Australia’s governing body has chosen to split the Suncorp Super Netball season in two, pausing between 23 June and 27 July, to accommodate for the 2019 World Cup.
The Suncorp Super Netball competition is in it's third year, and it has been announced that the new format will begin on 27 April and, post-World Cup, will have five more rounds, then three weeks of finals, with the grand final on 15 September to avoid going up against the NRL or AFL grand finals.
The 2019 revised schedule will allow just six days between the World Cup final in Liverpool, and players being expected to take to court in round 10 of the Super Netball competition in Australia. In previous World Cup years, the now defunct trans-Tasman ANZ Championship began earlier in February, which then gave coaches and players over a month between the end of the Tournament and the start of the next domestic campaign.
The 2019 format gives defending world champions Australia – and global stars including Silver Ferns Maria Folau and Laura Langman, Roses shooters Jo Harten and Helen Housby, Jamaicans Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken and Proteas Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius – just 19 days between the end of franchise duties and day one of World Cup competition on the other side of the world.
It is yet to be seen the impact this demanding schedule will have on player performances, player injuries, and how the Super Netball franchises will be affected once athletes return to their domestic competition. One thing is for certain however, these questions will need to be answered, and it all makes for a very interesting year ahead!
By Kate Lightfoot