Off The Court: Liz Ellis talks Australian Diamonds and English netball confidence
Former Australia captain updates on the recruitment process for the new Diamonds head coach
By Sky Sports Netball
Last Updated: 19/06/20 12:50pm
Liz Ellis, the former Australian Diamonds captain, joined Off The Court to discuss Suncorp Super Netball, the recruitment process for Australia's new head coach and her thoughts on English netball's confidence.
Ellis joined Caroline Barker, Tamsin Greenway and Stacey Francis for the episode which looked towards the start of the new Suncorp Super Netball season in Australia.
The competition has been given a start date of August 1. The format of the season is still to be confirmed, however having a mark in the stand has been well-received by players, pundits and fans alike in Australia.
With the Vitality Netball Superleague's 2020 season having been cancelled, a question for Ellis is, just how far ahead could Australia and New Zealand, whose ANZ Premiership starts on Friday, jump ahead of their rivals?
"I don't know that it's going to put Australia too far ahead because of the amount of international players in Suncorp Super Netball," the former Diamonds captain said, on Sky Sports' Off The Court.
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"The Australian government has given all of the players who went home [out of Australia], for example Layla Guscoth and Phumza Maweni, dispensation to come back into the country.
"So I think that our league and the ANZ Championship in New Zealand starting will keep those international-level players percolating along.
"I guess the real danger for England is that next level down - the sub-elite level and grassroots level. That's where you need the pipeline of young players starting to come through… I hope that doesn't get lost. "
Ellis became captain of the Diamonds back in 2004 and amassed more caps than any other netballer in Australian history. During her time on court, she secured three world titles and two Commonwealth Games gold medals.
As a netballing nation, Australia expect nothing less than victory, something that led to Netball Australia's decision to 'move in a different direction' and relieve Lisa Alexander of her head coach duties in February.
"We have very high expectations in Australia - if you go away for an international competition then you come home with the gold medal," Ellis said.
"If there are two competitions in a row where you don't do it, things are looking pretty grim.
Netball Australia's recruitment for a new head coach
- Recruitment was placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Process has now re-opened and formal applications will close on June 28.
- A five-person selection panel has been established.
- Public announcement of new head coach will be made by the he end of August 2020.
"In terms of the selection for a new head coach, that selection process got opened up in March. It was all supposed to be finalised, shortly thereafter.
"It is still percolating along. We know that Julie Fitzgerald of the GIANTS has put her hand up, she told us that on Keeping Contact, a few weeks ago. I suspect that Simone McKinnis has put her hand up.
Aussie Diamonds' recent head coaches
|Jill McIntosh||1995 to 2003||88 victories from 94 Tests|
|Norma Plummer||2003 to 2011||67 victories from 89 Tests|
|Lisa Alexander||2011 to 2020||83 victories from 102 Tests|
"I reckon that there will be a desire to go with a coach who is currently coaching, I think that was really exposed in that World Cup.
"Noeline Taurua had week in and week out coaching to continually refine her craft and as a result, she was able to make the big moves at the right moment in that World Cup final.
"The way that they've structured it in the past has been that the national coach has been separate but I suspect that the new national coach will come from the ranks of Suncorp Super Netball.
"I would like to see a coach who has played for the Diamonds before, who has worn the dress. That's not necessarily a prerequisite, what I want isn't necessarily what everyone else wants."
When it comes to head coaching roles, a conversation that's often had is whether the national coach needs to be from that particular nation or not?
That's then expanded out to discussing the presence of international coaches in other leagues. Suncorp Super Netball hasn't a rich history of international coaches joining it, but Ellis thinks that could shift moving forwards.
"I know that there's a little bit of resistance in there about developing other countries' coaches but I reckon that the franchises are pretty independent and if the right coach popped up, they would sign that coach," she said.
When it comes to looking at English coaches, in particular, she believes that they need to continue to show one key ingredient first.
"What I would like to see, I guess, English netball have is a real sense of confidence," she said.
"I remember speaking to an English netballer years ago before the 1999 World Cup in New Zealand and they were talking about the fact that they went over there aiming to get into the top three. Whereas the Diamonds go into every tournament aiming for the gold medal and nothing less.
"I suspect that a level of confidence has developed now in the English system, with the Roses winning that Commonwealth Games gold in 2018 and English players dominating in the Suncorp.
"That level of confidence and expectations is where you guys need to make sure that you're at.
"When you've got that, then your coaches can square their shoulders and say, that the league over there in Australia needs me, and that's where you need to get to.
"It has started to come and English netball has earned that through its results in the last five or ten years, now the coaches have to stand up and say, the players have done it and now we can absolutely mix it with the best in the world."