The Origin Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns will battle for two Constellation Cup titles as the two nations prepare for the return of international netball in 2021.
The double showdown follows a joint decision of Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand to postpone this year’s Constellation Cup test series until January/February 2021, with a second meeting scheduled for October 2021.
The decision to postpone this year’s event, normally played in October, was made collaboratively between Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand, giving consideration to the current government travel and quarantining requirements on both sides of the Tasman, and athlete wellbeing.
With the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final being played on Sunday 18 October, and the athletes coming off a condensed season and extra-long pre-season, it was determined - in consultation with athletes, clubs and the Australian Netball Players’ Association - that the priority for now is athlete recovery.
While the exact dates and details around the tournament are yet to be confirmed - and pending the COVID-19 situation - both organisations have committed to playing the test series in both Australia and New Zealand.
The second 2021 Constellation Cup series would then take place in the normal October timeslot, following the completion of both Australia and New Zealand’s domestic seasons.
Netball Australia Executive General Manager of Performance, Stacey West, said while it’s unfortunate to be postponing the tournament, it’s exciting that two Constellation Cup titles are on the table in 2021.
“While we are eager to see the Origin Diamonds out on court this year, we have made the decision to postpone the 2020 Constellation Cup series due to the impact of quarantining requirements for both nations, and for the wellbeing of our athletes,” she said.
“It is our priority to ensure that all athletes within the Origin Diamonds squad are able to recover after the condensed Suncorp Super Netball season and long pre-season, to allow them to adequately prepare for the 2021 netball calendar, and more broadly the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2023 Netball World Cup.
“We will also continue discussions with other Netball Quad Series partners regarding international match play opportunities early in 2021.”
Origin Diamonds Head Coach, Stacey Marinkovich, said postponing the 2020 Constellation Cup is the right decision.
“As the incoming coach, I can’t wait to experience my first Constellation Cup, however the quarantining impacts are a real challenge for the program and athletes for both countries,” she said.
“We’re in the midst of the most intense Suncorp Super Netball season we’ve ever experienced, so we’ll use this time to recover and regroup to ensure the early 2021 Constellation Cup will showcase the rivalry and talent like never before.”
Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand will now work closely together, and with the relevant authorities, to confirm details around the February tournament.