ANZ CHAMPS FINALS SERIES

Wll it is that time of the year – the ANZ Championship finals are upon us and the competition is hot in the second week of Finals Series.

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It is an exciting and nervous time for all the coaches involved.

All have ANZ Championship Finals Series coaching experience with Simone McKinnis an assistant with the Melbourne Vixens for their finals campaign last year.

In fact, three of the four Finals Series coaches have been in charge of the last three ANZ Championship premiership teams in 2010 (Jane Woodlands-Thompson), 2011 (Roselee Jencke) and 2012 (Noeline Taurua).

They bring the knowledge and understanding of what it takes to put that winning formula together over a season of world-class netball.

The trick is to be able to adapt and change your program to keep ahead of the rest and Jane, Roselee and Noeline have certainly shown in 2013 that they are prepared to do this.

So has Simone McKinnis – who has built a new team with seven new players on the roster in 2013. Simone has also been in charge of a World Youth Cup championship team and understands the decision making required to put together a winning combination.

It’s no coincidence that this group of coaches has led their teams to this point in the season.

Having worked under Jane I know that she will leave no stone unturned in her preparation of the Adelaide Thunderbirds’ finals campaign.

It’s the fifth finals campaign in six seasons she’s led. This is in itself is an amazing record in such a closely fought and elite competition.

One aspect for certain is that Jane will always learn the lessons from one finals campaign to the next and will implement the change that is necessary.

She is also a very creative lateral thinker and will have many game plans in her notebook to counteract the opposition. The Thunderbirds will definitely be ready.

Having worked with both Roselee and Simone as my assistant coaches at both the Melbourne Phoenix and Melbourne Kestrels, hard work, integrity and excellence are all words that come to mind for both of them as head coaches.

Roselee has been a championship winning coach and will use that experience to assist in the navigation of what is a very busy and draining couple of weeks at Finals time.

Her preparation is always impeccable and her calm communication belies an absolute fire in the belly of competitiveness. The Firebirds will give this series a mighty shake.

Simone is the “rookie” head coach at this level, but this also gives her the added advantage of less self-imposed pressure.

A very considered coach, Simone will use the experience of the season to make the adjustments that are necessary for the Vixens to meet each challenge as it presents itself.

I’m sure the Vixens will make life difficult for their opponents.

Noeline is a coach who I admire and respect from afar.

To have coached in every ANZ Championship Finals campaign is an enormous achievement in any sport, let alone the world’s best domestic competition.

I have read many articles about Noeline’s work and know from this that she is always open to learning about her craft and adapting her program to find the edge needed for a winning performance.

Noeline and the Magic are formidable opponents!

The coaches all need to study each other and their respective teams to find the chink in the armour.

I wish them all the best of luck for the remaining matches.

It will be a fascinating and closely-fought series.

Bring it on!