Jade Clarke unsure if she'll be back at Tactix

Last updated 05:00 05/06/2014
Jade Clarke
IAIN McGREGOR/Fairfax NZ
FUTURE UNCLEAR: Tactix player Jade Clarke.

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Jade Clarke has yet to hear from the Tactix about whether she is in the team's plans for next year.

The English midcourter was outstanding for the struggling Tactix this season, producing her most consistent trans-Tasman netball league campaign.

Clarke flew home to England yesterday as her national side begin their selection camps for next month's Commonwealth Games.

She was uncertain if she would return for a third season with the Tactix.

The franchise have again applied to competition organisers, trans-Tasman Netball Limited (TTNL), for two import players for 2015.

They have filled one spot, re-signing Malawi shooting sensation Mwai Kumwenda last week, who finished as the top goal-scorer for the regular season with 540 at 92 per cent.

Clarke's chances of coming back to Christchurch hinge on whether the Tactix gain a second import and what the new coach wants to do.

"I haven't had any conversations with anyone about next year," Clarke told The Press.

"I'm concentrating on getting my first England camp done. Next week, I'll start looking into what my options are for next year."

Clarke formed some strong links in the midcourt with Keshia Grant and Hayley Sanders this season and relished the chance to play in her preferred centre position.

She would welcome the opportunity to further develop those connections, but said she was in a difficult situation being an import player.

"I'd love to come back here. My number one priority is getting the foot in the door again in the [trans-Tasman netball league] full stop.

"From experience, it's so hard every year to secure that spot . . . Hopefully I can get it sorted as soon as possible."

The Tactix won just one game this season and secured their fourth wooden spoon in five years, but Clarke felt they had played better than their record suggested.

They had opportunities to beat the Northern Mystics in both games and the Southern Steel in Dunedin, but could not kick on when they were in front.

Clarke believed the key to turning around the Tactix was keeping continuity in their squad, but bolstering their ranks with an experienced defender.

"Those teams that have had years and years of those combinations, it really shows. You look at the Magic with Casey [Kopua] and Leana [de Bruin], they've been playing together for years.

"That's what could happen in our attack end if you keep those [players]."

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She mentioned injured Silver Ferns defender Kayla Cullen as a player, who would thrive at the Tactix.

There were several other talented netballers sitting on the bench at other Kiwi franchises, who could strengthen their squad.

"Some of those players would do really well at a team like the Tactix, who can actually show what they can do by getting some court-time and moving out of their comfort zone."

Outgoing Tactix coach Leigh Gibbs and former Silver Fern Anna Stanley have both endorsed assistant Julie Seymour to take over as head coach.

Clarke echoed their sentiments and believed Seymour was ready after five years as the side's assistant.

"It would be great to see what she could do with the team.

"She's been there and has done that. Tactically, she's really sound. She's got the full support and trust of the girls with everything she says."

- The Press

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