The good news for Trinidad and Tobago international netballer Samantha Wallace is that the Aussie top flight professional netball league is in preparation mood for a resumption soon. She has also found favour in a Super League Fantasy Draft.
Like most athletes, Wallace has been grounded in Australia, where all sport has come to an end due to the global Covid-19 pandemic which so far has infected nearly four million and killed over 260,000 persons worldwide. However, Australian netball is in full return-to-action planning ahead of key government deadlines, with the National Cabinet expected to make an announcement soon, having recently met.
Having now missed its original May 2 start, Suncorp Super Netball CEO Chris Symington said the league was working through the final stages of its decision-making process and will be in a position to make an announcement about a likely resumption date by the end of May.
“There has been an extensive amount of scenario planning going on behind the scenes to determine the best model for a 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season,” he said.
During the off time forced by the pandemic, the Suncorp Super Netball league announced that player pay reductions until May 31 will be capped at 50 per cent and that international athletes will be supported to the same level as Australian athletes.
The league and the Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA) agreed that, until May 31, all contracted players will be paid at least the $1,500 per fortnight. This means the majority of athletes who are currently contracted for less than $78,000 annually, will be receiving more than 50% of their normal salary, and international athletes will be supported to the same level as Australian athletes.
Athlete training has also been increased from seven to 12 hours per week and athletes will be required to fulfil club and league content and social media commitments on a pro rata basis.
While behind the scenes effort continue towards a quick resumption, four of Australia’s outstanding former international netballers have been taking part in the 2020 Netball Super League Fantasy Draft, a virtual draft to selected the Dream Team they would like had they been given the opportunity. Participating are double Australian World Championship gold medallist Sharni Layton; Liz Ellis, the ex Australian World Championship and Commonwealth Games winner; Catherine Cox, double Australian World Championship winner Laura Geitz, the Australian skipper of their 2014 Commonwealth Games championship team. The moderator is journalist Sue Gaudion, a respected commentator and the voice of Australian netball.
Eighty contracted players in the Super League were placed in the draw, with each of the four coaches having one pick per round.
Ninth pick overall, Wallace was drafted by Layton for Sue’s Slayers, along with Aussie rules and netball star Ash Brazil (WD); Jamaican Shanera Sterling (GK), arguably the best defensive player in the world; as well as Australian internationals Tegan Phillip (GA) and Laura Scherian (WA).
“This player knows how to win games. She was the MVP in the grand finals last year and there is nothing more frustrating for a defender,” Layton said.
“This girl will get it (the ball) in every time. From the New south Wales Swifts, I choose Sam Wallace.”
Layton’s announcement was met with despair by Ellis, who also had her eyes on the T&T international.
Coach Layton still has to fill spots for a centre, goal-defence and a bench player in upcoming editions.