In 2016, Netball New Zealand and its Australian counterparts announced the ANZ Championship had run its course.

The end of the nine-year trans-Tasman partnership saw both countries move back to standalone domestic competitions with the ANZ Premiership revealed as New Zealand's new national league.

Then chief executive, Hilary Poole, described the split as a "defining moment" but couldn't escape the backlash from fans who feared a sudden decline in Netball NZ's competitive standards.

The expected repercussions from the controversial split weren't immediately obvious but the cracks began to show with the Silver Ferns' devastating fall from grace highlighted in April's Commonwealth Games.

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The Silver Ferns returned from the Commonwealth Games medal-less for the first time in their history. Photo / Getty
The Silver Ferns returned from the Commonwealth Games medal-less for the first time in their history. Photo / Getty

The Ferns were promptly put under a comprehensive two-part review to investigate and identify the cause for the national side's horror-run of results.

Phase one, which was released last month, focused on former coach Janine Southby's influence and the leadership void that was left in the absence of experienced players.

However, phase two of the review will take a deeper look at how the return to a domestic competition may have contributed to the Ferns' collapse on the international stage.

Sydney Giants and former Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic coach Julie Fitzgerald, who was shortlisted to take on the Ferns in 2015, believed the split was perhaps Netball NZ's biggest mistake.

Giants head coach Julie Fitzgerald believed the split was a mistake. Photo / Getty
Giants head coach Julie Fitzgerald believed the split was a mistake. Photo / Getty

Fitzgerald said that Kiwi netballers were missing out on the high-performance benefits of playing with Australia and slammed former Netball NZ board members for not seeing their decisions through.

"To be perfectly honest, from a New Zealand point of view, yes I do [think it was a mistake]," Fitzgerald told the Herald.

"The Suncorp Super Netball is undoubtedly the best competition in the world so therefore it's going to attract the best players ... the fact that New Zealand isn't involved in that must have some repercussions."

"I think New Zealand Netball was in a period of change and I think we have to recognise the fact that there were people there like Hilary Poole and Steve Lancaster who made very big decisions and then left shortly afterwards so they weren't there to implement the decisions that they had made or deal with the ramifications."

Fitzgerald said she would be more than happy to see Kiwi teams included in the league again and believed it could re-lift the standard of New Zealand netball.

Former Netball NZ chief executive Hilary Poole (right). Photo / Doug Sherring
Former Netball NZ chief executive Hilary Poole (right). Photo / Doug Sherring

"I would love to see some of the New Zealand teams come across and play in this competition," she said.

"I think it can only help, I think it will raise the high-performance standards that they've got and put a bit more high-performance environment around the Silver Ferns."

One of the key reasons Netball NZ was persuaded to separate from the former trans-Tasman challenge, other than disagreements over expansion, was to provide up-coming Kiwi players more opportunities to play.

Players such as the Pulse's 18-year-old Aliyah Dunn, who quickly rose through the ranks to become the most accurate Kiwi shooter in the league this season, highlight the more positive impacts of having a domestic competition.

Steel coach Reinga Bloxham agreed that the league had created more opportunities for the country's younger netballers and said it was better preparing them for their future careers.

"I think it has had a positive impact for us because we've been able to get a lot of young players who have come through, put their hands up this year, and said 'hang on a minute look at me I'm actually here and I can play,'" Bloxham said.

"The competition this year has been so much closer than it was last year and it provided that intensity and pressure for our players to learn and grow."

"I think those sort of things are really valuable going forward ... it's going to be really interesting to see what our competition has actually done for us."

The Southern Steel took out this year's ANZ Premiership. Photo / Photosport
The Southern Steel took out this year's ANZ Premiership. Photo / Photosport

Retired Southern Steel captain Wendy Frew, who was not given many opportunities in the black dress throughout her 16-year long career, felt that the former championship provided a chance for her and others to play on an international stage that the domestic competition couldn't offer.

But the 33-year-old midcourter still urged that the Premiership had its benefits and said each had their own unique advantages.

"For a player like me who didn't get a lot of international time it was cool to play the Australian style," Frew said after her side took out the 2018 ANZ Premiership grand final on Sunday.

"It's a positive both ways but I think our comp is great here … I think it's been a lot stronger this year."

'I'm hoping this comp we have is going to grow New Zealand players so we can rise to those Australian and international standards."

The final phase of Netball NZ's review will be investigated over the next six months to a year.

Areas identified by the review panel for consideration were the selection policies, eligibility criteria, high-performance pathways, competitions review, high-performance systems, and culture.