The netball community was left fuming on Sunday when Channel Nine cut away from the NSW Swifts’ clash with GWS Giants to show Daniel Andrews’ virus press conference.
During the fourth-quarter of the Super Netball clash on Sunday, Nine switched coverage to the Victorian Premier’s emergency update in which he announced Stage 4 lockdown restrictions for the state.
It meant netball fans were robbed of watching the nail-biting final moments of the Swifts’ win over the Giants.
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However it wasn’t the fact that Nine cut away from the netball that left everyone up in arms, but rather that they didn’t switch back when the press conference was over - despite the game still being underway.
Instead they decided to show the pre-game coverage for the Melbourne Storm and Newcastle Knights clash in the NRL.
Channel Nine uploaded the full-match replay to their digital platform later on Sunday, but netball players and fans were still fuming.
Helen Housby calls out ‘double standards’
Swifts shooter Helen Housby was among those to voice her criticism, suggesting Nine showed “double standards” in choosing the NRL.
“COVID is very important and obviously a government message is very important, but I thought the timing of it was a little bit questionable, especially when they went to an NRL pre-game show,” Housby told the The Daily Telegraph.
“I maybe think that there might be double standards for how potentially female athletes get treated and portrayed in the media … the things that are made possible for the other codes probably aren’t the same for netball.
“It is very important to get the information out to people, but it just seemed like the timing could have been a little bit better. They didn’t actually say the reasoning, they didn’t then show a repeat or show it delayed or anything like that.
“It’s more about the fans and trying to give them back something, where potentially they could have placed the announcement in a different place or just do it a little bit differently, it was more about the fans missing out.”
Housby also took a swipe at Nine on social media, and she wasn’t alone.
First game in 322 days...a derby win! 👊🏼 An average performance but sometimes you gotta win ugly - so much more in the tank for us!— Helen Housby (@Helenhousby1) August 2, 2020
Also @channel9 bit disappointed you cut the coverage...would you do that during the @nrl? 🤔 just a thought
📸 - @gettysport / @jonosearle pic.twitter.com/oRixPwcWcj
Why couldn’t we go back for 15 minutes for the last quarter? There was significant notice for media outlets - including yours.— Joshua Wells (@joshuawells93) August 2, 2020
Call yourself 'wide world of sports'. Ha. You made sure to be back for the NRL to start. Should be called 'NRL and whatever filler before the NRL'. Very very disappointing— Jackie Stoodley 🐨 Wash Your Hands 👍🏻 (@Jackieivylouise) August 2, 2020
Why couldn’t it wait until after the netball for NSW? It was a Vic press conference.— Veronica Grima (@veronica_grima) August 2, 2020
And of course the NRL started at 3 when the game doesn’t start untill 4!! No we can’t cut into men’s sport can we! Nrl could have started 20mins late surly it’s only talking at the start.
Why on earth is Daniel Andrews netball breaking news in any state but possibly Vic. It was the closes match of the weekend so far and you do that. Couldn’t even play the last quarter after the presser. Total lack of respect 😡— NettyE (@ERoewekamp) August 2, 2020
Still not good enough. Would of liked to have been warned. Not all of us have the app or like to watch on the app. Could of moved to 9Gem.— Leesa (@GIANTNetballFan) August 2, 2020
So disappointing for everyone all round. Should’ve been moved to another channel. This wouldn’t have happened if it were NRL or AFL. #womenssportmatterstoo— CruiseyLiv (@CruiseyLiv) August 2, 2020
Not good enough for a national broadcast. You can’t tell me you would have done this for a football game.— Alison (@tudorgrrrl) August 2, 2020
Not sure what you consider soon but it isn’t up yet. You had other channels you could have moved to and you could have used some of the ‘pregame’ NRL coverage but you don’t take either of these reasonable options. What’s appalling way to treat netball players and fans...you suck!— Alison Cunningham (@AlisonRose42) August 2, 2020
Swifts win classic clash with Giants
The NSW Swifts made a flying start to their Super Netball title defence after holding on for a thrilling come-from-behind 63-61 win over the Giants.
The defending champions recovered from a five-goal deficit at halftime to lead by eight with four minutes to play, before withstanding a late Giants run to win a historic NSW derby at Brisbane's Nissan Arena.
Both Sydney clubs were originally scheduled to open the pandemic-delayed 2020 season with a series of home games at the newly renovated Ken Rosewall Arena.
But new border restrictions forced the Swifts and Giants to relocate north just days before the opening round.
The Giants led 33-28 at halftime courtesy of captain Jo Harten's long-range accuracy, the England international proving the difference in a tight opening half by nailing 7-of-9 two-point super shots.
But the Swifts surged to the lead with Sam Wallace inspiring a 21-13 third-quarter charge, the Trinidad and Tobago goaler closing the term with a pair of team-lifting super shots.
NSW appeared on track for a comfortable victory when Sophie Garbin combined with Helen Housby to extend their lead heading into the Power Five period.
Fittingly, late drama also played out on the court as 18-year-old Sophie Dwyer landed two super shots for the Giants on her debut to set up a nail-biting finish.
But a Swifts timeout allowed coach Briony Akle to steady her squad as they held their nerve in the closing moments to maintain possession and close out the win.