Provocative outbursts could be hard on pocket

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 13/04/2013

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Netball

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Fines of several thousand dollars will be dished out to individuals and franchises who flout the trans-Tasman Netball League's regulations on comments detrimental to the game.

The league is yet to decide if West Coast Fever coach Norma Plummer merits one of those, in the wake of the strong opinions she voiced to The Dominion Post this week.

A review into what Plummer said, and whether she was entitled to, remains ongoing, meaning no-one from the league can make any statement in relation to it.

But Netball New Zealand chief executive Raelene Castle, who's also a director of the league, was able to explain why censorship has crept into the competition.

She said the boundaries of what is acceptable have certainly been pushed in the last fortnight by people like Plummer, Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic shooter Irene van Dyk and Central Pulse coach Robyn Broughton, and that their various criticisms shouldn't have been for public consumption.

The trio were entitled to have opinions, they just needed to be expressed via the right channels.

"Having that discussion in the media is not appropriate," Castle said.

"We don't want them to be vanilla and boring in the media comments that they make and in the interviews they give and I don't think we've ever done that. But there is a line about being respectful to the competition and its stakeholders."

Castle said the league was not blind to the concerns of coaches and players, particularly around the contentious area of foul play. Citing commissioners don't exist, but might in the future, with the league looking closely at what mechanisms to introduce that would ensure players were better protected from unnecessary roughness.

In the meantime teams are able to talk to match delegates and umpires or write to the league if they are unhappy with things like the physicality of the opposition.

Except Broughton, for instance, is one of the three coaches to coach in every year of this league and yet she wasn't aware of any protocols that existed to enable her to formally complain about a hit on Pulse shooter Donna Wilkins. "I don't want to get into ‘Robyn was wrong comments' because that's not what this about," Castle said, before rattling through what Broughton ought to have done instead of expressing frustration to The Dominion Post.

Meanwhile, Castle confirmed that cost and time constraints presented by having the Commonwealth Games and world champs on the calendar meant the league would never go to a full home-and-away season. The current format meant New Zealand teams made the semi-finals and that was good for netball's commercial partners, she said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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