In the previous netball post we raised questions regarding the end of the ANZ Championship and moves from Netball Australia to dominate the professional club scene. Since then there have been strong performances from New Zealand teams in the ANZ Champs, although we will have to see how well they compete in the final series, and a great finish to the new Beko league.
Netball Australia have started to show their hand, with suggestions they will not impose limits on the number of international players in their new competition, aiming to make it the premier club competition.
Netball NZ has appointed Jennie Wylie as the new CEO. Jennie has been with NNZ for 7 years as the head of finance and administration. A truly passionate netball person with strong corporate and finance experience. Steve Lancaster, the head of High Performance has resigned and is returning to rugby.
Is the appointment of Jennie Wylie a good move by the board? With a clear love of netball, including a strong connection with the netball community it would appear so. She is the first CEO since netball entered the professional age, to come from within the ranks, a signal that netball supports not just player, but administration pathways? Her big challenges will be responding to Netball Australia, ensuring the new Elite League is marketed well, funded well and accepted by the netball community and general sports fans, and the ongoing drive for community sport participation.
Is the need for a new head of HP going to be an opportunity for the CEO to appoint a netball knowledgable person into this key role?
Netball Australia signaling no limits on international players has got to be a concern for netball New Zealand, England and possibly Jamaica. Should New Zealand follow suit, or take a NZ Rugby protectionist stance? In theory players could play their club netball in Australia and still represent their country, but losing good players from local competion will affect pathway development and create complications (and expense) in national team development. Is creating a competitive international club environment good for the development of netball internationally, or will it harm the cooperative culture? Is there enough money to create a meaningful market as we see in football, rugby, cricket etc., or will it damage player and competition development?
We are seeing big changes in netball, the biggest changes since the development of the ANZ Championship. Jennie Wylie has a big job ahead, but with a supportive board and the strength of the netball community, the sport should evolve successfully.