ANZ Premiership: Netball New Zealand planning to return games to home courts

Netball's ANZ Premiership hopes to attract home crowds later in its competition.

Newshub understands that plans are well advanced between Netball NZ and the franchises to allow them to host matches this season, with a decision likely to come as early as next week.

The competition's most experienced player - Katrina Rore - knows just how important home fans can be. 

"We always say they're the eighth player on the court," says Rore. 

This year's competition was planned to run without them, but a move to COVID-19 Level 1 this week has changed that.

Fans will now be permitted inside Auckland's Netball Centre, but perhaps bigger news is the likelihood that fans will be able to watch their own teams at home.

"Travelling 10 weeks in a row will be tough, no matter what, so a home game, we'd take that with both hands," Rore adds.

Discussions are understood to have advanced significantly this week, with some minor details to work out before it's officially confirmed.

"Home games would be neat," admits Central Pulse head coach Yvette McCausland-Durie.  

"If in the back end of the competition that opportunity opens up, we'd be thrilled with that."

Netball NZ is believed to be in the process of restructuring the draw to accommodate the changes, which could see teams host as many as three games each this season.

"It's certainly not locked in," explains Netball South chief executive Lana Winders. "There's still a lot to happen, but it is looking promising and it is exciting." 

Not only is it exciting for players, coaches and fans, but also the franchises who have felt the brunt of COVID-19.

Discussions are currently progressing urgently, with an announcement expected next week.

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