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Australia v England netball matchAustralia v England netball match Netball is played by two teams of seven players. The game is most popular in Commonwealth nations, especially in schools, and is chiefly played by girls or women. A netball court has raised goal rings at either end. The ball used is similar to that used in basketball, but slightly lighter. Players pass the ball to other members of their team and attempt to score by shooting the ball through the goal ring at the opposing end. Netball games are 60 minutes long, divided into four 15-minute quarters. At the end of the game, the team that has scored the most goals wins. Breaking a minor rule in netball results in the opposing team being awarded a free pass, taken from the same spot where the infringement occurred. Breaking a major rule results in the opposing team being awarded a penalty pass (or a penalty shot at goal if the offence took place in the shooting circle). In this case, the offending player must stand out of the way until the pass or shot is made.

A netball courtA netball court


Goals are scored when a player positioned in the attacking shooting circle—actually semi-circular in shape—shoots the ball through the goal ring. The goal rings are fixed to the top of 10-foot (3.05-metre) posts that have no backboards. The netball court is 100 feet (30.5 metres) long, 50 feet (15.25 metres) wide, and divided into thirds.

Goal Defence (GD) gathers the ballGoal Defence (GD) gathers the ball


Each player is assigned a specific position, indicated by the two-letter abbreviation on their bib. A player’s position limits her movement to certain areas of the court. Only two players, Goal Shooter (GS) and Goal Attack (GA), are permitted in the attacking shooting circle, and only these two can shoot. Similarly, only two players, Goal Keeper (GK) and Goal Defence (GD), are permitted in the defensive shooting circle.

The Centre (C) may move anywhere on the court except for either of the shooting circles. The other players, Wing Attack (WA) and Wing Defence (WD) are restricted to two thirds of the court. If a player moves into an area of the court not designated for her position she is declared offside, resulting in a free pass being awarded to the opposing team.

Netball caught on in the early 1900s, because the restricted movement, which is a feature of the game, was considered appropriate for women participating in sport at that time.

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