Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball NZ close to finalising plans for super club competition

The days of transtasman club netball competition could be revived with the new super club concept. Photo/PHOTOSPORT
The days of transtasman club netball competition could be revived with the new super club concept. Photo/PHOTOSPORT

Netball New Zealand bosses are close to finalising plans for an international "super club" competition.

The national body last week unveiled further details of a new standalone domestic league - the ANZ Premiership - which has been established in the wake of the split in the transtasman competition. At the time of the split, Netball NZ announced its intent to keep some sort of international component in play, most likely in the form of a play-offs series featuring the top franchises from New Zealand, Australia, and potentially further afield.

With strong support for the concept from sponsors and broadcast partners, the key hurdle to getting the competition off the ground was thought to be garnering the cooperation of Netball Australia following the messy split to the transtasman league.

Netball NZ chief executive Jennie Wyllie said her dealings with her Australian counterparts have been positive.

"I think they're open to making sure there's a transtasman element to competition as well. They know our style of play is something they want to continue to have exposure to, so I think we're in a good place with them," she said.

"I certainly haven't sensed any animosity there and even sitting down with Netball Australia at the grand final of the ANZ Champs, which was my first months in the role, we could actually see both sides perspective about what is really good about breaking apart, so I thought it was a really mature conversation."

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. 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.

"It's going to be a different proposition for netball, but it's not dissimilar to what a lot of sports are doing. It's taking that club competition global," said Wyllie.

"We hope to be able to give some more insight on that soon, it is getting close to fruition and that's exciting. It's going to give that next level of flavour and exposure for players to that international style of play. Everyone is really interested, it's been well received and we're now at the point where we need to finetune that next level of detail."

Wyllie said Netball NZ have been careful to keep the International Netball Federation (INF) abreast of their plans for the new competition.

"We've had a lot of discussions with the international body and we've made sure they are aware of our plans and we're being as open as possible because we're all trying to pull this thing together for the greater good of the game as opposed to just looking inward at netball in New Zealand."

The new-look domestic league will get under way in March next year, running through to July.

- NZ Herald

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