Michael Burgess

Michael Burgess is the football and rugby league writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Netball: Broughton eyes Pulse return

Pulse coach Robyn Broughton is considering her future.
Photo / Getty Images
Pulse coach Robyn Broughton is considering her future. Photo / Getty Images

Robyn's revival is set to continue. Though she has yet to make a firm decision, Robyn Broughton is leaning towards returning to the Pulse for the 2013 season.

Broughton has played a huge part in the Wellington franchise's revival this year,galvanising the squad with confidence and belief as they marched towards a record number of victories.

But her contract was for only one season and she has a lot to consider before she commits to another stint in the North Island.

"I'm thinking about things very carefully," says Broughton. "There are a few things to weigh up. But I have enjoyed it immensely here and in some ways I feel like the job has been only half-done."

The veteran coach was reluctant to discuss the matterfurther.

Certainly she would be welcomed back with open arms.

Regardless of what happens over the rest of the season, the Pulse story in 2012 will always be a special one.

Broughton arrived from the deep South having only coached two of the players before and admits she had no idea what to expect.

She was fortunate that players such as Joline Henry and Paula Griffin arrived to strengthen the roster and quickly moved to instil discipline and structure to a team that had previously had little.

"From the start the signs were good," says Broughton. "I'm quite forthcoming and strict and they had every right to be thinking, 'Who does she think she is?' But they bought into my methods. Their attitude was good - they weren't resistant to it and players like Joline were a great example to the rest of the squad."

The round 8 victory against the Thunderbirds remains the highlight - "We held on and we held on, that was important" - says Broughton of the last-second win in May. The recent loss to the Magic was probably one of the bigger disappointments - "After being up early, we let ourselves down and never got back into it. We felt it badly."

Broughton is not one of the participants in the recently confirmed 'Assistant Coach Idol', where four ANZ Championship coaches will each have their chance to work alongside Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu before a permanent assistant is appointed for 2013.

The plan was announced in an internal email to the coaches earlier this year. At the time Broughton was not interested in putting her hat in the ring, wanting to put her energy into the Pulse as she moved on from the messy split with the Steel.

Now, after a successful season, she seems more buoyant about being involved.

"If I was asked the question again, I might be interested now," says Broughton, "I've enjoyed the change here in Wellington immensely. It's been a different challenge, working with different people."

Although she remains one of the best coaches in the country, Broughton won't be given her chance. Netball New Zealand feel it is time to look to the future - hence the involvement of young coaches Debbie Fuller, Gail Parata and Janine Southby. It is also doubtful that two strong personalities like Taumaunu and Broughton could work together.

It might seem that Netball NZ are hedging their bets but the scheme is similar to the Australian setup under Norma Plummer, who brings in different franchise coaches for major tournaments. Taumaunu has been working to improve the links between the national body and the franchises and visits each team at least once a month to conduct training sessions.

- Herald on Sunday

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