Diamonds’ captain, Liz Watson admits that it was less than satisfactory for players to critique Netball Australia publicly amid the ongoing pay dispute that has put players into an uncomfortable state of uncertainty without club contracts. However, Watson is resolute in her belief that the conflict won’t deter her team as they gear up for the upcoming Constellation Cup.
The recent off-season has been mired in mayhem, exacerbated this week by another impasse in the pay discussion. Despite these external distractions, Australia is set to face New Zealand in a four-game series, commencing in Melbourne on Thursday.
Super Netball contracts expired at the end of September, and the players’ future remains uncertain, given the ongoing wrangle between Netball Australia and the players’ association regarding the collective players agreement.
The ANPA, voicing the players’ frustrations, issued a reproachful statement toward the governing body on Monday. They accused them of dismissing the players’ reasonable demands and presenting an unjust three-year deal that scorned a genuine partnership with the players.
The governing organization, Netball Australia, proclaimed that they proposed a 20% enhancement to the CPA, amounting to $1.275m across three years. However, both parties appear on course for mediation, a process that could endure for several months.
Amidst this turbulence, Watson assured that the Diamonds will manage to compartmentalize the dispute as they shift their focus to the New Zealand series. This marks their first series since their World Cup victory back in August.
When queried about the current dispute being a possible distraction, Watson denied any such implications, stating, “Absolutely not, we’re very professional, we’re here with the Diamonds and about to embark on an exciting series.”
She acknowledged the behind-the-scenes tumult, but expressed faith in their association and delegates. Watson candidly admitted that going public with the pay dispute wasn’t desired, but it was the last resort given the circumstances.
Projected to transfer from Melbourne Vixens to Sunshine Coast Lightning once the CPA is finalized, Watson conveyed the situation as “stressful”. She lamented the fact that the players had anticipated these negotiations would have been resolved prior to the World Cup.
Acknowledging the stress and uncertainty faced by the players, she expressed optimism about reaching a satisfactory agreement. “We’re working really hard to get the best deal and outcome for our entire league. It’s about security, and starting to plan for the future,” she said.
Casting their eyes toward the Constellation Cup, Watson stated that the Diamonds cherish their World Cup victory and are geared up for an intense showdown against the Silver Ferns’ young team, headed by the world-class shooter, Ameliaranne Ekenasio.
As the series closes in, the games have been scheduled as follows:
Diamonds v Silver Ferns, 7.30pm on October 12, at John Cain Arena, Melbourne. Diamonds v Silver Ferns, 7.30pm on October 15, at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Silver Ferns v Diamonds, 5.30pm on October 19, at ILT Stadium, Invercargill. Silver Ferns v Diamonds, 2pm on October 23, at Spark Arena, Auckland.