IT'S BACK: McAuley college and CVAS netballers during the DEX Shield at Westward Park back in 2015.
IT'S BACK: McAuley college and CVAS netballers during the DEX Shield at Westward Park back in 2015. Adam Hourigan

DEX Shield netball revamped as schools go to battle

NETBALL: The Daily Examiner Shield is back for 2019 as 'friends will become enemies' when Clarence Valley high schools battle it out for supremacy and a place in next week's finals at the Westward Park Netball Courts from 11.00am tomorrow.

Schools were unable to put together the event that has been running for a number of years but the Shield will make it's return much to the delight of students and others involved in the competition.

Grafton Netball Association is playing a huge part in the event this year, stepping in to ensure it all runs perfectly and official Brooke Burton is looking forward to the revamped tournament.

"It's good to have it back, everyone is really happy it's on again,” Burton said.

"It's school rivalry at it's finest, friends become enemies and everyone wants to win. When you're playing for your school it's a whole different ball game.”

The event will go ahead with a new format today as teams from newly determined Division 1, which will include junior students year 7, 8 and 9 while Division 2 will pit senior students from years 10, 11 and 12 against one another.

New changes going on to replace the three-division tournament that had two junior groups separate from a senior group in previous years.

"With the format change this year we're hoping it will mean we're pitting the best of the best against each other by pooling the talent a little bit more,” she said.

"Last year they couldn't quite get it together in time but this year we have decided to take a major part in the organisation of it all. In the past the schools have done more of that themselves but this year we wanted to help put it together.”

Burton looking forward to seeing some of the talent on show from the top contenders as well as some emerging talent from each school.

"Maclean and McAuley have always been two of the top teams, South Grafton always give them a run for their money and Grafton are generally up there too but it'll be really interesting this year,” she said.

The pooling of talent with the merge of ages should make for some quality play out on the courts as the competition looks to cement itself in the region once again.

"I think the change in the format will make a difference this year, some teams that can be a bit stretched will be stronger when grouped together.”

"It will shake things up and we'll have some really quality teams in the senior division.”

The DEX shield has long been an event that students of Clarence School's look forward to and the return is likely to make for some passionate players out on the courts tomorrow.

Sticking to the traditional round robin style, each team to play every opponent once with top two from each division moving on to play in the finals next Tuesday afternoon.

"The finals will be taking place after school so it's easier for students to get there and so that more people can come and watch the top teams face off,” she said.

"We're looking forward to seeing how it goes with our extra help and we're hoping we can turn it into a staple event on the netball calender again.”

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