2023 ANZ Premiership | Round 1 preview: New season, same goal

FIRST it was the English, now it is New Zealand’s turn to get its domestic netball campaign underway as the 2023 ANZ Premiership season kicks off this weekend.

There has been plenty of change across all the teams over the offseason, and now that the Te Wānanga o Raukawa pre-season tournament is done and World Cup spots are the line, it is time to look ahead to the coming season.

Reigning champions the Pulse are the ones to beat. Though, not even they could escape the offseason movement, with key shooter Aliyah Dunn moving south to join the Tactix.

However, someone just as experienced will be coming into the Tactix to replace her, with Malawian international Joyce Mvula moving halfway around the world from the Super League in the UK to join the team.

Last season’s runners up, the Stars will be keen to go one better this season, but have had a quieter offseason than their Grand Final adversaries from last year. They have brought in Samon Nathan and Lelera Nawai-Cacau from the Tactix, who replace the retired Anna Harrison, the pregnant Kayla Johnson and the UK bound Lisa Mather.

Another side which has not had too much offseason change is the Mystics, who brought in Carys Stythe and Katie Te Ao to replace Claire O’Brien and Fa’amu Ioane. With the likes of Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka up one end, Grace Nweke and Peta Toeava running through the middle, expect them to feature up the pointy end of the season again.

A side that have had a rather less than ideal off season is the Steel. Although they finished fourth last year, there has been plenty of changes in the offseason.

They brought in Sam Winders, Courtney Elliott and Ivari Christie to replace Sarahpheinna Woulf, the pregnant Shannon Saunders and the UK bound Ali Wilshier. Then, they lost George Fisher for the year on the eve of the season after she suffered an ACL injury in a preseason game. Samoan and former Stars’ training partner Eseta Autagavaia has been signed to replace Fisher.

The Magic on the other hand have largely been spared the off season changed, but they did have one big departure in the offseason, with skipper Winders heading off to the Steel. Oceane Maihi is also out for the year due to the injury.

In their place comes Charlotte Elley from the Tactix alongside Amy Christophers.

Last but not least, the side with the most changes from the offseason are the Tactix. They have made five changes. Into the side comes Dunn, Jane Watson, Laura Malcolm, Parris Petera and Greer Sinclair, replacing Ellie Bird, Elley, Hannah Glen, Nathan and Nawai-Caucau.

ANZ Premiership Round 1 Fixture

March 4 – 7:15pm – Mystics vs Steel – The Trusts Arena, Auckland
March 5 – 4:10pm – Pulse vs WBOP Magic – Fly Palmy Arena, Palmerston North
March 6 – 7:35pm – Stars vs Tactix – Pulman Arena, Auckland

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