29 Oct 2019

Netball NZ fully backing Noeline Taurua's umpiring beef

6:44 pm on 29 October 2019

Netball New Zealand says it's entirely behind coach Noeline Taurua and it will be making a formal submission to the international body over the umpiring appointments in the final Constellation Cup Test on Sunday.

Sunshine Coast Lightning and Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua

Sunshine Coast Lightning and Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua Photo: Photography

After the series decider in Perth, Taurua said she was "disturbed" about the umpire appointment process for the game.

New Zealand was penalised 66 times in the 53-46 defeat to Australia, having averaged 42 penalties over the first three tests.

She said it was hard for players on both sides to adapt to the interpretations of an umpire from Singapore who was given the whistle for the final game, having not refereed any of the earlier Tests.

Former Australian coach Norma Plummer also described the umpiring in the final game as a "disastrous exhibition".

Netball New Zealand's head of high performance Keir Hansen said they would be making a formal submission to the INF regarding the appointment process of the umpires over the weekend.

"At the moment we're just working through gathering information and once we've got all the information together we'll be putting something in writing to INF," Hansen said.

"Our concerns will hinge around the process and the appointment of the umpires and ultimately we want to make sure that in the best interests of netball that those processes are as robust as possible and we'll be taking this opportunity to share our thoughts on that with INF.

"One of the points we raise [will be] why an umpire who had not been part of the previous three games was appointed to that match when there were two umpires there who had been there throughout."

Hansen said they didn't have any concerns about Taurua's heated comments post-match.

"We're entirely behind Noeline, it was a tough day for the team and Noeline was clear on acknowledging the Australian performance but also acknowledged that there was some changes in umpiring interpretations which created a challenge for her team," Hansen said.

"There was some decisions both ways which were questionable so they'll [Australia] no doubt have a view."

In a rare move the International Netball Federation has released a statement saying they were aware of comments made about the standard of officiating at the Constellation Cup.

"As with all international events, INF will be reviewing the feedback from the teams, their coaches, the officials and other stakeholders in the event to understand what has happened."

"The INF welcomes feedback on the performance of its officials and will work with the officiating community and our member associations to ensure we address any concerns."

Australian commentator frustrated

Australian commentator Sue Gaudion who called the game for Channel 9 said she could understand where Taurua was coming from.

"I was frustrated [calling the game] and no coach I imagine likes to come off a game particularly in losing and point the finger. And I'd like to think that Noeline was pointing the finger not so much directly at the umpires but more at maybe the system that we've got in place that continues to put maybe less experienced umpires on these big games, said Gaudion.

"And they do have a bearing on the way in which the game is viewed, played, interpreted, it's not necessarily the best product for netball."

Gaudion said it begged the question again whether the rule that required neutral umpires for Tests needed to change.

"I've said for a long time you're an umpire, you're not an Australian umpire or a New Zealand umpire.

"I'd like to believe that we could just have the best umpires umpire the best but I've spoken with a lot of umpires and they continue to throw up that one scenario that is if it was a one goal difference and an Australian umpire let's say makes a decision at the crucial time that sees Australia win then everybody turns on them.

"So I agree that that can be perceived as being an issue. Go to the flip side of what Noeline is talking about I do agree wholeheartedly that you need to have a pool of umpires on a particular series, not bring one in the last minute to umpire a final game."

Gaudion said the decision to start Bailey Mes ahead of Ameliaranne Ekenasio and the dominant role of Australian shooters Caitlin Bassett and Gretel Tippett - played a major part in Australia pulling away in the first half.

"The back half was a completely different story ...the one thing we know about New Zealand is you never close them off because they are absolute guns in season 2019 and under the Silver Ferns coach Noeline in finishing games off and they got their nose within four goals and six minutes to go so you have to credit them with that."

Keir Hansen said they wanted to see something good come out of it.

"There's a myriad of things we could be doing to help grow umpiring and grow the pool of umpires who are capable of performing at the highest level and what we'd like to see come out of this is the opportunity to have those discussions with INF and with other countries to ensure that the umpiring grows at pace with the rest of the game" Hansen said.

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