Suncorp Super Netball

Concerns grow as CBA remains up in the air

Concerns are growing about some of Suncorp Super Netball’s players leaving the code altogether as the collective bargaining agreement remains unfinished.

Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan is working on the deal, however, the usual excitement of a contracting period that should begin after the grand final is not present in 2021.

Instead, players, managers, coaches, and clubs must wait until a new CBA is signed for 2022 and beyond.

Bianca Chatfield and Ash Brazill, hosts of popular netball analysis show Centre Court Netball, spoke of their concerns at losing talent on a recent episode.

Bianca and Ash raised the concern of losing talented netballers in the Suncorp Super Netball possibly suiting up in other sporting codes in leagues like the AFLW competition.

The conversation was sparked after Sunshine Coach Lightning coach Kylee Byrne was signed up to the club for two seasons.

Ash said it was fantastic for the club, however, players were still waiting on the chance to sign.

“You can’t have a coach without the players. We’re yet to have an agreement where players can get signed,” she said.

“It’s frustrating as a player. I know a lot of players, we’re all sticking together, we’re all in this together. In the end, there have been three deadlines that have been missed.

“It’s been going on for a long time. There are five teams now that are sitting out not playing games for the last couple of weeks waiting.

“Players not knowing if they’re going to get a contract next year, if not, are they missing out on job opportunities? If they are teachers, can they go back to work now?

“There’s just so much going on, I think  we’re all just frustrated.”

All contracts will expire on September 30 and this includes image rights, according to Ash.

Bianca said image rights is crucial to promoting the sport.

“The player’s association smartly will own all of your image rights so that if any netball club – whether it’s Netball Australia or your own clubs who want to use your images – it’s going to have to go through the Player’s Association,” she said.

She also spoke of the battle players have faced to be paid properly, recalling when the Player’s Association took Netball Australia to the Fair Work Commission.

“It took a long time, it took years of trying to negotiate and to get to a point where players were actually remunerated for the time that they were spending away and that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in our sport and Sharelle McMahon and I (Bianca Chatfield) headed as representatives from the players at the players association headed to the Fair Work Commission,” she said.

“We stood in that courtroom and sat against Netball Australia’s CEO, which was Kate Palmer at the time and tell the commissioner what our conditions were, how much we were getting paid every day that we were away with the Australian team and it was one of the most confronting things that we had to do and we were both players in the Australian team at that stage.

“It is something you don’t want to have to do, but it is something that might have to come into play.”

While the CBA remains up in the air, Ash said Netball Australia and the clubs were the sticking point as they work out what deal to present back to players.

While the players are waiting, AFLW announced four new squads to come into the league – opening up plenty of spots.

Ash said some players might be considering a switch if they are not guaranteed a spot in netball.

“At the moment, football is just streaming ahead. They’re doing everything to make it work where netball I feel like we’re just always waiting,” she said.

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