AN army of netballers are expected to invade Grafton after the announcement the Grafton Representative Carnival has been extended to a two day event this year.
Around 700 competitors from Murwillumbah to Hastings are anticipated to attend the carnival as the Grafton Netball Association (GNA) initiates its bold new plan.
“Previously we could only hold the carnival on the Sunday because of the regular competition played on the Saturday,” Association publicity officer Fiona Gordon said.
“This year there will be no Saturday competition so we can hold that many (competitors).
“Usually we had to turn teams away because the carnival was already full.”
Gordon said Grafton 'was stuck' in the middle of three regions who liked to use the carnival as training run for the State Age Championships.
“It's a very strong competition and a good preparation for state,” she said.
“Coaches can use the carnival to swap players around, see where their strengths are, and improve on their weaknesses.
“It's a great two days of spectator sports.”
The GNA will field five teams in the carnival after holding trials over the last two weekends at the Grafton Regional Sports and Entertainment Centre.
“Grafton is very strong and does very well at the carnival,” Gordon said.
“We had to choose 45 players from out of a hundred ... that's how competitive the trials were.
“To be quite honest there is quite a good depth (in Grafton).”
With so many competitors, family members and netball executives visiting Grafton, Gordon expected the regions accommodation industry to take advantage of the influx of visitors.
“With the exception of teams who live close by, there will be many people who will have to stay in town for the night,” she said.
Gordon said spectators were invited to enjoy the action, barbecue, canteen, coffee facilities and snow cones at the carnival.
“If you want to stay for half an hour or three hours you're more than welcome,” she said.
The Grafton Representative Carnival will be held at the Bacon Street netball courts on March 28-29.