COMMONWEALTH BANK TROPHY 1997-2007

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  • Ian Harkin
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    Post count: 10396

    In 1996, a brand new expanded national league competition was announced, to take over from the Mobil League in 1997. The Commonwealth Bank Trophy as it was known, would survive for 11 seasons…

    .

    RAISING THE NETBALL
    Linda Pearce
    26/10/1996
    The Sunday Age

    The National Netball League has hit some potholes on the road to its launch next April. Linda Pearce looks at the problems, and meets the man trying to provide some answers.

    IT’S a sunny spring morning outside a Carlton cafe and Paul McLean is taking it one coffee at a time. His hair is slicked smoothly back, the jacket of his Hugo Boss suit slung over an empty chair, a gold signet ring matches the pen peeping from his top pocket, and a Benson and Hedges burns in the ashtray.

    For a moment, the heavily British voice of the man whose brief it is to sell the most ambitious project in Australian netball history is silent. He has just been asked whether the establishment of the National Netball League, a project that has attracted controversy over everything from sponsorship delays to naming teams after different species of birds, has been harder than he had dreamed.

    “Sometimes when you forge new ground there’s unexpected geography that you have to deal with,” McLean says, eventually. “I don’t suppose when Tim McCartney-Snape climbed Everest that he ever really thought he was going to fail. But I tell you what, there were probably a few nights when he wished he wasn’t there, when he had cold feet. To have no self-doubt, you wouldn’t be human, would you?”

    Yet self-doubt is not a characteristic one would readily associate with McLean, the confident Oxford-educated son of a former newspaper publisher from the monied London suburb of Chelsea. McLean entered into a sports consultancy partnership with Sydney Olympic bid chief executive Rod McGeoch two years ago. In February-March he wrote the NNL business plan; his job now is to implement it.

    Which, so far, has not been such a simple task. A 30 September deadline for the announcement of a major sponsor was reportedly set, but none is now expected before Christmas. McLean protests that 30 September was merely a date by which levels of interest would be gauged. He says at least 14 companies are interested in offering various levels of support and the naming-rights deal is close to being signed.

    With less than six months until the first whistle, players and officials have been repeatedly frustrated by the lack of information from Netball Australia. “Management-wise, you’d have to be concerned, because you’re making decisions in the dark, constantly,” says Melbourne Kestrels coach Lisa Alexander. “That’s the trouble. We want to get on with things and we can’t.”

    In Brisbane, national captain Vicki Wilson has rejected the playing coach’s role at the Queensland Firebirds due to the local association’s demands on players. Uncertainty reigns. “Fringe players or players who have never been involved at that level are just going ahead with what they’d normally do over summer, whether it be playing touch footy or going to the beach or whatever. No programs have been put in place, no one knows anything. We don’t even know which players are interested. We haven’t got that far yet.”

    The decision to name teams after birds has also been coolly received, with one leading player branding the feathered theme “derogatory” and “appalling”. McLean, whose idea it was, responds: “Why birds? Why not?” Reminded that it is a colloquial and unflattering term for women, he continues: “Oh, you mean ‘she’s a good-looking bird’? That statement amazes me. It’s reading too much into it. Birds, women . . . what do they think we’re going to be promoting them as? Sex queens? This is schoolboy stuff. Just ridiculous.”

    Not even the timing of the league’s introduction – it replaces the two-month-long Mobil League that has run since the mid-1980s – has escaped unscathed. Netball Victoria executive director Russell Hopper believes the time was right three years ago. Alexander’s ideal would have been straight after Australia’s one-goal world championship win in Sydney in 1991.

    There are also suggestions of attempted sabotage. McLean claims to be aware of several Melbourne companies that have been approached by people he understands to have been associated with former Mobil League teams who are “pouring cold water” on the NNL. “I’m fed up to the back teeth,” he says. “These are people driven by self-interest without a perspective of what the league represents.”

    STILL, difficulties aside, there is genuine excitement over the prospect of a true national league at last. It all began last year when two sports management academics at Sydney’s University of Technology were commissioned to write a feasibility study with input from players and administrators.

    It was accepted in principle by Netball Australia, which had long been considering a full extended league but had been cautioned by a number of factors, including the teething problems experienced by women’s basketball. The second of its three-year contracts with Mobil was up, but the deals with ABC-TV and Optus Vision ran safely through until 1999. The time had come.

    An eight-team format – the AIS controversially out, a second Victorian team in – was retained, two full home-and-away rounds introduced and Sydney consultants McGeoch McLean given responsibility for all revenue and marketing. The National Netball League Pty Ltd took over all sponsorship and has allocated each team a first-year budget of $120,000. In order to broaden the support base, all existing club ties have been cut.

    “It’s been set up in order that netball can sustain itself and, importantly, own its product and exploit its own product,” says McLean. “The company’s been set up to generate revenue which ultimately can be put towards the running of the National Netball League and back into the grass roots of netball. So it’s the commercial arm of netball in Australia.

    “I think the basis of netball is very firmly ensconced in the sporting cultural traditions of Australia, and plays a very large part in the community. We’re looking to take the traditional values of netball and give them a contemporary flavor; put them into modern society. I think netball’s been left slightly behind the times. It does have a little bit of a dowdy image and part of our role is going to be to shed that skin and come forward into the ’90s.”

    But even when it arrives, who will watch it? How to make a participant sport appealing to spectators? How, basically, to get all those who play the game to actually buy a ticket?

    McLean says that although other sports have been modified to enhance their audience appeal, netball’s rules will remain intact for now. But he says it needs to become more commercially aggressive to ensure its survival, and sees a need for a more vibrant presentation, including better half-time entertainment, and a shorter break between double-header matches.

    Of course, it all gets back to the quality of the product, but there are also plans to create a data base, upgrade the netball magazine, market a registration card with discounts for members, beef up the promotion through the media and in local communities and cash in on women’s increasing power as consumer decision-makers.

    All of which sounds terrific, as does the expectation of a profit in 1997 and the development of alternative revenue sources such as merchandising and TV rights to reduce sponsorship from 90 to 20 per cent of total revenue within five years. But is the organisation, right now, where McLean would want it? “Is anybody ever? I think at the end of the day we’re as far down the track as I expected to be. I think it would be unreasonable to expect to be any further down the track in an organisational sense. It’s a massive, massive task.”

    And one on which little detail has been made available, even to the teams. It is a gripe McLean admits has some foundation, but one necessitated by an evolving product and Netball Australia’s desire to avoid confusion. Regardless, his and executive director Pam Smith’s appeal for patience is an indication of the troops’ unrest.

    Melbourne Phoenix coach Norma Plummer says her complaint about a lack of information is widely shared. Neither are her team’s name – chosen by Netball Victoria – nor the expected colors of black, orange and yellow, ideal. “But we have to make it work,” she says. “In the end we’ve got to forget all the hassles and our own personal dislikes because in the long term it will be the best netball for the best players.”

    If Smith says the most contentious point has been the move away from traditional club bases, then the league will also force the resolution of an issue that has been festering for some time: player remuneration. As netball is officially an amateur sport, match payments are not permitted, and all related earnings must be paid into a trust fund. National players receive a sports commission STEP grant of $2040 to cover time off work and training expenses, but the time is rapidly approaching when far more must be offered.

    Wilson, who is near the end of her career, believes netballers will eventually be paid, but it is still no more than “a dim light at the end of the tunnel”. She expects the NNL to force the issue, for not all players will be able to afford to take extra days off work without compensation.

    Hopper believes that it is inevitable. Probably sooner rather than later, which in netball terms is about five years. McLean says that is an issue for the teams rather than the league. He expects players to be paid, perhaps next year, and argues that they deserve to be. Smith stresses that it is an amateur sport, but is confident that will change.

    But back to more pressing matters. Should we, the public, be concerned about the establishment of the league? Are netball’s grand plan and it’s smartly dressed marketing frontman on track? Is it the right track?

    Alexander sums up the mood by admitting to both apprehension and excitement. “I think they’re taking a pretty pragmatic approach, that ‘we didn’t start it probably as early as what we maybe should have, so we’d better make sure it’s right’. And I’m just hoping with the lack of decision-making so far that the effort’s going into making sure that everything really is right.”

    WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE NATIONAL NETBALL LEAGUE:

    * There will be eight teams, each named after a bird: Adelaide Falcons, Adelaide Ravens, Melbourne Kestrels, Melbourne Phoenix, Perth Orioles, Queensland Firebirds, Sydney Eagles, Sydney Swifts.

    * The NNL will start on the weekend on 11-13 April, with the grand final to be played on 23 August at a venue to be determined. Matches will be scheduled for at least two and up to four venues each week and teams will meet each other twice. Melbourne’s first home games will be on Anzac weekend, 25-27 April.

    * Each team is expected to draw from a squad of 16, with 10 or 12 players to travel each weekend with three officials. Each player will be required to sign a joint NNL/team contract but there is not yet any provision for player payment other than limited expense reimbursement. Imports are not permitted.

    * The league is expected to cost $1 million to run in its first year, with more than 90 per cent of revenue coming initially through sponsorship. Each team will be provided with a budget of $120,000, including airfares, accommodation and uniform costs that will be paid directly by the NNL. The cash balance will be put towards training and transport costs, venue hire, etc.

    * ABC-TV and Optus Vision will cover games, although contractual details are still to be finalised. The first free-to-air timeslot targeted is from 4.30-6pm on Saturdays.

    * The National Netball League Pty Ltd will be run by 10 directors: the nine members of the Netball Australia board and marketing consultant Paul McLean. McGeoch McLean has signed a five-year contract with the option of a further five. Leanne Austin has been appointed Operations Manager.

    * More umpires will be needed, expanding the national pool to as many as 25.

    * Netball Victoria has appointed Bill Pewtress (Phoenix) and Bert Gaudion (Kestrels) as the independent chairmen of its two franchises for an interim period of 12 months. Local matches are expected to be played at the Glasshouse and the Waverley Netball Stadium.

    * Uniforms will be redesigned and supplied along with footwear if requested by those players without individual sponsorships by Asics Tiger. Team colors are yet to be ratified.

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    NETBALL’S PROMOTION MORE LIKE DEGRADATION
    Linda Pearce
    27/3/1997
    The Age

    It took just two minutes on Wednesday to set back by 10 years the cause of women’s sport in general, and netball in particular. Well, perhaps not quite 10 years. And maybe not all women’s sport. But permit me a slight over-reaction. This was not a happy occasion.

    Certainly not as happy as it should have been. The media joined sponsors, players and officials of the new National Netball League teams in a five-city launch with all the trimmings. Smoked salmon, chardonnay, smooth TV hosts. Executives from the naming rights sponsor, the Commonwealth Bank, which has tipped in the biggest bucket of money in the history of Australian women’s sport.

    There was lots of talk about the “exciting new era” being entered through the 17-week league beginning on 11 April. The unveiling of the new lycra uniforms (some grumbles about those too, but, that’s another story). Optimism and enthusiasm.

    But then the two minutes. A promotional video put together by a Pay TV network was supposed to preview the season. What it did was home in on tight shots of big breasts in tight tops. How convenient no one was wearing a positional bib. Hell, let’s not obscure the view.

    Then, as the announcer spoke of Australian netball having a ‘brand new face”, a blonde model ran her hands seductively through her hair. And it gets even worse. We go on to hear how netball is “looking good” as another model (this one a brunette) lifts her skirt to adjust her underwear.

    How unnecessary. How ridiculous. And how inappropriate for a sport that has tried so hard, and for so long, to be taken seriously. Several players in the room gaped in disbelief. Some shrugged it off; others expressed disappointment. Those who were not bothered, should have been. If this is the “whole new attitude” the voice-over man was talking about, then the old attitude was just fine.

    Of course there is an increasingly fine line between what is sport and what is entertainment. Organisations need to define what they would be prepared to compromise in pursuit of the ratings and dollars. Netball is competing in a crowded marketplace and for too long was criticised – in this paper more vocally than most – for its cuppa and scones mentality. But dowdy is one thing, sleazy another.

    To be fair, the tape was produced in a hurry, and even Netball Australia officials did not see the final cut until the afternoon before the launch. It is unlikely to be seen elsewhere. Or again. Nor should it be.

    Arse close-ups may be fine for beach volleyball (refer a recent edition of the Herald Sun), but whatever the marketing gurus say, netball’s chief target audience is the women and children who play, umpire and support it at country and suburban level.

    Gratuitous breast and thigh shots are not what the National Netball League is all about. Anyone needing two reasons for watching should try these two: the skill of the players and the speed of the game. Full stop.

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    IT SURE ISN’T FOOTBALL
    Linda Pearce
    Sunday Age
    Apr 13, 1997

    To mark the start of the National Netball League, Linda Pearce spent the weekend on the road, behind the scenes and in the rooms with the Melbourne Kestrels.

    It is Friday, 8am. As the kestrels arrive at the Tullamarine check in area, they are handed new polo shirts, temporary tracksuits and spare uniforms, all still in plastic bags. Lift off is imminent for the National Netball League, but a few of the finer details are lagging behind.

    Captain Shelley O’Donnell strolls in and, with the ongoing contractual dispute still unresolved, distributes players’ association membership forms to be completed and signed. Players ask if the team’s sponsor is known yet. It is, but less than a week ago, it still was not.

    Coach Lisa Alexander senses some nerves and resolves to keep as calm as possible. Little wonder there are nerves. These are netballers thrown together from six different clubs and are Victoria’s nominated underdog. The label is understandable when the comparison is with the more established Melbourne Phoenix. Understandable, too, when the round one road trip delivers the league’s other big name team, Kathryn Harby’s Adelaide Thunderbirds.

    Still, the Kestrels’ first day in the inaugural national league will be even longer than it is anxious. Alexander and the rest of the Leongatha based contingent have been on the road since 5am. the travelling party of 19 – 11 players, coach, manager, mascot, fitness advisor, physiotherapist, doctor, president, independent chairman and ‘Sunday age’ writer – arrives in Adelaide before the Ravens have even left for Melbourne, where they will play Phoenix (and collect their uniforms on arrival and lose by 17 goals).

    This is not football. Budgets and employers do not allow for day-before travel. And walking from the tarmac the players joke about expecting to battle past the banks of television lights and cameras they are sure will (not) be waiting inside the terminal. “Don’t worry. I’ll hold them back,” jokes Alexander. “Just say ‘no comment’, girls!”

    But although the kestrels are hoping their performances will speak volumes, when Alexander addresses the group before a pre-lunch training run, she refers to a ‘hellish week’ leading up to the NNL debut.

    O’Donnell has been in bed with the flu. There are the usual teething problems. And if it’s hard to select teams, it’s even harder to leave players out. Nicole Richardson is the unluckiest this time. She is considered to be struggling with an injured knee, but her greater pain is the pain of missing out.

    Players spend the afternoon eating, drinking, resting, meeting. At 3pm they gather in Alexander’s room, which the coach is sharing with the journalist – this is absolutely not football – and the team is announced. More words of advice and encouragement follow, also talks from captain O’Donnell and her deputy and assistant coach Roselee Jencke. The message is to be positive. Enjoy it. Back each other. And hold your heads high. We are no easybeats.

    More of the same about two hours later, including specific emphasis on presence, accountability and mental toughness, with each player having been individually briefed in the meantime. O’Donnell closes by predicting the Kestrels will surprise a few people; that some Thunderbird arse will be kicked.

    Then the 25-minute bus ride to the Powerhouse Stadium. Still plenty of chatter, but also a slight edge of uncertainty. Six months training, an injury-depleted pre-season competition and some practice matches against the state men’s team have given the Kestrels little idea of where they’re at. They should know soon enough.

    The changing rooms – where the extroverted O’Donnell holds court and talks range from nipples to pimples to the rather unflattering team poster – are barely adequate. The Adelaide 36ers’ starting five and some key words remain on the white board but you have to wonder where a basketball team would fit its lanky limbs in here. After a quick change into the new Lycra uniforms (the verdict: not bad but a high wedgie factor), the stretches and warm-up are held out on court.

    The start is promising. No, in fact, better than that. Goal for goal until just before quarter-time; trailing by only three a few minutes into the third term. But then, some ball-handling errors, a drop-off in intensity, concentration lapses and a lack of flow and penetration in attack. The Thunderbirds settle into their slick, free-moving game. They are not challenged again.

    Alexander has used two members of her bench, but hindsight will judge the moves unsuccessful. Not that it probably would have made much difference, with the final scoreline 33-56, despite some stout defence from Jencke and Narelle Garbutt and the gut-busting efforts of O’Donnell, who is ropable about umpiring that permits some heavy contact from the Thunderbirds’ defence.

    Even more disappointing is the crowd. Adelaide is the netball city outside of New Zealand, but the atmosphere is flat and spectator estimates range no higher than 1000.

    Yet the disaster of the night is Velcro-inspired. The new positional bibs delivered to the teams minutes before the game, are hopelessly unsuitable, hanging and even falling off some players within minutes. O’Donnell, not one to pussyfoot around, is scathing. “Perhaps they should have got their act together and given us the bibs a few weeks beforehand,” she says.

    Afterwards, for obvious reasons, there is no chance of a Davis Cup style celebration. Nor is there any possibility of sorrows being drowned. One of the team rules bans alcohol for 48 hours either side of an away match. Players shower and head out for a quick bowl of pasta before an early night. The first half was encouraging, they know, and there is plenty on which to build. But there is also much work to do. And a long season ahead.

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    The 8 teams chosen to compete in the inaugural CBT season were:

    Adelaide Ravens
    Adelaide Thunderbirds
    Melbourne Kestrels
    Melbourne Phoenix
    Perth Orioles
    Queensland Firebirds
    Sydney Sandpipers
    Sydney Swifts

    .

    1997 COMMONWEALTH BANK TROPHY

    Round 1
    Thunderbirds 56
    vs Kestrels 33
    Phoenix 66 v Ravens 49
    Swifts 62 v Firebirds 49
    Sandpipers 53 v Orioles 45

    Round 2
    Phoenix 52
    v Orioles 32
    Swifts 57 v Ravens 48
    Kestrels 64 v Firebirds 59
    Thunderbirds 67 v Sandpipers 46

    Round 3
    Swifts 51 v Phoenix 51
    Kestrels 51 v Sandpipers 72
    Orioles 39 v Thunderbirds 55
    Ravens 76 v Firebirds 54

    Round 4
    Ravens 45 v Thunderbirds 64
    Firebirds 47 v Orioles 46
    Swifts 55 v Sandpipers 45
    Phoenix 79 v Kestrels 30

    Round 5
    Sandpipers 55 v Firebirds 58
    Ravens 63 v Kestrels 55
    Phoenix 53 v Thunderbirds 47
    Orioles 35 v Swifts 43

    Round 6
    Ravens 47 v Orioles 48
    Phoenix 65 v Sandpipers 45
    Swifts 49 v Kestrels 49
    Firebirds 44 v Thunderbirds 43

    Round 7
    Phoenix 72 v Firebirds 39
    Thunderbirds 53 v Swifts 40
    Ravens 67 v Sandpipers 46
    Orioles 47 v Kestrels 41

    Round 8
    Swifts 61 v Firebirds 51
    Kestrels 36 v Thunderbirds 76
    Orioles 53 v Sandpipers 35
    Ravens 51 v Phoenix 62

    Round 9
    Kestrels 59 v Firebirds 64
    Ravens 52 v Swifts 55
    Thunderbirds 51 v Sandpipers 46
    Orioles 40 v Phoenix 64

    Round 10
    Firebirds 49 v Ravens 58
    Sandpipers 71 v Kestrels 49
    Phoenix 57 v Swifts 49
    Thunderbirds 61 v Orioles 39

    Round 11
    Thunderbirds 60 v Ravens 46
    Sandpipers 52 v Swifts 48
    Kestrels 47 v Phoenix 61
    Orioles 57 v Firebirds 48

    Round 12
    Firebirds 45 v Sandpipers 64
    Thunderbirds 67 v Phoenix 54
    Kestrels 67 v Ravens 64
    Swifts 46 v Orioles 47

    Round 13
    Kestrels 44 v Swifts 64
    Sandpipers 61 v Phoenix 53
    Orioles 52 v Ravens 57
    Thunderbirds 60 v Firebirds 43

    Round 14
    Kestrels 70 v Orioles 35
    Swifts 40 v Thunderbirds 55
    Firebirds 42 v Phoenix 61
    Ravens 52 v Sandpipers 59

    .

    LADDER

    TEAM . . . . . P . . W . . L . . D . . . F . . . A . . . .+/- . . . . % . . . . Pts
    T’BIRDS .. .. 14 . .12 . . 2 . . 0 . . 815 . . 639 . +176 . . 127.54 . . 24
    PHOENIX .. 14 . .11 . . 2 . . 1 . . 850 . . 650 . +200 . . 130.77 . . 23
    SWIFTS .. .. 14 . .. 7 . . 5 . . 2 . . 720 . . 689 . . .+31 . . 104.50 . . 16
    S’PIPERS … 14 . .. 7 . . 7 . . 0 . . 752 . . 759 . . . .-7 . . ..99.08 . . 14

    RAVENS .. . 14 . .. 5 . . 9 . . 0 . . 775 . . 794 . . .-19 . . ..97.61 . . 10
    ORIOLES … 14 . .. 5 . . 9 . . 0 . . 615 . . 704 . . .-89 . . ..87.36 . . 10
    FIREBIRDS. 14 . .. 4 . 10 . . 0 . . 692 . . 838 . . -146 . . ..82.58 . . .8
    KESTRELS . 14 . .. 3 . 10 . . 1 . . 695 . . 860 . . -165 . . ..80.81 . . .7

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    MAJOR SEMI-FINAL:
    Phoenix 58 def Thunderbirds 42

    MINOR SEMI-FINAL:
    Swifts 62 def Sandpipers 48

    (both semi-finals played in Sydney)

    PRELIM FINAL:
    Thunderbirds 65 (Purser 33, Delaney 32)
    Swifts 39 (Cox 16, Anderson 13, Morgan 10)

    .

    GRAND FINAL:
    PHOENIX 58 def THUNDERBIRDS 48
    (11-13, 26-25, 42-32, 58-48)

    PHOENIX:
    GS . Southby
    GA . McMahon
    WA . Benison
    C .. Dick
    WD . McKinnis
    GD . Taverner
    GK . Lynch

    Changes:
    3rd Q – Bryant GS (McMahon), Southby to GA
    4th Q – Howie C (Dick)

    Shooting:
    Bryant 24, Southby 21, McMahon 13

    THUNDERBIRDS:
    GS . Purser
    GA . Delaney
    WA . Hodge
    C .. Sanders
    WD . Squire
    GD . Harby
    GK . Sutter

    Changes:
    4th Q – Cobb WA (Hodge), Romeo GA (Purser), Delaney to GS

    Shooting:
    Delaney 26, Purser 17, Romeo 5

    Umpires: Maureen Boyle, Sharon Burge
    Crowd: 4000

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    THUNDERBIRDS WERE GO, BUT PHOENIX RISE TO PRIZE
    AAP
    23/8/97

    Melbourne Phoenix are the inaugural national netball league champions after defeating the Adelaide Thunderbirds in a bruising grand final at the Glasshouse in Melbourne last night. Phoenix recovered from a sluggish start to win 58-48 before about 4,000 fans and take possession of the first Commonwealth Bank Trophy.

    Adelaide stunned the home crowd with a dominant opening, skipping to a 10-4 lead in the first quarter as captain Kathryn Harby inspired her teammates. The Thunderbirds increased their lead to 22-17, before a spate of injury breaks in a game full of physical clashes helped Phoenix gain momentum and piled on seven unanswered goals to take a one-goal lead at half time.

    The home side strengthened their grip on the title by outscoring Adelaide 16-7 in the third term as Phoenix doubled the scoring attempts of the Thunderbirds on the way to a 42-32 lead at the last change. Phoenix coach Norma Plummer said she was ecstatic. “It’s back to back for us, because we won the last of the Super league last year so we have made a bit of history,” she said.

    Plummer said she knew Adelaide would come out firing. “They’ve always come out like that. If you don’t stay with them for the first quarter especially, you are going to be in big trouble.”

    Plummer said changes to the lineup in the second half proved the depth of her squad. “All year I have changed those players so if it got to that situation I can throw on any player that I want to and not lose anything.”

    Adelaide coach Marg Angove said she was disappointed her players were unable to hang on to their early lead. “They’ve done it to us before when they have played one good quarter and you would think we would probably learn from it, but we just couldn’t seem to snap out of it,” she said. “They just played very strong netball in that third quarter. I guess right now you think ‘I never want to see a netball again’, but come next week we’ll start planning for next year.”

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    Thanks to Sebastian Luckai…

    (Terrible uniform colour clash!)

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    In 1998, there was a strange rule interpretation introduced into the CBT where a player didn’t have to take a penalty from the position where the infringement took place. They could move to the side and take the penalty in a position parallel, while the poor defender had to stay right where the infringement occurred. This new rule was especially important in the goal circle, as it meant shooters could often improve their position by moving sideways and getting closer to goal. This new rule was roundly criticised and only lasted one season.

    .

    1998 COMMONWEALTH BANK TROPHY

    Round 1
    Orioles 43 v Ravens 48
    Thunderbirds 46 v Phoenix 50
    Kestrels 53 v Swifts 62
    Sandpipers 61 v Firebirds 54

    Round 2
    Ravens 45 v Thunderbirds 52
    Sandpipers 53 v Kestrels 53
    Phoenix 57 v Swifts 51
    Firebirds 42 v Orioles 45

    Round 3
    Orioles 44 v Kestrels 57
    Swifts 64 v Sandpipers 41
    Thunderbirds 56 v Firebirds 51
    Phoenix 45 v Ravens 50

    Round 4
    Kestrels 54 v Thunderbirds 62
    Ravens 37 v Swifts 58
    Firebirds 40 v Phoenix 52
    Sandpipers 59 v Orioles 49

    Round 5
    Orioles 37 v Thunderbirds 65
    Swifts 53 v Firebirds 51
    Phoenix 65 v Sandpipers 54
    Ravens 58 v Kestrels 55

    Round 6
    Firebirds 33 v Ravens 71
    Thunderbirds 53 v Sandpipers 43
    Kestrels 56 v Phoenix 66
    Swifts 61 v Orioles 40

    Round 7
    Kestrels 57 v Firebirds 51
    Thunderbirds 58 v Swifts 53
    Sandpipers 55 v Ravens 52
    Orioles 44 v Phoenix 58

    Round 8
    Phoenix 54 v Thunderbirds 54
    Firebirds 62 v Sandpipers 47
    Swifts 70 v Kestrels 51
    Ravens 60 v Orioles 53

    Round 9
    Thunderbirds 59 v Ravens 45
    Kestrels 60 v Sandpipers 38
    Swifts 71 v Phoenix 53
    Orioles 47 v Firebirds 64

    Round 10
    Sandpipers 45 v Swifts 62
    Ravens 61 v Phoenix 63
    Kestrels 65 v Orioles 45
    Firebirds 35 v Thunderbirds 57

    Round 11
    Swifts 61 v Ravens 44
    Thunderbirds 47 v Kestrels 53
    Phoenix 80 v Firebirds 62
    Orioles 56 v Sandpipers 65

    Round 12
    Sandpipers 56 v Phoenix 61
    Firebirds 51 v Swifts 57
    Thunderbirds 69 v Orioles 32
    Kestrels 44 v Ravens 59

    Round 13
    Orioles 41 v Swifts 65
    Sandpipers 47 v Thunderbirds 67
    Phoenix 64 v Kestrels 56
    Ravens 70 v Firebirds 56

    Round 14
    Swifts 50 v Thunderbirds 54
    Ravens 78 v Sandpipers 51
    Phoenix 58 v Orioles 44
    Firebirds 46 v Kestrels 65

    .

    LADDER

    TEAM . . . . . P . . W . . L . . D . . . F . . . A . . . .+/- . . . . % . . . . Pts
    T’BIRDS .. .. 14 . .11 . . 2 . . 1 . . 799 . . 649 . .+150 . . 123.11 . . 23
    PHOENIX .. 14 . .11 . . 2 . . 1 . . 826 . . 745 . . .+81 . . 110.87 . . 23
    SWIFTS .. .. 14 . .11 . . 3 . . 0 . . 838 . . 676 . .+162 . . 123.96 . . 22
    RAVENS .. . 14 . .. 8 . . 6 . . 0 . . 778 . . 728 . . .+50 . . 106.87 . . 16

    KESTRELS . 14 . .. 6 . . 7 . . 1 . . 787 . . 757 . . .+30 . . 103.96 . . 13
    S’PIPERS … 14 . .. 4 . . 9 . . 1 . . 715 . . 836 . . -121 . . ..85.52 . . .8
    FIREBIRDS. 14 . .. 2 . 12 . . 0 . . 698 . . 818 . . -120 . . ..85.33 . . .4
    ORIOLES … 14 . .. 1 . 13 . . 0 . . 620 . . 836 . . -216 . . ..74.16 . . .2

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    MAJOR SEMI FINAL – THUNDERBIRDS v PHOENIX
    Etsa Park, Adelaide

    THUNDERBIRDS WON 61-53

    THUNDERBIRDS:
    GS . Mogg
    GA . Delaney
    WA . Hodge
    C .. Sanders
    WD . Squire
    GD . Harby
    GK . Sutter

    Shooting:
    Delaney 34, Mogg 27
    Total 61/80 76%

    PHOENIX:
    GS . Southby
    GA . McMahon
    WA . Howie
    C .. Dick
    WD . McKinnis
    GD . Tavener
    GK . Illitch

    Shooting:
    McMahon 30, Southby 23
    Total 53/59 90%

    Umpires: Maureen Boyle, Janelle Derrington

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    MINOR SEMI FINAL – SWIFTS v RAVENS
    State Sports Centre, Sydney

    SWIFTS WON 52-49

    SWIFTS:
    GS . Morgan
    GA . Cox
    WA . Wagg
    C .. Miller
    WD . Gilmour
    GD . Williams
    GK . Ellis

    Shooting:
    Cox 28, Morgan 15, Stewart 9

    RAVENS:
    GS . Borlase
    GA . Colbeck
    WA . Cobb
    C .. Grant
    WD . Henderson
    GD . Browning
    GK . Tucker

    Shooting:
    Borlase 38, Huppatz 8, Colbeck 3

    Umpires: Sharon Burge, Jan Cross

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    PRELIMINARY FINAL – PHOENIX v SWIFTS
    Sports & Aquatic Centre, Melbourne

    SWIFTS WON 62-48
    (11-11, 25-28, 37-44, 48-62)

    PHOENIX:
    GS . Southby
    GA . McMahon
    WA . Howie
    C .. Dick
    WD . McKinnis
    GD . Illitch
    GK . Harrison

    Changes:
    4th Q . Benison WA (Dick), Howie to C, McMahon to GS, Southby to GA

    Shooting:
    McMahon 30/38 (79%)
    Southby 18/28 (64%)
    TOTAL 48/66 (73%)

    SWIFTS:
    GS . Morgan
    GA . Cox
    WA . Wagg
    C .. Miller
    WD . Gilmour
    GD . Williams
    GK . Ellis

    Changes:
    None.

    Shooting:
    Morgan 45/49 (92%)
    Cox 17/22 (77%)
    TOTAL 62/71 (84%)

    Umpires: Maureen Boyle, Sharon Burge

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    GRAND FINAL – THUNDERBIRDS v SWIFTS
    ETSA Park, Adelaide

    THUNDERBIRDS WON 48-42
    (12-10, 25-20, 39-29, 48-42)

    THUNDERBIRDS:
    GS . Mogg
    GA . Delaney
    WA . Hodge
    C .. Sanders
    WD . Squire
    GD . Harby
    GK . Sutter

    Changes:
    None.

    Shooting:
    Delaney 32/45 (71%)
    Mogg 16/22 (73%)
    TOTAL 48/67 (72%)

    SWIFTS:
    GS . Morgan
    GA . Cox
    WA . Wagg
    C .. Miller
    WD . Gilmour
    GD . Williams
    GK . Ellis

    Changes:
    4th Q – Stewart GS (Morgan), Saywell C (Miller), Ellis to GD, Williams to GK.

    Shooting:
    Cox 20/28 (71%)
    Morgan 19/27 (71%)
    Stewart 3/5 (60%)
    TOTAL 42/60 (70%)

    Intercepts: Thunderbirds 14-12
    Penalties: Swifts 52-51
    Turnovers: Swifts 33-32

    Player of the match: Sarah Sutter

    Umpires: Maureen Boyle, Sharon Burge

    Crowd: 3000

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    T-BIRDS PUT A NEW FEATHER IN CITY’S CAP
    AAP

    Adelaide further enhanced its reputation as a centre of sporting excellence by winning Friday night’s National League grand final. Often dwarfed by the Sydney-Melbourne rivalry and the parochial attitudes of Queensland and Western Australia, Adelaide now boasts an impressive record.

    Following last year’s AFL grand final win, plus the 1998 men’s and women’s National Basketball League titles, the Thunderbirds clinched the Commonwealth Bank Trophy 48-42 over the Sydney Swifts in a tough game with overwhelming home-crowd support.

    Swifts coach Julie Fitzgerald said she felt the Adelaide support long before the players stepped on the court. “I think I was feeling the pressure of playing in Adelaide since I got off the plane over here, and I don’t think we expected it to be quite as intense,” she said. “The whole town’s netball mad, everywhere you went they were telling you that Adelaide was going to win.”

    Adelaide’s defensive combination of Sarah Sutter at goalkeeper and captain Kathryn Harby at goal defence was outstanding, cutting off supply to Swifts goal shooter Jo Morgan. They were helped by tireless Thunderbirds centre Rebecca Sanders and wing defence Peta Squire, who was impressive against Swifts captain Catriona Wagg.

    Sutter, named player of the match, was clearly delighted with the team result. “The feeling when Kathryn Harby and I looked at each other at the end was huge, it’s just like a dream,” she said.

    Thunderbirds goal attack Jacqui Delaney top-scored with 32 goals from 45 attempts and was supported by Cassie Mogg, who shot 16 from 22. Sydney goal attack Catherine Cox was the visitor’s top scorer with 20 from 28, while Morgan made 19 from 27 and Nerida Stewart three in the final term.

    In a nervous start for both teams, several passes went astray before the sides settled down, with Adelaide moving to a 13-10 lead at quarter time. The Thunderbirds were up 25-20 at the main break, and a third quarter surge pushed that lead to 10 goals (39-29) at the final change.

    The Swifts made sweeping changes in the final quarter, replacing Morgan with Stewart off the bench and centre Karen Miller with Victoria Saywell. Liz Ellis and Alison Williams swapped goal keeper and goal defence tags and the moves allowed Swifts to fight back to within six goals of the lead.

    But it was not enough, allowing the Thunderbirds to notch a 6-0 record against the Swifts in the competition’s two year history.

    Wagg said it was a tough match but acknowledged that Swifts lost it in the third quarter when they were outscored 14-9. “I don’t know whether it was stamina or we just didn’t want it enough. But we tried really hard and we fought back well in the last quarter and I think we can be proud of that.”

    Thunderbirds coach Margaret Angove said her team’s grand final loss to Melbourne Phoenix last year had helped their cause this time. “Last year we were devastated. We were up by 10 and then lost it,” she recalled. “It’s a dreadfully hollow feeling when you lose – you wish you hadn’t played in it at the time. We were pretty well focussed.”

    The Thunderbirds were paraded before the 42,000 crowd at the AFL game between Crows and Port Power at Football Park yesterday.

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    SWIFTS LIFT TO PARTY DESPITE TIGHT LOSS
    Heather Quinlan
    Sun Herald

    FOR a team that had just lost the National Netball League grand final, the Sydney Swifts were in remarkably fine form as they partied at their Adelaide hotel on Friday night.

    They’re a happy bunch at the best of times, but even in the worst, they could see the brighter side of their 48-42 loss to the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

    “We’re not slitting our wrists,” said Sydney coach Julie Fitzgerald, “We’ve got no need to. It’s been a good year.”

    Indeed it has. The Swifts finished in third place on the Commonwealth Bank Trophy ladder with a 11-3 record, won their semi-final and preliminary final over the Adelaide Ravens and 1997 premiers Melbourne Phoenix, and in their first NNL grand final, were not quite up to the Thunderbirds’ brilliant standards.

    But they were close – and that’s more than can be said of their performances against the Thunderbirds a year ago.

    “Last year we were getting beaten by 35 goals by the Thunderbirds – when we played them we had this hopeless feeling, that we could never get near them,” Fitzgerald said.

    “Now we’re right there. We know exactly what we’re doing wrong.

    “We were very nervous and tentative in the first half and we were put off by the Adelaide crowd, there’s no doubt about that.

    “It was our inexperience at not having played in a grand final before, particularly for our younger players, that hurt us the most.

    “But I do believe we’ve come on enormously this year. I also think we’ve got a long way to go.”

    Fitzgerald said she and her players had plenty to be pleased about, if the whole season was taken into perspective.

    The Swifts became a fitter, stronger and more mentally tough side in 1998, playing with greater consistency throughout the four quarters of every game.

    They also developed into a “team of 10 players”, according to Fitzgerald. “Not too many sides have players on the bench that can be brought into a game and you don’t lose anything from it,” she said.

    Unsurprisingly, Fitzgerald nominated Australian representative goal keeper Liz Ellis as the Swifts’ outstanding performer of the season. Younger team members, wing defence Raegan Gilmour and goal defence Alison Williams, also earned praise.

    Adelaide keeper Sarah Sutter was a deserving winner of the player-of-the-match award for her excellent work disrupting the flow of balls into the goal circle.

    With defender Kathryn Harby and wing defence Peta Squire, Sutter put enormous pressure on the Swifts’ attack.

    The Thunderbirds took advantage of the loose ball opportunities and were able to set up victory with a 14-9 third quarter, which gave them a 10-goal lead going into the final period.

    Ian Harkin
    Moderator
    Post count: 10396

    From Sebastian Luckai…

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