One of the world’s fastest sports is calling for even faster games as this year sees the implementation of the new netball rules introduced by the sport’s international governing body. All agree that they work to make netball games quicker, quieter, and more attack-oriented.

When the International Netball Federation announced the changes that are meant to take effect at all levels of the game, everybody saw that the new netball rules are designed to speed up match play — something that spectators are sure to appreciate.

If you or a team you belong to participates in Melbourne Social Netball competitions, you can expect the organisation to teach players about the new rules across team matches. You can definitely expect the elimination of unnecessary whistle-blowing as umpires will no longer be expected to whistle for obvious goals.

There will no longer be basketball-style injury time charades as well. “Injured” players used to exploit the old rule that allowed them to call time, take a two-minute break, and then return to court. Games will progress more quickly as injured players, including those with blood, are granted 30 seconds before they have to leave the court.

The new rules now allow players to take a penalty without the offender out of play. They also let centre players have just one foot, as opposed to the old two, grounded in the centre circle before restarting play with a centre pass.

Other major changes are seen in the ban of the spectacular defensive lift and in the advantage play allowed attackers as they take a free pass before a “sanctioned” defender moves aside. Incidentally, “sanction” is the new term for “penalty.”

Almost all the changes were met with agreement from netballers and netball enthusiasts, but there are understandably some contentious modifications, such as the introducing of goal tending. According to the new rules, players won’t be able to deflect a shot once the ball is already speeding down toward the ring, which effectively outlaws the aforementioned rugby lineout-style lift, an exciting tending move that leaves everybody in awe of its sheer poetic brilliance.

In any case, netball aficionados across the globe are eager to see the practical application of these rules. In Melbourne, netball players and spectators can get familiar with them at the Riverside Golf and Tennis Centre, Melbourne High School South Yarra, Flagstaff Gardens and their two Richmond venues where Melbourne Social Netball holds many of its games.

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