teams and more accessible coverage in the form of Foxtel and Kayo, the league saw bigger audiences last season.

Mentor spoke about the role this had in growing the viewership of the league and Collingwood in particular.

“Participation rates are up and even people viewing the game too, [the goal] for us [is] getting more bums on seats,” she said.

“[People] are quite happy watching netball on TV at home but for us being a newer team within Victoria and being the second team that’s come through behind the Vixens. It’s about establishing and getting people through the gate and knowing that they can come and watch netball and go watch football afterward and trying to find our niche in the market in that sense.

“I mean it’s great for the sport to be in a healthy position then the more we can give back and connect with the community and connect back with not only our sponsors but people who support the sport and grow the sport, I think it’s a really crucial turning point for us.”

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