Dona Wilkins is full of admiration for the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
The folk she wants to take issue with are umpires Jono Bredin and Fay Meiklejohn. Wilkins didn’t name the pair or outright accuse them of anything, but she does wonder what they were up to during Adelaide’s 45-44 win over her Central Pulse team on Monday.
Wilkins was as disappointed as anyone that the Pulse weren’t able to close that game out.
The goal attack, who turns 36 next month, is not one of those netballers from the ‘‘I’m really proud of the girls’’ school. She believes in winning at all costs, which is why she tips her cap to the Thunderbirds.
But, speaking as someone who’s done a lot for the game over a long period of time, she does wonder where netball is going and at what cost.
‘‘There were over 100  penalties and there was not once in that game where Adelaide got marched for continuous contact or ntsGcontinuesntecontinuous infringing. That’s over 100 times that that whistle went and it mustntsG’vente have been a bit tedious to watch with all those stoppages,’’ Wilkins said ahead of today’s clash with the Southern Steel at TSB Bank Arena.
‘‘That could’ve been tidied up. The rules are there to be used, but credit to Adelaide. If nothing is going to come from it and all you’re going to have to do is stand beside if you get pulled, then you’re going to keep doing it aren’t you?
‘‘So that’s something from that game that needs to be looked at. Like 100 penalties is a lot in a game of netball.’’
Wilkins copped plenty of contact, but still managed to put up five more shots ntsGthatntethan shooting partner Irene van Dyk, in netting 25 from 28 attempts.
‘‘I don’t think Rebecca Bulley got one clean intercept because she was on my back the whole time. That was their game plan and I know that’s what I’m going to get against the Aussie sides,’’ said Wilkins.
‘‘That’s why I say credit to them. If the umpires aren’t going to say ‘goal defence, this is persistent’ and march it, why would you change? If they had, then she might have to hold back a bit.
‘‘But when that’s not being done, of course you’re going to push the boundaries.’’
That’s the broader context of things. If the powers that be want to tidy things up with regard to foul play, they will. If not, they won’t.
For the Pulse it was simply a loss and a bad one. There are things Wilkins would like the Pulse to learn from it, otherwise it’s forgotten.
‘‘ntsGInteIt would be fantastic to sit here with two points in the bank. But we haven’t and we can’t do anything about it now. Hopefully it doesn’t come back to bite us at the end of the season.’’
Wilkins has seen enough netball ntsGin her timente to know that one game is just that. It was disappointing, but not the end of the world. Besides, having not gone back to her Southland farm this week, she’s had her family ringing up to tell her the same thing.
‘‘They’re straight up and pretty honest – much like me. But they said it was like watching a semifinal, in terms of the intensity of that game, compared to watching some of those other first round games.
‘‘So we have to take some credit for that performance. We did a lot of good things.’’
Provided they do those good things again today, against the Steel, Wilkins holds no fears about failing to collect the two points this time.
- The Dominion Post