The Northern Territory news Wed 28 Apr 2021
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
WEDNESDAY APRIL 28 2021 SPORT 45 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA A MONDAY night game away from Western Uniteds heartland and scheduling havoc caused by COVID-19 lockdowns were given as key reasons for the smallest crowd in A-League history turning up at AAMI Park. Just 990 people attended Western Uniteds 2-0 defeat of Newcas A-League slumps to new crowd low tle in Melbourne, 13 less than the previous low crowd of 1003 which saw the now defunct North Queensland Fury play Brisbane Roar on the Gold Coast in 2010/11. Some at AAMI Park quickly questioned the official crowd figure, suggesting there could have been as few as half of that in attendance. The game was originally scheduled to be played in Newcastle but was postponed, then moved to Melbourne as one of a myriad number of changes forced by snap lockdowns and border closures. Were in COVID-affected situation where an unwanted consequence of COVID is having to squeeze games into the midweek and on weeknights, which historically has always been ordinary for support, said Australian Professional Leagues managing director Danny Townsend. MARCO MONTEVERDE AND RUSSELL GOULD Empty stands. TONGA LOOKS TO EUROPE THE threat of COVID-19 has forced Tonga to select Europe-based players rather than its official sevens squad for the Olympic rugby sevens qualification tournament in Monaco in June. Tonga Rugby Union chief executive Peter Harding said although his country had a specialist sevens squad based in New Zealand, there was less risk using 15-a-side internationals who would not be returning immediately to Tonga after the tournament. The Pacific island kingdom is one of the few countries in the world to be COVID-19 free. The team from Europe will consist of many Ikale Tahi (Test) players and it will be very strong, Harding said. A PUSH for more legitimate ways for netball stars to earn more money could be one positive outcome of last years salary cap scandal as talks ramp up for the next pay deal. Australian Diamonds and Melbourne Vixens star Jo Weston is the president of the Players Association and said the $300,000 fine dished out to West Coast fever for salary cap breaches was a learning curve for all clubs. The Fever were found guilty of breaching the cap by more than $195,000 across 2018, when they made the grand final, and 2019, breaches that Weston said could have caused chaos if the club had won the title. There has been a cleanout of officials involved in the breaches, which centred around the use of the clubs fleet cars, support-securing employment and help covering the cost of accommodation and travel for players. Talks for the next five-year pay deal are set to begin soon, and Weston said with the spotlight on player payments, finding ways to reward them would be a key part of negotiations. Its been a learning curve and I think the punishment the club has received is more than fair given they could have won a grand final when they could have been breaching the salary cap, Weston said. I think we are very lucky as a sport that that didnt happen. It does throw the competition into chaos. You cant go back and change the past. Hopefully, it will mean the integrity of all the clubs is up to date and also open up a discussion about what the salary cap might look like for next year. We are trying to find other avenues for players to earn money in legitimate ways. There are lots of checks and balances we need to go through, but people want to be professional athletes and they want to be able to make a salary they can make a living off. Salary cap scandal may cause pay push RUSSELL GOULD Coffey bags a Vixens contract TERRITORY netball star Gabby Coffey continues to achieve after cementing a spot in the Melbourne Vixens squad signing as a training partner for the 2021 season. Originally from Alice Springs the up and coming defender made a move to Melbourne in 2017 to pursue her netball career after receiving a general excellence scholarship at Caulfield Grammar. From there Coffey has enjoyed a successful progression through Melbourne University Lightnings VNL teams, has represented the Northern Territory at the National Netball Championships and was selected in the 2019 Victorian Fury team. The Vixens contract comes as the 20-year-olds first official Suncorp Super Netball contract, which she was offered after joining the team for preseason games in Sydney. I fell in love with the Vixens team all the girls are just so welcoming and it was so easy to slot in which I wanted to be a part of it, Coffey said. While this is a big step up, having been part of the Netball Victoria pathway for the last few years I feel like I am prepared to take this on. The plan is to be ready if they ever need me. Which at the same time you hope they dont because you hope theres no injuries or anything of that kind. But it would be incredible to get on court. I am excited for this year and also excited to keep working really hard. And now with the 2020 title-winning Melbourne Vixens she is sure to learn a lot and only improve her game in the hopes of getting on the court herself. The Vixens will begin their title defence on May 1 as they host West Coast Fever in a grand final rematch at John Cain Arena. And her ascendancy in the game is unlikely to slow down particularly after earning selection into Australias squad for the Netball World Youth Cup, cancelled because of COVID-19. Last December coach Kylee Byrne rated the squad, including Coffey, as one full of potential and with the ability to win the cup for Australia. I see so much potential with this group of athletes and I cant wait to spend the next year working closely with them in the hope of bringing back the Netball World Youth Cup to Australia, coach Byrne said. Gabby Coffey has joined the Melbourne Vixens. Picture: Grant Treeby NATHANIEL CHAMBERS Alice Springs product earns spot in Super Netball