‘Perfectly legal’ move

MEMBERS of Gippsland’s netball fraternity are “excited” about a rugby-style lift that threw the netball world into a spin two weeks ago.

In round five of the ANZ trans-Tasman Championships, Northern Mystics defender Anna Harrison was lifted by her teammate to help her block a Melbourne Vixens’ shot at goal.

Harrison was already in a jumping motion when her teammate lifted her at the hips.

Gippsland Sports Academy chief executive officer and netball coach Judi Buhagiar, was “shocked” by the move, but “thought it was fantastic”.

“Initially, I think like most people, I thought she’d just launched off the ground,” she said.

“The timing was exceptional.”

From a coaching perspective, Buhagiar said the move would be difficult to pull off as “both people involved need to be in total sync”.

“It’s something that would take an incredible amount of practice,” she said.

Buhagiar also identified the move as “risky”, making it appropriate only in certain circumstances.

“In making the decision to do that, they’ve left the other goaler open, so their decision has to be the perfect one,” she said.

“If it doesn’t work, you could easily do a bounce-pass to the open goaler and they could score.”

Gippsland’s umpire development officer Felicity Di Toro was equally as excited about the move and confirmed it was “perfectly legal”.

“There’s certainly nothing in the rule books to say you can’t do it,” Di Toro said.

“As long as they’ve got the right distance and they’re not infringing any other rule, it’s just a very creative way of assisting the defender.”

Di Toro said a unique set of circumstances allowed Harrison and the Mystics to do the move.

“Harrison is also an elite volleyballer, so she already has that natural ability to jump,” Di Toro said.

“You also have to consider the bodies of the girls involved – Harrison is very slim and her lifter was much more muscular, so you’re not always going to get those combinations in a netball team.

Because of these factors, Di Toro did not believe the move would “take off”, even at an elite level.

“We certainly won’t be seeing it in local netball,” she said.

“The amount of practice, the skill level and the timing involved would simply make it impossible for most netballers.”

Regardless, Di Toro and Buhagiar were eager to see how coaches would respond.

“People will probably try it, and it’ll be interesting to see how it’s managed,” Di Toro said.

“Like Judi, I’m just excited about the buzz it’s created for netball.

“It’s incredible.”