WITH so many changes happening over the last few months – think global pandemic, Australian Diamonds pregnancies and two goal super shots – something that has somewhat shifted to the backburner coming into the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season is the addition of the rolling substitutions.
The rule was introduced prior to the season’s original proposed start in June, with the announcement of rolling substitutions made in February alongside the addition of extra time. According to the SSN, 63 per cent of fans supported the addition of rolling subs.
Trialled in the Australian Netball League (ANL) in 2019, rolling subs bring a new factor to the game of netball – and whether you love the new rule or you hate it, if there was a year for rolling subs to be brought into the SSN, it would be 2020, as posed by the Centre Pass Podcast during the week.
With a new-look season beginning on August 1, this rule change may actually become a welcome change with no fixture confirmation as of yet – just 10 days out – and promises of a full 60 match season plus finals in tow, though no necessary timeframe for all these matches.
The Super Netball could take some notes from New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership, with ANZ teams well used to playing multiple games per round over the past few seasons, upping the ante and doing five matches per round this season with only six teams in the competition. Alternatively, the SSN could adapt that fixture style and play midweek games instead, to give teams a couple days off between matches.
The potential of a more condensed season with the same expectations but a quicker turnaround of past seasons means the introduction of rolling subs could actually pose a crucial addition to the season, giving players welcome breaks to help manage their load and remove some of the potential for injury.
That being said, with the announcement during the week that the competition will play out in Queensland, the removal of interstate travel will allow better recovery and less movement by teams, with entire lists plus training partners making the move to the Sunshine State.
There is no limit to the amount of substitutions made per team per match, adding an interesting element along with the question of how frequently changes will be made, especially within those teams that do not typically make use of their bench frequently. Factoring in the addition of the two goal super shot, it will be very interesting to see whether teams combine the two rules across the last five minutes of a quarter, with some teams certainly having the potential to benefit more than others.
Regardless of how well the rule change goes down, there is no doubt that the addition of rolling subs could be a make or break for the 2020 SSN season and many of its players.