This week in netball – SSN pay deal and Dan Ryan to Fever

WITH a fresh pay deal in the books, the first signing period open and plenty of questions about player futures, it was yet another huge week of netball this week despite no matches going ahead during the off-season. The Suncorp Super Netball’s landmark pay deal and resulting pay increase was the big news to hit the town, with a 22 per cent increase in 2022 as players remain the highest-paid female athletes in the country. The deal was agreed upon by Netball Australia, the Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA) and the eight Suncorp Super Netball clubs, made possible by the league’s new broadcast agreement with Foxtel and Kayo in 2022. Melbourne Vixens defender and ANPA President Jo Weston was complimentary of the decision, which proves just reward for the hardship of the past two SSN seasons. “It is hugely satisfying that, following the league’s ground-breaking new broadcast deal in February, players are being appropriately acknowledged through this new pay deal for our contribution to the sport and for the sacrifices we have made over the last two years,” Weston said. With that announcement came the inevitable confirmation of the 2022 signing and trade period on Wednesday, with it made public that clubs could exclusively begin re-signing current players from Monday September 6, before the free agency period begins on Monday September 13. The first of possibly many big signings was of course the return of Dan Ryan to SSN, with the former Leeds Rhinos and Adelaide Thunderbirds head coach making the switch to the West Coast Fever and posing plenty of big questions along the way. The announcement on Monday coincided with Stacey Marinkovich‘s official last day with the Fever last Friday, with Ryan commending the Australian Diamonds head coach for her work with the club over the past few years. “I have the utmost respect for Stacey and her team and what they’ve built and achieved in recent years, it’s been so impressive. The team is in a really healthy position right now and it’s a great privilege to be given this opportunity to join such an established and successful high-performance environment,” Ryan said. “The playing list is exceptionally talented and the growth potential within the squad is even more exciting. I truly believe there’s a lot of scope for me to add value so I can’t wait to start this new journey with the team.” Netball Australia has confirmed that the Constellation Cup series between Australia and New Zealand set for October will be rescheduled, with ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and the current trans-Tasman bubble closure putting a spanner in the works. The test series between Australia and England is also still set to go ahead, with ongoing talks between Netball Australia, England Netball, and Australian federal and state governments. Nicole Richardson has been announced as assistant coach for the series, joining Marinkovich on the coaching team. Meanwhile, a couple of former champions made fresh history becoming the first official centurions, with the name no longer reserved for netball’s 100-gamers. Both former New Zealand Silver Ferns captain Oonah Shannahan (nee Murray) and former Australian Diamond Wyn Hayward (nee McKenzie) turned 100-years-old within a week of one another, making history as they became the first from each nation to hit the impressive milestone. In doing so, they showcased the rich netball history between the two countries, having played against each other in the 1948 test series between Australia and New Zealand. Even further off the court, Draft Central delved into some hypotheticals this week, with the Australian Netball Championships (ANC) still up in the air despite initially set to play from next Monday onwards. That being said, Netball Queensland confirmed today that a collaboration between Netball Queensland, Sunshine Coast Lightning, Queensland Suns men’s team and the Pacific AusSport partnership will see a Queensland-based ‘Born to Shine’ mini-series formed in it place, with an eight-game series set to showcase Queensland’s great developing talent. We also posed the questions of how the Fever will fare with a new coach in 2022, whether Chelsea Pitman could make a return to SSN, had a look at some of the top international goaling prospects and compared the likes of Maddie Hay and Maddy Gordon, who are both wing defenders turned wing attacks.
Picture credit: Ben Lumley Photography
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