Super Netball changes for player welfare

Kayla Johnson of the NSW Swifts reaches out to receive a pass. James Worsfold/Getty Images

Super Netball has announced several changes to playing conditions for the shortened 2020 season, introduced with injury prevention and player welfare in mind.

After discussions held with medical experts, clubs, players and high performance managers, it was decided to introduce the following changes.

• The number of players permitted in each match will be raised from 10 to 12. This includes 10 full squad members and two additional players who may be training partners or other players, subject to several requirements. The additional two players can change between matches according to club needs.

• The bonus point system will be suspended for the 2020 season. This change is designed to ensure that playing load is distributed more widely across each team's group of athletes. Removal of the bonus point will reduce the incentive to keep certain players on the court longer in pursuit of winning a quarter.

• Introduction of extra time to resolve drawn games will be postponed until the 2021 season. This decision is in line with advice on player load, potential injury and the likely impact of extra time periods on athletes who have had reduced or interrupted pre-seasons.

A new role within the organisation has been introduced as well. The Super Netball Injury Surveillance Manager will provide up-to-the-minute data to senior medical, high performance and administrative staff at league and club level throughout the season.

Super Netball CEO Chris Symington said the initiatives were designed to protect player health and welfare.

"We made these changes because healthy athletes mean a healthy season where players are given enough rest to keep them at the top of their game. I want to thank the many people who have contributed to this outcome with their flexibility, collaboration and determination to create a vibrant and dynamic season," he said.

"I also want to thank fans who have continued to support their clubs during this unprecedented period and assure them that bonus points and extra time will return in 2021 when we run a full season."

Australian Netball Players' Association chief Kathryn Harby-Williams said the changes were vital in maintaining the integrity of the condensed season.

"Front and centre right now is managing the wellbeing and physical load of our athletes given the unusual preseason they have had leading into this condensed season. We appreciate the league considering the feedback from all stakeholders, including the players, to inform their decision making," she said.