‘Tough’ draw for Steel

Travel, five double-headers and back-to-back games against the Pulse should shake the Steel from any post-lockdown slumber.

The ANZ Premiership revised draw was released yesterday, and Steel coach Reinga Bloxham described it as tough.

The competition was suspended in March after just one round while the country battled the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the tournament will resume in Auckland on June 19, with a match between the Magic and the Mystics. The Steel is up the following evening with a fixture against the Tactix.

The franchise has its first double-header the next weekend. It is the first of five; there are also back-to-back games against the Pulse on July 4 and 10.

"It is pretty tough," Reinga said.

"There is no part of the draw that is going to be easy."

The Steel struggled for chemistry in its shooting circle in its 54-48 loss against the Magic in Dunedin on March 16.

Fixing that will be near the top of the agenda, but so will managing the players’ workload.

The schedule is demanding enough. But, with all the games in Auckland, the Steel will have to overcome the travel burden, too.

The tournament will run for 10 weeks. The matches will be played from Friday to Monday and broadcast live on Sky.

The season is closed to the public to meet restrictions on mass gatherings. It culminates

with a triple-header finals series on August 23.

Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie said it was exciting to see the ANZ Premiership returning to action.

"While the situation is not ideal, it has also allowed for ... innovation around how we continue to present matches as a vibrant spectacle and maintain maximum engagement with fans and viewers," she said.


ANZ Premiership

Steel’s draw
June 20: Tactix, 7pm
June 27: Mystics, 7pm
June 28: Stars, 5pm
July 4: Pulse, 7pm
July 10: Pulse, 7pm
July 11: Stars, 7pm
July 19: Magic, 7pm
July 20: Tactix, 7pm
July 26: Mystics, 7pm
August 2: Magic, 7pm
August 3: Stars, 7pm
August 9: Pulse, 5pm
August 10: Mystics, 7pm
August 16: Tactix, 5pm

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