‘Deliberately misled’: Netball players ‘distressed’ and ‘devastated’ as grand final moved

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‘Deliberately misled’: Netball players ‘distressed’ and ‘devastated’ as grand final moved

By Lachlan Abbott and Roy Ward

Super Netball players have hit out at Netball Australia, accusing the national body of failing to meaningfully consult them before deciding to sell the grand final to Perth this season.

“The players are devastated – both by the decision and the way it has been handled,” the Australian Netball Players’ Association said in a statement on Thursday evening.

The Vixens top the Super Netball table but will not host the grand final.

The Vixens top the Super Netball table but will not host the grand final.Credit:Getty Images

“It was extremely disappointing to learn of such a major decision after the fact, and yet again not to have been consulted in the process. But it was even more distressing to then be deliberately misled by Netball Australia about the status of the decision and the nature of their engagement with us.”

The players’ association said the decision to move the grand final to Western Australia late in the season without consultation was “shattering” and called for “a change of culture” at Netball Australia.

The players have previously complained about a lack of consultation when the two-point super goal was introduced to the league in 2020.

Netball Australia announced on Thursday that this season’s grand final would be held at RAC Arena in Perth due to a partnership with the WA government, regardless of who wins the major semi-final, which traditionally determined who hosts the decider.

Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan said the new format would provide a boost to the sport.

“For the first time in the history of the Suncorp Super Netball League, prize money will provide a significant financial boost to both grand final teams. This will allow the teams to invest in growth and engagement activities across the broader community,” Ryan said.

“We understand the netball community is disappointed by the timing of this announcement. We had to move quickly to secure this funding investment for our sport.”


The Melbourne Vixens also said in a separate statement they were “disappointed” to have lost the chance to play a home grand final after the Netball Australia announcement.

The Vixens had been in the box seat to do so this season as they sit atop the Super Netball ladder with 10 wins, two more than their nearest rivals with two rounds remaining.

A predetermined grand final venue from around Australia will now be announced ahead of future Super Netball seasons, with the new format to include $100,000 in prize money for the premier and $25,000 for the runner-up.

In a statement, the Vixens and Netball Victoria said “many in the Victorian netball community will be disappointed at losing the potential opportunity to host the grand final this year”.

Melbourne Vixens high performance manager Rebekah Webster said the team would continue to prepare for a finals campaign despite losing the chance for a home decider if they were able to make it to the match.


“While we’re disappointed by this decision, we’re focused on winning our remaining home and away matches and earning a place in the grand final – regardless of where it will be played,” Webster said.

The grand final move will also change the date for the decider, pushing it back by one day to Sunday July 3. The league said this was in order to “maximise attendance in the stands and viewership at home”.

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