Netball New Zealand today announced further details of the inaugural ANZ Premiership, which is set to get under way on March 26 next year. A blockbuster "super round" in which all six teams will be in action at the same venue will signal the start of the new era of elite netball in New Zealand.
The competition will open with the first of three "Super Sundays", featuring three games back-to-back. The first round will be hosted in Hamilton, with Invercargill (round 6) and Auckland (round 12) to host the other two. Rather than playing one game a week, as was the case in the ANZ Championship era, the new competition will feature more double-headers to more closely resemble the international environment. Following 13 rounds of action, the competition will culminate in a two-game finals series with the top three teams. All matches will be broadcast live on Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie said she can't wait for the March 26 opener. "In 131 days fans will have the chance to see high energy, innovative Netball played by the fittest, most competitive and driven athletes," Wyllie said. "The ANZ Premiership signals the start of a new era for Netball in New Zealand. We can't wait to showcase the athletes, the teams and the league to fans all over the world."
Netball NZ are also working on an international "super club" competition to follow the conclusion of the ANZ Premiership.
The super club competition will likely be held over week-long tournament at one venue, and feature the top franchise teams from the New Zealand, Australian and UK domestic competitions. Netball NZ have called for expressions of interest from other national bodies looking to be involved in the competition. To incentivise the involvement of overseas teams, it is understood Netball NZ are working on a package that involves prize money for the winning club.
Article originally published in www.nzherald.co.nz on 15 November 2016. Author is Dana Johannsen