LISTEN: This week’s Extra Time podcast looks at the restart of the netball season, how the sport has coped during a pandemic and who will shine in the ANZ Premiership.

The Tactix may have had the toughest time – with financial woes in lockdown and now the struggle to find a suitable place to play a home game this season.

But the Mainlanders still line up as the team expected to come closest to toppling defending champions and perennial favourites, the Pulse, in the regenerated ANZ Premiership.

The Christchurch-based side, affected when Mainland Netball went into voluntary liquidation soon after the country went into lockdown, has been boosted by the arrival of Silver Ferns shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit – who teams up with the 1.96m Ellie Bird – and the long-awaited return of defender Temalisi Fakahokotau.

The search for a local venue to host a home game in the revised draw remains a challenge, with the Tactix’s home venue, Horncastle Arena, heavily booked through August. So far, they’ve managed to secure one home game, against the Stars on July 30.

In the meantime, they must put all that aside, and fly up to Auckland on Saturday for their double-header weekend playing the Steel on Saturday and the Stars on Monday, at the Auckland Netball Centre.

RNZ’s Bridget Tunnicliffe, former Silver Fern Joan Hodson, LockerRoom’s Suzanne McFadden and Northern Stars midcourter Mila Reuelu-Buchanan are on this week’s panel, previewing the revamped competition and examining how netball has coped over the past three months.

The panelists also pick who will make the league’s grand final, and their players to watch out for this season. 

This week’s schedule: Magic v Mystics, Friday 7pm; Steel v Tactix, Saturday 5pm; Stars v Pulse, Sunday 5pm; Stars v Tactix, Monday 7pm.  All games will be screened live on Sky Sport 3, with one delayed match on Prime every Sunday.

* Extra Time is a podcast brought to you by RNZ, Stuff and LockerRoom.

Suzanne McFadden, the 2021 Voyager Media Awards Sports Journalist of the Year, founded LockerRoom, dedicated to women's sport.

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