ANZ Premiership coaches united against 2-point shot

Jamie Hume shoots for the Northern Stars against the Pulse 2021. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Australia’s flagship netball league is sticking with a largely unpopular 2-point shot but it seems there’s little chance that will happen here as long as our top coaches have got anything to do with it.

The 2-point shot was announced by the Suncorp Super Netball Commission weeks before the start of last year’s Australian league, catching players and coaches off guard.

The ‘Super Shot’ comes into play during the last five minutes of each quarter, giving shooters two points for every successful shot from a 1.9m zone within the goal circle.

It drew a lot of criticism across the Tasman, with players saying they weren’t consulted. Fans were shocked that the league would impose the change despite the overwhelming opposition to the move.

It turns out ANZ Premiership coaches were asked if they wanted a 2-point shot before the 2020 ANZ Premiership but the consensus was no.

“We’ve actually been asked a few times,” Stars’ coach Kiri Wills said.

“In the end, I think our eyes are on prize in terms of Commonwealth Games and World Cups and very much we want to do what we can to make sure the Silver Ferns are successful and playing as much as we can by the international rules is definitely something that all six coaches want to see happen.”

Australia’s elite domestic league is set up differently to how it is in New Zealand.

The Suncorp Super Netball Commission is the governing body of the competition and independent from Netball Australia, therefore it has the licence to make decisions that are commercially driven.

Netball New Zealand effectively runs the ANZ Premiership and competition organisers floated the idea of introducing a 2-point shot before last year’s season but the coaching group were a unanimous no.

Wills said no new rules would simply be railroaded into the ANZ Premiership competition.

“I think that’s one of the things that Netball New Zealand does quite well, is they find somewhere to test the rules before they introduce it to the ANZ level.

“So there’s been certain things that have been introduced at ANZ level that they tested prior and things like U23s back in the day or NPC and the Super Club competition was an avenue to test it. We did try two pointers at Under-23s for a year and we decided then that it wasn’t really for us.”

Silver Ferns’ coach Dame Noeline Taurua has said she didn’t want to see the 2-point shot brought into the traditional game and ANZ Premiership coaches are on the same page.

Wills said they wanted to operate under rules that would increase the Silver Ferns’ chances at pinnacle events.

“I think we’ve seen what happens over in Australia when they do introduce that and, in the end, we want to win on the world stage and so the 2-point shot takes away from some of the intricacies of working the ball in and out to get the ball closer to the hoop for shooters who potentially aren’t okay with shooting the long bombs.

“For us it’s about making sure that we can produce the shooters that are going to do the business on the world stage and to have a shooter like Caitlin Bassett come over here because the 2-point shot has taken away from her strength is, I think, a bit of an indication of how that changes things.”

Recent research out of Australia’s Deakin University found the rule remains considerably divisive among Super Netball players.

Approximately half of the players surveyed felt more positive about the Super Shot following its first season, however approximately 20 percent felt more negative about it following the first year.

Northern Mystics coach Helene Wilson said she was against the rule as a coach but understood why competition organisers had to keep an open mind around innovations.

“We have a performance lens on what we do but there’s also a lens for fan engagement and making the game more exciting, so I think you’ve got to always ask these questions about the game and how you can move the game forward,” Wilson said.

“But obviously, from a performance point of view as a coach, you want to give every athlete the opportunity to perform at the highest level within the rules of the game as it stands at this point in time, so you’ve got to always ask questions; how you can grow the game and how it can be a great product for everybody to enjoy.”

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