Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Mystics coach steps down

Mystics coach Debbie Fuller. Photo / Getty
Mystics coach Debbie Fuller. Photo / Getty

Northern Mystics are on the look-out for a new coach next season after Debbie Fuller announced she is stepping down at the end of the season.

Fuller has been involved with the Mystics since 2009 - first as assistant coach, before stepping into the head coach role in 2011- and saw that the time was right for someone else to step into the head coach role.

Next year will see big changes for the team, as they compete in a new six-team domestic competition, which will be rounded-out by an additional side residing within the Northern Zone's boundary.

"My contract ends in late July and I have decided not to reapply," said Fuller. "It's a wonderful opportunity for another coach to lead the team into the new competition and making this decision now gives the board time to get the Sky City Mystics' house in order early for 2017."

Fuller had success with the Mystics in her first season in charge in 2011, leading the Auckland side to the grand final. The following year the Mystics finished a creditable third in the Championship.

The former Silver Fern defender took a year out from the job for family reasons, returning in 2014 to try and rebuild a young side. In her most recent stint the Mystics have had limited success.

They have won just two of their 10 outings so far this season, but are still in the mix to make the New Zealand conference play-offs with the top three progressing beyond the regular season.

Fuller said the team have their sights firmly set on post-season play again.

"One of the plus sides to having made the decision is that I can now just concentrate on the here-and-now. This playing group is dedicated to making the run home this season a successful one and that remains the key focus," she said.

The chair of the Northern Zone, Dianne McAteer, acknowledged Fuller's contribution over a long period.

"Debbie has been the most successful coach this franchise has seen and she's given enormously to netball in this region. We have big changes to deal with next season and by giving us the chance to make decisions early, Debbie has again acted with the 'team first' attitude she always has. We're sad to see her go, but respect her decision and wish her every success in the future."

- NZ Herald

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