Home for southern zone unconfirmed

The question of where the new southern netball entity that will run the game in Southland and Otago will be based has yet to be answered.

Netball New Zealand announced in September that a restructure would change the game's administration from a provincial model to zones based on the five ANZ Championship franchises.

Although most zones will probably be based around their major centre alongside their franchise team, the Southern Steel organisation operates from Invercargill rather than Dunedin because that is where its major sponsor, the Invercargill Licensing Trust, is.

Netball South working party chairman Jono Bredin said that wherever the zone was based, he expected there would be a "seamless transition" to the new model.

"It's not a case of simply saying we're going to have an office here or there. We will continue to have main centres and offices in both Invercargill and Dunedin. The most important thing is to make sure players from both Southland and Otago can see a clear and achievable pathway through to our elite teams, like the Steel, from day dot," Bredin said.

"For the vast majority of those involved in netball – whether that's as a player, umpire, coach or administrator – it will be a seamless transition and simply business as usual."

Bredin said the working party had been focused on the big picture and had not got hung up on smaller issues such as what would happen with old uniforms.

The southern zone was already operating, with the two provinces fielding a joint team in this year's Lois Muir Challenge tournament.

"We all came to the table committed to making this work to everyone's benefit – from the little girl playing netball on a Saturday to the elite players which represent the Steel," Bredin said.

Netball New Zealand chief executive Raelene Castle said the organisation was pleased with the progress being made in the south.

"Both the Southland and Otago communities can be assured there is a lot of hard work happening behind the scenes at the moment which we are confident will benefit our sport at all levels."

The Southland Times