ANZ return a huge success and underlines why New Zealand are benchmark for world netball

Tamsin Greenway believes there is plenty for the netball world to learn from the return of the ANZ Championship – and sees no sign of the Silver Ferns getting weaker.

Women’s sport has been hit hard across the globe in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic but New Zealand were among the first countries to get sport up and running, and the ANZ was a big part of that.

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Central Pulse retained the title they won last year with victory over Tactix in Sunday’s Grand Final, and the return of the ANZ is widely regarded as successful, despite understandable logistical concerns as Covid-19 continues to be a major issue around the world.

“I think the whole thing has been a huge success,” Greenway told Sky Sports.

“I think so many people in the UK who usually watch the Suncorp got quite into the ANZ and I think it has really highlighted how New Zealand win the ball and how they play in the attack end, so I think that has been great.

“For New Zealand independently, to be able to get their style of play, to see some of the youngsters come through.”

Australia’s Super Netball season is up and running, but with a host of concerns in the UK, the Vitality Superleague has cancelled its 2020 season, and confirmed there would be no Autumn tournament.

Last week, England Netball announced that plans are in place for the 2021 season to start in February alongside the Roses, who have returned to training in Loughborough as part of the government’s elite sport return to training roadmap.

It all means that the ANZ’s return has given New Zealand, the world champions after last year’s thrilling win over Australia, an early start to their planning for the next international cycle and the joined-up approach between domestic competition and Silver Ferns set-up has been clear for all to see.

“Noeline (Taurua) will have seen some incredible things this season, so her youngsters, players like Maddy Gordon, Holly Fowler at Magic has been brilliant, the whole Mystics attacking line-up of (Tayla) Earle, (Peta) Toeava,m (Grace) Nweke have been incredible as well.

“Then her old-guard as well, like your Saunders, your Cramptons, (Phoenix) Karaka and Maia Wilson, they’ve all been mega. It’s been like a win-win across the board for New Zealand and then they’ve got the worldwide interest as well.

“No wonder she wanted to stay on as coach after watching this ANZ season because I think she can do wonders with that team.”

The New Zealand culture

What has also been noticeable is how involved Taurua has been with all the teams. She’s been seen across the league, working with coaches on matchday as well as monitoring current and future Silver Ferns internationals.

It all means that whenever international netball returns, the New Zealand squad are perfectly placed to pick up where they left off and for Greenway, there is plenty that England could learn from the approach.

“I also think that from a world perspective, things we can learn, how she’s operated and kept that culture going throughout the league as well. I think it is something the UK need to look at.

“She has been sitting on the benches of most of these teams throughout this season, she’s been in the ear of the coaches, she’s been adapting styles, she will be talking to them about tactics. They will have been learning loads.

“She will have been understanding how players perform under pressure – that is huge.

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