After an incredible 2018 season, West Coast Fever head coach Stacey Marinkovich has been named the Joyce Brown Coach of the Year at the Australian Netball Awards in Melbourne on Saturday night.
The award capped an almost perfect season for Marinkovich, after taking the Fever from second last on the league ladder after 2017 to Suncorp Super Netball league runner-up’s in 2018.
West Coast Fever captain and defender Courtney Bruce had nothing but praise for her head coach and described Marinkovich as a respected leader who loves her club.
“Stace is the kind of coach who demands a lot but is amazing at getting the most out of her players. She gives the Fever her all and truly bleeds green and white for this club.”
The miraculous turn-around from 2017 to 2018 was a true sporting fairy tale and one of the best stories in Australian professional sports for the year.
And, while the addition of prolific Jamaican goal scorer Jhaniele Fowler played a massive part in the Fever’s dramatic rise up the Suncorp Super Netball ladder, Bruce suggests that the changes made by the coaching staff to play style and game preparation was the biggest reason for the team’s success.
“After the 2017 season, Stace came in and stripped back our entire game plan. She wanted to make things fun, simple and attacking and pretty much reinvented the Fever brand of netball.
“Once we were able to get that big strong presence at goal shooter, Stacey had us playing a faster and more direct style of netball so that we could make the most out of Jhaniele (Fowler).”
Marinkovich has been a key figure in Western Australian netball since moving from the Queensland Firebirds to the Perth Orioles as a player in 2002. She stayed with the Orioles, which became the West Coast Fever in 2008, until her retirement after the 2009 season.
In 2012, Marinkovich became the assistant coach of the Fever and took over the reigns as head coach before the 2015 season.
And the West Coast Fever faithful can be confident that the new-found success under Marinkovich will continue, after the club announced that she would remain the head coach until at least the end of the 2021 season.
The promise of a stable coaching staff was clearly an important factor among the playing group as a slew of Fever players, including the team captain, committed to the club at season’s end.
“It’s great to know that Stacey will be here for another three years,” said Bruce who signed a three-year contract of her own at the end of the 2018 season.
“Knowing that Stacey will be the coach here was a massive reason to re-sign for me. She is the kind of coach you want to play and win for.”