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Dumping NZ best for Aust netball: Plummer

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/05/2016 By Melissa Woods

Dumping New Zealand teams in a trans-Tasman netball competition shake-up would be the best thing for Australian netball, according to former Test coach Norma Plummer.

Australia is set to revert to an eight-team national competition next year, with the NRL's Melbourne Storm and AFL club Collingwood behind two of the three proposed new franchises.

Plummer, who coached West Coast Fever between 2012 and 2014 in the Trans-Tasman league after nine years as Diamonds coach, said New Zealand teams were holding Australia's progress back.

The Southern Steel are the only Kiwi team to post a win against Australian opposition this season.

Plummer said including another three Australian teams would give more local players a chance to play at an elite level.

"I don't think it would dilute the standard as we had the same type of competition before the ANZ Championship anyway," Plummer said.

"We had the eight teams and were doing well with that and it gave the national coach a hell of a lot more people to pick from.

"Australia has to do what's right for Australia."

The veteran coach said that netball needed to keep ahead of rivals such as AFL, who had plans for a women's competition.

"There are probably players who aren't getting the opportunity to be on the court at an ANZ standard so Australia need to keep their development going."

However Plummer, who now coaches South Africa, didn't want any changes to be to the detriment of New Zealand's Test team.

She called on the international body to do more to make all teams stronger, with more resources put into the likes of South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados who had untapped talent.

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand issued a joint statement saying there were "surprised" by reports of the new format, but didn't deny the changes.

The current trans-Tasman competition has been a 5-5 split between countries since its inception in 2008, but the Australian teams have won seven of the eight titles.

Media reports said the Nine Network and Telstra are expected to be awarded the broadcast rights.

Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy confirmed his club had officially proposed a side.

"We think we've put forward a proposal that's quite appealing and we feel that we can certainly play a role in growing the sport of netball and female sports in Australia generally," Donaghy told SEN radio on Wednesday.

"If it was to eventuate it certainly would be mutually beneficial."

The governing bodies said they would make a joint announcement next week.

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