Former Australian captain Michelle den Dekker is excited to get an opportunity to make a significant contribution to the Australian Diamonds quest to win Commonwealth Games gold and another world title.
Den Dekker has been elevated to the role of Diamonds’ assistant coach and is thrilled to take on more responsibility with the squad having worked as a defensive specialist for the past two years.
A veteran of 84 Tests for Australia, den Dekker said she’s looking forward to working closely with Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander to plot Australia’s quest to win gold at next year’s Commonwealth Games and defend the world title at the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney.
“What’s paramount for me is making sure that the Australian Diamonds are firmly entrenched as the No.1 netball team in the world,” said den Dekker, who had a 91 per cent winning record in 71 Tests as Australian captain.
“We’re not going to settle for anything less. I have captained successful Australian teams, I have been coaching for a long time and I have high expectations of the players. But I also know that they have high expectations of themselves.
“We’ve got a group of girls now that really knows what it takes to win.
“They’re here to be the No.1 team in the world and to do themselves and their families and their country justice.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to work closer alongside Lisa and a great opportunity for my future with the Diamonds.”
Her decorated playing career includes captaining Australia to world titles in 1991 and 1995. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1993 and in 2011 was named South Australia’s greatest ever netballer.
Alexander said she’s delighted to be working with someone who shares her vision of the Diamonds becoming the world’s best high-performance program.
“Michelle has led the change in our defence end and our defensive work all over the court was instrumental in our four wins in our recent series against New Zealand,” Alexander said.
“Michelle deserves the lion share of credit for leading this critical step forward.
“Her strengths are her passion and desire to see Australia reclaim the No.1 world ranking. Her ability to break down the tactics and structures in our team defence to game sense language and key understandings for the athletes is also a massive strength.
“Finally, her high expectations of the athletes from her outstanding success as a part captain of Australia through to her coaching expertise is something that rubs off on me and the rest of the coaching and support staff.
“I am really looking forward to working with Michelle over the next two years to lead the program towards winning two gold medals.”
Den Dekker said she’s keen to develop her coaching expertise in all positions right across the court.
“I’ve had such a defensive focus for a long time. So to be an assistant coach now lends me to be able to put my little bit of a stamp all over the arena, in conjunction with Lisa,” den Dekker said.
“So I’m looking forward to being able to work as a whole unit and that will only complement what we’re already doing.
“Lisa and I are both very strategically oriented on the court and we’re looking at ways that will give us that one per cent extra to get us over the line.
“You never know if that’s a tactical thing or technical thing. So we will be really having a look at every stone and making sure we’re going to the Commonwealth Games with the best possible line-up to win gold.”