Netball: Coaching changes reveal new faces

By Dana Johannsen

Leigh Gibbs - Canterbury Tactix. Photo / Supplied
Leigh Gibbs - Canterbury Tactix. Photo / Supplied

With five of the 10 franchises making coaching changes from last season, Norma Plummer isn't the only coach debuting in the ANZ Championship this season. Here are the new faces that will be sitting courtside this year:

Leigh Gibbs
Canterbury Tactix

Another former international coach to take up the challenge of guiding an ANZ franchise, Leigh Gibbs is back in Christchurch to try to turn around the fortunes of the struggling Tactix side. Gibbs, who coached the Canterbury Flames for three seasons in the old domestic league, takes over from Helen Mahon-Stroud, who was at the helm for the first four seasons of the competition. With the Tactix having finished at the bottom of the table for the past two seasons, the former Silver Ferns coach has a big job ahead of her to rebuild the team.

Janine Southby / Natalie Avellino
Southern Steel

After the rather messy departure of Southland netball stalwart Robyn Broughton at the end of last season, the Steel have opted for a co-coaching arrangement for 2012. Natalie Avellino, the former Australian international who has adopted Invercargill as her home, will share the coaching duties with Otago's Janine Southby.

The pair of rookie coaches have a young and inexperienced team to match, after losing nine players from last season.

Lisa Beehag
NSW Swifts

Lisa Beehag replaces long-serving Swifts coach Julie Fitzgerald, who led the Swifts side for 15 years. Netball NSW opted not to renew the contract of the much-admired Fitzgerald, instead opting for a change of direction and leadership. Beehag has already upset a few Swifts fans by getting rid of former captain Catherine Cox, who has been the face of the sport in the Sydney for years.

Beehag, a former coaching co-ordinator at the NSW Institute of Sport, has brought in former England coach Sue Hawkins as a technical adviser.

- NZ Herald

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