Noeline Taurua hopes the rare ‘sinbinning’ of Silver Ferns defender Karin Burger serves as a valuable reminder to her players.
Substitute Burger was suspended for two minutes with seven minutes left in the final quarter of their 54-41 Northern Quad Series loss to England in Liverpool yesterday.
Goal defence Burger, in just her third test, was judged to have deliberately obstructed English shooter Jo Harten after being warned by the umpires for a similar offence minutes earlier.
Players being suspended for two minutes or ordered off (to take no further part in the game) is unusual in elite netball. Burger’s suspension evoked memories of former Silver Ferns midcourter Temepara Bailey, who was briefly banished for continual offside in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia in Jamaica, a game New Zealand won 49-47.
Coach Taurua didn’t have any qualms with the umpires’ ruling and said they had also been warned in the changing room.
It was up to players to be accountable on court and make the adjustment if they were being frequently penalised.
Burger’s brief suspension didn’t have any huge effect on the final result with England up by eight goals at the time (44-36), but Taurua hoped it would be a learning experience for her side.
Had it happened in the crunch stages of a close match at the World Cup, it could potentially cost the Silver Ferns their place at the tournament in a knockout game. England outscored New Zealand 5-2 in the two minutes Burger was off the court.
‘‘We could’ve been killed [on the scoreboard],’’ Taurua said.
‘‘Having one person down for two minutes [the final margin] could have actually been worse.’’
The Silver Ferns plan for all types of scenarios in training games, including the possibility of a player being suspended, but it was never an ideal situation to be in.
There was no malice in the play from Burger, but because there had already been a prior warning, the umpires, who deemed it deliberate, were left with little alternative.
‘‘There’s two things that have come out of that. One is having strategies, so we know what we need to do if that happens again and number two, we need to be smarter, so that we’re not caught up in that sort of stuff,’’ Taurua said.
‘‘Both of those [shooters] I think are outstanding for England, both Helen [Housby] and also Jo [Harten] are very smart