Swifts captain Maddy Proud said nothing surprised the players at the moment, with changes still coming thick and fast amid the pandemic.
“It probably would have been nice to have a bit more notice, but I also appreciate the decision to go into hubs was only made recently so all the subsequent changes from then had to be made pretty quickly,” Proud said. “The way that everything is ever-changing and evolving, you never know what might happen tomorrow so you just have to roll with the punches.”
Super Netball chief executive Chris Symington said the rule walk-backs came after consultation with medical experts and clubs.
“We made these changes because healthy athletes means a healthy season, where players are given enough rest to keep them at the top of their game,” he said.
Due to the delay caused by COVID-19, the 60-game season will be condensed into 14 rounds. The shortened campaign means, at some points, clubs will play three times a week.
Concerns over potential injuries means the number of players permitted in each match will rise from 10 to 12.
A Super Netball injury surveillance manager will also be brought into the league to provide data to medical and high-performance staff.
Despite criticism from players about the controversial Super Shot rule change, the league has decided to keep it.
Melbourne Vixens captain Kate Moloney said when the altered rules were announced, a number of people contacted her hoping the Super Shot had been axed.
“We won’t know what it will look like until Saturday … as much as we would have liked the game to stay the way it was, we’ve got to embrace it now,” Moloney said about the two-point goal.
Australian Netball Players Association boss Kathryn Harby-Williams said the walk-back of the extra-time rule was the right decision for the players, who have been forced to adapt to several changes already this year.
“Front and centre right now is managing the wellbeing and physical load of our athletes given the unusual preseason they have had leading into this condensed season,” she said.
West Coast Fever strength and condition coach Liam Warwick said the rule changes would give coaches a chance to control the players’ workloads.
“The implications of COVID-19 on an interrupted preseason and condensed fixture may lead to an increase in athlete injury rates,” he said. “The current fixture is unprecedented in Suncorp Super Netball, and it will be fascinating to see how each team structures their training and game-day approach.”
The Suncorp Super Netball seasons starts on Saturday, with a clash between the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning at the Nissan Arena in Brisbane.
Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.