Netball Expert & Columnist
Jess Thirlby will do a great job, says Tamsin Greenway
Last Updated: 31/07/19 1:37pm
Tamsin Greenway believes that Jess Thirlby will do a great job as she takes on position of England Netball's new head coach.
Thirlby was announced in the role at the end of last week and Greenway, who openly spoke about applying for the position herself, reflects upon her reasons for sharing that publicly and shares what she believes her former housemate will bring to the role.
"One thing that I've been really vocal about, regardless of whether I got the job or not, is that we needed an English coach," Greenway says whilst enjoying some time away in the European sunshine.
"It's brilliant that we've got so many to pick from and the fact is that Jess will do a great job."
"She knows how to run a high-performance programme and she knows how to work and develop players. She tactically and technically knows the game and I know that she'll be so passionate about it which is what the game needs."
Of course Thirlby is stepping into Tracey Neville's shoes, shoes that every player, coach and fan will have described as 'large' at some point between the moment that Neville announced that she would be stepping down and now.
Both Thirlby and Neville are former internationals and both competed alongside each other at the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Greenway knows the duo well and highlights that there will be a shift in outward style moving forwards, as is naturally the case.
"With the development and high performance programme, that is Jess' bread and butter, and it's now going to be about her role as the performance coach," reflects Greenway.
"Jess' outward style is likely to be different, she's probably more reserved with things. For us, we'll all see her character [come out] as she takes the head coach role. That's when she'll get to really show her personality."
Wanted to say thanks for the messages of support. Obviously gutted I didn’t get the job, but It’s amazing we have so many talented English coaches. I wish Jess & the team all the best with the next journey. I also look forward to what my next one will be. But first, holiday ☀️✈️— Tamsin Greenway (@tamsingreenway) July 27, 2019
Greenway's intricate knowledge of the sport and her vision for ways that it can continue to grow, are just two of the many reasons why she's so well-respected and loved within the world of netball.
Her choice to speak about going for the Vitality Roses role was to stick to her own beliefs that all in the world of sport can (and should) have voices and views.
"One of the reasons I spoke openly about going for the England job was because, my name had already been thrown in to the mix and well Tracey did mention it live on TV so kind of had to!! But also, why would I shy away from that?
"I've been a really successful coach in the domestic competition and I think that we should talk about these things and I don't think that it's wrong to show your personality."
Here as we approach August, every national side now finds themselves at the beginning of a new four-year programme and a four-year programme that will culminate at the 2023 Netball World Cup in South Africa.
Greenway isn't about to put words in her former housemate's mouth but like all in the netballing world, realises that the next steps for the sport are vital and are big ones take.
"There are a couple of things that anyone in the game will recognise. This is a very different role [the England head coach] to what it was four years ago," notes Greenway.
"The reality is that we haven't had any major announcements about retirements or people stopping. But, you only have to look at the ages of some of the players in the squad and the situations in their personal lives [to think there might be some]. I can't believe that the same group of 12 will be standing in South Africa.
"When you look at the development over the last four years and how many other players have had opportunities, there haven't been a whole heap. That's not a dig at what's happened. The reality is that we had a great group of players who were playing really well.
"Although odd players slid in and slid out, no-one was really been able to shake that starting line-up. One player that stepped up [over the past four-year cycle] was Helen Housby and she will now continue that through.
"Now we've got to think about, who is the next shooter? Who is the next Centre and the next Goal Keeper? I think that they are the key areas that I'd be looking at because over time, Jo Harten, Serena Guthrie and Geva Mentor may start to step out of that programme, at some point. They might do another four years, they might not?
When Greenway continues to reflect upon the next level of individuals that will be moving up and looking to make their mark in the international stage, she takes stock of the role that the Southern Hemisphere played in shaping the 12-player squad for Liverpool.
"What you also need to be really wary of is that nine players out of that Netball World Cup squad, and it would have been ten if Beth Cobden hadn't got injured, that have either player or are playing in Australia and New Zealand.
"When you look at the next bulk coming through, they haven't had that opportunity yet. I always say, from a personal point of view, I never became an international player until I got that exposure in Australia. We've got to look at what's happening what that new group coming through."
A second area that Greenway notes is about maintaining the surge of momentum that the sport is enjoying by "telling the story" and being clear about just what this next journey and four-year cycle will entail.
"There's a big push in momentum [needed]. We have to keep the profile of the sport up," says Greenway passionately. "It's how England work with the media over the next 12 months, it can't be a closed shop.
"We all need to keep pushing the sport forwards with the stories, the good and the bad, because it won't be smooth sailing for anybody, it's never plain sailing over the first 12 months [of a new cycle]."
Plain sailing it's unlikely to be but what's very clear from across the sporting world it that, that's the norm.
From teams and individuals preparing for Olympic Games to other sports that work in World Cup cycles, four is the magic number and the different stages during that four-year life-cycle are all part of the journey and what makes it so compelling for fans, experts, players and coaches alike.
Netball is back on your screens in October with the Fast5 All Stars Championship. We will cover all the twists and turns of the off-season as the Vitality Netball Superleague teams begin to shape their squads for the 2020 season which you can follow on Sky Sports.