Netball: Scheduling conflict threatens Central Pulse's Grand Final hosting

For the second straight season, a scheduling conflict could prevent the Central Pulse hosting the ANZ Premiership final in Wellington.

The 2018 runners-up were forced to shift last year's Grand Final to Palmerston North because TSB Bank Arena in the capital was double-booked.

Fast forward to 2019, and the Pulse find themselves with a serious case of deja vu - only this time they are struggling to find a solution.

The 2019 NZ Art Show has ruled out their Wellington base, while venues in Taranaki, Palmerston North and Napier are all unavailable on June 2.

Central Pulse CEO Fran Scholey is frustrated to be in this position again, but told Newshub her hands are tied.

She is hopeful Netball New Zealand and Sky Television will shift the game by a day, allowing Central Energy Trusts Arena in Palmerston North to host the final.

"We have known this for quite some time and it's now a matter of working with Netball New Zealand and Sky Television to change that date," Scholey told Newshub.

"Taranaki's venue doesn't meet the requirements for Netball New Zealand for health and safety reasons and then the Hawke's Bay venue is unavailable as well.

"So we are down to the case of all five venues in our region being unavailable - so for us, the best-case scenario is moving the Grand Final date."

"It would make sense to play on Monday night, It's Queens Birthday so everyone will be off on holiday so they don't need to worry about a late night but that's not our decision to make."

The Pulse are a virtual certainty to finish the regular season at the top of the standings.

Despite a first loss of the campaign against the Southern Steel on Monday, the Wellington-based franchise need just one win from their final two games to secure a spot in the final.

Two close losses would even get them there but regardless, Scholey ruled out moving the game out of the region.

The Pulse are committed to fight for what they have worked towards the entire season.

"If we don't win the rest of our games and the Steel do, then yes it's a possibility [we play in Invercargill], but if we continue to win the answer to that question is no.

"We are working with [Netball NZ] to make sure we reward all our sponsors, fans and players and play within our region."

For their part, it appears Netball NZ are willing to be flexible if the Pulse earn hosting rights.

"In the event the Pulse secure a home ANZ Premiership Grand Final, Netball New Zealand’s intent would be to work with the Pulse to keep this important game within their territory," they said in a statement.

"With all Pulse home venues unavailable on Sunday 2 June, it is likely NNZ would endeavour to move the date of the ANZ Premiership Grand Final fixture by one day to allow fans the opportunity to see the Pulse in action on one their home grounds."


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