The umpires involved in Wednesday night’s controversial Super Netball send-off have been given the all clear by officials after protests from Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald.
Giants defender Kristiana Manu’a was sent off twice for foul play in the match against the Sunshine Coast Lightning, the first time for two minutes and the second for the remainder of the game.
Super Netball officials met with Netball Australia’s high-performance umpire coaches to review the matter after a complaint was made by Fitzgerald who was furious with the decision.
Fitzgerald, who has led various teams to five premierships, was seething on the sidelines, saying to the referee “it was not even her fault”.
Former Australian stars-turned-commentators Liz Ellis and Catherine Cox criticised the umpires’ interpretation of “rough play” saying that neither act really warranted such a penalty.
“The first one was definitely a good contest and the history was that there was the warning before, so that was what happened there,” Cox said.
“The second one looked like clean ball, but I think by that stage one of the umpire’s minds might have been swayed just a little bit by what had just taken place.”
But following discussions, which included Fitzgerald, it was determine the umpires followed the International Netball Federation rules correctly “in line with how they interpreted the play on court”.
The review of the incident found that:
- The umpires followed the correct procedure when managing the warning, suspension and ordering off of a player, as provided within the game management rules.
- A discussion was held at the half-time break between the umpires, captain and infringing player which clarified a) that a warning was given, and b) that any further infringement in the same manner would result in a suspension.
- When the player who was warned subsequently repeated the specific action again, the co-umpire was bound to then progress with a suspension.
- Early in the final quarter, the player repeated the action in the same way for a third time. As per Rule 13.1.4 the umpire ordered the player off the court following the suspension.
- As per Rule 13.1.4 (ii), a player who has been ordered off may not take any further part in the match and must immediately leave the court.
- It was determined the umpires applied the International Netball Federation rules correctly in line with how they interpreted the play on court
It was decided no further action was warranted and in a statement from Super Netball full support was given to the umpires.
“Suncorp Super Netball and Netball Australia remain confident in the world class standard of all umpires within the high-performance umpire program currently umpiring the Suncorp Super Netball season,” the statement said.
“The opportunity to bring through emerging umpire talent from across Australia this season has provided an excellent pathway for umpires, as it has for players.”