Steel to make bigger mark in Invercargill
Southern Steel should have a stronger presence in Invercargill next year, despite the appointment of Dunedin-based Janine Southby as head coach.
Southby and Natalie Avellino shared responsibilities during Steel's trans-Tasman netball league campaign this year.
However, last week the Southern TeamCo board, which governs the Steel, supported chief executive David Bannister's recommendation that the franchise revert to a traditional coaching structure.
In a move that came as little surprise, Southby was yesterday named as head coach, with Avellino to act as her assistant.
Some people have speculated that the Steel squad may spend the majority of their time in Dunedin next year with Southby as head coach, but Bannister rejected those suggestions yesterday.
With the new Netball South entity tipped to be based in Invercargill, Bannister said it was only natural the team would have a greater presence in Southland.
The new Stadium Southland is also expected to host four home games next year, compared with two in Dunedin. This would mean the Steel players would train more in Invercargill in the lead-up to games.
"It's quite evident the positioning of the players, will see more of them in Invercargill at certain times, than other places," Bannister said.
He admitted it was crucial Steel continued to have a presence in both Otago and Southland, as well as the Central Lakes region.
This year, Steel's squad split up for regional training sessions with the co-coaches in Invercargill and Dunedin respectively, before meeting up as a team later in the week.
Bannister acknowledged it was not always easy for the players and coaches, and said the squad would train much more as a team in 2013.
Southby's high performance experience as the current coach of the New Zealand under-21 team gave her the edge, Bannister said.
While Southby got the nod to lead the coaching team, Avellino, a former Australian representative, will add considerable value as assistant coach.
“Retaining both Janine and Nat was extremely important to us,” Bannister said.
“They are both dedicated and passionate coaches who play a vital role in the future of our franchise.
"There's a reason why we have head coaches and assistant coaches. It's a structure that works."
Southby said she was excited about the head coaching opportunity.
“I know from a results perspective, we didn't achieve as well as we would have liked this year but there was a lot of growth and development in the players - often in ways the public don't get to see."
Avellino's coaching skills have also been recognised by Netball New Zealand following her appointment to Wai Taumaunu's coaching team for the Silver Ferns Fast5 campaign in November.
While she was disappointed to miss out on the lead role with Steel, Avellino said she remained committed to the franchise.
“Unfortunately, in the world of professional sport, not every decision goes your way. But it doesn't alter the passion I have for coaching or this team and I'm looking forward to working alongside Janine to continue what we started this year,” she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News