‘We deserve more respect’: Netballers up in arms over Ricky Stuart comments

Current and former Super Netball players have slammed alleged comments made by Ricky Stuart about netball and have demanded the Raiders coach attend a game to see how “tough” the sport is.

On Wednesday night, NRL 360 host Paul Kent repeated comments allegedly made to him by Stuart, when they were discussing reports some of his relationships with players were on the rocks.

“He said there’s no issue there,” Kent said on air.

“As Ricky said to me – if I can’t have tough conversations with my better players I might as well coach netball.”

The comments did not go down well in the Australia netball community and were shared widely by Super Netball clubs on social media, some with evidence of netballing toughness. Netball great Liz Ellis also made her displeasure known.

Current and former Super Netball players have slammed alleged comments made by Ricky Stuart about netball.Credit:Getty

“Stop making netball a euphemism for “not tough”,” Ellis said.

“If you are still doing that in 2021, you might need to get out to a game to do some fact-checking.”

On Thursday, Swifts star Sophie Garbin condemned the comments during media ahead of the club’s round three clash against the Vixens.

“It’s 2021 and these comments are still being said about women in general and there is no need for it,” Garbin said.

“The fact no one pulled him up on it in the moment is even worse. Netball deserves respect. We got over a million girls playing it and to get to the top level it’s really tough. There are only eight teams and ten spots and there are a million girls you have to beat to get there.”

Garbin also said Australian netball, in particular, deserved huge respect due to the elite nature of the league.

“2019 was our toughest year and I can tell you there was a lot of tough conversations going on. People get dropped from teams, people get put in teams,” Garbin said.

“We deserve more respect…we sacrifice a lot to be out here.”

West Coast Fever netball boss and commentator Sue Gaudion said both Stuart could have chosen different words to describe the situation.

“So to all involved…TAKE YOUR DISRESPECTFUL & UNEDUCATED COMMENTS and have a tough conversation with yourself about how to be better!” she wrote on social media.

Stuart did not respond to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, Netball Australia announced major changes to their board on Wednesday night.

Chair Paolina Hunt stepped down from her role, effective immediately after it was decided the Netball Australia board and Super Netball League Commission would merge into a single nine-person board. Marina Go was elected to become the inaugural Chair of the newly-formed board.

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