This isn’t rugby. Netballers, throw the ball not each other
The controversial “chair lift” manoeuvre used by elite netball players is unorthodox, risky and dangerous. In order to achieve the risky tactic it requires one defensive player to lift another defensive player in the air, in an attempt to block an opposition shot.
The tactic is similar to the new rugby lineout-style defensive lift. While it’s innovative and exciting for avid sport fans, it is not suitable for the game and Netball Australia is rightfully examining it.
It should be outlawed from the sport and all elite netball competitions.
There is a serious risk to players who try the manoeuvre. If a player was accidentally dropped in attempt to be hoisted up, they could seriously injure themselves or other players.
While injury is common in a majority of team sports, risky moves or tactics used are usually banned to prevent the prevalence of injury instances and this tactic should be no exception.
If the move is not executed accurately there is a chance the player lifted up could land and fracture a bone or strain a muscle.
Netball is a popular sport especially among women. 4.1 per cent of people play netball, particularly in South Australia where the participation rate for netball is 1.5 times higher than the average for Australia.
People participating could be young and inexperienced, they may see the move being performed by others and attempt to replicate it in their own game, causing injury to themselves or others because it is perilous and hard to execute.
The tactic is rarely used in netball because of this very reason – the difficulty to pull it off efficiently and safely. It has been tried on several occasions.
It was first used in the 1970s by a Western Australian player, Chris Stanton. Internationally it was also performed by Singapore defensive players Premila Hirubalan and Lin Qingyi against Sri Lanka at the 2011 World Championship match.
The most recent instance was in the ANZ championship by Anna Harrison, who plays for the New Zealand team Northern Mystics. Harrison made more than one block by being hoisted by her defensive team mates in the first match won by a New Zealander team this year.
Unlike these rare occasions aforementioned, there are probably many more players who have tried it but failed to successfully accomplish it like these players have.
Former captain and goal keeper for the Australian team Liz Ellis even admits herself the tactic is hard to accomplish. Ellis told The Canberra Times: ‘It has been thought of, and the reason it hasn’t happened is because it’s so hard to do.”
“It’s the type of thing that I would have loved to have done but was never quite good enough to do.”
The fact that so many players elite and amateur find it hard to achieve proves why it is dangerous to players and unorthodox to the game.
The ANZ championship’s general manager, Andrew Crook, says the tactic is in the rules of the game, but is unorthodox.
The tactic should be stopped, the fact that it is still in the rules after large amounts of media coverage and controversy is mind-boggling.
Though players who do achieve the tactic are being innovative and creating immense excitement, media hype and buzz for the sport.
But the tactic allows defensive players to intercept a shot when the ball has already passed the top line of the ring - in basketball this would be considered goal-tending. The intercept would then be penalised with points given towards the attacking side. This should apply to netball too.
Once the flight of the ball has surpassed the ring line it should be left until it either lands in the net for a goal or misses falling below the top line of the ring for a rebound, allowing for fair play and equal opportunity for both sides.
Hoisting another player up in the air enhances their performance unfairly. It’s cheating.
Netball is not a physical contact sport and by assisting another player to achieve a block or vertical jump skill by lifting them up, the players are cheating their way into intercepting a shot before it even has a chance to miss, hit or land in the ring.
If this ridiculous tactic is not outlawed even though it almost completely inhibits the attacking side’s opportunity for goals, why not then just let the defence snatch the ball out of a shooting offensive players’ hands? Or let the defence shake the ring? Or even let the defensive player get in the face of the shooting opponent making it even more impossible to get a score on the board?
It’s not part of the game rules, it’s not fair play and it’s ridiculously unsportsmanlike.
By allowing defensive players to carry out the manoeuvre which is without a doubt goal-tending, attacking play would be decreased, scoring would be low and a high percentage of ball play would be carried out in the centre of the court.
Netball has always been a fast paced game and by allowing this tactic to stay legal would only create a slow game that is ugly to watch and low-scoring.
If the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) and Netball Australia want to keep the ‘chair lift’ in the game, then they should just create a whole new game altogether, it is outrageous that people would allow such a tactic in a sport that is non-contact.
The manoeuvre needs to be stopped and left in rugby where it belongs.
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