Finally, premier grade netball is going indoors.
Netball South Canterbury will play their premier grade netball competition on a Tuesday night at the SBS Events Centre in 2013. The move is logical and necessary to give South Canterbury's top netballers the best opportunity to progress beyond the province and allow the best possible spectacle for the top flight of the sport in the region.
Shifting into the SBS Events Centre on a Saturday was not an option as the facility is used for one-off events which make more financial sense to maintain on the weekends.
Not everyone is happy to shift away from the Aorangi Park netball courts.
Mackenzie Old Girls player/coach Cindy Robertson has suggested her players would find the midweek commute after work hours too challenging to balance with their family commitments, while Geraldine High School have written a letter to Netball South Canterbury outlining their concerns.
Robertson has said she does not believe her team, last season's beaten finalists, were likely to be in the competition as a result.
Robertson has a valid point. The travel factor will be an issue for rural teams, but the benefits of going indoors far outweigh the negatives and that will not change whether Mackenzie Old Girls are part of the competition or not.
Mackenzie Old Girls need to bite the bullet and embrace it.
Short-term pain, long-term gain should be the theory in place.
The eight-team competition has at least two teams too many. However, that is unlikely to change as Netball South Canterbury looks to keep pace with the size of competitions in centres such as Canterbury.
South Canterbury does not have enough quality players to warrant eight, which is highlighted every time a minnow plays Craighead.
It will be interesting to see what benefits school teams get out of the move, particularly Craighead Diocesan School and Roncalli College.
Craighead coach Barry Tucker is rightly fizzing to get into the new season.
His comments about the standard of netball being raised by as much as 25 per cent will most likely prove correct over the next few years.
No longer playing on concrete will reduce the impact on joint muscles and should bring the injury rate down as a result.
Tuesday night is netball night, bring on April 30.
- The Timaru Herald