Editorial: Netball officials should heed van Dyk's words

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Response to star's comments has done game no good at all

She is not the first NZ player to criticise the tactics of Australian teams this season. Photo / NZ Herald
She is not the first NZ player to criticise the tactics of Australian teams this season. Photo / NZ Herald

New Zealanders feel they know netballer Irene van Dyk fairly well after all the years she has been shooting goals for her adopted country and they do not think she is a bad sport.

She has not made a habit of complaining about the tactics of defenders in her circle.

But on Monday night, after the Waikato Magic lost to Perth's West Coast Fever in the transtasman league, she said: "I've been playing netball for a very long time, and I can honestly say I have never come across a defensive pair that are as physical and get away with murder.

"There's a fine line between playing with skill and coming out and being dirty, and I think they crossed the line."

That comment sparked a good discussion this week about whether the game is becoming too rough in its professional ranks.

The management of the ANZ Championship did not join this discussion, though. They spent their time considering how to punish her for speaking out.

She is not the first New Zealand player to criticise the tactics of Australian teams this season and her words were well chosen.

The organisers of the league decided to let her off with a warning. It is they who need the warning.

If they imagine their response has done the game any good, they are mistaken.

It is a common mistake of sports to believe players cannot be permitted to criticise each other. The league owed van Dyk a serious hearing and more respect.

- NZ Herald

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