The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have claimed their first win of the ANZ Premiership season.
It could also be their last.
With the chaos caused by the coronavirus outbreak spreading to New Zealand's domestic netball competition, the Magic's 54-48 victory over the Southern Steel was played behind closed doors at Dunedin's Edgar Centre, to fulfill the Government's newly announced call to cancel mass gatherings of more than 500 people.
However, with other domestic competitions like cricket's Plunket Shield being cancelled due to concerns over the heightened risk of players spending time in areas such as airports, planes and hotels, and more restrictions being enforced by the day, it is possible that all live sports are infeasible by the next Premiership round on Sunday.
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Netball New Zealand Chief Executive Jennie Wyllie said while it was disappointing for all fans, the decision to play the game behind closed doors was based on the message from Government this afternoon.
"This decision is in the best interest of public health and wellbeing, including that of coaches, administrators, fans and, our volunteers," Wyllie said.
At best, the competition could continue behind closed doors, in similarly eerie scenes to those that encountered the Steel and Magic tonight. With the decision to ban fans only officially announced an hour before the game, it was a rapid change of circumstances for the two teams, and the Magic coped better.
Keeping their starting seven on court for the entire game, the Magic took an early lead which extended as large as seven goals in the first quarter, and they led 27-24 at halftime.
However, a Steel fightback saw them hit the front in the third period, but the Magic - shooting at a 77.1 per cent clip to the hosts' 70.6 per cent - hit back to build a five-goal buffer early in the fourth quarter, and held it the rest of the way for an eventually comfortable victory.
With some canny offseason recruitment, the Magic look to be a side capable of making the playoffs this year, but at this rate, they might not get the chance.