'Disgusting': Netball world erupts over 'sexist' newspaper preview

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
The Age's netball preview, pictured here in the TV Guide.
The Age's netball preview has been widely condemned. Image: Twitter/Getty

Australian netball stars and fans have slammed a Melbourne newspaper over a ‘sexist’ and ‘disrespectful’ preview of an upcoming televised game.

The domestic Super Netball season kicks off this weekend, with the Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies clash to be televised on Channel Nine on Sunday.

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The fixture is featured in this week’s TV Guide for The Age newspaper, however the write-up for the game left a lot to be desired.

Giving the game just 2.5 stars out of 5, the writer said: “The Collingwood Magpies’ star player, Geva Mentor, is back on the court for the return of professional netball, also on Sundays at 1pm.

“Once just for schoolgirls and workplace bonding, this is now a full glamour sport for many. In the box and on the sidelines are such greats of the game as Liz Ellis, Laura Geitz, Annie Sargeant and Cath Cox.”

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Needless to say, the preview went down like a lead balloon in the netball community.

Aussie great Sharelle McMahon described the write-up as “infuriating” and “disrespectful”, while Liz Ellis called on The Age to “be better.”

Former national star Sharni Leyton was also seething.

“If this isn’t justification of what I was talking about y’day - then I don’t know what is,” she wrote on Twitter.

“How about ‘A highly skilled & athletic game, that doesn’t have the $ of AFL/NRL has come together in a hub & sacrificed any $ they do have to get their season started’ BE BETTER JOURNOS!”

Mentor and former teammate Bianca Chatfield were also highly critical.

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Super Netball season kicks off after delay

The long-awaited Super netball season will kick off in Brisbane on Saturday with the Queensland Firebirds taking on Sunshine Coast Lightning in game one, followed by the Giants and West Coast Fever clash in Sydney.

After two rounds the entire competition will shift to Queensland for the following four rounds, with the remainder of the draw still to be announced.

Former Australian captain and now Melbourne Vixens assistant coach McMahon is the only high-profile coach who elected not to shift to Queensland for the start of competition due to her two young children.

Players Association boss Kath Harby-Williams said it was a difficult decision with players, coaches and support staff, particularly those from Victoria, set to be away for up to 10 weeks.

Jo Weston, pictured here in action for the Australian Diamonds.
Jo Weston was among those to slam the newspaper preview. (Photo by Jaimi Joy/Getty Images)

Under the current CBA Netball Australia provides support for an infant carer to attend matches if a player has a child under 12 months old, as well as two years maternity leave income cover.

“All clubs could take 12 players plus four staff members so I know when it comes to physios and assistant coaches, those people often have other jobs and families,” Harby-Williams said.

“There were discussions about a centralised physio or medical staff if teams weren't able to take their own.”

Before COVID-19 bit into their earnings through pay-cuts, the average netball salary sat around $75,000 while the top players could earn above $150,000.

with AAP