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‘Not just cattle’: Frustrated players pen letter to game’s bosses after controversial rule change

The letter said players were “shocked and disappointed” by the rule and were informed only two hours before the change was made public.

The ‘super shot’ awards two goals for a successful shot from the outer portion of the goal circle in the final five minutes of each quarter.

The announcement on Tuesday set the netball world alight, with retired Diamonds star Caitlin Thwaites taking to social media to express her outrage.

“Players not being consulted over the biggest rule change netball has seen is terrible,” Thwaites said on Twitter.

It is not the first time the Super Netball Commission has made a huge change without consulting players.

In 2018, Super Netball introduced a ‘bonus-point system’ to give clubs four points for a win, plus a bonus point for each quarter won. The rule change had huge implications for the ladder but players were not consulted.

As a result of the backlash, a committee was formed to ensure it did not happen again yet the group was not asked about the two-goal shot. Wednesday’s letter requests assurance that the competition committee will be consulted on all future rule changes.

Melbourne Vixen Jo Weston (right) argued that players were not consulted over the move.

Melbourne Vixen Jo Weston (right) argued that players were not consulted over the move. Credit:AAP

ANPA president Natalie Medhurst said Tuesday’s announcement had “soured” the relationship between players and the board.

“Just throw a backboard on and call it basketball,” she said. “These sorts of changes, it just concerns me moving forward. How far are we going to keep going? What kind of game are we going to be playing in a couple of years?”

Head coaches across Super Netball are scrambling to adjust to the rule, which has been made five weeks out from the season’s start on August 1.

Due to COVID-19, coaches are already finding it difficult to get their squads at 100 per cent fitness due to strict training safety restrictions.

“A lot of them [coaches] are going ‘well we’ve already picked our team’,” she said. “Its has a huge impact in terms of recruitment.”

Medhurst said there was also panic within the Diamonds squad, as players now face different rules in domestic and international games.

The two-point shot applies to Super Netball only and will not be brought into other levels of the game.

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Along with the exit of head coach Lisa Alexander, the future of Australia’s netball dominance is under threat.

“Things have been struggling there,” Medhurst said. “That was certainly voiced amongst the players … around the implication for that and selection and what that means when we are playing a completely different form of the game and then going into an international season.”

Super Netball chief executive Chris Symington said he had received the letter and acknowledged the players’ concerns.

“We will work with them over the coming days to listen to their concerns and ensure we have an ongoing dialogue as the season approaches,” he said.

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