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WBOP enjoying benefits of Beko Netball League

New Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP) coach Rebecca Greenhalgh believes the Beko Netball League has made an immediate impact on the game at higher levels in New Zealand.

Her side are on the road to Gore this weekend for Round 3 of the league where they meet the defending champions, Netball South.

They have played just one game – a loss to Netball Central – but Greenhalgh has already seen the benefits the league is having on WBOP and at ANZ Premiership level.

“There’s been a seamless transition for players like Monica Falkner and Ariana Cable-Dixon who have stepped up and are making their name amongst the country’s elite players,” she said.

“I think you can put that down to the Beko Netball League and the programme that we run now to have our teams performing over a lengthy period.

“The challenge for coaches is getting their players to peak for a weekend of Netball for 10 weeks – mentally and physically which is a real challenge.”

Greenhalgh – who was assistant to Margaret Forsyth last season – says the players are responding and for her young team, it was about maintaining intensity.

“We got seven debutantes on last week which is a pretty big step for our Zone and it was pleasing to see them out there,” she said. “Now they know in order to compete it’s about keeping that intensity levels for the entire game. It’s a big ask but something they’re learning thanks to this league.”

WBOP has a tough draw and doesn’t play in front of a home crowd until Round 7 but Greenhalgh sees plenty of positives from being on the road.

“I think there’s less pressure when you’re not playing at home so we can get those early nerves out of the way and then finish strongly at home.”

She is not certain when they will have the services of Cable-Dixon who is with the WBOP Magic as injury cover but has seen others rise in her absence including schoolgirl Ali Wilshier in the mid-court.

“I’d say we are a team of grafters,” Greenhalgh said. “We’re not experienced players which brings its own kind of uniqueness to the style of play we put out there. It’s a tight group of girls who are really enjoying this journey.”

Meanwhile, in other Beko Netball League games the Northern Marvels meet netballing neighbours, the High Wire Trust Northern Comets at The Trusts Arena in Auckland. The league’s two unbeaten teams meet in Wellington where Central hosts Netball Mainland which will be broadcast on SKY Sport 3 on Sunday. Both teams have two wins from as many matches.

The Beko Netball League is run over 13 weekends with a Grand Final to be played in Auckland on June 18.