Netball Australia chair Marina Go remains confident the West Coast Fever’s salary cap penalty was “appropriate”, despite the Perth side erasing their points handicap in just three games.
The Fever were fined $300,000 and lost 12 premiership points after being found to have breached the Super Netball salary cap significantly over in the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
While the penalties were unprecedented in Australian netball, the points docked amounted to just three wins and and with victory over the Sunshine Coast Lightning on Saturday night, the club wiped the slate clean just three weeks into the season.
The idea Fever could play finals and remarkably win the competition in 2021 hasn’t sat well with nation-wide netball fans, but Go said it was only fair.
“It’s only confronting if they are outside the salary cap and we know that they aren’t,” she said.
“They’re a team that’s worked hard. They made a big mistake a couple of years ago and they’ve been penalised for that mistake.
“But I don’t think it should be an ongoing penalty given that they are now under the cap, so we’ve got a level playing field again with the rest of the clubs.”
The Fever now join three other teams yet to register a point, including defending premiers Melbourne Vixens.
Depending on results at the weekend, the Fever could sit just two wins from top spot and many have questioned whether the penalty handed out was harsh enough.
But Go, who took on leadership of the new Netball Australia board during the week after it merged with the Super Netball Commission in response to recommendations in last year’s landmark State of the Game review, said the Fever’s penalty was fair.
“I know that they thought that was a very difficult penalty for them and it was the (competition points) penalty they were most concerned about,” she said.
“I don’t think it was a harsh penalty, I think it was the appropriate penalty.
“There was certainly a lot of concern from the West Coast Fever camp — if you had a conversation with them they wouldn’t think this was an easy thing. It was pretty confronting for them and pretty daunting.
“They knew they had to win more games than other teams have to, to get into the finals and I suspect it has really encouraged them to do so, so I suspect it has been a motivating factor.”