McIntosh reflects on 1998 Commonwealth Games Gold

Netball Australia is celebrating its 90th Anniversary in 2017. In the 1990’s Jill McIntosh coached the Australian team to victory in the 1998 Commonwealth Games match. We hear her take on that triumphant game and gain insight into her coaching wisdom.

Netball is everything to Jill McIntosh.

“I love everything. You wouldn’t keep going and stay in it as long as I have if you didn’t enjoy it.”

Jill had an elite career in netball on court as a mid-court player. She played a major role in the 1983 Netball World Cup and was inducted into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame in 2009. 

But off the court she was also in love with coaching.

One of her favourite moments is leading the 1998 Commonwealth Games team to victory.

According to Jill, the Commonwealth Gold Medal match between New Zealand and Australia was anybody’s game.

“We knew that coming into the finals against New Zealand that both the teams were evenly matched. We knew that it was going to be one of those games that was goal for goal.

“We were down by about three during the third quarter. In those days you could only change a player if there was an injury. As luck would have it, New Zealand had an injury. I brought a goaler back into the game and then it was goal for goal.”

And as luck would have it, Australia won the game by three. 

In true Aussie style, the team and support staff stopped at a pub on the way home to celebrate.

“On the way home on the bus, we stopped off at a pub where all of our supporters were. That was great. We could share our victory.

“The beauty of netball is not only about the team but it’s about all the people involved- the husbands, family and supporters.”

Jill believes coaching is more difficult than playing because you can’t get on court and change the game.

“It’s always a bit nerve wracking. You’re sitting on the bench and you know that one mistake or one missed goal could very easily turn the match.”

She says keeping normality and routine is key before the match.

 “In the 1998 game, we had a routine pretty much the whole way through.

“I don’t believe making finals special. They are just another match you have to focus on. It’s about the process. It’s about each player doing their job,” she said.

After reaching the pinnacle of her playing career, Jill took on the next challenge of pursuing her dream to become an elite coach.

In her early years as a player, Jill took on a coaching role with junior teams. In 1995, she achieved her goal and was appointed as the Australian coach, a position she held until 2003.

Her tip for other coaches is to try to get the player to reach their full potential.

“One of the best things about netball is there are levels for every player. For coaches it’s about trying to get the individual to be the best player they can be.”