Season suspended indefinitely by NNZ

Netball New Zealand hit pause last week.

But yesterday it reached for the stop button.

It suspended the ANZ Premiership along with community netball for the foreseeable future, and the Beko Netball League has been cancelled for 2020.

It had postponed community netball until May 2 and the ANZ Premiership was put on hold for two rounds.

But Netball New Zealand’s latest announcement aligns with the Government’s decision to put the country into lockdown for an initial period of four weeks.

Steel co-captain Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit said the news was not unexpected and the team was focused on playing its part to combat the spread of Covid-19.

‘‘We are a close-knit team so it is actually really tough not to see each other every day and have to break away from our routines,’’ she said.

‘‘But staying home is an absolute must — that’s the most important thing now. Some things truly are bigger than the game.’’

‘‘This is an incredibly challenging time for all New Zealanders and now our whole country has to act as one big team and have each other’s back. This lockdown will save lives and the reality is that life could be someone close to you.

‘‘Over the next few weeks we will keep up our individual training regimes, get creative with our fitness options and be ready to hit the court when the ANZ Premiership resumes.’’

Netball New Zealand (NNZ) chief executive Jennie Wyllie said it had been a challenging time for all of those involved but reiterated that the health and welfare of the players, team management and the wider netball community was top priority.

‘‘At this stage there has been no decision made on the future of the ANZ Premiership, any other domestic competitions and community netball for 2020.

‘‘NNZ will continue to provide regular updates on this as further information comes to hand. We are committed to netball playing its role in stopping the spread of Covid-19.’’

ANZ Premiership and Beko Netball League teams have all ceased group training under lockdown and NNZ will continue to review the situation based on advice provided by the Government and Ministry of Health.

‘‘Our landscape is rapidly evolving and we will remain aligned with the advice given from the appropriate channels,’’ Wyllie said.

‘‘This is a challenging time for our netball community and we acknowledge the impact this has on our netball zones, centres and clubs.’’

Just one full round of the 2020 ANZ Premiership was completed while both the Beko Netball League and community netball were preparing to start when Government restrictions on mass gatherings were announced.

Refunds are available for people who have purchased tickets to cancelled games.

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