Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: ANZ Championship set for transtasman split

The future of the ANZ Championship is up in the air. Photo / Getty
The future of the ANZ Championship is up in the air. Photo / Getty

Further details of Netball Australia's plans for a new league next year have come to light, with a split from Netball New Zealand all but confirmed.

Media reports across the Tasman suggest Netball Australia is ready to go it alone with an eight-team, 17 round competition to begin in February.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports some of the new teams will be backed by NRL and AFL clubs, with the Melbourne Storm and Collingwood linked to new netball franchises.

The paper also revealed Channel Nine and Telstra are expected to broadcast the games on a five year deal - although that is yet to be signed, despite Netball Australia hoping to have a deal stitched up back in February.

In response to the media reports, Netball New Zealand and Netball Australia released a joint statement this afternoon expressing their surprise at the "speculation and information that was published in Australian media today".

"We are close to reaching agreement with key parties in regard to the shape and format of the 2017 competition, and look forward to making a joint announcement next week."

Talk of a split in the transtasman league, which is now in its ninth year, has been brewing since late last year when Netball Australia announced its plans for expansion.

As the Herald revealed at the time, the move would likely see a shift back to two domestic-focused competition, with some sort of transtasman crossover component retained.

It's understood that is still the format both netball bodies are committed to working towards, although the final details are still being worked through.

Netball New Zealand has been working behind the scenes to provide players, fans, broadcasters and sponsors a meaningful competition of its own.

The national body is looking to expand its own domestic competition to include a sixth Kiwi franchise, most likely in Auckland, and can count on the continued backing of broadcast partner Sky.

- NZ Herald

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