The only two teams to have lifted the Beko Netball League spoils will go head-to-head in the opening round of the 2020 New Zealand domestic competition.

Three-time defending champions, Central Manawa, take on inaugural Beko Netball League winners, Southern Blast, on March 22 in Wellington in the first televised game of this year’s league.

The NZ Strong Northern Marvels also suit up for the first round when they host Waikato-BOP at the Auckland Netball Centre on March 21.

The Beko Netball League (BNL), which is now entering its fifth year, sits directly below the ANZ Premiership with six teams representing the Zones, and is an important pathway for players and coaches to the elite level.

Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie said the BNL continued to demonstrate its value in developing the next tier of young athletes.

“The Beko Netball League goes from strength to strength every year and we are continuing to see the development of athletes, coaches and officials who go on to make an impact at the elite level,” she said.

Wyllie said watching athletes the likes of Karin Burger and Kimiora Poi, who were both part of the Silver Ferns team to win last month’s Netball Nations Cup in England, progress from the Beko Netball League to wearing the black dress was inspiring for those with similar dreams.

“We’re very excited to watch the next generation of netballers take that step and see what they can bring to this very important competition, and also beyond,” she said.

Twenty-five games will be contested this season including 16 to be televised live on Sky Sport, culminating in the grand final which will be played at the TSB Arena in Wellington on Sunday, June 21.

2020 Beko Netball League

Regular season: March 21-June 14, 2020
Grand final: June 21 at TSB Arena in Wellington
The competition: 25 games run over 12 weekends, culminating in a Grand Final
Broadcast partner: Sky TV – 16 matches to be televised on Sky Sport

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