Former Silver Fern retains competitive edge

EDGE: Sandra Edge with her two boys Jeremy (Left - 12) and Christian (14) in Auckland.
EDGE: Sandra Edge with her two boys Jeremy (Left - 12) and Christian (14) in Auckland.

As she posed poolside, the photographer politely asked new Netball Wellington Region CoachForce manager Sandra Edge if she thought young players in the capital would remember her.

"And I said 'maybe their grandmothers would'. No, I'm not that old," Edge chuckled.

"I probably have been in the wilderness for a while but it's neat to be involved again and I'm really enjoying it actually."

One of the finest players to don a Silver Ferns bib, work and motherhood have limited the 48-year-old's contact with the sport in recent years.

But when her policeman husband Rodger Gray, a former All Whites captain, was transferred to Wellington earlier this year, Edge began to wonder about a return to the fold.

"Everyone else [in the family] was having a great time and I was sort of thinking `what am I going to do now?' And this [job] came up," she said.

Edge's primary work will be upskilling coaches and getting more mums and dads qualified to coach.

Born on the East Coast, at Te Puia Springs, Edge grew up in Gisborne and decided to head back there for a couple of years after sons Christian and Jeremy were born.

That ended up turning into an 11-year stint, during which time she became an intermediate school teacher with little time left over for netball.

"This year I got back involved with a club team, just fairly lightly, and absolutely thoroughly enjoyed it and got to Wellington feeling pretty motivated towards netball and keen to pick something up."

Joining the team at Netball Wellington Region means reuniting with her team-mate from the 1987 world championship-winning Ferns, Waimarama Taumaunu.

NWR's high performance manager, and an assistant coach with the Silver Ferns, Taumaunu is one of Edge's "network of buddies" who've kept up their association with netball.

"Sometimes I've thought `oh gosh, I'm just an interested observer and not amongst it anymore'," she said.

"But in my discussions with those that have stayed involved I've seen, even if some of my ideas are a bit old- fashioned, I can still read the game OK and not much has changed as far as the skills."

Which is why NWR regional manager Raewyn Clarke was quick to pounce when Edge was first rumoured to be coming to town.

"One of our big goals is to get local players into national teams, and having Wai and Sandra involved is an important part of that process," said Clarke.

The Dominion Post