ALSO IN 2002…
Player behaviour and language became an issue in 2002. In round 5, Australian captain Kath Harby-Williams was sent from the court for dissent when simply saying “you’re kidding” after an umpire’s decision. Then in round 8, Ravens’ shooter Sharon Durbridge was seen on TV clearly swearing. This prompted a response from NA CEO Pam Smith.
HARBY-WILLIAMS SENT OFF AS THE T-BIRDS BEAT SYDNEY
Australian captain Kathryn Harby-Williams was sent off for back chat last night as her Adelaide Thunderbirds finally broke the Sydney Swifts 12-game winning streak. Harby-Williams found herself sent off the court for dissent in the dying minutes of the tightly fought match at the State Sports Centre, won 46-43 by Adelaide.
She had been warned in the third quarter and again in the fourth and was finally given her marching orders by umpire Stacey Campton after querying a call with “you’re kidding”. It is the third time a player has been sent off since the National Netball League began in 1997 and the first time for an Australian captain.
“It was certainly a passionate plea,” Harby-Williams said after the match. “I wasn’t being nasty at all to the umpire, it was an emotional and passionate game. I’ve seen a lot of dirty play in my time and it certainly wasn’t anything like that.” She conceded it was a lapse in her discipline and said she was disappointed.
Thunderbird’s coach Margaret Angove said she would discuss the matter with Harby-Williams and discipline her if necessary. The loss is the first for the defending champion Swifts this season, with Adelaide remaining undefeated after five rounds.
WASH YOUR MOUTHS OUT, ‘ROLE MODELS’ WARNED
Netball Australia is getting tough on foul language after a premier player was caught using the f-word during a televised match. The sport’s governing body responded by banning swearing and reminding top players they were role models for young girls and risked disciplinary action if they were caught using obscene language.
Adelaide Ravens goal-shoot Sharon Durbridge was clearly shown mouthing “f… ” after a play in the Adelaide goal circle during a closely-fought match against the Melbourne Phoenix. After receiving complaints from people attending matches with young children, Netball Australia chief executive Pam Smith emailed leading players and officials, reminding them that swearing and sledging “will not be tolerated.”
But the stance has polarised opinion among players. Ravens captain Danielle Grant said it was “pathetic” that swearing had become a major issue. “This is just ridiculous – it happens in men’s sports,” she said. “It’s ridiculous our head of netball is focusing on that. There should be more concern about the financial situation of our league.”
Australian vice-captain Liz Ellis, a self-confessed “passionate” competitor, said swearing should not be condoned in netball because of the young crowd it attracted. “It’s not a huge issue, but I agree with the zero tolerance policy because at the end of the day most of our viewers are young women.”