Super Netball – Last Game for Outgoing Coach Lisa Alexander. Diamonds 66, All Stars 53.

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A generational change is well underway in Super Netball with Diamonds Coach Lisa Alexander coaching her last game in the Bushfire Charity Game on Sunday the 1st of March. It was also the last game for the Diamonds for Caitlin Thwaites. Although Alexander’s contract was not renewed, she is held in high regard by many in the sport with an 81% win rate. The players in particular had great respect for her as a coach.

Here’s the full story.

‘A really special lady’: emotions high as Diamonds farewell Alexander

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has walked away from the game she helped cement as a major player on Australia’s sporting landscape after coaching the national side for the final time.

There were emotional scenes at the end of Sunday’s bushfire charity game, with Caitlin Thwaites reduced to tears afterwards while talking about Alexander’s exit after eight years at the helm.

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Outgoing Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander and Caitlin Thwaites embrace after Australia’s 66-53 win over the Super Netball All Stars

“She is a really special lady, and I get emotional even thinking about it. She has done so much for each individual but also for the sport,” Thwaites said. “I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. She has taken our sport to an entire new level. The world of netball has benefited from her being in that position.”

Alexander’s contract was not renewed after the Diamonds lost the World Cup final 52-51 to New Zealand last July, which came after they fell to England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games by the same scoreline.

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Alexander said any of the Super Netball coaches were qualified to take the reins – but but advised her successor to run their own show and be true to themselves.

“They do need to understand the extra responsibility you have when you’re a national coach,” Alexander said. “It’s not just about technical and tactical coaching; you’ve got to be a spiritual leader of your country’s netball and hopefully I’ve done that.”

With Alexander’s Diamonds dominating 66-53 over the Super Netball All-Stars at Qudos Bank Arena, questions were asked again about why Alexander was dumped from the post.

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“I don’t think that the players had lost faith in her,” Thwaites said. “We pride ourselves at being the absolute best and we’ve lost two of the major benchmark events – but in saying that, they were by one goal.”

Alexander retires with an 81 per cent win rate, but her record was just one part of why she was held in such high regard as a coach.

“I don’t think she gets acknowledged for half of the things that she actually does behind the scenes, the things that she fights for the player, in terms of their rights,” Thwaites said. “It’s a really huge job and they’re really huge shoes somebody has to fill.”

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The game also marked Thwaites’ final appearance for the Diamonds. She announced her retirement late last year after thriving under the leadership of Alexander after making her national debut in 2012.

Thwaites was warmly welcomed by the crowd of 11,067, who cheered every time she touched the ball.

“This one for me was bonus time,” she said. “For me, it was about getting out there and enjoying it, it is not every day you get to wear this dress.”

The match gave fans a taste of the rolling substitutions which will be a feature of the game for this year’s Super Netball Season. The charity match also included a ‘Super Shot’ which gave two points for shooting from the outer portion of the goal circle.

The Diamonds took the lead early, with the starting combination of Caitlin Bassett and Courtney Bruce pushing the score to 21-13 after the first quarter. By half-time, both sides had gotten the hang of the Super Shot and pushed the score to 42-24.

Giants star Jo Harten showed why she was announced as her club’s captain for 2020, but her second-half energy was not enough to beat the Diamonds, who refused to let their long-standing coach go out with a loss.

Source: theage.com.au

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Some of the Nellakir Courts at the Victorian State Netball Hockey Centre

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Netball Takes Centre Stage

The Netball International Quad Sports Series gets underway this weekend in the UK. It’s the final opportunity for players to impress the selectors before the Commonwealth Games selections are made for that competition which commences in April.

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Laura Geitz, Sharni Layton ‘still in the picture’ for Games netball team

COACH Lisa Alexander says Laura Geitz and Sharni Layton “are still in the picture’’ for Commonwealth Games selection as a Diamonds squad minus the two star defenders heads overseas for the first international netball series of the year.

Alexander had new mum Geitz and defender Layton, on the comeback from a long break due to exhaustion, at a training camp in Canberra and said both impressed.

“For Sharni to be back on court was an achievement for her. She was able to put some solid performances out there and that’s a tremendous thing for her. We are very proud of her,’’ said Alexander before flying out Monday.

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Sharni Layton

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Laura Geitz

“She is in the squad and still in the (Commonwealth Games) picture.

“Laura also did very well. She got through the camp successfully and many hard matches.

“I think she convinced herself she was able to play at this level again. She had to convince herself she could do it.’’

But while the pair are in the selection mix they are on the backfoot compared to teammates heading to the UK and South Africas for the January Quad series.

These 14 players have additional chances to impress selectors in matches against South Africa, England and New Zealand.

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Laura Geitz in action before taking a break to start a family.

“I want to see them still improving.’’ Alexander said. “It is a really challenging period but this group is up for it.’’

Australia’s first outings of the Quad series are against South Africa and England in the UK on Jan 21 and 23 (AEDT).

The Diamonds then head to Johannesburg to meet New Zealand on January 26.

Australian Diamonds in Quad Series: Caitlin Bassett, April Brandley, Courtney Bruce, Paige Hadley, Emily Mannix, Kate Moloney, Susan Pettitt, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Gretel Tippett, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Stephanie Wood.

Source: news.com.au

Commonwealth Games netball spots up for grabs in Quad series

Australian coach Lisa Alexander says there is pressure on every player in the Diamonds Quad series touring side to perform at their best against South Africa this weekend with Commonwealth Games spots up for grabs.

AUSTRALIAN netball coach Lisa Alexander says there is pressure on every player in the Diamonds Quad Series touring side to perform at their best against South Africa this weekend with Commonwealth Games spots on offer.

Alexander has a longstanding practice of selecting form over reputation with the four-team Quad series the last chance for players to force their way into the Commonwealth Games 12.

Australia is taking on the South African Proteas, the English Roses and the New Zealand Silver Ferns in the tournament – the last international series before the Commonwealth Games netball competition kicks off in April.

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Pic 4 – Stephanie Wood and Caitlin Thwaites of the Diamonds go up for the ball together in last year’s Constellation Cup with New Zealand.

Alexander says the three-match tour being played in the UK this weekend and South Africa next weekend is the final chance for players to cement their positions with competition within the squad at the highest level.

“There is a lot of pressure on their performance. It is very important how they perform here,’’ she said.

“The team is only three to four weeks away. They know what they have to do.’’

Alexander said the Diamonds go into the series with confidence after a highly successful Commonwealth Games simulation camp earlier this month.

“It was the best squad camp I have ever been a part of,’’ she said. The quality was spot on.

“They are fighting for Commonwealth Games selection and the athletes continue to improve and do their work. Everyone is still showing improvement.

Missing from the tour are defenders Sharni Layton and Laura Geitz who attended last weeks camp and are “still in the picture’’ for Games selection despite their absence from the international arena in recent times.

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Kayla Cullen of New Zealand and Gabi Simpson during Australia’s last international outing at the 2017 Constellation Cup.

Layton has been on a break for exhaustion with Geitz a new mother.

Australia are the defending Commonwealth Games champions after beating New Zealand at the last tournament four years ago.

MATCH DETAILS

Netball Quad Series – Test 1
South Africa Proteas v Australian Diamonds
Sunday 2.30am AEDT
Copper Box Arena, London
TV
Channel 9 2.30am AEDT

Source: news.com.au

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.