22 May 2020

Testing schedule for ANZ Premiership players

1:45 pm on 22 May 2020

The tight turnarounds and back-to-back game days of the revised 2020 ANZ Premiership schedule will test the depth of playing squads.

Stars Fa'amu Ioane (L) and Mystics Peta Toeava (R). Northern Stars v Northern Mystics, ANZ Premiership, Pulman Arena, Auckland.

The ANZ Premiership will be played four days a week for 10 weeks to finish off the 2020 season. Photo: Photosport

New Zealand's elite netballers will play a 10-week season with matches played every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from when the competition returns on 19 June.

All teams will play 14 games apiece, including five double-headers per team on back-to-back days, to complete this year's league.

Results from Round 1 played in March, before the competition was suspended, will stand with the competition resuming under the new schedule from Round 2 onward.

Playing quarters will be reduced to 12 minutes from 15 for the season which is closed to the public, with all fixtures played at Auckland Netball Centre.

The Northern Stars, Northern Mystics and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic will all commute by road, while chartered flights have been scheduled for the Pulse, Tactix and Southern Steel to allow for safe and controlled travel.

Magic defender Erena Mikaere said for some players the regular commute from their home base to Auckland could be a costly one.

Mikaere lives in Rotorua and will be joined by captain Sam Winders and midcourt player Ariana Cable-Dixon for the weekly trek north.

"It's a bit of a drive for us but we will be looking at financially how does that work for us and I think is a bus, so that's going to be pretty cool I think," Mikaere said.

"I've been watching The Last Dance and I saw Michael Jordan travel on a bus and thought yay that's us."

Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said her team will have two to three days together each week for preparation and will learn as they go with regards to the logistics of travel, overnight stays and training.

"For us, it's really looking at our approach each week and then learning each week. There's a lot of unknowns, so as much as you can plan, there's a fair amount of this that we haven't been through before," McCausland-Durie said.

"Having flexibility and being adaptable, both as a playing group and from a management perspective is pretty key as well. Once we've had a bit of a go at it, we should be in a position to work out which situation suits us best. We're trying to keep pretty open about everything and will learn a lot about ourselves as we go along."

With the tight turnarounds and extra demands of this year's league, player rotation within teams is likely to feature more prominently.

"It's important to have that depth within the 10 and certainly in the double-headers we will have to look carefully at managing player load, so I feel really blessed with the 10 players that we have," McCausland-Durie said.

The season culminates with a triple-header Finals Series on 23 August.

Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie said despite the forced changes, it was exciting to see the ANZ Premiership returning to action.

"While the situation is not ideal, it has also allowed for ingenuity and innovation around how we continue to present matches as a vibrant spectacle and maintain maximum engagement with fans and viewers," she said.

Action gets underway on 19 June with the Magic going up against the Mystics at 7pm.