The introduction of the super shot has been classed a roaring success by Super Netball bosses and, despite having split opinion in the netball community, the rule will remain for the 2021 season.
Rolling substitutions will also remain once the next campaign gets underway, while extra-time for drawn matches will be introduced, that idea having been tabled but then deferred due to the coronavirus-impacted 2020 season.
“This year’s highly-successful trial of two new rules will see them rolled into the Suncorp Super Netball season for 2021,” a league statement said.
The league commission intended the two-point super shot to make the game more dynamic and unpredictable, but sparked controversy when the rule change was announced on the eve of the 2020 season without consultation with players.
It has since been blamed for the loss of one of the best holding shooters in the world, Caitlin Bassett, from the league. The Diamonds captain found herself spending more time on the GWS Giants’ bench than on the court this season, and has announced she will swap Super Netball for New Zealand’s domestic competition next year.
Despite the controversy, Super Netball enjoyed higher viewing figures in 2020 than the previous year and the league partially credited the introduction of the super shot for the increased interest.
“We saw on numerous occasions this season how the Suncorp Super Shot along with the new Rebel Power 5, added another element of excitement to our game,” CEO Chris Symington said on Thursday. “What also became clear is that it could be used by teams as little or as much as they liked to suit their style of play.
“With a full pre-season ahead and the opportunity to practice and prepare over a longer period of time, it will be fascinating to see how the players and teams adapt their game plans to suit these rules heading into next year.
“Contrary to some media commentary, we attribute this season’s increase in viewership to a range of factors, including the fact we were the first elite female sport to run a full competition after the outbreak of Covid-19. While the super shot is an important innovation, it was one of many reasons for the success of the 2020 season.”
The decision to retain the rule changes was reached after the league’s competition committee reviewed data provided by Nielsen, Deakin University and Champion Data. Discussions over extended squad lists and the return of the bonus-point rule – which was in play for seasons 2018 and 2019 – will be had over the coming months.