Rolling substitutes pass the test

Star: Shannon Freeman was best on court for Morwell in Round 8 of Gippsland League netball. file photograph



THE Gippsland League trialled rolling substitutions in the final round of the A Grade home-and-away season.
Morwell, having already secured the minor premiership, played Sale in the match where the
trial took place.
The Gippsland League had flagged with clubs earlier in the year that it would trial the proposed rule introductions towards the end of the season.
Both clubs were eager participants in the trial and embraced being the first two teams to be a part of the exciting new change.
Morwell players enjoyed being part of the trial of rolling substitutions. The proposed changes, which will likely be implemented in 2023, will see all teams across the six grades of competition have access to substitutions during live play in matches. Currently, teams are only allowed to make substitutions at quarter breaks and if there is an injured player.
The rolling substitutions will enable teams to make changes at any time during the match
without halting play.
Sale had the honour of implementing the first ever live substitute.
Magpies’ A Grade coach Jo Ballinger, who has worked under the rules in her Victorian Netball League commitments, said: “The changes are great for the clubs and the players. It allows coaches more flexibility to make changes. The rolling subs work great at VNL level and should be a big positive for the Gippsland League”.
Morwell also embraced the new rules and is eager to see them introduced.
“It was actually a lot of fun. In the last quarter we trialled some players in new positions and the girls on the bench stayed more engaged with the game as they could be put back in at any time,” coach Rachel Patterson said.
“We tried Shannon Freeman in the mid-court, Court Garth as a shooter, which is something
we wouldn’t have been able to do under normal conditions.”
The Gippsland League was at the match to ensure that the teams had support to operate under the proposed changes and to help the coaches, team managers and scorers to work through the administration side of the proposed changes.
“The rolling substitutes is a change that should be a great benefit for our community sporting players,” Gippsland League general manager Daniel Heathcote said.
“The change fits in perfectly with the direction of the league’s newly implemented strategic plan in the areas of leadership and embracing change in the community sporting landscape.
“It was great to see both Morwell and Sale embrace the trial. Both teams were utilising their players in different positions and not having players be benched for large portions of the match.
“We hope in 2023 that it will allow clubs to have more participants in their teams, especially the junior sides and not have to turn players away due to lack of ability to promise playing time.”
It is a change that the league was looking to implement in 2022, however off the back of the interrupted seasons, the decision was made to trial and develop the administrative process for the updated rules with the view to permanent implementation in 2023.