Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: No sanction for van Dyk but league has warning

Irene van Dyk. Photo / APN
Irene van Dyk. Photo / APN

Irene van Dyk won't face any penalties for her post-match outburst in Perth, as transtasman league officials look to draw a line under the debate that has seen netball's image take a battering.

ANZ Championship management met earlier this week to review van Dyk's comments - made after the Magic's 57-51 loss to the West Coast Fever, in which she claimed the Fever defence were "dirty" and "got away with murder".

The Magic shooter's comments were one of several incidents from the first three rounds that were being examined by league officials, with deep-seated frustrations over the inconsistencies in umpiring interpretations between the two countries leading to several players and coaches speaking out.

Trans-Tasman Netball League (TTNL) officials yesterday determined that none of the incidents warranted sanctions being imposed, but a warning was issued to franchises that further public outbursts will not be tolerated.

ANZ Championship general manager Andy Crook would not comment on which players or franchises were involved in the incidents that were reviewed, but he said a number of statements made in the media had been identified as contrary to the spirit of the competition and a reminder has been issued to all 10 teams about their obligations to the league.

"TTNL has identified several comments made by players and coaches in the opening rounds of the ANZ Championship that have pushed the boundaries," said Crook.

"We take comments of this nature very seriously and going forward TTNL will take a strong stance against inappropriate or defamatory comments directed towards umpires, coaches and players."

Crook said the teams were also reminded that there are processes available to them to provide feedback following matches through the appropriate channels.

While the league believe the action they have taken will be effective in Van Dyk avoids sanction stamping out the public umpire blame game, it is not going to eradicate the source of the frustration of the teams.

The inconsistencies in umpiring interpretation between the two countries has been the key bugbear for players and coaches on both sides of the Tasman since the competition kicked off five years ago. The recent spate of player outbursts would suggest the angst is only increasing.

Crook, who took up the general manager position last year, said issues around the increased physicality in the league and the differences in umpiring interpretation is something the TTNL board had already been monitoring before the furore erupted this week.

"We sat down with a number of players from Australia and New Zealand before the season started and [increased physicality] was highlighted not necessarily as a main concern at the moment, but something TTNL need to continue to monitor and just ensure the integrity of the game is protected," said Crook.

"Part and parcel of the conversations we're beginning to have around the physicality in the league is how do we ensure standardised interpretations? The TTNL board want to be proactive with this and ... this is something we'll be keeping an eye on ..."

- NZ Herald

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