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Aussie coach welcomes 'scrubbers' into Trans- -

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BRENDAN TREMBATH: The fierce sporting rivalry between Australia and New Zealand is nothing new -
but the Trans-Tasman Netball Cup is.

It's been running for the past three months and combines the national netball competitions in the
two countries.

Already it's considered a success.

Last night the Sydney Swifts beat the New Zealand side, the Mystics, in a nail-biter in Auckland.

Watching on in the stands, was Australian coach Norma Plummer, who once famously called the New
Zealand Netball team "scrubbers".

New Zealand correspondent Kerri Ritchie spoke to her about how netball is scoring on both sides of
the Tasman.

KERRI RITCHIE: Australian Netball coach Norma Plummer is known for being blunt.

When New Zealand won the world netball cup in Jamaica in 2004, she said they played like "a bunch
of scrubbers."

The New Zealand media hit back labelling Norma Plummer "The Ice Queen"

Nowadays, she's on much better terms with her Kiwi cousins.

NORMA PLUMMER: At the dinner last night I was introduced as the coach that dropped that on New
Zealand and they were all laughing with me and not at me. No they were all laughing with me and
they all see the humour in it and I had a lot of people come up and say I just love your
straightness of the way you are. Well, that is just me.

KERRI RITCHIE: The Australian coach is in New Zealand to check out the competition.

The Trans-Tasman Cup has been running since April, with five teams from each country battling it
out.

(To Norma Plummer) Do you think it's a success story?

NORMA PLUMMER: Well, I think you would have to say that at the moment. Basically now what we are
seeing is these fantastic close matches which we weren't really getting in our own competitions I
don't think. It was pretty well dominated by the top. Now, anything could pop up.

KERRI RITCHIE: But Norma Plummer does have some concerns.

NORMA PLUMMER: I think we've got to be really, really careful that it doesn't become just the
Australia/New Zealand show and we leave the rest of the world behind. I mean we're basically in
that position at the moment and I would hope that there is a Super Six in England next year that
where, all the top 6 nations should be, hopefully are all going to be there and play it.

But I see that as the next step. So you have this which is great but then pick up like a Super
Fourteen in the rugby but then have South Africa, Jamaica and England and Australia and New
Zealand, Malawi whatever but we need to start doing that otherwise this great game is going to stay
where it is.

KERRI RITCHIE: She says netball needs to reach less wealthy countries.

NORMA PLUMMER: Because these countries are not strapped with money and you know, you sort of see
all these athletes and you think all they need is a coach and all they need is some support.

I mean, I have always said that if you know Trinidad and Jamaica ever got their act together and
could have their players all the time, we mightn't touch the ball, Australia and New Zealand. We
could be in big strife and I mean they've just pulled a young girl in their schoolgirls,
six-foot-nine and she is 14!

KERRI RITCHIE: Last night's match between the Sydney Swifts and the New Zealand side, Mystics went
into extra time twice.

(Sound of crowd cheering)

KERRI RITCHIE: The Australian side eventually won out - beating the New Zealanders 64 goals to 62.

After the game Australian player Susan Pratley praised the Trans-Tasman Cup.

SUSAN PRATLEY: Yeah, it is great playing against New Zealand teams and the competition is so open
now. In the past, Australian competition has been very top four, bottom four so this really makes
it very close and every game as Julie said, is out there to have a win.

You know, we have got to get those two points on the board.

KERRI RITCHIE: And the Trans-Tasman rivalry is fierce.

SUSAN PRATLEY: It's like that but off-court they are all lovely girls and we all get along. You
know it is just that white line fever. You have got to win when you are out there.

KERRI RITCHIE: Norma Plummer agrees the Kiwis are nice girls and there will be no more talk of
scrubbers.

NORMA PLUMMER: That comment was made to a reporter after the whole conversation had closed the book
and I was walking him out the door but in the end you get burnt and you have got to live with it
but we did more publicity in one day than we had in nine years.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The Australian coach, Norma Plummer ending Kerri Ritchie's report.