12 Aug 2020

Netball's ANZ Premiership shut down

3:43 pm on 12 August 2020

The final round of netball's ANZ premiership has been called off due to change in Covid-19 alert levels around the country.

Pulse's Kelly Jury (L) wit Mystics Grace Nweke during the Pulse vs Mystics ANZ Premiership Netball match. Te Rauparaha Arena Sunday, 02 August 2020.

Photo: ©Photosport NZ

Netball New Zealand has declared all remaining matches a draw but still hopes to go ahead with the finals weekend in Invercargill next week, where defending champions, the Central Pulse, play the Mainland Tactix in the grand final.

The decision to make all matches a draw has had no affect on placings for the final series and Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie said planning for Invercargill is well underway.

"Decisions like these are never easy to make but we felt it was in the best interest of safety and equity for all teams that we didn't contest the last round," Wyllie said.

"We have been fortunate to play as many weeks of netball, in front of live crowds, for as long as we have.

"But now is the time for us to play our part in keeping the country safe and we will be reviewing future decisions over the coming days."

Wyllie said they would be assessing the Finals Series, which is scheduled to take place in Invercargill on 23 August once they had received more guidance from the Ministry of Health and the government later in the week.

The Tactix booked their place in the ANZ Premiership Grand Final with two wins in the penultimate round and will meet the top-of-the-table Central Pulse to decide the 2020 winner.

The Mystics and Stars are locked in for the play-off for third and fourth while the Steel and Magic will contest the play-off for fifth and sixth place.

All community netball in Auckland is cancelled until Friday and quite likely beyond that depending on the alert level.

"It is a real blow as the courts are 'chock a block'... but we have got to meet our responsibilities of keeping our Kiwi kids safe," Wyllie said.

With the rest of the country at Level 2 Wyllie is urging clubs and facilities to play it safe.

"Our key things are making sure that where people go to play, the people running those facilities are comfortable they can meet the (Ministry of Heatlh) guidelines around contact tracing, social distancing and numbers," she said.

"Over the next three days there is no urgent need to be having netball...and we will be issuing some further guidance come Friday (for weekend games)."