New netball chief unifies Magic regions

BY MATT RICHENS
Last updated 12:10 11/02/2010

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Past grumblings regarding the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic netball board are long forgotten and new chief executive Sheryl Dawson has the backing of both regions.

In late 2007 and early 2008, just before the inaugural ANZ Championship began, some sections within Waikato Netball were upset with the perceived control Netball Bay of Plenty had over the Magic board and Dawson was at the heart of many of those professed issues.

But Dawson's appointment – replacing Martin Ellis after 2 1/2 years – has been received well by both parties and Lynette Flowers, one of Waikato's representatives on the Magic board, said the appointment was "fantastic".

Ellis last month resigned from his role as business development manager with Waikato Rugby.

In a deal dating back to the Magic's entrance to the ANZ Championship and Ellis' appointment, the rugby union loaned 25 per cent of his time to the netball franchise. Waikato Rugby Union chief executive Graham Bowen said that agreement would finish at the end of the Magic's financial year, in September. "We've agreed that they will provide their own chief executive, and they've done that with Sheryl, and we'll continue to provide the financial services as we have done in the past," he said.

Ellis will continue with the rugby union until March, but his role with the Magic ended immediately.

"The board decided it was better to get someone in straight away," Ellis said.

Dawson, who was the Magic chief before the trans-Tasman competition started, moved sideways to a marketing manager role with the franchise when Ellis stepped in and is currently the Bay of Plenty chief executive.

She was considered the perfect candidate, according to board chairman Peter de Luca.

De Luca said the franchise hadn't made the announcement public because of possible negative feedback.

"Some may see a change in chief executive so close to the start of the competition as a negative."

But de Luca said it was a positive move and the Magic board considered her the "perfect" replacement for Ellis.

Dawson is in Melbourne for the franchise's chief executives' meetings.

Former Sleepyhead chief executive Ellis is leaving to pursue his own business interests.

He said he'd loved his time with the Magic and although the Silver Fern-laden Magic side didn't win the competition, he considered his tenure successful both on and off the court.

"When we started it was just embryonic and we achieved well.

"[Coach Noeline Taurua] is happy with the team she's got for this year and they're in a good place."

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Ellis said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family, but would miss his Magic family too.

- Waikato Times

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