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Coach's Corner: Helen Housby proves dreams can come true

Anita Navin's Coach's Corner Posted 29th April 2014 view comments

She dreamed it...

Helen Housby, Manchester Thunder's hot shot shooter with a silky shooting style, walked through the final seconds scenario in her mind whilst travelling to the Superleague Grand Final.

The script was perfect with approximately 20 seconds on the clock and at 48-48. Surrey Storm lost possession at the first phase of the centre pass and with the clock running down the ball had to move through a solid defence in the mid court and to goal.

Housby was cool, calm and composed and at the centre of a moment the netball world will not forget for a long time. The youngster, who served her rookie year in the Superleague in 2012-13, was confidently moving strategically to line herself up to receive and shoot. In the zone, intuitively and with nerves of steel this athlete rocked the netball world when she scored the winning goal.

Housby was cool, calm and composed and at the centre of a moment the netball world will not forget for a long time.

Anita Navin
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The crowd were all stunned by the turn of events through this cracking game of netball and the under-dogs just never lost sight of that dream result.

Both sets of supporters almost froze at the point Housby went through her normal pre-shot routine as she did for all other shots taken in the game and the swoosh almost echoed through the arena as that 49th goal was secured.

The audience can best be described as both stunned and screaming. Not even the Surrey Storm supporters could take the credit away from a fabulous team performance led amicably by the Thunder engine Sara Bayman.


'In the zone' might be the sophisticated term used to explain the performance of Housby, but her capability far outweighs expectations for her age and she must surely be in the running for a Commonwealth Games position.

A fellow coach in Australia often asks me if we have an England shooter who is willing to put herself on the line and take that crucial last shot to win the game. Well the future is bright, as England have proved this Superleague campaign that there is depth, diversity and a northern hot shot who will do just that in a that match winning role.

The netball fraternity will be talking about that last ten seconds for years to come and what a way to conclude one of the best seasons of netball so far! I cannot help but sympathise with Tamsin Greenway and the consistent Surrey Storm squad.

If anyone was to take that goal based on form we may have assumed it to be Rachel Dunn. Disappointed but incredibly humble, Surrey Storm reflected and managed their disappointment with a level of maturity second to none; Becky Trippick and Hannah Reid both congratulated Thunder. Storm remained in touch with their successful season but one goal and ten seconds of play turned out to be the damaging factor in preventing their fairytale ending.There is however no 'I' in 'TEAM' and Manchester Thunder have a fantastic team culture with Tracey Neville at the helm. The North West must be incredibly proud of the franchise and the number of young players developing in this area is incredible; thanks to solid club structures and commitment from many coaches.

Tracey Neville danced like nobody was watching at the end of the game. She will have relived the final constantly since the weekend and should be one incredibly proud coach.


Credit must go to Sara Bayman who will match the winning mentality of anyone on match day. Bayman delivered a quality performance in the mid court and often controlled the passages of play with incredible maturity - don't forget she did disrupt and tip that turn in possession in those final seconds.

The Thunder 7 never gave up and managed to dig themselves out of very difficult patches in the game. Tracey Neville and Karen Greig were two of the most sought after shooters for their fearless mentality on court and their desire to win. Housby has Neville and Greig qualities firmly embedded with far more to come - I just can't wait for next season.

Named as ZEO Player of the Match, Housby was ambushed by her squad in the interview and the tears of joy from her family just summed it all up - we really do have the talent and world class mentality in the young shooter.

But what's next?

My dream is to see Housby at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. I want to see her play Fast5 in Auckland in November and rival the long shot talent of Maria Tutaia for those deadly three point shots. Tutaia, one of the best long range shooters in the world, will I am sure be rivalled by Housby, who will also move into the world stage and thrill the audiences.


Closely watching in the audience was Hertfordshire Mavericks' dynamic defender, Layla Guscoth, who picked up the accolade for ZEO Player of the Season from Sky Sports.

Known for her incredible speed and elevation, she has silenced several key shooters throughout the competition and must surely be one to watch in the future.

With the best TV coverage and more converted netball fans this season there is a sense of disbelief that the season has ended, but what an incredible netball journey we had from January to April.

It was an epic ending.

If you want more coverage next season let me know on twitter @netballpundit! It's been great blogging on such a fantastic campaign - so long for now!

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