Australian national netball team coach slams NRL legend Ricky Stuart for ‘sexist’ comment implying the most popular women’s sport is not ‘tough’
- Former Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander slammed Ricky Stuart
- Rumours have swirled of rift between Stuart and star NRL player Josh Hodgson
- Columnist Paul Kent said Stuart denied rumour and made reference to netball
- Comment struck a chord with Alexander who labelled it a ‘sexist’ comment
Former Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has slammed NRL legend Ricky Stuart for his ‘sexist’ comment about netball.
Alexander was outraged by the Canberra Raiders coach ash she watched NRL 360 on Fox Sports on Wednesday.
Columnist Paul Kent appeared on the sport panel and claimed he spoke to Stuart about his rumoured rift with star hooker Josh Hodgson.
Speculation swirled the pair have grown apart after Hodgson stepped down as captain and Stuart announced he would start on the bench in the upcoming match against Canterbury this weekend.
Mr Kent said Stuart told him the pair spoke behind closed doors and there was no bad blood between them.
Former Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has slammed NRL legend Ricky Stuart for his ‘sexist’ comment about netball
Speculation has swirled the pair have grown apart after Hodgson stepped down from his role as captain and Stuart announced he would be starting on the bench in the upcoming match against Canterbury this weekend
‘As Ricky said to me: “If I can’t have tough conversations with my better players, I might as well coach netball”,’ he told the sport panel.
The comment struck a chord with Alexander who penned an outraged opinion piece to The Daily Telegraph on Thursday calling it a ‘lazy potshot at netball’.
‘Is it a sexist comment?’ she wrote. ‘Probably, yes. But then what would the men’s netballers think?’
Alexander called it an ‘old school attitude’ to look at men’s and women’s sports differently.
‘All high-performance coaching is tough at times and it doesn’t matter if it’s men or women, it still can be tough – because you’re dealing with people’s careers and dreams, and it’s certainly not any easier in netball,’ she said.
Alexander added that coaches and players would often have a ‘rigorous conversation’ about performance regardless of the type of sport.
‘At the Diamonds, we preferred to refer to them as ‘genuine’ conversations – based on knowing people and having good, strong relationships so that you could handle what would otherwise be tricker topics,’ she wrote.
‘I certainly know I had my fair share of genuine conversations with my athletes.
‘That’s why high-performance coaches have a lot of experience and practice in being able to do that and work on it.’
Alexander is a former netball player and coached the national Australian Diamonds netball team between 2011 and 2020
Members of the netball community joined Alexander to airing their anger towards Stuart’s comments.
NSW Swifts and Australian Diamonds shooter Sophie Garbin called it ‘disrespectful’.
‘It’s 2021 and comments like this are still getting said about women in general and there’s no need for it,’ she said.
‘The fact that he said it is one [thing] but the fact that no one pulled him up about it in the moment is even worse.’
Alexander is a former netball player and coached the national Australian Diamonds netball team between 2011 and 2020.
She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021 in recognition of her contribution to the sport.
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