Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Drawing the line at shooting from the hip

How do you view Laura Geitz's getting aggressively hippy in the Firebirds v Haier Pulse match to the detriment of Donna Wilkins?

As a spectator, I heard the boos, but was seated too far away to know exactly what had occurred. But seeing the televised cover, there was no doubt that Geitz's behaviour deserved a bit more than an ordinary penalty. First a hip shove, and then a seemingly deliberate hip into the back, after which Wilkins fell to the floor in pain. 

While over-reaction isn't desirable, as netball has become a very physical game, there's a big difference between a collision in the air with two players eying the ball, and deliberate cannoning into a person in a very confined space. I recall Temepara George - as she then was - being ordered off court for repeated breaking at the centre pass. Surely Geitz's conduct was far more dangerous.

Refs have a difficult time of it. Perhaps they didn't see what happened in those fleeting moments. But the location of the injury, and the fact it was a second blow from the hip should have resulted in a dangerous play call, and  time out for Geitz. Perhaps lineswomen are required to assist refs in these circumstances.

In a game as closely fought as this, if Geitz had been removed for a couple of goals, it could have made a real difference to the score. If team members were aware that such behaviour could result in removal, then they might be a little less inclined to let fast and loose with such aggression. Technique has to count for something. Geitz is brilliant technically when she's at her best, but this was bizarre.

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