The Mystics and the Northern Stars will go head to head in a new Northern Netball challenge that was launched today.
The Barfoot and Thompson Northern Challenge was launched to give the two Auckland-based franchises the opportunity to settle their long-standing rivalry and foster competitiveness within the game.
Northern Netball CEO Nicole Spratt believed the challenge would add "spice" to the current competition and give the two teams something extra to play for.
"The players are looking forward to giving the fans something to yell and scream about on court, and to showcase the skill and agility of the sport that the women play today," Spratt said at the launch this morning.
"We know that there are many netball fans who give their support to the SKYCITY Mystics and the Northern Stars, while others have strong allegiance to the one team. This challenge will add a little spice to the competition for players and fans alike."
Northern Stars' captain, Grace Kara, who has recently returned from the Commonwealth Games, said the challenge was a step in the right direction for developing competitiveness between both Auckland and New Zealand franchises.
"It's nice bringing back that rivalry, it's exciting for the fans and something for us girls to take pride in who we're representing, what part of Auckland we're representing, and to come together and contest the cup," said Kara.
"It's really exciting netball, healthy competition in Auckland. It's good for the game in general, but it will be good for us girls. We're friends off court, but once we're on court we mean business.
"I think it's a great concept and hopefully it's the beginning of many more to come."
Mystics' captain, Anna Harrison, said that although there had always been a special rivalry between the Mystics and the Northern Stars within the ANZ Premiership, it was exciting to have an individual challenge made official.
"There's naturally a rivalry there, now it's just official so it's great. It creates more interest for fans and it's just something to play for. It adds extra spice to it.
"The competitiveness was already there, this just makes it official, 100 per cent."
The Mystics and the Northern Stars will face off on three occasions during the regular 2018 season, with the Northern Challenge champions decided at the final game on July 22.
The Barfoot and Thompson Northern Challenge will kick off on May 13 at Henderson's Trusts Arena.
Barfoot & Thompson Northern Challenge
Round 2: Sunday May 13, 4.10pm, The Trusts Arena, Henderson
Round 10: Sunday, July 8, 4.10pm The Trusts Arena, Henderson
Round 12: Sunday, July 22, 4.10pm, Bruce Pulman Park, Takanini