Netball NSW is pleased to confirm the appointments of the NSW State Team Coaches and Managers for the 2016 National Netball Championships.
Moira Gaha will be back once again in a Head Coach capacity after helping steer the NSW 17/U Team to consecutive Runners-Up finishes in 2014-2015. Gaha will be taking up the reins of the NSW 19/U Team as they look to defend their 2015 Champions title, and will be joined by two experienced campaigners who also re-enter the State Team fold.
High Performance coaches Maria Lynch and Jo Macdermid will head up the NSW 21/U and NSW 17/U Teams, respectively, with both Head Coaches bringing a wealth of knowledge to the sides having amassed an impressive 23 Nationals appearances combined.
Lynch has helped lead NSW to claim the Champions crown on eight occasions, including three consecutive 21/U National titles from 2010-2012, whilst Macdermid has also had a taste of success after being involved with three Championship-winning sides (2002, 2009-2010).
The veteran trio will be joined by a strong team of Assistant Coaches and Managers for the 2016 season. Pate Cooper and Jaqua Heddle have progressed into Assistant Coach roles with the NSW 21/U and 19/U Teams, respectively, after previously serving as co-Assistant Coaches of the NSW 17/U Development Squad for the past two seasons.
Cooper and Heddle have extensive experience working with talented young netballers having both spent time at Academy of Sport level – Cooper most recently as Mentor Coach for the Western Sydney Academy of Sport, whilst Heddle has been in the Head Coach role for the South West Sydney Academy of Sport.
Colleen Mitchell also re-enters the State Team coaching frame as the NSW 17/U Assistant Coach. Mitchell has an extensive resume having previously undertaken Assistant Coach roles with the NSW 19/U (2014) and NSW 17/U Teams (2013-2012), which includes helping steer NSW to an undefeated Champions title in 2012.
Joining the coaching staff will be three Managers with extensive experience – Deborah Kassing (21/U), Maureen Stephenson OAM (19/U) and Nikki Welsford, who moves into the Manager role with the NSW 17/U Team having most recently worked with the NSW 17/U Development Squad in 2014.
“Netball NSW is very excited with the calibre of Coaches and Managers who will help lead NSW throughout the 2016 National Netball Championships campaign,” General Manager – High Performance Anna Longman said.
“Obviously there is a lot of experience within the group, but it’s also pleasing to see individuals who are being given an opportunity to continue their development and expand their knowledge of the game. Those like Jacqua [Heddle], Pate [Cooper] and Nikki [Welsford] who now have the opportunity of a new challenge, but also have those experienced heads around them to assist.
“For Netball NSW it’s incredibly exciting, and I think it also reiterates what a talented pool of experienced and knowledgeable individuals we have in our State to help continue to develop our talented athletes.
“On behalf of Netball NSW I’d like to congratulate our 2016 State Team Coaches and Managers, and wish athletes all the best for the upcoming NSW selection trials and forthcoming Nationals campaigns,” Longman concluded.
Upon announcing the 2016 State Team appointments, Netball NSW has also confirmed Leonie Stewart-Weeks will return as Head Coach of the NSW 17/U Development Squad for 2016.
Having headed up the squad over the last two seasons, Stewart-Weeks also has Nationals experience under her belt having been Assistant Coach with the NSW 19/U side in 2013 and has been a long-time coach in the DOOLEYS State League competition.
Joining Stewart-Weeks as Assistant Coach will be Kirstie Fuller, who joins the squad after her most recent stint as Head Coach of the Northern Inland Academy of Sport. This will be Fuller’s first NSW appointment, giving the talented emerging coach an opportunity to receive great mentoring from the experienced Stewart-Weeks throughout the squad’s 2016 campaign.
The NSW 17/U Development Squad was first introduced in 2014 to allow those young athletes who missed out on Nationals selection the opportunity to continue their development. The squad will participate in an identical training program as their NSW 17/U counterparts, giving athletes first-hand experience of the expectations of a NSW representative athlete and also encourage them to continue on their player pathway.
2016 State Team Athlete Nominations closed last Sunday 27 September, with NSW 21/U Team Phase I trials the first to get underway on Saturday 10 October. NSW 17/U trials will get underway the last weekend of the month, while 19/U athletes will begin their first phase trials on Sunday 22 November.
The 2016 21/U National Netball Championships will be contested 7-14 March in Launceston, Tasmania, whilst the 17/U and 19/U National Netball Championships will be held at Perth’s State Netball Centre from 11-18 April, 2016.
2016 NSW State Team Appointments
NSW 21/U Team
Head Coach: Maria Lynch (Sutherland Shire)
Assistant Coach: Pate Cooper (Penrith District)
Manager: Deborah Kassing (St George)
NSW 19/U Team
Head Coach: Moira Gaha (St George)
Assistant Coach: Jaqua Heddle (Penrith District)
Manager: Maureen Stephenson OAM (City of Sydney/Manly Warringah)
NSW 17/U Team
Head Coach: Jo Macdermid (Eastwood Ryde)
Assistant Coach: Colleen Mitchell (Baulkham Hills)
Manager: Nikki Welsford (Penrith District)
NSW 17/U Development Squad
Head Coach: Leonie Stewart-Weeks (Eastwood Ryde)
Assistant Coach: Kirstie Fuller (Armidale)