Netball: End of the road for ANZ Championship

The ANZ Championship has run its course.

Netball New Zealand and its Australian counterparts will today formalise a split in the transtasman league following months of uncertainty.

The two national bodies are expected to unveil plans for separate stand-alone domestic competitions for 2017, bringing to an end a nine-year transtasman partnership.

Netball NZ is working on a new six-team competition, featuring the five existing franchises and a new start-up club, most likely based in Auckland.

With details for the new league still being worked through, today's announcement is expected to be a broad outline of what the 2017 season will hold.

The New Zealand Herald understands Netball NZ is also working on a new international component, believed to be a "Champions League" style play-offs series, featuring the top franchises from New Zealand, Australia, and potentially further afield.

This will be a Netball NZ-run event, rather than a joint initiative with Netball Australia.

Australia is set to move to an eight-team domestic league, featuring three franchises backed by private investors. Reports across the Tasman have linked the Melbourne Storm and AFL club Collingwood to these new franchises.

Today's news has long been signposted, after Netball Australia announced in December it was seeking to expand the league and taking expressions of interest for new franchise licences. The structure of the new competition was to be worked through once Netball Australia had assessed bids for new franchises, and gauged interest from broadcasters.

As the Herald revealed at the time, a split in the competition was one of the options being discussed.

By March it became clear this was the most likely outcome, with Netball NZ chief executive Hilary Poole admitting her organisation had begun "looking more seriously" at a stand-alone domestic competition.

Current structure:

10 teams (5 from New Zealand, 5 from Australia)
14-week round-robin, followed by a three-week finals series
Inaugural season in 2008-09
1 NZ title in eight seasons (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic - 2012)

New structure:

Australian competition: 8 teams
NZ competition: 6 teams (5 current franchises, plus one more in Auckland)
Additional Champions League style tournament featuring teams from New Zealand, Australia and possibly teams from other netball nations.

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