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Netball: Stingrays to rejoin NSL fold next year

Leading local club Sneakers Stingrays will rejoin the M1 Netball Super League (NSL) next year.

The five-time champions sat out this year's edition due to a disagreement between the club and Netball Singapore over their national players' training commitments.

They had been unhappy that their four national players at the time - national captain Vanessa Lee, Shina Teo, Parveen Nair and Jocelyn Ng - could only join the club for training once a week, while fulfilling their national team commitments on three other days a week.

As a result, the club withdrew from this year's competition and their national players joined mixed selection teams.

All national players must compete in the league, which is the highest level of competition in Singapore.

The league is also where national youth and senior players are scouted, with the national training squad usually announced upon completion of the NSL.

Veteran coach and Stingrays founder Goh Seck Tuck told The Straits Times yesterday that while he still feels there should be more commitment from the club's national players, the club have decided to abide by Netball Singapore's rules for the benefit of all their players.

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    Netball Super League titles the Sneakers Stingrays have won.

"As coach, I want all my players to be given a platform to perform and I will follow Netball Singapore's rules as it is the sport's governing body," he said.

"Last year's complications also caused our national players to be caught in between, which could have made the situation awkward for them."

The Stingrays have featured in the NSL since the league started in 2000, winning the title five times (2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2015).

The club now have five national players - Lee, Teo, Nair, Ng and Toh Kai Wei.

Goh, 56, added: "As a club coach, your club players are your greatest priority.

"The NSL is a very good platform, and I must take care of the rest of the players who are not in the national team too."

Netball Singapore chief executive officer Cyrus Medora said the association is pleased that the club will compete next year.

"It was a mutual agreement that it's about the national programme, especially with the Asian Championship (which Singapore will host) in September, so we were hoping that all the clubs would pull together with us and everyone agreed, there were no problems," he added.

"They're a good club and they will bring another level of competitiveness, so having them back will benefit the competition."

Also returning to the line-up are 2016 champions Blaze Dolphins, who also sat out this year as they were unable to muster a team.

Next year's NSL will feature five invited club teams - Stingrays, Dolphins, Fier Orcas, Magic Marlins and SRC Barracudas - and one selection team, Mission Mannas.