Making a difference from the Bench

It is not just coaches, players and umpires who aspire to make their ANZ Championship debut; bench officials like Tricia Mann also dare to dream.

After six years of scoring for Penrith Netball Associations’ DOOLEYS State League sides, last year the mother of three achieved her goal of scoring an ANZ Championship game, and she hasn’t looked back!

On this particular occasion it was as a Reserve for the NSW Swifts fixture but Trish remembers vividly the call she received from Lynn Quinn OAM with news of her appointment.

“I was excited,” Trish recalls. “I was scoring State League for Penrith and was encouraged by Rodney Watson, our then President, to take it further as he knew how much I enjoyed scoring.

“I was keen to take on the challenges that, given the proper training, high level scoring brings. Lynn Quinn took me under her wing and sat with me at State League games.  Then Lynn put me onto ANL (Australian National League) games, which I did for a couple of seasons, along with the Netball NSW Invitational [Pre-Season].”

“Lynn has just been there the whole time, helping me and guiding me through the ranks – so it was wonderful to get the news from Lynn regarding the appointment. Actually, the whole team of bench officials have been very supportive and helpful, at State League, ANL and Swift games.”

So far during the 2014 ANZ Championship, Tricia has moved from being a Reserve, to scoring during the Swifts’ games against the Central Pulse and Melbourne Vixens.  She will also be scoring when the Swifts play the Thunderbirds at Allphones Arena on Sunday 18 May and Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic the following week.

Tricia’s involvement in netball has had a long history, which started with playing the sport as a child and youth.

“On becoming a parent, I continued to play indoor netball but when my daughter started playing at aged 6, I coached her team and then got back involved in the Club,” Tricia explained.

Netball in NSW is blessed to have an army of volunteers contributing to the sport in many ways for varying reasons, but for Tricia it’s her love of numbers which drew her to scoring.

“One, it (scoring) keeps me quiet at the game,” laughs Tricia when talking about what attracted her to scoring. “And two, I’ve always worked in accounts, so I have always liked working with figures and the statistical side of scoring.”

“This year I’m doing Divisions Two and Three, because that’s where our teams are placed, but I also like to score so the parents get to watch their daughters play.”

Just as there are for players and umpires, there are clear differences between scoring in the ANZ Championship opposed to State League.

“I’ve been watching the National Netball League and ANZ Championship for years, so I know how fast the games are played,” Tricia said.

“I think it’s the noise which shocked me the most, as it’s very loud at court level, so that adds a new dimension to the role.”

“There is always something happening in back-play, so you certainly have to be more alert down there (on the scorer’s bench).”

Tricia isn’t the only person with an eye for numbers at the Penrith Netball Association, and she is always looking to develop future scorers.

“I go back to my Association to try and encourage people.”

“I actually ran a little course myself a couple of years ago to refresh and further assist scorers throughout the Association, and I’m pleased to say we have a few scorers coming through at Penrith,” concluded Tricia.

Ahead of each season, Netball NSW runs a series of Bench Official Courses and Workshops. For more information on becoming a Bench Official or associated courses, interested parties should contact Netball NSW on 02 9951 5000 during office hours.