Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Coaching team seen as a perfect fit for transition

Yvette McCausland-Durie's technical knowledge is a strength. Photo / Getty Images
Yvette McCausland-Durie's technical knowledge is a strength. Photo / Getty Images

The new Silver Ferns coaching team may lack the profile of their predecessors, but Netball NZ's high performance director Steve Lancaster believes they are the right people to lead the national programme through a time of transition.

Netball NZ yesterday named former Central Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie as Janine Southby's assistant through to the end of the Commonwealth Games in 2018, with a right of review for a further two years.

The new coaching pairing seems an underwhelming choice when compared with their predecessors, Waimarama Taumaunu and Vicki Wilson - two legends of the sport who commanded huge respect from the players. But Lancaster said although Southby and McCausland-Durie did not have the playing records to rival Taumaunu and Wilson, their coaching credentials more than stacked up.

"One of the things that really excites me about this combination is that they are both modern coaches," Lancaster said.

"They've been through the High Performance Sport NZ coach accelerator programme ... they are professional career coaches and have come through that coaching pathway with a lot of colleagues in other sports who are also now leading international programmes in other codes."

Lancaster said McCausland-Durie's strengths lay in her technical knowledge of the game, and her defensive expertise, which he believes will complement Southby's attacking focus.

"I know from the players we spoke to through the process they're very positive and excited about having Yvette involved," he said.

McCausland-Durie will join medical lead Melinda Parnell, physiotherapist Brett Woodley and mental skills coach Renzie Hanham as part of the overhaul of the Silver Ferns support team.

There is also the potential for other specialist coaches or advisers to be involved with the programme on a contracting basis, depending on where Southby sees the need.

"One of the strengths of Janine's style is that she does consult widely and gets a wide-range of opinions.

"Janine has a good network of people both in the sport and outside it that she can call on and some of those are the icons of the game."

McCausland-Durie has a reputation as a strong development coach, having previously served as assistant coach for the Youth World Cup winning NZ U21 side in 2005 - a team that featured many of the current crop of stars in New Zealand netball - before taking up the head coach role in 2009. She also coached the Pulse in the ANZ Championship from 2009-2011 when the team was largely filled with under-21 players.

She believes she has plenty to offer senior level, and hopes to help drive a shift back to a unique Kiwi style. "It's about bringing back some of that freshness that is really about a New Zealand approach.

"We have a different style of marking defensively, we have the ability to be a bit more creative about how we go about getting turnover ball and not be so caught up with height at times," she said.

- NZ Herald

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