HomeBreaking NewsRevealed: True toll of Netball’s salary cap scandal

Revealed: True toll of Netball’s salary cap scandal


Highlighting the importance the opening month of the new season will have for Diamonds players this year, Marinkovich has revealed she must name her 2022-23 national squad after round five of the Super Netball season as part of preparations for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July-August.The Diamonds coach will soak up the action at games in Queensland – having returned just this week from Western Australia to her home state to live – as well as at various interstate venues as she attempts to decide on the 12 players that will represent the Diamonds in Birmingham.“You always want to see how players have evolved,” Marinkovich said.“We are looking for players to be in form and we’re looking for the skill set that we’ve been driving home as the Diamonds way of playing.“Obviously those that had those opportunities (at the Quad Series) set a standard.”But the focus will not just be on the Commonwealth Games, with Marinkovich determined to set the Diamonds up for future success with a World Cup next year.Shaving the wider group down to the final 12 for Birmingham will be a tough ask but the coach said it was a “good headache to have”.For the first time in almost a decade Marinkovich will not be at the helm of a team when the Super Netball season opens this weekend.Coach of the West Coast Fever from 2014-2021, Marinkovich must now focus solely on the national team but in a wide-ranging interview with News Corp she addressed some of the biggest issues facing the game and the controversial Fever salary cap scandal.SUPER RULESSuper Netball’s rules have drawn plenty of critics due to their differences to the international game but Marinkovich is not among them, believing it’s “not a big issue”.While Super Netball allows timeouts, the Diamonds train in a way that encourages precise communication under fatigue and stress, to allow the players to be able to shift momentum during a game.“So instead of being able to call timeout, we’ve got to be able to do that through communication and strategy out on court,” Marinkovich said.She also believes Super Netball’s rolling sub rule – where players can sub in and out of the game without having to wait for a break in play – is likely to be replicated in some form at an international level, to stop all teams from flouting “injury” stoppages.And she believes the controversial super shot has had benefits for the Diamonds at an international level.“I think as you can see from the Quad Series, the super shot has enabled us to be able to have some really good mid-range shooting within the Diamonds group,” Marinkovich said.“I think pre-season throughout (Super Netball) has showed that shooters are getting more comfortable with the distance and you’re going to see a lot more dropping through the season which is great.“It just means that our shooters are becoming more robust and even though there’s distance in the shot, it’s more of a guarantee than it is just a 60 per cent type of attempt.“And it’s good for our defenders. Defenders have to be accountable under the post and out and super shot helps that accountability as well.“So I think there’s a lot of positives.”TOO MANY INTERNATIONAL PLAYERSThere’s been plenty of debate around the role of international players in Super Netball recently, with some believing they hamper opportunities for Australian talent to develop.But Marinkovich welcomed the best players in the world being involved in the competition.“I do like the internationals there. I think if you want to have the world’s best competition, you’ve got to have the world’s best players,” she said.“I think the way in which the training environment of the squads has evolved, we’re still getting that depth coming through.“So players like Sophie Garbin, who hadn’t had a huge amount of court time when she was at the Swifts, was still playing great netball.“When she came to the Quad Series (with the Diamonds), she was able to make an impact.“Someone like (England defender) Eboni Usoro-Brown coming in (as a new import to Super Netball this season), our shooters will get to know what she looks like on the court, rather than walking in (to an international series) blind.“So whilst there’s a level of comfort with those players knowing each others’ games, I still think the skill of winning a championship like a Comm Games or a World Cup is about the ability for the team to connect … it’s the powerhouse of the unit.“That is what wins your medal at the end of the day.”RETURN TO A REGULAR SEASONMarinkovich estimates Super Netball players and officials from outside Queensland have spent almost seven months in various hotel hubs and bubbles over the past two seasons as Covid savaged the competition.It’s something that’s taken a toll on those involved and is part of the reason why a home and away competition will be pursued at all costs this year.“Living in hubs isn’t an ideal lifestyle for anyone and the thirst in each state to see netball live – I think there’s a little buzz about it, and clubs also need it financially and to support their commercial partners,” she said.“So, I guess there’s a holistic view in making sure it’s a home-and-away season.“But there’s nothing better than walking out on your home court, you’ve got your fans cheering for you and, and a lot of the teams have missed that.”While she won’t be involved herself, hopes the Fever thrive under new coach Dan Ryan, who she believes will bring a new dynamic to the group.“Some of the Fever players haven’t had a lot of coaches through their career and I think having someone else look at their game, that can bring a different flavour to it and challenge them in different ways,” she said.“Last year, there was a lot of pressure on the Fever to win week-in, week-out and this year they’re going in with a lot of freedom and have the ability to enjoy the game for what it is and when you’re happy off the court, you’re going to embrace things on it.”SALARY CAP WOESThe Fever headed into last season with the millstone of a heavy competition-point penalty around their necks after flagrant breaches of the salary cap in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.“When I’ve had time to reflect on that period, I guess it was a lot of focus on getting it right every game from Round 1 – there was no breathing space to drop a game, to have a bad day and I think that took a lot of mental energy and it probably took away the enjoyment of the game a little bit because you were always going, right, we got this one, what’s the next one, what’s the next one.“The level of competition you come up against week-in, week out, there was no breathing space. Wins were vital for us to be able to make finals.“There’s no doubt that took its toll and I think that’s where we stumbled at the end of the season.”Marinkovich, who with the players was left to be the public face of the scandal after those responsible in administration left without explanation, said on reflection it was the toughest period of her career at the Fever.“In terms of (the cap breaches), there’s been an investigation and report and I certainly didn’t have access to any of that information,” she said.“And I needed to coach and we needed to focus on the things that we could control. We certainly couldn’t change what had been.“We had a responsibility to our fans, our families and each other to go out there and put in a performance on the court that would make us proud and show people that we were working really hard to do the right thing.“I take great pride in how the staff and the players in our organisation were able to embrace the challenge last year. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”Netball Top 30 2022

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