2020 Victorian state team coaches announced

Netball Victoria has announced an experienced coaching line-up for the 17/U and 19/U Victorian state teams to contest the 2020 National Netball Championships.

Mel Savage and Gerard Murphy will lead the respective teams.

It’s back-to-back 17/U Head Coach appointments for Savage, who also led the 17/U Victorian state team in 2019.

“I’m very, very excited,” Savage said of her re-appointment.  “I truly believe in the program and I feel very privileged to be a part of it.  This will be my fifth year involved in the state team pathway [and] I’m really excited about the opportunity.”

Savage added that after the leading Victoria’s 17/U team to a fourth place finish at the 2019 National Netball Championships, she would be looking for the team to improve on that result in 2020.

“Obviously we want to finish first – you don’t go to Nationals to finish fourth, so we’ll be aiming to finish first.

“I don’t think it was about the ability of the players [this year],” she continued, “I think…at the right end [of the tournament] we probably didn’t perform as well as we had in the rounds, so this year it’s getting the team ready to perform at the right time at the Nationals carnival.”

With trials for the 2020 state teams imminent, Savage added that she was excited about the calibre of athletes coming through the pathway.

“The strength is really good.  We had a lot of bottom age girls last year, not just in the team but throughout the actual trials and selection process as well, so I’m really excited about the talent that will be ahead of us in the next few weeks. “

Murphy added to Savage’s sentiments, saying that he too was excited to return to the Victorian state team program.

“It’s been seven years since I’ve coached in the state program where I was involved for four years,” Murphy said.  During that time I got to coach many players who have gone on to [play] Suncorp Super Netball, including Liz Watson, Kate Moloney, Emily Mannix, Jo Weston, Melissa Bragg, Molly Jovic and Kelsey Browne.

“It was an amazing step in my coaching development and so rewarding watching our athletes progress through the pathway and develop to reach the highest levels of netball in the world.”

Since his previous involvement in the Victorian state team program, Murphy has worked as a program coach within Netball Victoria’s Talent Academy, been the Head Coach of the Central East Talent Academy, and also completed his High Performance coaching accreditation – the highest level of netball coaching accreditation on offer.

“I am really looking forward to bringing a much more refined approach than my previous involvement,” he continued.  “I have learned an enormous amount over the past six years I hope to bring a level of understanding and empathy for the athletes and coaches…that will enable our next group of Victorian athletes to flourish and be successful.”

The 2020 National Netball Championships will be held in Hobart from April 18 to 23.