Netball: Australian bosses reject two-point rule...for now

Diamonds shooter Natalie Medhurst was one of the players to speak out about the possible two-point rule change. Photo/PHOTOSPORT
Diamonds shooter Natalie Medhurst was one of the players to speak out about the possible two-point rule change. Photo/PHOTOSPORT

Netball Australia has resisted pressure from broadcasters to introduce a controversial two-point shot rule to its new domestic league next season.

The national body has confirmed there will be no major rule changes introduced for the first season of its new national league, but has not ruled out revisiting the two-point rule down the track.

The announcement follows extensive consultation with fans, athletes, umpires and coaches, who were asked for their opinions on a range of potential rule changes, including the introduction of a two-point shot.

Several high profile players, including Diamonds captain Laura Geitz and star shooter Natalie Medhurst, publicly opposed the rule change, while the idea was universally panned by netball fans.

Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer said while survey results "did not generally support" major rule changes, there was sufficient interest to warrant further exploration of the two-point concept for possible introduction in future years.

"Innovation is critical to the success of the new league, and has been an underlying principle in everything we've been doing to establish the competition for 2017," said Palmer.

"What we've found through the (rules innovation) consultation process is that overwhelmingly, people who have seen our product - either live or on TV - love it.

"So our big job for 2017 isn't to change the game. It's to expose more people to the game; to build that passion around the clubs, create great rivalries, and be very bold in stating that netball is the premier women's code in this country."

The two-point rule is not completely off the table however, with Netball Australia to conduct a thorough trial and evaluation of the concept for possible introduction in year two or three of the new league.

The move appears to be a compromise with their broadcast partner Channel 9, who were pushing strongly for the rule change.

In the meantime, discussions are continuing between Netball Australia, the eight clubs and the Australian Netball Players Association in relation to the new collective player agreement.

While clubs are able to hold informal discussions with players, no athlete may be contracted until the collective agreement is finalised.

- NZ Herald

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