ANPA protest will not include scheduled weekend Super Netball games

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Geva Mentor and Romelda  Aiken
England's Geva Mentor challenges Jamaica's Romelda Aiken during their bronze medal netball match at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. Reuters/ Suzanne Plunkett

The scheduled games for Super Netball this weekend will go as planned despite threats of a strike from the Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA). Much of this was watered down after the players were assured that their pay deals would remain intact. 

Strike action concerns cropped up after former Australian captain Kathryn Harby-Williams was booted out of the Netball Australia board. She was due for re-election but was not elected during the Netball Australia annual general meeting held in Canberra, ABC.net.au reported.

Harby-Williams and former chair Anne-Marie Corboy missed out and have been replaced by Susan Comerford and Marcia Ella-Duncan. The move is seen as a power-play by state-member associations who are feeling an impending threat from three new private clubs (Lightning, Giants Netball and Collingwood Magpies).

A statement released by the ANPA said that the weekend games are not part of the protest in the interest of fans, corporate partners and broadcast obligations. Instead, the protest will seek to shine a light on the very real issue of independence and governance on the board. The Sunshine Coast Lightning will face the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Brisbane this Saturday at 7 p.m.

With Harby-Williams out, the ANPA vows to keep a watchful eye on the deliberations of the board moving forward. This is to ensure that all decisions made would benefit the sport as a whole. 

Branded as the darkest day in the sport’s history, board spokesperson Geoff Paramenter sees it more as an opportunity to draw the line and move forward, according to the Sunshine Coast Daily

"I think there's one thing I can say for certain: that everybody in that room is united in wanting the best for the game, and we have an opportunity now to capitalise on the opportunity that Super Netball's created for the game, and everybody recognises that and is committed to it.”

Former Netball chief executive Kate Palmer called the whole row disappointing but nevertheless remained optimistic on the future of the sport. She understood the disappointment that looms at the moment but believes that everyone will come out stronger with all uniting behind a common cause. 

For Sunshine Coast Lightning captain Geva Mentor, it is business as usual despite the unrest. She and the rest of the girls have a job to do. She remains positive that the players and the league are moving in the right direction which can hopefully result in improving both the league and the players.