Netball: Changes in pipeline for ANZ format

By Dana Johannsen

New Zealand and Australian conferences considered in transtasman league review.

The big change will see the final series overhauled with the top three teams from the Australian and New Zealand conferences to progress through the playoffs. Photo / Getty Images
The big change will see the final series overhauled with the top three teams from the Australian and New Zealand conferences to progress through the playoffs. Photo / Getty Images

The transtasman netball league will follow in the footsteps of Super rugby and move to a conference system next year if a proposed structural change is approved.

After a lengthy review of the ANZ Championship, now into its seventh season, league bosses are in the final stages of developing a proposal to change the competition structure for 2015 which will include the introduction of New Zealand and Australian conferences and increasing the finals series to six teams. While the TTNL - the governing body of the ANZ Championship - is pushing on with plans to revamp the structure, a proposal to move the competition to summer has, as expected, been dropped after consultation with key stakeholders.

ANZ Championship general manager Andy Crook said that under the proposed plans teams would be separated into national pools for the purpose of points calculations and standings, ultimately ending the current model of all 10 teams sitting in one league table.

However the structure of the draw is not expected to change, with teams still to play local rivals twice, and transtasman rivals once. The big change will see the final series overhauled with the top three teams from the Australian and New Zealand conferences to progress through the playoffs.

"For the last 12 months the ANZ Championship has been conducting a review, including reviewing 10,000 survey responses from fans, into the future timing and structure of the league to ensure it remains a world-class and vibrant competition," Crook said.

Stage one of the revamped finals format would see teams that finish first in the Australian and New Zealand conferences have the bye in the opening week of finals with the second and third-placed sides contesting an intra-conference elimination on either side of the Tasman.

The winners of the matches will progress to the second week for a conference final to decide the Australian and New Zealand champions, but no team will be eliminated at this point. The second stage will see transtasman semifinals and the ANZ Championship grand final in weeks three and four, ensuring the best performing teams play-off for the trophy and increasing the number of finals matches from four to seven in the process.

- NZ Herald

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