Defending Whanganui Premier A1 netball champions Kaiwhaiki sent a scare through their rivals with a commanding victory over competition newcomers Kaierau A2 on opening night of the 2109 season.

The competition has been reduced to a five team contest with Marist A1 and Cullinane pulling pin this season.

Netball Whanganui chairwomen Nicole Dryden said it came down to a strength in numbers and strength in firepower.

"To play in Premier A1 grade you really do need to have the numbers to field a team each week and the strength to compete against the competition. Unfortunately, Marist and Cullinane didn't feel