Three tests against England for Ferns
Prudent financial planning from Netball New Zealand was critical in the Silver Ferns being able to host international netball’s return.
Yesterday, the government granted approval for the world champion Silver Ferns to host Commonwealth Games gold medallists England. All three tests will be played at Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena on October 28, October 30 and November 1.
It will be the first time international netball has been played since the outbreak of Covid-19.
When New Zealand was in level 4 lockdown earlier this year, Netball New Zealand (NNZ) chief executive Jennie Wyllie feared their international and domestic netball programme could be scuppered for 2020.
England’s touring party will touch down on October 8 and be in managed isolation for the mandatory 14-day period.
Players would be able to train fully as a squad four days after arriving in the country, dependent on all members returning a negative Covid-19 test on day three.
NNZ will foot England’s quarantine costs and expenses while they are in the country.
NNZ had budgeted carefully knowing an international test series could be a possibility later in the year. It had decided to cancel several programmes and events in 2020 to reduce spending. These included the New Zealand under-21s, New Zealand A, the secondary school nationals, age-group nationals, and second-tier Beko League competition.
‘‘We’re able to cover the quarantine costs because we’ve been really prudent in terms of our business model leading into this back end of the year. That’s kind of how this becomes possible and viable,’’ Wyllie said.
Cutting back their expenditure was crucial in making sure they could pay for England’s quarantine costs and provide international netball for the Ferns on home soil. In contrast, the Australian Diamonds will not play any international tests in 2020 – the first time they have had no games in a calendar year since 1984.
‘‘We have made big decisions internally around what programmes we needed to pause and where we needed to make savings in order for us to be viable, irrespective of whether we’d have international play and that’s what we’ve done.
‘‘We needed to change our business model to ensure we could still be viable at the end of this year.’’
Prior to the England series, the Ferns will warm up with a Cadbury Series in Palmerston North against the New Zealand men, New Zealand A ‘All Stars’ side, and New Zealand under-21 team on October 21-24.