News that the Central Pulse are preparing to name a new assistant coach has come as a shock to Robyn Broughton.
Broughton will return to the Pulse for a fourth trans-Tasman Netball League season as head coach, but has been left out of the process to recruit her deputy.
Pulse chief executive Carolyn Young returned from meetings in Auckland last week with Netball New Zealand and trans-Tasman Netball League Ltd, having also interviewed candidates for the position of assistant coach. A short-list of three had already been drawn up, which Broughton wasn't party to compiling.
Young said there were now "a couple of stages to go through" and that the Pulse were still "a couple of weeks away" from naming the assistant.
"Obviously that coach appointment doesn't start till December 1, so we're in good shape with regard to timing. We're not behind the eight-ball like we might've been at other times," Young said.
Broughton was on the interview panel that hired former assistant Marianne Delaney. She disputed there was anything last minute about Delaney's appointment, if that's what Young meant by "behind the eight-ball".
More importantly, though, Broughton is hurt and confused about why the franchise would seek to recruit an assistant without her approval or participation.
From the outside looking in, it does seem an odd way to treat a coach of Broughton's stature. She should probably be entitled to appoint whoever she wants rather than have to hear or read about it.
Broughton is committed to and enthused about the Pulse's 2015 campaign and will work with whoever her assistant turns out to be. But this process has only undermined everyone's position.
On the playing side, the retention of star wing attack Liana Leota was confirmed yesterday. The birth of her third child, just before the start of this year's competition, limited her effectiveness and she was unable to play a full 60 minutes until the final round.
But having committed to the Silver Ferns' 2014 test programme and next year's World Cup, Leota will be back from her home in England next month and in peak condition for the Pulse.
A former league MVP, her vision and inventiveness will be critical to the Pulse's prospects of finally qualifying for the playoffs.
The Pulse now have nine players on their books, with the signing deadline on Friday.
- The Dominion Post