Extra time to separate teams in new NZ domestic netball league - March 17, 2017
by SCOTT DONALDSON
There will be no stalemates in the NZ domestic netball league, as extra time is introduced as one of the main rule changes from last year's trans-Tasman netball league.
Extra time was scrapped for the trans-Tasman 2016 ANZ Championship, but will now be reinstated for the inaugural ANZ Premiership competition starting on March 26.
Two-three minute periods will be played if scores are level at the end of regulation time, if there is still a deadlock, teams will continue to battle until one side has a two goal buffer.
According to Netball NZ head of events and international Kate Agnew, the new domestic showpiece represents an excellent chance to shape the New Zealand netball league.
"We have taken the opportunity to put into place some of the things that we want in our competition," she said.
Agnew hopes that reinstating extra time will not only provide plenty of excitement, but will also help to prepare players for international tournaments like the Netball World Cup and Commonwealth Games, where extra time is played.
"The players in particular really felt that draws are a little bit unsatisfying for them, they love resolution, they love to fight and compete for that victory, but the fans also really love it," she said.
"We know that extra time when it does occur adds a thrilling element to the culmination of the match and the thing that we are after there is about keeping players experiencing pressure situations and developing their skills in that environment."
"In the event that they end up in that situation, we want them to be better prepared, more familiar with it and therefore perform at the very top of their skills and take the victory out at those [international] levels too."
It is hoped that the shorter three minute extra time periods will not impact on Super Sundays where there are back-to-back games.
There will be other new rules in place, including a bonus point for any team losing by five goals or less and new substitution rules to allow for unlimited tactical changes.
"From the previous competition, what we have put into place for the ANZ Premiership is we have removed the need to have to have an injury, illness or blood to be able to make a substitution or a player change on court," she said.
"That frees up coaches to be able to make more strategic changes, it has I think ignited the awareness of coaches to be able to make more changes at a stoppage than they have done and we think it is healthier for the players as well, because it removes the need for them to try and perhaps pretend they have something wrong with themselves."
There were three draws in the 2016 trans-Tasman netball league, with the Southern Steel involved twice, against the Mainland Tactix and the NSW Swifts.
Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham thinks having extra time is a good thing.
"I think last year I know we had a couple of draws and at the end of those draws you kind of feel a little bit deflated because you haven't won or lost, so it is a little bit of a weird feeling," she said.
"So I think for spectators it is going to be quite cool that they have an outcome or a result, so either way you have someone who is going to be winning or losing, I think it can provide a little bit of excitement as well, going into that extra time stuff and extra pressure."
Bloxham doesn't expect the new rules, which were in place at the pre-season tournament in Otaki will alter things too much.
"It is probably something that has happened in the game for a wee while with subbing people on and off, so I don't find it to be a major issue really, it just allows coaches to make changes without players having to pretend there are injuries," she said.
Meanwhile, the Southern Steel play the Netball South team in their final warm up game on Sunday at 2:15pm at ILT Stadium Southland.