In the second of a regular series of columns, Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic star and former Australia netball captain Caitlin Bassett analyses how the Australia and New Zealand national netball leagues are dealing with Covid complications.
Let's compare the pair; two countries, two professional netball leagues, two ways of handling a similar problem.
With Covid-19 cases in Australia and the recent scare in New Zealand, both competitions have been forced to make last-minute fixture changes, and while the Aussies made a mess of it, the Kiwis emerged spotless.
There is drama across the Tasman, with Netball Australia launching an investigation into the cancellation of the round eight match between the West Coast Fever and Melbourne Vixens.
The back story is that with Covid cases popping up in Victoria, the Collingwood Magpies and Vixens were forced to pack up and relocate to Queensland.
During their bye weekend, three players from the Vixens headed down across the border into New South Wales to Byron Bay for some downtime. Seeing as there were no restrictions between Queensland and NSW at the time, the players were granted approval by their club and the league for their break.
Unfortunately, by the time it came to travel to Perth for their game against the Fever the following weekend, the Western Australian government had decided to close the border to anyone who had been in NSW in the past week due to positive cases emerging there.
The Vixens applied for an exemption for the three players who had been in Byron Bay, which was denied, meaning if they were to play in Perth, they would be without their captain and starting goal defence and goal keep.
In a team squad of just 11 players, losing three is significant, so rather than travel with only eight athletes, the Vixens instead asked the Fever to travel to Queensland to play the match so they could have their full team available.
As a player and fan, I feel like this is a fair request. The sacrifices the Victorian teams have made last season and again this season have been huge. They have shifted their lives to relocate, while other teams have been lucky enough to stay at home and play in front of home crowds.
The competition could not have continued without their selflessness, so I feel like if any team has the right to ask for a change in location, it's the Vixens or Magpies.
What fanned the flames of an already smoky issue was a media release from the West Coast Fever blaming the Vixens for the match cancellation.
Reigning premiers the Vixens have struggled this season, with only one win, while the Fever remain undefeated.
Financially, the Fever would be taking a hit to move their home game across the country for the sake of the Vixens. However, as a club which was involved in salary cap breaches, their refusal to do so cannot help but make them look greedy. Netball fans and commentators have been weighing in on the debate, with the majority siding with the Vixens.
Here in Aotearoa, the round 11 game between the Pulse and Tactix had been postponed due to the raised Covid-19 alert level in Wellington.
Originally pushed from Sunday to Tuesday, the change was made with minimal fuss.
Press releases and social media from both clubs and the ANZ Premiership politely explained the situation, while assuring fans they would be kept in the loop.
While this disruption has no doubt thrown a spanner in the works for broadcasters Sky, Netball NZ and both clubs, from a players perspective, it all seems to have been handled proactively and positively.
There was no blaming or barbed media releases, no complaining by clubs or fans, just an understanding and solution-focused planning.
In a country that is so passionate about netball, I get the feeling that the safety of players and fans is at the forefront of decisions made in New Zealand.
While the Australian league no doubt has more at stake financially with broadcasters and sponsors, the behaviour of the Fever during these uncertain times makes it seem that money is their first priority.
Have we lost our "here if you need us" sporting camaraderie? One thing is for certain, with three Australian states now forced into lockdown, the league needs to work out a way to continue without cancelling any more games.
Caitlin Bassett is a former Australia netball captain and star of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.