Netball: Rating plan could make for balance

Is it time the ANZ Championship introduced a system to spread the talent more evenly? Netball writer Adrian Seconi thinks so. He uses the Australian National Basketball League's "points cap" system to rate the five New Zealand franchises.

With five winners in five years, there is perhaps no need to tinker with the ANZ Championship by introducing some sort of talent equalisation system.

Then again, the Steel could really use some help. So could the Canterbury Tactix, for that matter.

Both teams seem to struggle to recruit and retain top players while a powerhouse like the Magic appears weighed down with talent.

The Australian National Basketball League has a point system it uses to rate players from 1 to 10. The cap is set at 70 and no team's active roster can exceed that total.

If the ANZ Championship adopted an identical system, the Magic and the Pulse would be over the 70-point cap and the Mystics would just scrape in.

What it also highlights is what we already know only too well - the Steel and the Tactix do not have the same level of talent.

The ANBL points system (with examples of Breakers players) is:

1-3 points: Development players (Josh Bloxham 1, Dion Prewster 3)
4-5 points: Bench players, journeymen (Corey Webster 4, Leon Henry 4)
6-8 points: Regular starters, veterans, former or fringe internationals (Dillon Boucher 6, Daryl Corletto 7, CJ Bruton 8, Alex Pledger 8)
9-10 points: Stars, imports, internationals (Will Hudson 9, Mika Vukona 9, Cedric Jackson 1), Thomas Abercrombie 10)

This is how the major New Zealand netball teams might rate (top 10 players only).-

• MAGIC
Laura Langman: 10
Casey Williams: 10
Irene van Dyk: 10
Leana de Bruin: 10
Elias Shadrock: 7
Khao Watts: 7
Jodi Todd: 6
Jessica Tuki: 5
Ellen Halpenny: 5
Jess Waitapu: 4

Total: 74

Who knows how the Magic can pay four starting Silver Ferns and not exceed the salary cap?

But under the ANBL points system, the defending champion would have to cut a player like Casey Williams and replace her with someone like Rachel Rasmussen.

• PULSE
Katrina Grant: 9
Donna Wilkins: 9
Liana Leota: 9
Joline Henry: 9
Caitlin Thwaites: 8
Camilla Lees: 7
Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit: 6
Paula Griffin: 6
Victoria Smith: 5
Dayna Wiffen: 5

Total: 73

From perennial struggler to title contender following a busy off-season recruiting talent - too much talent. Not bad for a franchise which would have gone broke had Netball New Zealand not chipped in to keep it afloat.

MYSTICS
Maria Tutaia: 10
Anna Harrison: 9
Julie Corletto: 9
Cathrine Latu: 9
Kayla Cullen: 7
Grace Rasmussen: 6
Bailey Mes: 6
Jess Moulds: 5
Charlotte Kight: 5
Erikana Pedersen: 4

Total: 70

The Mystics have probably got the best split between experienced and up-and-coming players.

In terms of the points cap, they have come in right on target.

STEEL
Jhaniele Fowler: 9
Jodi Brown: 8
Shannon Francois: 7
Wendy Frew: 6
Courtney Tairi: 6
Storm Purvis: 6
Rachel Rasmussen: 5
Phillipa Finch: 5
Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick: 4
Te Paea Selby-Rickit: 4

Total: 60

The Steel is really starting to feel the pinch, playing in a league where it competes with teams based in big cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland. Recruitment is a huge challenge and the roster reflects that reality. It is more of a development team now.

• TACTIX
Joanna Harten: 9
Jade Clarke: 9
Anna Thompson: 7
Julianna Naoupu: 6
Bessie Manu: 5
Keshia Grant: 5
Jo Trip: 5
Jane Watson: 4
Sophia Fenwick: 4
Louise Thayer: 4

Total: 58

The Tactix are the only New Zealand team allowed two imports, and they really need the help. Last in 2010. Last in 2011.

Last in 2012. And last in 2013 if they do not beat the Steel.