Commentator’s Call: Domestic differences intrigue
Another accolade for Laura Langman. The Silver Ferns captain has been named captain of the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the Australian domestic competition, with South African Karla Pretorius her deputy.
It’s hardly surprising, given Noeline Taurua is the coach, but it highlights the differences in the domestic competitions of three of the major netballing nations.
The Australian competition starts on Sunday - it breaks in the middle to accommodate the Netball World Cup - while the UK league is having its closest and most exciting competition ever.
It allows two international players per team, but they must play in different areas of the court. This proved to be a problem for the Severn Stars during one of the early rounds. Jamaican Jodi-Ann Ward was already at WD, when South African GA Maryka Holtzhausen was moved across to WA. It wasn’t for long and all agreed it was done without thinking, but it still cost the Stars three valuable competition points.
Australia allows pretty much open slather, with five of the Adelaide Thunderbirds’ 10 players hailing from overseas, while the Firebirds and the Giants have just one foreigner each. The average is three.
The ANZ Premiership is different again, with only one import allowed per team. As to which of these systems works best, probably depends on what is hoping to be achieved. If it’s to generate the best national netball team in the world, the answer to that will be found on July 21!
To Round 10, which starts on Sunday at Takanini with the Stars meeting the Mystics for the third and final time this year. Both are coming off losses, though the Mystics looked less wobbly than the Stars.
There is a real race on for that third finals spot with no team without a chance. Monday night’s game sees the Tactix up against it, having to face the Pulse. They have the benefit of being at home in Christchurch, and the knowledge they were much improved in their win over the Stars in the previous round.
Also with a steep mountain to climb is the Magic on Wednesday night in Hamilton. They meet the Steel, the side which has inflicted hefty defeats on them in both meetings this year.