Good luck to all Semi-Final coaches


It’s the eve of the ANZ Championship finals and the stakes are higher than ever in what’s been our best season to date in terms of crowds, media coverage and unpredictable results.

Factor in the selection of the Australian Commonwealth Games netball team in the first part of the season and you have a complex mix of challenges all teams have had to overcome this year.

Every team has had its challenges this year and the resilient teams have bounced back at the correct end of the year – somewhat!

The four coaches going head-to-head this Final Series I know well and, interestingly, they are all Australian.

Roselee Jencke is coming off a big win over in New Zealand on Monday night to further enhance her reputation as the most successful Australian coach in the ANZ Championship in terms of results in New Zealand.

Queensland has the best run of form into the finals and will be a formidable opponent for the Melbourne Vixens on their home court.

Simone McKinnis has overseen a Minor Premiership and will take the learning from last year’s final series into this one.

Even though the Vixens lost narrowly last week, their form prior had been very strong and she will remind her charges of that fact.

Simone will prepare the team to respond positively to last weeks’ loss with the view that the regular season is over and now is the opportunity to step up to the lift in performance that will be needed to secure a Home Grand Final!

It is going to be a fascinating battle in Sydney.

Julie Fitzgerald’s Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have been the regular season’s surprise packet; most pundits did not have them in the top four.

Julie has shown her terrific ability to mould a team and have them all committed and performing towards the team goals.

She is an experienced Finals coach and will enjoy being back in her home town of Sydney. Julie will bring that experience and knowledge to the Magic for this Minor Semi Final, it will assist the team to know and understand what they must bring to their performance on Sunday.

2014 Round 3 ANZ Championship game - Thunderbirds v NSW SwiftsAnd finally to Rob Wright, left, who has taken the NSW Swifts to their first Finals Series since he was Julie’s assistant in their last year together in 2011.

Rob has patiently been working at his coaching craft over many years and has experienced and led successful Finals campaigns many times before in the levels below as a Head Coach.

This is the opportunity he has been waiting for to test himself in one of the pressure cookers of elite sport, the ANZ Championship Minor Semi-Final.

He will have a home crowd of support at Allphones Arena in Sydney and will be awaiting his chance to keep the NSW Swifts finals hopes alive with the key message of 60 minutes of consistent effort.

I wish all the coaches the very best this weekend which is shaping up for two magnificent and closely contested matches.

Finally, I would just like to reiterate my congratulations to Irene van Dyk on her most amazing career following her announcement that she’s retiring from international netball!

Go Aussies this weekend!