The 2021 Sal's NBL women's season will look to recommence in late October or early November following last Friday's announcement by the government that the nation would continue to remain in lockdown, and in particular with Auckland facing an extended period at Level 4 restrictions.
The five-week season was just one week into the 2021 competition when the latest Covid outbreak struck in Auckland, forcing the south Auckland based event at Pulman Arena to cease playing and for all six teams across New Zealand to bunker down.
Throughout the lockdown League General Manager Justin Nelson has maintained the number one priority is for the Sal's NBL season to be played in full, but only in a safe environment, meaning the task has become finding a four-week window once lockdown ends and the nation returns to either level 1 or 2 restrictions.
“While we held out some hope of getting back on court in September, this will now not be possible given our athletes will need an opportunity to get back to training and prepare to play. The prospect of a continued lockdown in Auckland will restrict us from re-commencing during September," said Nelson.
“Though it’s disappointing to delay the remaining four weeks of the season, we fully support the government’s decision to stay focused on beating this outbreak and will do all we can to continue to play our part. We have faced hurdles before in the Sal’s NBL and once again we will adjust and adapt.
“Of our six teams we have two based in Auckland, one in the Waikato, one on Wellington and two on the South Island, so being able to travel is a factor for our competition and we will not be re-starting until all of our teams can travel safely.
“We remain fully committed to playing the full 2021 season but will only do so provided the guidelines and restrictions allow it," Nelson added.