Super netballers in financial squeeze

Super Netball stars are bracing themselves for a big financial hit due to the coronavirus crisis.
Super Netball stars are bracing themselves for a big financial hit due to the coronavirus crisis.

Diamonds veteran and Players Association vice president Jo Weston is worried some Super netballers might be forced to join the long lines at Centrelink with their pay drastically cut.

Super netballers have agreed to two weeks leave followed by a 70 per cent pay cut for the following three weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

With the minimum player's annual wage just $30,000 some won't have enough to live on with worse likely to come, with Weston fearing that figure may be reduced to zero if the Super season doesn't go ahead at its new start date in July.

While she said the pay cut was understandable given the financial stress facing many organisations and amongst the general public, it was still a difficult time for players.

"It's hard to think of any athlete that would be comfortable given the current situation and ongoing anxiety about what will happen after the five weeks that we agreed to as the Players Association," the Australian and Melbourne Vixens goal defender told AAP.

"My own personal assumption is that it would be extended past that but how long, who knows?

"As a semi-professional sport a lot of us might make enough to live off but not enough to make a living off.

"It is pretty dire for a lot of our playing group."

She said many players who held part-time jobs had also lost that work as much of it involved roles in hospitality, or coaching netball which was also on hold.

Weston, who has a business degree, gave up her part-time job at Deloitte last year due to the demands of Super and Test netball.

Many import players, who remained in Australia for fear if they left they might not be able to get back in, are unable to work due to their visa conditions.

The Players Association intended reaching out to netball's sponsors such as Woolworths for employment but recognised that many outside of netball were in the same position.

Weston said that Super Netball teams were all rallying together online to ensure players felt safe through the tough time.

"We're trying to stay as positive as possible and luckily we have a pretty big playing base as teams so we can help each other through it."

The 26-year-old said the timing was tough to swallow after netball's recent gains towards making it a professional sport and building their financial stores.

"We've worked so hard as a collective to get netball to this point and we want to try to keep that momentum going and then negotiate another broadcast deal as we've only got one more year with Channel Nine," she said.

Australian Associated Press