Coaches laud new bonus point system

The new bonus point system in Suncorp Super Netball hasn’t just been exciting for fans and spectators, it has also created a new element of competitiveness with the players.

As we head into Round 4 of the season, the competition has never been so tight. Just three premiership points separate the second-placed Giants from the sixth-placed Collingwood Magpies – largely thanks to the new bonus point system.

The system rewards teams for winning individual quarters, meaning there are up to eight competition points available every game – four for the win and one point for each quarter.

Already it’s having an impact on the ladder, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning competing hard in their three losses this season and duly being rewarded for winning six out of their 12 quarters played, which has kept them within reach of the teams above them on the ladder.

Adelaide Thunderbirds coach Dan Ryan says the bonus point system means games are high octane from start to finish.

“I think the new points system has seen the game go to a whole new level of intensity, there’s urgency and ferocity all the way to the very end,” Ryan says.

“It’s a huge step up from last season and that’s reflected in how high scoring the quarters and overall matches have been.

“From a coaching perspective, it keeps you really sharp and mindful of team progress from the sidelines. You have one eye on the game within the game and one eye on the big picture result,so the incentives element is keeping everyone on their toes.”

West Coast Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich says the bold initiative has been a winner so far.

“Sometimes being innovative and initiating change can make people nervous but I think that is what makes our sport so great. We respect and cherish the tradition of our game but we are also aware that to compete with other codes we need to be open-minded to new things,” she says.

And Marinkovich says better concentration is a by-product of the increased intensity, which ultimately builds better athletes.

“The new points rule certainly makes you more aware of the quarter to quarter scores and I think it is positively impacting the growth of players’ ability to concentrate and be able to maintain intensity for longer periods of time,” she says.

“This has always been the objective and aim for athletes but naturally when there are points up for grabs and outcomes then the competitive beast within teams and players grows.”

The new system has also been a winner for fans, according Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald, who says there has been a lift in engagement from supporters across all four quarters this season.

“From a public point of view it’s awesome that everyone gets excited about who’s going to win a quarter,” she says.

“It sustains the public’s interest and gives excitement to every quarter. It becomes four little games within one big game.”