Coaches given ruthless treatment
These are indeed interesting times for netball. As the game has advanced into the professional era, it has become as caught up in intrigue and internal politics as any other major sport.
Just look at the recent fuss over the appointment of the coaches of the New Zealand franchises in next year’s trans-Tasman league.
Leigh Gibbs, who lost the reins as Silver Ferns coach 15 years ago, is back. She’s returning to Christchurch to coach the Tactix. The job also entails setting up coaching and development programmes, which will suit her well.
Long-serving Robyn Broughton, who has coached the Southern Sting and then the Southern Steel since the mid-1990s, was unceremoniously dumped from that position, only to end up a few days later as the Pulse coach.
Under Broughton, the Sting made 10 consecutive national finals, winning seven, and the Steel made the trans-Tasman semifinals twice, so her treatment was rather vicious.
That’s something I’ve noticed about netball administrators. They can be ruthless. Think of the way Silver Ferns coaches Gibbs and Yvonne Willering were summarily sacked for lack of results.
Broughton deserved more sympathetic handling from those well-paid netball officials in Southland. Instead they seemed to go out of their way to flick her on.
That sort of treatment may rebound on them because Broughton will arrive at the Pulse with several loyal players by her side.
Not just Pulse captain Katrina Grant (another to fall out with Southland netball officialdom), but perhaps also super-shooter Donna Wilkins, Silver Fern Liana Leota, experienced midcourter Erika Burgess and others.
Where that will leave the Steel under new joint coaches (always a risky move) Natalie Avellino and Janine Southby is anyone’s guess.
The Pulse were equally brutal in getting the coach they wanted. It had seemed Gail Parata, who had been former coach Yvette McCausland-Durie’s assistant for three years, would get the job.
But once Broughton became available, Parata was surplus to requirements and the Pulse management gained no kudos for the thoughtless way they let Parata know.