While rumours of Australian Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett making the move to New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership league were abundant, it still came as a shock to netball fans all around the world when the star goal shooter’s decision was officially confirmed.
In October, Bassett announced she had been given an early release from her contract with Giants Netball and would be taking up an offer with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in the ANZ Premiership team. In New Zealand. The Australian captain. In New Zealand.
It was not without controversy, with many left wondering how Bassett’s move would translate at an international level after leaving Australia’s own domestic league – considered the best in the world.
On the contrary, some netty fans saw Bassett’s escape from Julie Fitzgerald and the Giants as bittersweet but necessary.
We’ve compiled a list of reasons why we think Caitlin’s decision to move across the Tasman showed serious Big Shooter Energy.
1. Girl knows her worth
You don’t become the Australian Diamonds Captain and starting goal shooter by accident.
With an elite netball career spanning 16 years and multiple career accolades including two Netball World Cup gold medals, Bassett has arguably been Australia’s best goal shooter for years.
Surprisingly, Bassett only played 292 minutes of court time for Giants out of a possible 840 in the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season, with coach Julie Fitzgerald overwhelmingly preferencing the combination of Kiera Austen (GA) and Jo Harten (GS).
Bassett realised she was worth so much more than just being a benchwarmer.
2. Culture at the club
Bassett is a millennial and millennials don’t stick around in toxic workplaces.
We also aren’t afraid to take a leap of faith when our gut tells us something isn’t right.
It’s no secret that Bassett’s courtside “tour-de-Bass” was a red flag, considering even when the Harten/Austen combination wasn’t working, she remained on the bench.
Rubbing more salt in the wound was Fitzgerald’s unusual decision in round 12’s Thunderbirds vs Giants clash.
When wing attack Maddy Hay came off with an ankle injury, rather than switching Austen into wing attack (one of her main positions) and Bassett into shooter, Amy Parmenter who traditionally plays wing defence was switched into Hay’s position.
3. Stuff you to the super shot
The controversial inclusion of this year’s super shot (goals worth two points when shot from range in the last five minutes of every quarter) was not met with immediate appreciation from netball fans, players and umpires alike.
Holding shooters, a style traditionally played by Bassett, could have been seen to be more disadvantaged than other shooters by the implementation of this rule, as this style of play relies on skilful positioning and accuracy from under the post.
Many dismissed Bassett as not having the ability to sink super shots from distance from the get-go.
It’s worth noting, though, that Fitzgerald didn’t give Bassett the opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong as she was almost always off court for the super shot period.
Bassets’ move to the super shot-free ANZ Premiership is a big ‘stuff you’ to the new rule, and a nod to the traditional style of play that has brought her so much success and admiration.
With Magic captain Sam Sinclair, exciting new goal attack and NZ under 21 squad member Khiarna Williams and well-loved defensive queen Erena Mikaere, WBOP Magic will be a force to be reckoned with in 2021.