Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Mixed reaction as two-point shot gets trial

Maria Tutaia could be taking two point shots this time next year. Photo / Getty
Maria Tutaia could be taking two point shots this time next year. Photo / Getty

The possible introduction of a two-point shot in the transtasman league next year has divided players and coaches.

A two-point scoring zone on the outer edge of the shooting circle will be trialled during this weekend's ANZ Championship pre-season tournaments in Auckland and Sydney, with the view to including the rule innovation in the league from next year.

Along with grappling with possible format changes as Australia push for the inclusion of more franchises, the two-point zone is another major change on the bargaining table for netball bosses.

The theory goes that it will provide more excitement for spectators, and allow for a different attacking game plan as the game increasingly moves towards a focus on tall, holding shooters.

But the potential change hasn't gone down well in all quarters, with Australian shooter Natalie Medhurst criticising the move on social media.

In a post on Facebook, which has since been removed, the veteran goal attack said the addition of a two-point scoring zone was just needless tinkering.

"Despite new [international] rules that have come in for 2016, we are trialing more rule changes," she said.

"I believe the product we have, as it currently is, is a great one. We are netball not basketball and already have an alternate form of the game known as Fast5, which includes these kind of shots."

However, Thunderbirds shooter Erin Bell, who is known for her impressive long-range shooting, said she would be happy to see the rule introduced.

"I don't mind the rule. It means there's the potential for the goal
attack to play more of a role when you have a tall holding shooter as well," said Bell.

"A lot of teams now rely on having a tall holding shooter under the net, and this will take some of the emphasis away from that and allow different tactics to come into play. It makes the defenders have to think about what they're doing as well."

The new rule will be trialled on the final day, during which the teams will play quick-fire 20 minute matches.

Noeline Taurua, who will coach the Southern Steel this season, said her side haven't paid any attention in the lead-up to developing strategies for the new rules.

She said her side have enough to think about, with the focus being on building on-court understanding.

"We're only 1-weeks away from the start of the competition. If the
opportunity arises for [the shooters] to put up those two-point bombs then they should take it, but it's not something I've given a lot of headspace to," said Taurua.

- NZ Herald

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