Australia coach Lisa Alexander wants Netball Australia to follow in the footsteps of its New Zealand counterpart, believing it will help the Diamonds regain the world championship title.
Alexander wants players centrally contracted to simplify the demands on the Diamonds and have them better prepared for tournament play.
She’s urging Netball Australia to consider a revamp to its contract structure and is making that recommendation in a high performance review into their 2019 campaign.
Alexander said introducing 12-month franchise contracts for players made sense when the trans-Tasman league was disbanded in 2016.
However, it had become apparent that prioritising a week-by-week approach with their clubs was counter-productive to the needs of the national team when the intensity of tournament play rolls around.
The world No.1 ranked Diamonds fell short in the final of this year’s world championships, their one-goal loss to New Zealand in the final mirroring the outcome of the previous year’s Commonwealth Games decider against England.
Alexander said change was also necessary to shed complications around access to Diamonds players, whether it was asking them to train for national duty or to make commercial appearances.
She wanted a model closer to that of world champions New Zealand, where players are contracted centrally for 12 months once selected in the Silver Ferns squad.
“The players have requirements as a (club) squad member for 12 months and it means we can’t compel them to go to training at certain times when their Super Netball team is in charge of them.
“That’s where our issue is. It was important to start with to get the (Super Netball) contracts right and get them paid enough to do the work that we ask them to do.”
Her stance wasn’t a criticism of the eight clubs, who she said had been largely helpful towards the Diamonds cause.
However, she felt the international players were now “quite exhausted” following another year of twin demands.