Swifts and Giants flag vaccine readiness in effort to assist uptake

NSW’s elite netball teams have thrown their support behind compulsory vaccination for the 2022 Super Netball season in the hope it will encourage more people in the community to get the jab.

As vaccination policy continues to be debated amongsporting bodies in Australia, Netball NSW chief executive Tain Drinkwater revealed that all players from the Giants and Swifts this week flagged their readiness to be vaccinated.

The two sides have also indicated a desire to assist in the campaign to increase vaccination rates and have agreed to make a series of videos encouraging their supporters to get vaccinated.

Drinkwater said it was just another example of netballers taking their jobs as role models seriously.

“All of them have indicated that they really want to send a positive message out to the community that the only way that we’re going to get ahead of this is by being vaccinated,” Drinkwater said.

“The players have certainly led it themselves, and I think that’s probably why we’re so proud of them.”

NSW’s leading COVID-19 experts called upon NRL players and clubs in Sydney’s west last week to encourage fans in the area to get vaccinated, as rates continue to lag in the area.

But not everyone was on board with the idea. Bulldogs player Adam Elliott said last week he believed the messaging could rub fans the wrong way and players should “stay out” of politics.

The vaccination call from the netballers comes after a tumultuous 2021 season for the Swifts and Giantsin which they were relocated four times in a month in an effort to keep the competition alive.

Both teams left NSW at the beginning of the Sydney outbreak in June, and the financial impact has been heavy.

“We’ve lost all our home games, so it’s the revenue associated with that but also just the ability to really thank our members and our fans and our partners,” Drinkwater said.

“We were certainly very much looking forward to being able to put on a great display for our fans and members after the 2020 season and unfortunately that hasn’t resulted.”

Both the Giants and Swifts have told Netball NSW they all want the jab. Credit:Getty

This year is the first time both NSW teams are in the preliminary final stage.

The Giants play the West Coast Fever on Saturday. The winner will play the Swifts in the grand final.

Drinkwater said the prospect of having both NSW teams in the grand final was exciting but bittersweet given the game will be held in Queensland due to COVID-19.

Commentary this week has swirled over the sanction given to the West Coast Fever at the start of the year after the club was found to have breached the salary cap in 2018 and 2019.

The Fever were fined $300,000 and penalised 12 competition points but are one game away from the grand final

and many are now questioning whether the sanction was enough.

“There are some people who believe it was not harsh enough,” Drinkwater said. “There are some fans and some disappointed supporters out there. But ultimately the decision was made at the start of the season and we all got behind it.”

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