Central Pulse coach Kate Carpenter has lost her job and the transtasman netball league's problem child team is set to undergo a controversial overhaul for the 2009 season.
Pulse management were unavailable for comment today but NZPA understands Carpenter will be replaced by New Zealand under-21 coach Yvette McCausland-Durie.
Also, several senior players approached by Carpenter since their winless 2008 campaign will not now play, with their berths to be filled by a number of national under-21 players.
The nine other ANZ Championship squads were publicly unveiled yesterday but the Pulse were granted a 20 working days extension by Netball New Zealand (NNZ) to finalise their squad.
NNZ chief executive Raelene Castle said she knew nothing about the appointment of Netball Manawatu's McCausland-Durie, saying any changes at the franchise would be driven by the Pulse only.
"It is not up to NNZ to appoint the coach. The Pulse appoint the coach and they come to NNZ for endorsement," Castle told NZPA.
"The Pulse have had some financial challenges with losing their major sponsor (Suzuki) so they are in the process of investigating the best way to deal with those situations."
It will be a devastating blow for Carpenter, who had the least experienced roster to work with in the competition's inaugural season.
Her team finished the 13-round season comfortably in last place but were more competitive than expected. They went to overtime twice and suffered several other close losses.
Last month Carpenter co-coached the New Zealand A team against England.
Pulse chairman Nigel Kirkpatrick could not be contacted today, apparently because he was travelling.
He told The Dominion Post yesterday that he would announce a squad next week which would be stronger than this year's.
The franchise will retain two significant off-season acquisitions - Jamaican defender Althea Byfield and Silver Ferns squad shooter Paula Griffin, who is shifting from the Northern Mystics.
It is understood two other Pulse players from last year - midcourter Cushla Lichtwark, 27, and shooter Jamilah Gupwell, 22 - could retain their spots.
Castle was non-committal when asked about the likely influx of national under-21 players into the Pulse squad.
"That may well be, they haven't completed their roster, and I believe that that's what they're working through - to try to get the strongest roster available," she said.
"Under financial difficulties you have to make tough calls and make sure that you are making the best decisions for those players."
The franchise's website was down today, symbolic of their crashing fortunes in recent times.
That has included the departure of sponsor Suzuki, the "resignation" of chairman John Freer in July and the loss of star English defender Sonia Mkoloma, who will play for Canterbury Tactix.
An application for a second international player to complement Byfield was rejected by NNZ, "to protect the pathways of New Zealand players", according to Castle.
She said NNZ was willing to assist with the financial plight of the Pulse franchise, which is comprised of four regions - Wellington, Eastern, Western and Tasman.
"We couldn't afford to go to four franchises, that would be a real challenge from a high performance perspective so we will do anything we can to make sure five franchises remain in the ANZ Championship," she said.
"We are working closely to make sure that from a financial perspective we're helping them secure as many sponsors as they can."
Castle was "confident" the Pulse would field a competitive team this year.