Netball: Lifting has backing of fans, former coach

The Mystics' lifting move against the Vixens has split fans on whether it has a place in netball. Photo / Getty Images
The Mystics' lifting move against the Vixens has split fans on whether it has a place in netball. Photo / Getty Images

It may have drawn boos from the Melbourne crowd but the controversial lifting tactic used by the Northern Mystics against the Vixens last night has the thumbs up from New Zealand netball fans.

The Mystics pulled out the innovative move during their 49-45 win over the Vixens when defender Anna Harrison was twice hoisted by teammate Jessica Moulds to intercept goal-bound attempts by replacement shooter Karyn Howarth.

Former Silver Fern coach, Dame Lois Moir, told Radio New Zealand the innovation was a "great idea" and "within the framework of the rules".

Should lifting be allowed in netball?

Dame Lois said the lift was simply another tool for defences.

"It will only stay as long as other people can't think around it," she said.

"Once in sport there is a tactic put in, it is only as good if you can't cope with it.

"Two defenders are involved with the one shooter, so there is a free shooter. What she's doing there with her mouth hanging open watching it?"

Dame Lois said shooters too could be lifted, but they will not be accurate.

"Very few do the lay-up. It's not like basketball, there is a very small circle here that the ball has to go through. The eye hand coordination has to be so right, and stability is part of that."

Vixens captain and defender Bianca Chatfield also backed the new play despite being on the receiving end of it last night.

''I loved it,'' she told The Age. ''As a defender you always try and be so creative, so I said that to her (Anna Harrison) after the game that it was just awesome to see them being able to do that. But we've got to be smart, we saw them do it ... so as an attack we have to change our positioning to protect ourselves from that.'

Chatfield admitted the Australian national team have been trying out lifting at trainings but haven't been able to pull it off.

After more than 1500 votes on the nzherald.co.nz poll, 62 percent of readers said lifting should be allowed in netball.

"If there is no rule to say it is not allowed in the game then it should be allowed in the game," wrote Herald reader Inkie.

Lucas04 is also a fan of the lifting move.

"Love it! There's nothing in the rules against it, at least as far as I'm aware - and it could well change the face of netball a bit. I say well done Debbie and the girls for trying something, and making it work in a real game situation," they wrote.

Theresa S predicts all teams will be lifting their players in defence soon.

"Good on you Mystics! It's about time the Kiwis changed the game, we've constantly been trying to keeping up with the Aussies, they are always changing the game. Now for once it feels good to know that at every training this week, all ANZ teams will not only be talking about it, they'll be trying it too!"

While Debra added it will make an interesting end to the season.

"Its innovative and smart use individual and collective skills of team members. Great to see a New Zealand team leading the way and having everyone talking netball. Bring on the rest of the season!"

Not all Herald readers are fans however, with a number of fans against the idea while some pointed out the Mystics should have saved the move until the finals.

"Something like a rugby line-out? Ummm - No . That's really not a good idea. Keep the rules as they are," wrote Rodney.

"Ridiculous," said Lloyd. "At least if you're going to spring a surprise legal trick like this have the sense to save it for a final, when the one-match-long advantage you'll gain actually counts for something and your opposition won't have time to adopt it themselves.

"Now watch the Aussies out-sly everyone with 'improvements' on the same stunt: what if it's legal to lift their already towering goal-shoot, or for two players to leap, one lifting the other while a third lifts them both?"

- HERALD ONLINE

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