Round 1 Fixture
Netball South v Netball Northern
6pm, Sunday 10 April
ILT Stadium Southland, Invercargill
Broadcast: LIVE SKY Sport 4
Coaches of the new Beko Netball League are already excited to see the “investment” being put into the next generation of New Zealand’s netballers.
The first whistles of the inaugural competition starts on Sunday when South takes on Northern at the ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill which will be broadcast live on SKY Sport. The Beko Netball League runs over 12 weekends with five teams – one from each of Netball New Zealand’s Zones – playing a double round-robin culminating in a Grand Final in Auckland on June 26.
Nic Kelly, who is charge of Mainland this year, believes the players had already made huge strides in a lengthy build-up to a competition which was initiated to strengthen the development of talent and competitiveness of Netball New Zealand’s elite teams.
“Before it was like ‘less than a week and the competition’s over’,” she said of the former national championship. “Now it’s emulating the ANZ Championship with the week-in and week-out performances needed, the training and the support.
“The progress we’ve seen already is just amazing and we haven’t even played a game yet. The investment in these players is such a big part of this new league. This is all so new for so many of the players.”
There are a number of former ANZ Championship players throughout the teams including defender Jessica Bourke (Pulse) and mid-courter Elisapeta Toeava (Mystics) in the Northern side, Hayley Crofts (Pulse) suiting up for Southland, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble (Pulse) is in the Central side, Katherine Coffin (Magic) is part of the Waikato-BOP squad, while Sophia Fenwick (Steel), Hannah Poff (Pulse) and Chloe Williamson (Tactix) are all part of the Mainland team.
Kelly said the knowledge from former franchise players was vital but there were also plenty of exciting emerging players also ready to show their skills.
Promising attacking youngster Sydney Fraser takes the court for Northern on Sunday after being named in the NZ Secondary Schools (NZSS) team. Fellow schoolgirls Tiana Metuarau (Central), Courtney Elliott (WBOP) and defender Lily Marshall (Mainland) were also named in the NZSS side.
Teams can also call on franchise players from the ANZ Championship who have not played more than 24 quarters in the league prior to the Beko Netball League season.
FOLLOW: Draw and Results (including Match Centre)
READ: Team Lists
WATCH: Beko Netball League launch
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