Steel hoping some games can be held in Dunedin

Keen to play again ... Players (from left), Kate Heffernan Taneisha Fifita and Abby Erwood are...
Keen to play again ... Players (from left), Kate Heffernan Taneisha Fifita and Abby Erwood are put through their paces by Steel assistant coach Wendy Frew (background) at the Edgar Centre recently. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Netball South chief executive Lana Winders would love to see the Steel play some of its games at home and in front of boisterous crowds.

That could all be possible if New Zealand moves to Covid-19 Alert Level 1 next week.

But it will also mean undoing all the work that has gone into planning the ANZ Premiership’s return.

The tournament was suspended in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the planet. Its return has been scheduled for June 19.

All the games will be played in Auckland and in an empty stadium.

Those plans were made when the country was still in the grip of the deadly virus. But with the outbreak under control in New Zealand, the Government is considering relaxing the restrictions on mass gatherings.

That could mean crowds could be welcome back and no pressing need to base the tournament in one location.

‘‘I don’t know the details of what Alert Level 1 would look like,’’ Winders said.

‘‘I think all ears will be on Jacinda [Ardern, the Prime Minister] on Monday [when she briefs the country]. That will make a world of difference in terms of us knowing what we are dealing with.

‘‘Netball New Zealand has always assured us they will keep a watching brief over how things change and how they can adapt with those changes.

‘‘But I know the huge amount of planning that went in around getting us to this point and that is not going to be an easy thing to unwind or change.

‘‘The first step will be understanding what the changes look like and then considering what is possible in terms of logistics.’’

Winders said she was unsure whether it would be too late to reverse the planning and schedule home and away fixtures and to open up the doors to spectators.

‘‘At this point I don’t know whether that is possible.

‘‘We would love to see our fans watch the Steel play live. That would be an outstanding outcome considering everything that we’ve all been through together with Covid-19.

‘‘But there would be an enormous amount of work to go under the bridge in order for that to come to fruition.

‘‘It is just a little bit early to say.’’

The Steel’s opening game, when the competition resumes, is against the Tactix. It lost its round one match against the Magic in Dunedin on March 16.

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