National Netball League

National Netball League​

The ANZ Premiership, which comprises netball teams that were previously part of the now defunct ANZ Championship, is the highest tier professional netball league in New Zealand and is organised by Netball New Zealand. It replaced the ANZ Championship in 2017.

ANZ Championship Years

The ANZ Championship was established in 2008 and ceased operation in 2016. It featured five netball teams each from Australia and New Zealand and was the top-tier league in both countries. The Adelaide Thunderbirds and Queensland Firebirds of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy league became the Australian founders, and other Australian teams merged to form teams for the ANZ Championship. The Sydney Swifts and Hunter Jaegers merged to become New South Wales Swifts, for example.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Canterbury Flames of New Zealand’s National Bank Cup league were the New Zealand founders of the competition. The Canterbury Flames changed their name to Canterbury Tactix and just like the Australian teams the other New Zealand teams in the National Bank Cup merged to form three new teams. These were Central Pulse, Northern Mystic,s and Southern Steel, who all play in the current New Zealand ANZ Premiership.

The Queensland Firebirds were the ANZ Championship’s most successful team. They played in five grand finals and won three premierships, and were the only team in the competition to win consecutive titles.

New Zealand’s most successful team in the ANZ Championship were Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. They won the competition in 2012 and had the honour of being the only team in the history of the Championship to advance to the playoff rounds every season. Waikato bested the Melbourne Vixens in a close final at Hisense Arena by 41–38.

The governing bodies of the competition Netball Australia, and Netball New Zealand announced in 2016 that the ANZ Championship would cease after that year’s season. Australia replaced the competition with Suncorp Super Netball and New Zealand replaced it with the ANZ Premiership.

ANZ Premiership Seasons

The ANZ Premiership’s first season began in 2017. The competition featured the five New Zealand teams from the ANZ Championship: Central Pulse, Mainland Tactix, Northern Mystics, Southern Steel, and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. The Premiership also added an extra team, the Northern Stars.

Southern Steel, based in Invercargill, won the inaugural season. Southern Steel was coached by Reinga Bloxham and captained by Wendy Frew and enjoyed an undefeated regular season. Steel beat Central Pulse 69–53 in a thrilling final, which was their 16th consecutive win of a remarkable season. The Steel then went on to build on this title win in 2018, again coming up against Central Pulse in the final and defeating them in an extremely narrow contest by a scoreline of 54–53.

In 2019, though, Central Pulse would not be denied for a third consecutive time. The Wellington-based side would again advance to the grand final and this time come up against the Northern Stars. Pulse won a tight game 52–48, finally winning the ANZ Premiership after two heart-breaking final defeats.

Indeed, Central Pulse has proved to be the league’s most consistent team, making four consecutive grand finals. Between 2018 and 2020 Pulse won three minor premierships in a row and in 2020, just as in 2019, they won the title. 2020 saw them play against Mainland Tactix and win 43–31. 2021 is the only year so far which Central Pulse haven’t played an ANZ Premiership final. In that year, Northern Mystics played in a very close match against Mainland Tactix who were playing in their second successive final. Mystics scraped by Tactix with a scoreline of 61–59.

Most recently in 2022, Central Pulse reasserted their dominance over the rest of the league. With a team coached by Yvette McCausland-Durie, Central Pulse won their third title. Pulse finished the regular season as minor premiers above Northern Stars and Northern Mystics, and their final opponents the Northern Stars beat the Northern Mystics 63–57 in the elimination final. The Pulse then played the Northern Stars in a repeat of the 2019 final and easily came out on top with a scoreline of 56–37.        

The 2022 season was also affected by COVID-19 disruptions as in 2020. Central Pulse were supposed to host the ANZ Premiership tournament, but it was cancelled after COVID-19 restrictions shifted. Central Pulse’s first round game was cancelled due to an outbreak in their squad, which included their head coach, Yvette McCausland-Durie. Some cancelled matches were rescheduled and added to later rounds, but this generated a backlog of rounds that added a thirteenth round to the competition.

The ANZ Premiership responded to the COVID-19 disruptions by creating a free agent player pool to reduce cancelled games. This allowed teams to draft temporary replacements.

ANZ Premiership Teams

The ANZ Premiership features the following six teams:

  • Central Pulse, based in Wellington
  • Mainland Tactix, based in Christchurch
  • Northern Mystics, based in Auckland
  • Northern Stars, based in Takanini
  • Southern Stee,l based in Invercargill
  • Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, based in Hamilton

ANZ Premiership Finals

2017: Southern Steel 69–53 Central Pulse

2018: Southern Steel 54–53 Central Pulse

2019: Central Pulse 52–48 Northern Stars

2020: Central Pulse 43–31 Mainland Tactix

2021: Northern Mystics 61–59  Mainland Tactix

2022: Central Pulse 56–37 Northern Stars

For all the latest news and updates on New Zealand’s premier netball league, the ANZ Premiership, visit the competition’s official website.

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