Giants getting through with good communication and trust
This week we're looking at the responses from our UNSW elite athletes' clubs and organisations in looking after their athletes during this lockdown period. Today we look at Giants Netball, home to UNSW Elite Athlete Program member Matilda McDonell.
Published on the 17 April 2020 by AAP
Australia's most senior netball coach Julie Fitzgerald says good communication and trust are the reasons her sport was able to introduce player salary cuts without the bitter public haggling seen in other sporting codes.
An agreement struck late last month between the Super Netball League and the Australian Netball Players' Association meant contracted players took two weeks leave from all club duties from March 30.
They will now remain at home training individually for the next three weeks at a 70 per cent reduction in pay.
Some Super Netball players are on a minimum wage of $30,000 a year.
The agreement was made without the media scrutiny that accompanied other more fraught, fractious and protracted pay cut negotiations in some of the football codes.
"Everyone involved in the sport has been well educated right from the start as to what situation we are in," GIANTS coach Fitzgerald told AAP.
"So it was easy to make realistic decisions because everyone was open and honest and everything was well communicated to us.
"The education and the communication that we've had from our leaders from the top down is why everyone has been able to make these decisions quite seamlessly.
"We knew what we had to do and we were told and we trusted the process."
Netball Australia chief executive Marne Fechner and Suncorp Super Netball CEO Chris Symington both took 50 per cent cuts until May 31.
Both organisations have stood down half their staff and reduced the hours of the others and the salaries of all executive staff members until the same date.
The start of the season has been deferred from May 2 to at least June 29, with the Super Netball League Commission to review the situation before the end of May.
"Even when (the coronavirus pandemic) first started I thought it couldn't go on for months but quite clearly it can," Fitzgerald said.
"I'm still hoping that maybe we can start that first week of July or last week of June and get a full season in but obviously no one is in a position at the moment to say."
Fitzgerald cheerfully admitted to being "bored witless" by the layoff, at a time when she would usually be busy with preparations for the new season.
"I do feel like a caged lion," Fitzgerald said.
"Athletes and coaches are so structured, every minute of our day is planned."