Diamonds coach Alexander calls for central contracts


The world No.1 ranked Diamonds fell short in the final of this year’s world championships, their one-goal loss to New Zealand in the final mirroring the outcome of the previous year’s Commonwealth Games decider against England.

Alexander says change is also necessary to shed complications around access to Diamonds players, whether it was asking them to train for national duty or to make commercial appearances.

She wanted a model closer to that of world champions New Zealand, where players are contracted centrally for 12 months once selected in the Silver Ferns squad.

The Australian women’s cricket and soccer teams benefit from that structure and Alexander said many people are surprised to learn the Diamonds don’t.

“In my opinion, we’re going to have to look at something different,” she said.

“The players have requirements as a (club) squad member for 12 months and it means we can’t compel them to go to training at certain times when their Super Netball team is in charge of them.

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“That’s where our issue is. It was important to start with to get the (Super Netball) contracts right and get them paid enough to do the work that we ask them to do.”

Her stance wasn’t a criticism of the eight clubs, who she said had been largely helpful towards the Diamonds cause.

However, she felt the international players were now “quite exhausted” following another year of twin demands.

They are currently enjoying an extended off-season break and Australia is unavailable for the elite four-nation tournament in Birmingham in January.

“They’ve only got so much time in the year so they need a break. And it’s complex because we just happen to have the world’s best domestic league, which actually pays the players really well,” Alexander said.

“We’ve got to be really careful because our sport is going well. Netball has never been bigger in Australia but you just don’t want to tip it over the edge too much either.”

AAP

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