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Netball Australia to announce major change

NZN 18/05/2016 Adrian Warren

New franchises aligned to major football teams and some element of private ownership are among the big changes expected to the new-look netball competition to be announced on Thursday.

The eight-team trans-Tasman competition which started in 2008 will be jettisoned, with both Australia and New Zealand staging separate domestic tournaments, with the possibility of a crossover component.

Netball Australia are expected to unveil up to three new teams, with Sydney and Melbourne each getting a second team, with Queensland also tipped to get another franchise.

AFL clubs Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney and NRL side Melbourne Storm have all expressed an interest in some kind of involvement or partnership with the proposed new franchises,

The Storm are believed to be involved with a bid for a new Queensland side, which could be based on the Sunshine Coast.

If, as expected, there are three new Australian sides it will be a throwback to the days of the existing competition's predecessor, the Commonwealth Bank Trophy, which fielded eight teams in its 11-season history between 1997 and 2007.

All five of the existing Australian trans-Tasman competition teams are run by their respective state associations, but it's believed there could be some level of private investment in some of the new franchises.

The Giants forming an alliance with a netball club could set up a tasty two-sport one-city rivalry spanning Australian rules and netball.

The Sydney Swans have been a sponsor of the NSW Swifts for several years, going back to the end of the last decade and have their name on the players' uniforms.

Australian teams have dominated the trans-Tasman competition, winning it seven out of eight seasons, with the New Zealand sides only winning around a third of matches against opposition from across the ditch.

NA will also announce a new broadcast deal in Melbourne on Thursday.

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