For seven-and-a-half of the eight transtasman league seasons we've heard the Australians complain why the ANZ Championship does not work for them.

The competitive struggles of the New Zealand teams saw calls for a Kiwi franchise to be dropped from season one, with coaches, administrators and former players from across the ditch - and a few here as well - arguing Australia's deeper talent pool warrants more teams.

They despaired that talented Australian players were being denied playing opportunities at the professional level, while New Zealand filled their teams with substandard players.

There has never been much of a discussion about what New Zealand netball gets from the arrangement and the closer you look, the more obvious it is that the raw deal has been dealt here.


For the past eight years, New Zealand has been funding Australia's high-performance programme, with the broadcast revenue from Sky divvied up equally among the franchises to cover the salary cap.

Netball NZ were okay with revenue generated from here propping up the competition because, they reasoned, once the competition had a secure foothold in the Australian market - three years they reckoned - they would stand to cash in. After eight seasons Netball Australia still haven't managed to secure a paid broadcast deal. In fact, Netball Australia, through the assistance of a government grant, pay the broadcaster's production costs to ensure coverage.

But after the excitement generated from last year's tense grand final finish between the Firebirds and Swifts, and the success of last year's World Cup in Sydney, Netball Australia sense their payday is just around the corner. After happily banking more than $10 million in broadcast revenue from Sky since the competition's inception, it seems ironic that Netball Australia would seek to break away now they are finally starting to carry some clout with their broadcasters - or at least they think they are.

The Australians are trying to have a dollar each way - holding the competition to ransom while they await the outcome of those broadcast negotiations, having made it plain their hopes of adding three extra franchises next year hinge on securing a paid broadcast deal.

If they're unable to do so - and many observers believe Netball Australia will struggle to stitch up a viable TV deal - they might decide they still need Netball NZ after all.

Netball NZ should save them making that call - just give 'em a spray and walk away.

The transtasman netball relationship has been just as one-sided as the on-court results.