Heritage Round - The evolution of the ANZ Premiership
The evolution of Netball New Zealand’s flagship domestic competition has crossed many frontiers, and is set to be celebrated in Round 5 of the ANZ Premiership.
Each era has produced key outcomes in pushing netball to new horizons, what has gone before setting the platform for the finely-tuned, professional, high octane sporting spectacle that is elite level netball in 2021.
This weekend’s Round 5 matches will celebrate the history of the six ANZ Premiership teams, where they’ve come from and where they are today.
Each continues to grow and build their product while developing their own unique culture.
Representing the regions of Auckland and Northland, Silver Ferns Temepara Bailey (2008-12, 2014), Cathrine Tuivaiti (2008-16), Maria Folau (2010-18) and Anna Harrison (2011-18) formed the backbone of the Mystics for many years.
The shooting prowess of the Tuivaiti/Folau combination, wizardry of midcourt dynamo of Bailey and the famous originator of the Harrison hoist ensured the quartet were crowd favourites for many years.
In 2021, Tayla Earle, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Bailey Mes, Peta Toeava and rising teenaged shooting sensation Grace Nweke have taken over the mantle with impressive results.
The newest team, after being formed as the sixth team to take part in New Zealand’s new domestic competition in 2017, the Stars have come a long way in their short history.
Based in South Auckland, former England, Fiji and Melbourne Vixens coach Julie Hoornweg became the team’s first head coach. Successful former NZU21 coach Kiri Wills has held the coaching reins since 2018.
In 2021, Stars foundation player Maia Wilson became the youngest captain in the league’s history while Anna Harrison was lured out of retirement at the age of 38 to add her invaluable experience.
SPLICE CONSTRUCTION MAGIC
Representing the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions, the Magic has built their legacy on three famous playing names and an equally famous coach.
Shooting great Irene van Dyk, dynamic midcourter Laura Langman and defensive standout Casey Kopua along with coach Noeline Taurua were the force behind the Magic being New Zealand’s dominant team during the ANZ Championship.
From cellar-dwellers after losing their first four games of the 2012 season, the Magic went on to win 12 in a row to claim the title that year, the first and only New Zealand team to do so. A one-team stalwart, Kopua spent her entire illustrious 17-year domestic career with the Magic.
Former player Amigene Metcalfe is now coach of the team where midcourter Sam Winders and rising young shooter Khiarna Williams headline the current generation of players.
TE WĀNANGA o RAUKAWA PULSE
Representing regions from the lower North Island, four names remain synonymous with the Pulse’s change in fortune since the advent on the ANZ Premiership.
Perennial strugglers previously, stalwart defender Katrina Rore (2010-20) and midcourter Claire Kersten (Pulse debut 2013) stuck through thick and thin in showing their loyalty to the team while coach Yvette McCausland-Durie and former Silver Ferns coach and captain Wai Taumaunu, in her high performance role with the franchise, helped transform them into winners.
From the inception of the ANZ Premiership in 2017, the Pulse have made the finals every year, breaking their title duck with back-to-back titles in 2019 and 20.
Aliyah Dunn, Ameliaranne Ekenasio. Maddy Gordon, Kelly Jury and Whitney Souness are carrying on the tradition.
THE GOOD OIL TACTIX
Based in Christchurch and representing the regions of Canterbury, West Coast, Nelson and Marlborough, the Tactix have a rich history in New Zealand-based elite competitions. From the lean years of the former trans-Tasman league, the Tactix have rebounded from the personal devastation of the Canterbury earthquakes to reassert themselves as a dominant netball force.
In earlier years, the Tactix had some prominent figures in the famous red and black strip, including midcourter Julie Seymour, now the current assistant coach, Belinda Colling, Jodi Brown, Donna Wilkins and Maree Bowden as well as Leigh Gibbs in the head coach role.
It’s been a long time in the making but the good times of old are returning for the Tactix with Charlotte Elley, Erikana Pedersen, Kimiora Poi, Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Jane Watson spearheading the renaissance along with new team member, the dynamic Karin Burger.
ASCOT PARK HOTEL SOUTHERN STEEL
Based in Invercargill, the Steel represents the regions of Southland and Otago. While she coached elsewhere late in her career, Robyn Broughton was the face of the Sting and early Steel days as she fashioned an outstanding record with both franchises.
Southern tenacity has become a hallmark of Steel teams over the years where they enjoy outstanding local support and remain one of the toughest teams to beat at home.
Many famous names have played for the two southern franchises over the years including Adine Wilson, Bernice Mene, Lesley Nicol, Belinda Colling, Donna Wilkins and the late Tania Dalton but none surpasses the `southern girl’ spirit more than former stalwart Wendy Frew.
Revered in the Deep South, midcourter Frew was a key figure during her 16-year career where she amassed 176 outings for the southern side where her loyalty shone through. The Selby-Rickit sisters, Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton (98 games before moving north) have continued that fine tradition.
The first franchise-based competition, with the view to enhancing netball’s profile in New Zealand, was set up in 1998 with the introduction of the Coca-Cola Cup which featured nine teams.
Imports were a new feature, the four-year tenure of the Coca-Cola Cup being dominated by South Island teams with the Sting winning three titles and the Rebels one, while the Flames also featured strongly.
The competition underwent a revamp in 2002 to become the highly regarded National Bank Cup, in the process further growing the stature of netball.
Flush with a strong Silver Ferns contingent in their ranks, the Sting continued their dominance through the early years of the National Bank Cup, winning the title in 2002, 03 and 04.
Waikato/BoP Magic made history by becoming the first North Island team to win the title in 2005 and 06.
2007 marked the final year of the National Bank Cup and fittingly, the Southern Sting claimed the last edition of the much-cherished title.
There was plenty of fanfare to greet the introduction of a new-look semi-professional trans-Tasman competition featuring five teams each from New Zealand and Australia which marked the dawning of a new era for netball in 2008. And over the ensuing years it continued to deliver an immeasurable amount of good for the sport.
Spanning 17 weeks and with all 69 games televised live each season, it provided a fantastic platform to broaden netball’s appeal which it did in spades. Viewing audiences continued to grow throughout the competition, it proved a viable commercial entity and teams built strong local community support bases.
The ANZ Championship did its job and will go down as a turning point in netball’s history.