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Super Netball: Super shot rule decision criticised by players
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Last Updated: 24/06/20 10:38am
Netballers in Australia have made their unease with the new two-goal scoring Super Shot official - releasing a statement criticising a lack of consultation over the introduction.
Tuesday's decision to introduce a scoring zone in Super Netball, Australia's domestic competition, took the netball world by surprise and the fall out has been swift.
For the final five minutes of each quarter, and the entirety of a new five-minute extra-time period in the advent of a draw, attackers can score from an area inside the shooting circle that will be worth two goals.
Netballers, coaches and reporters were quick to criticise the decision, while fans launched a petition against the decision as the sport was divided at news of a change to the fundamentals of the game. Dame Noeline Taurua, coach of world champions New Zealand was among the most vocal.
''I don't feel we need to tinker with it and can just leave the variation to a Fast5 concept, which will bring something totally different,'' Taurua told Stuff New Zealand.
''I do like the two-point shots, but I like it with the Fast5 version and I like the game to be kept separate. I like things to be kept separate and very clear what the purpose is about.''
Taurua's comments followed on from a host of players launching a scathing attack on the competition's decision, with Aussie Diamonds' Jo Weston telling Guardian Australia, "there are only so many bells and whistles on a bike before it becomes a clown car."
Diamonds legend Caitlin Thwaites was equally critical in an interview with Melbourne radio station RSN927 - saying "it's not OK to do that".
Now the players have come together to make it official, using the Australian Netballers Players Association to launch a strongly-worded statement that has criticised the introduction without proper consultation as unacceptable.
"The players have endured an eight-month pre-season, pay cuts, and uncertainty about the season with patience, a collaborative mindset and unwavering goodwill.
"We have put the game first, as we always do. For a decision of this significance to be made and announced without any engagement with the players, just six weeks out from the start of the season, is extremely disappointing and disrespectful."
Natalie Medhurst, ANPA president
The statement insists there are a broad range of views surrounding the rule change itself, but the process that led to the decision is the subject of their ire including the trial process that brought Super Netball to its decision and questions about how it will be deemed a success.
"As players, we need full access to the detail, so we can properly understand the thinking behind the experiment that we are being asked to participate in," ANPA vice-president Jo Weston added through the statement having been among the first to criticise on Tuesday.
"Netball players are not just 'cattle' that train and play. We are smart, articulate, authentic and capable people, who proudly promote our sport on and off the court. We are proud to play in the best women's sport league in the world, and take our responsibilities for showcasing our sport extremely seriously.
"We are simply seeking a level of basic respect for our role in the game, that was not exhibited this week in the manner in which this initiative was managed.
"Netball has to do better than this if it is to succeed in Australia's competitive sports market place. We believe that the partnership between the League and its players is an important competitive advantage for our sport. We have asked the Commission whether they share that view, and if so, to make some commitments to behave accordingly going forward."
Player consultation is key. The players ARE the product not the RUELS. As our game continues 2 grow we have 2 find ways 2 help players take the game to the next level with skill and athleticism not mess with the foundations of the game. Leave that 4 shortened versions like fast5 https://t.co/Pcp6CbtrRN— Serena Guthrie (@serenabob) June 24, 2020
Super Netball, which showcases the best netballers from across the globe in its league season which is due to get underway on August 1 after a three-month delay, also reacted to the discussion - before the players' statement.
Super Netball Commission chair Maria Go insisted the decision was taken with the competition's core beliefs of 'driving innovation, to challenge and to see how far we can take our sport.'
"We knew that the decision would create media and public interest as well as fierce debate and argument at all levels of the game and that's exactly what has happened in the last 24 hours," said Go.
"But we welcome the debate because we want people to be talking about our sport, and the sporting world to see your passion, to understand that this is a game that inspires and motivates. Most of all, we want a broader base of sports fans to consider Suncorp Super Netball as a sport to watch.
ANZ Premiership - Live this weekend
|Friday||Tactix v Magic||8am, Sky Sports Mix|
|Saturday||Mystics v Steel||6am, Sky Sports Mix|
|Sunday||Stars v Steel||6am, Sky Sports Mix|
|Monday||Pulse v Mystics||8am, Sky Sports Mix|
"We believe the Super Shot will bring new fans to the game which in turn will enable us to shine the spotlight on our amazing female athletes and their skill. It is an initiative to get the sporting public who ignore our sport today to reconsider."
The decision has catapulted Super Netball into the worldwide discussion as a time when women's sport has been severely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The competition is the sport's premier showcase and more than ever, all eyes are now on the league to first see how it reacts to its players, and secondly, how the new rule impacts the game.
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