18 Dec 2015

Australia could get three more ANZ teams

2:16 pm on 18 December 2015

The trans-Tasman netball competition is set to be expanded by up to three teams from 2017.

The proposal has come following a review of the competition by Netball New Zealand and Netball Australia.

The expansion teams would be based in Australia, with Netball Australia now calling for expression of interest in setting up new teams.

Since its inception in 2008, the competition has been contested by five Australian and five New Zealand teams.

New Zealand's franchise number would remain at five.

In a statement Netball New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole says it's important the league continues to grow and innovate and Australian officials say research suggests there is the capacity for growth.

Queensland Firebirds 2015 trans-Tasman netball winners.

2015 ANZ Championship winners Queensland. Photo: Photosport

"We support Australia's initiative in recruiting additional Australian teams to the competition, and look forward to determining the structure of the competition once they have tested the market, and we have further clarification around the broadcast rights from 2017 onwards," said Poole.

The ANZ Championship is currently played over 18 weeks from March to July, comprising 14 home and away rounds followed by a Finals Series.

In 2015, a Conference system was introduced guaranteeing three teams from each side of the Tasman would progress to the finals.

Poole said "from our perspective, it's a real positive to see that the competition is poised for growth heading towards 2017. The league needs to both grow and innovate as we enter the next phase of development of the competition".

"Netball New Zealand remains committed to its current five teams, the franchises of which are run by New Zealand's five Netball Zones that were established in late 2012.

"For us, the development of our high performance system and structures are fundamental to ensuring competitiveness and lifting the performance of the New Zealand teams is a key focus.

"To this end, we have put in place the new National Netball League for 2016 which will underpin the ANZ Championship and assist in growing player depth in New Zealand. We have also introduced new initiatives in player and coach development, all of which are critical for sustained success.

A final decision on the make-up of the 2017 competition will be made by the middle of next year.

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