“If you saw what is deemed the two-point shot line, it’s actually embarrassing for shooters. It’s that close and make a bit of a mockery of it being deemed worthy of two points”
Last Updated: 30/07/20 6:32pm
Nat Medhurst, the Collingwood Magpies and Australian Diamonds goal-attack, joins Off The Court to discuss a potential return, the ’embarrassing’ two-point shot line and a season preview that’s caused widespread uproar.
Medhurst linked in with Caroline Barker and Tamsin Greenway from her home in Australia during a short break from looking after her son, Edison Butler, who was born on July 7.
COVID-19, and the fact that incidents of it have risen in some parts of Australia, means that it continues to be a challenging time for all in the country. Friends and family of both Medhurst and her partner, haven’t been able to hold their son yet.
However, with the stoic nature that she always shows on court, the netballer is taking the current ‘normal’ in her stride and may even be returning to the Collingwood Magpies before the term is out.
“Well on the back of COVID-19, it’s opened a little window of opportunity for me to potentially play this season… I went for my first ‘run’ today, it was actually a pretty slow jog!
“I’m trying to see if I could possibly get up to Queensland to potentially play the back end of the season. I always thought that this was potentially my last year, and I still don’t really know. We’ll wait and see.”
Super Netball 2020: Talking points
We take a look at the key talking points ahead of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season beginning on Saturday August 1.
Like everyone, Medhurst, is preparing to consume the delayed start of the Super Netball season in Australia and has been processing the news about the new ‘Super Shot’ rule.
The Super Shot is the opportunity to score two goals by shooting from a designated zone within the circle in the last five minutes of a quarter and after seeing the zone in person, she has some strong thoughts about it.
“If you saw what is deemed the two-point shot line, it’s actually embarrassing for shooters. It’s that close and make a bit of a mockery of it being deemed worthy of two points.
“When I saw it and rocked up to a training session with the girls, I said: ‘Is that it?’ It’s unbelievable. I just thought that’s not worth a two-point shot, it’s literally half the circle.
“We know that talking to umpires, they’ve found it quite difficult in terms of how they are going to umpire and moderate it.
“There are a lot of elements around implementing the two-point shot that weren’t really considered and the fact that we haven’t trialled it anywhere…
“I know that people love the hype of FAST5 but that format of the game is very different. That’s more to do with the atmosphere that’s created around FAST5 for the fans, which needs to be brought into netball over here.
“My other concern is how messy the game is. I find FAST5 horrible to watch! It’s an incredibly messy, messy game off the back of people trying to pick up two and three-point shots. Time will tell as to how it all plays out…”
The other thing which Medhurst and the netballing world have been digesting this week was a ‘preview’ of the season which was printed prior to Round One starting on Saturday.
“It’s a joke. It’s quite embarrassing,” Medhurst said.
“They’re talking about games which haven’t even happened yet and to still refer to us as ‘schoolgirls’ and ‘glamour’ and that side of things… I’d like to think that netball and women’s sport in general has moved past being given that sort of stereotype.
“All of the players were in absolute uproar about it and just could not believe it. As athletes, we know how hard we work and the physicality of our game – it’s far from glamourous.”
Medhurst also is aware that netball’s position in the sporting landscape needs to be fortified, both in Australia and around the world. In order to do that, she believes that the rhetoric around the sport is one of the things which needs to change.
“I think netball, in particular, we do always tend to play a really clean-cut sort of image. We need to get down to the nitty gritty of athletes and what it is that we go through and what it’s like to make it more appealing,” she said.
“We need to create a spectacle around our sport so that fans and the media actually do find it really engaging and make it really, really appealing.
“Appealing, not only for young kids but also for adults as well. I think [adults are] a massive target market which netball and women’s sport really needs to try and target a lot harder than we’ve done in the past.
“The athleticism, the ferociousness, I think that netball is still tainted with being a ‘non-contact’ sport and you can’t go near anyone. We need to show stories around that and show the work rate of the athletes trying to be the best they can be.”
Those stories have been very much a part of the Australian clubs’ responses to the two-and-a-half star preview and their players’ personal responses too.
Alongside their kit partner, the Melbourne Vixens posted a video response on social media which starts with the words ”nothing glamourous here’ while Chelsea Pitman, Adelaide Thunderbirds’ co-captain, implored everyone in Australia to come to a game and find out that it’s not a ‘fluffy, female sport’.
Suncorp Super Netball’s route to Round One has not been an easy one. But on Saturday and Sunday, eight teams will take to court and Medhurst will be keeping a close eye on them all, just in case she does return herself later in the year.
Watch the latest episode of Off The Court with Caroline Barker, Tamsin Greenway and Nat Medhurst on the Sky Sports YouTube channel and also watch the ANZ Premiership continuing on Saturday at 6am.