With the Suncorp Super Netball season set to start on August 1, Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett is excited for the season but says any form of ‘hub’ format used by other codes is unrealistic for netball.
The ‘hub’ format is an idea floated by the NRL and utilised by the AFL to overcome state border closures and resume their season sooner.
For the AFL, it will involve West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide and Port Adelaide teams relocating to the Gold Coast in order to resume the season in mid-June. The NRL were considering a similar structure, but were granted a travel exemption from the Queensland state government to allow teams to travel interstate.
Speaking to Alister Nicholson on The Lead radio program, Bassett says most Super Netball players have external responsibilities like work, study and family, that would make it hard to achieve a similar ‘hub’ scenario.
She said the season would instead have three stages as government restrictions are monitored.
“The original plan was that all teams were going to move to one state and that just sounds crazy to me,” she said.
“A lot of us study and work and some girls have families…for us to come together and do something like the AFL and NRL are doing, it would be really hard.”
“But we will have to make some concessions in the first couple of months while we’re waiting to see what happens and then hopefully restrictions will ease and border will open and we can just go back to normal.”
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Bassett also mentioned that she was frustrated when the AFL and NRL in particular started to announce dates that they were coming back.
“We were still waiting and didn’t know anything as players,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also left many in the netball community with a significantly lower income, with some not getting paid at all.
She said so many people have been “helping out and doing their normal jobs even though they’ve not been getting paid.”
“Hopefully we’ll be bringing people back into their positions full time and getting people back on wages because I know it’s been pretty tough on a few people in the netball community.”
Super Netball players have taken a 70 per cent pay cut during the pandemic, with many relying on JobKeeper. Bassett says she is grateful to be getting paid anything at all.
“JobKeeper really helped us out. Some of the younger girls in our competition are actually earning more money than they would be if they were just on their normal contracts.”
“We don’t want to bankrupt the sport, we want netball to be there and be stronger than ever after this pandemic but we have to survive as well.”
No draw has been published for yet but Suncorp Super Netball is expecting a full 60 game season. Pre-season training is currently earmarked for late June, where players will return to their normal 23 hours of training per week.
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