South Africa’s premier netball league gets underway today in Johannesburg. Here is everything you need to know about the fifth season of the Brutal Fruit Netball Premier League.
Ten teams participate in the league which runs for a shortened six weeks due to the Commonwealth Games, where South Africa secured a 5th placed finish. The first two weekends of competition will be hosted in the Ellis Park Indoor Arena in Johannesburg. The remaining fixtures will take place at the Rembrandt Hall in Pretoria with the final taking place on June 17th.
The Gauteng Jaguars are the defending champions and have been present in the final in the last four seasons. Coach Jenny van Dyk has made her intentions clear that her side is out to retain their title. The Jaguars will have two returning Proteas who were present on the Gold Coast for South Africa, they are: Erin Burger and Ine-Mari Venter.
Free State Crinums, will be seeking to regain the trophy that they have won three times previously. They open their campaign with a game against the Mpumalanga Sunbirds.
KZN Kingdom Stars will open the entire competition when they play the Northern Cape Diamonds. The last time these sides met in this competition it was the Kingdom Stars who came away with the win by a scoreline of 67-30. Will history repeat itself?
Last seasons runners up the North West Flames, have the likes of Rome Dreyer, Monique Reyneke and captain Elsunet du Plessis among the squad who will be aiming to go one greater than last season and take gold.
Mpumalanga Sunbirds Head Coach Marlie Nel, is to take her side into her third Brutal Fruit campaign and will have a plethora of debutantes within her squad including; Sanele Buthelezi, Michelle Schonfeldt and Sanele Buthelezi.
Eastern Cape Aloes don’t get their campaign underway until tomorrow morning when they play Kingdom Stars. Limpopo Baobabs also don’t get started until tomorrow when they face Free State Crinums. Both sides will play a fixture on Sunday.
Western Cape Southern Stings play the North West Flames tomorrow evening. It was a close encounter when these sides last met in this competition. Flames took the victory by five.
Finally, the Gauteng Golden Fireballs will have experience on their side with four players about to embark on their 5th Brutal Fruit campaign. Head Coach Dorette Badenhorst is also entering her 5th season in the competition.