St George District Netball Association is hoping for support from friends in high places to upgrade facilities at the Rockdale courts. Not only is Kogarah MP Chris Minns the new Premier following the NSW election, but Rockdale MP Steve Kamper is the new Minister for Sport. The association received a federal government grant for $1 million to resurface 15 hard courts and refurbish the canteen, which opened on April 1. But, other very old infrastructure remains. Association officials sought a meeting with Mr Minns during the election campaign, but because of his state-wide commitments, met with his assistant, former Kogarah MP Cherie Burton, to discuss needs. They also met with Oatley MP Mark Coure, who has been re-elected and in a position to advocate for them. Association secretary Lara Mina said a new toilet block was the highest priority. "We also want to make better use of our control room and undertake a technology upgrade, including a system to facilitate hybrid meetings." Ms Mina said the association would be looking for a state government grant or grants for the funding. They have engaged the firm Club Builder 2035, which specialises in advising community sporting bodies, to devise a strategy and infrastructure plan. "As part of that, we have put out a survey to members, asking for their thoughts and concerns, and how they see the future of the association," she said. "We extended the deadline for the return of the survey until April 15. "The feedback we receive will help show us a way forward." Ms Mina said player numbers were heavily impacted by the pandemic and, now, interest rate rises and other cost of living increases were making it very difficult to rebuild. "The financial crisis is a challenge, even though netball is one of the cheapest sports to play," she said. This season, the association has 1222 registered players, compared with 1333 last year, 1431 in 2021 and 1629 in 2020. Ms Mina said there was no doubt other sports, including soccer and rugby league, were taking players away from netball, which the NSW association was examining.