15 May 2014

Netball set for Ranfurly Shield style competition

12:14 pm on 15 May 2014

The trans-Tasman netball league is considering introducing a Ranfurly Shield-style challenge system into next year's competition.

The ANZ Championship's governing body is considering a range of changes to the competition after conducting a review over the past year says, general manager Andy Crook says.

The challenge system would run concurrently with the league's 14-week season, and is loosely based on rugby's Ranfurly Shield.

The holders, to be determined ahead of the 2015 season, would defend their title in every home game during the regular season, but not during the finals.

Other changes mooted include introducing Australian and New Zealand conferences, and increasing the finals series from four to six teams.

The teams would be separated into national pools for the purpose of points calculations and standings, ending the model of all 10 sides sitting in one league table.

The structure of the draw is not expected to change, with home-and-away games against local teams and one game against trans-Tasman rivals.

Under the proposed overhaul for the play-offs, the top three teams from each conference would progress through to a new format.

The team finishing first in each conference would have a bye in the opening week of finals.

The second and third-placed sides would contest an intra-conference elimination on either side of the Tasman.

The winners would progress to the second week for conference finals to decide the Australian and New Zealand champions, with no teams being knocked out at this point.

Trans-Tasman semi-finals and the grand final will be played in weeks three and four, increasing the number of play-off matches from four to seven.