LATEST: 2011 Draw and player movement update

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    Profile photo of NetballScoop

    By Dana Johannsen 5:30 AM Wednesday Sep 8, 2010


    The 2011 transtasman league season will have a very different look as organisers try to shoehorn the competition in before the July world netball championships in Singapore.

    After several revisions, the ANZ Championship office yesterday confirmed the full draw for next season.

    While maintaining the traditional roster of 65 regular-round games followed by the four-match finals series, the 2011 season has been condensed into 15 weeks to accomodate the needs of athletes as they prepare for the sport’s world championships.

    This has been achieved by introducing double rounds, which have created a gruelling travel schedule for some of the teams.

    There are other anomalies in the draw, such as an opening round that features just two matches, this year’s minor premiers New South Wales Swifts hosting champions Adelaide Thunderbirds in Sydney and the Northern Mystics playing the Southern Steel in Auckland.

    ANZ Championship general manager Anthony Everard said that while scheduling had posed some huge challenges, he was confident the draw delivers on all fronts.

    “After working through numerous scenarios, we’re confident that we have developed a draw which maintains the integrity of the competition, and will deliver another exciting spectacle for fans.”

    The early start to the season has pushed forward all the deadlines for next year’s planning, putting franchises under huge pressure, with some teams still struggling to get their line-ups together within the compressed timeframe.

    The franchises were supposed to name 10 players on September 1, but only one New Zealand side was able to do this.

    And with just one week before the full 12-strong squads must be submitted to the ANZ Championship office, several franchises are facing a race against time to piece together their teams.

    The two sides that are farthest behind with their recruiting are the Canterbury Tactix and Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic. The Tactix, who are still without a chief executive and are likely to be so for most of the season after former boss Anthony Dawson resigned as he is facing arson charges, have signed just six players. The Magic have seven.

    The Waikato side have re-signed their Silver Ferns stars Irene van Dyk, Casey Williams and Laura Langman, with Jodi Tod and Jess Tuki for the coming campaign.

    They have also added young shooters Julianna Naoupu from the Steel and Jamillah Gupwell, who has been at the Central Pulse for the past three seasons.

    The pair are expected to battle it out for the starting goal attack bib, with Gupwell also offering cover at wing attack.

    The only new face in the Tactix line-up is former Silver Fern Donna Wilkins, who travels north after a comeback stint with the Southern Steel. The remaining five contracted Tactix players are returning from last season.

    Both franchises are chasing import players – the Tactix are believed to be close to signing Jamaican defender Kasey Evering, who has just returned to the court after a knee reconstruction.

    The Magic have their sights on English international Ama Agbeze, who is unable to return to the Pulse next season as the Wellington side have already signed Australian shooter Caitlin Thwaites as their one allowable import.

    The Pulse last year had a special dispensation to sign two overseas imports as part of the league’s measures to help make the struggling franchise more competitive.

    But that rule was rescinded when the ANZ Championship office revised the eligibility rules for the competition last month.

    Having lost the likes of former Fern Paula Griffin, who has gone south to the Steel, and Gupwell, the biggest area of concern for the Pulse is who will partner Thwaites in the shooting circle. They are believed to be chasing Steel second-stringer Jade Topia.

    The Steel are awaiting the outcome of Megan Dehn’s citizenship bid before deciding on the final few places.

    The Mystics have 10 contracted players, but they are looking extremely light in their midcourt cover and have no obvious candidates to fill those remaining spots.

    Profile photo of

    Interesting! %3Cbody%3E%3Cdiv%20id%

    Hope that Dana chick isn’t drinking on the job. Her typing is a bit of a mess!

    Profile photo of NZChampion

    Nah it was only 3%Cbodys :laugh.

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