Covid-19 forces Silver Ferns matches to move to Wellington

By Taroi Black

Hamilton will no longer host the Silver Ferns and Aotearoa Men netball teams as Delta spreads into the Waikato region. 

Initially, the Cadbury Netball Series had included the New Zealand A and New Zealand U21 teams but with the relocation of the competition down to TSB Arena, in Wellington, Netball New Zealand has decided to look at other options for those representative teams later this year.

The change was a swift move by the national netball body as the government will review Hamilton's alert level status on Friday. This meant it didn't give the athletes enough time to prepare for the head to head three-match series, Netball New Zealand CEO Jennie Wyllie says.  

“Navigating any sporting event during the coronavirus pandemic is a constant challenge."

The dates of the series will remain at October 10, 11 and 12. However, there is still more work to be done to ensure players from the two teams are made available. 

Wyllie confirms NNZ has applied for the exemption for Ferns defender Sulu Fitzpatrick who is the only one of four Auckland-based players who made the return back home to be with her children following the Taini Jamison series against England in Christchurch.

Aotearoa Men are also waiting on the news too, as some of the players are still in Auckland.

"We've had those real honest and transparent conversations all the way through. So, we will just continue through the process and work with Sport NZ around what these new levels mean and if both teams can have their full complement on the court."

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua will run a camp in Wellington on Thursday as she looks to continue to build her squad following the 1-2 test series loss to England.

"To have a great team working hard behind the scenes will ensure we can get New Zealand’s elite netballers out on the court in what is an important phase of their build-up for the Commonwealth Games and the 2023 Netball World Cup,” Wyllie said.