It’s been a big month for NSW netball legend Mo’onia Gerrard OAM who was announced overnight as Head Coach of the new English Superleague franchise, the Severn Stars.
The recent news comes a month after Gerrard received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
England Netball announced changes to their premier competition in late June, which included an increase in teams that will be competing in the 2017 league; one of which is the new Stars side – read the full announcement here.
Netball NSW caught up with Gerrard following her OAM accolade, in which the former Australian Diamond admitted she was excited about the impending move to England with husband Dave Dennis and son Francis, and that she would be looking to continue to develop her coaching aspirations.
“We’re moving to England and I’ve already got my feelings out there to see if I can help coach in some way. Who knows, maybe you’ll see me at the next (Netball) World Cup sitting on the sidelines … (coaching) is where my future lies at the moment,” Gerrard told NetballNSWTV at the time.
Gerrard was considered one of the most fearsome defenders in Australian netball for over 15 years. After starting her representative career with the NSW 17/U State Team, Gerrard made her elite netball debut with the Sydney Sandpipers in the former domestic netball league in 1999. She went on to make a combined 182 appearances for the Sandpipers, Sydney Swifts (Commonwealth Bank Trophy), Adelaide Thunderbirds and NSW Swifts (ANZ Championships) – making her one of the top ten most capped netballers in history.
During her illustrious international career, Gerrard was part of the World Championship-winning Australian Diamonds in Auckland (2007) and Singapore (2011), and won a Silver Medal at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Since Gerrard’s playing career concluded at the end of the 2013 ANZ Championship season, the 35-year-old has turned her hand towards coaching. She has been involved with NSW competitions DOOLEYS State League and SAMSUNG Premier League, as well as provided specialist coaching for the NSW Swifts, NSW State Teams and Australian underage squad camps.
She is also highly active in the community, working closely with the Australia Post ONE Netball Program, as well as her long-running Mo’onia’s Cup in conjunction with Tonga Netball amongst many other things.
Speaking of her recent OAM appointment, Gerrard was her typical humble self by trying to downplay her contribution to the sport.
“I cannot believe it to be honest because I don’t think I’ve earned my stripes just yet, and (comparing to) those (before me) who have achieved the award, I just don’t think I’ve served my time enough,” Gerrard said.
“But I’m so grateful for the opportunity and the award which has been presented to me. I just don’t feel worthy enough but I do appreciate the award and I know how much it means to my family.”
Watch the full interview with Mo’onia Gerrard OAM below: