Netball NSW has finalised the NSW Swifts’ coaching team ahead of the 2014 ANZ Championship Season, with the appointment of Anita Keelan as Technical Assistant Coach and Megan Simpson as Contracted Specialist Midcourt Coach.
Keelan is well respected throughout Australian netball and has played an influential role in the development of some of the country’s finest young talent. Keelan joins the NSW Swifts coaching bench from the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) where she was Assistant Coach for the past two years, as well as Assistant Coach of the 2013 Australian 21U’s who claimed silver at the recent World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow. She also co-coached Eastwood Ryde to victory in the 2013 DOOLEYS State League Waratah Cup (Division One) Grand Final.
Megan Simpson is another highly respected state level and former international coach, who as a player was a clever and skilful midcourter. During her coaching career to date, Simpson guided Fiji to the 2006 Commonwealth Games when National Team Head Coach (2005-2006), and has held numerous state level coaching roles including NSW 19U’s Head Coach (2012), NSW 19U’s Assistant Coach (2007, 2011), and NSW 17U’s Head Coach (2008), and was an Australian Institute of Sport Scholarship Coach (1998).
Simpson joins Contracted Defensive Specialist Coach Mo’onia Gerrard in providing specialized coaching to the NSW Swifts’ playing group in the lead up to and during the 2014 campaign.
The appointment of Keelan and Simpson further strengthens the NSW Swifts’ coaching team for the forthcoming season, which was a focus for Netball NSW following a comprehensive review of the Swifts’ 2013 season.
"We identified the need to increase the coaching resources available to the players, which will help to drive their individual development and in-turn that of the team," explained Tracey Fear, Netball NSW General Manager - High Performance.
"Anita will join Rob Wright and Megan Anderson on the bench and is a High Performance coach who is highly regarded for her work with elite junior talent, and her experience and expertise will complement the coaching team."
"Under Rob’s leadership, Megan Simpson and Mo’onia Gerrard will work with the Swifts in more specific and individualised coaching sessions throughout the preparation phase to improve the skill level of players leading into the 2014 campaign," said Fear.
As part of her role at the NSW Swifts, Keelan will work with the Club’s Head Coach Rob Wright to oversee and coordinate the newly created Swifts Apprentice Coach program.
This coaching program forms part of the Netball NSW High Performance Coach Development strategy aimed at increasing the depth of quality high performance coaches within NSW.
Netball NSW confirms that Briony Akle and Moira Gaha will be the first Apprentice Coaches to go through this program.
Akle and Gaha will work with the NSW Swifts’ coaching team from early October through to the 31 August 2014, with this season-long Apprenticeship giving them an insight into the planning, preparation, competition and review phases of the NSW Swifts 2014 ANZ Championship campaign.
Both coaches have extensive coaching experience at Association and State level. Akle, a former Sydney Swift, was Head Coach of Baulkham Hills during the 2013 DOOLEYS State League Waratah Cup (Division One), Assistant Coach of 2012 NSW 21/U’s and Head Coach of 2011 NSW 17/U’s.
Gaha was Head Coach of St George during the 2013 DOOLEYS State League Waratah Cup (Division One), Head Coach of the 2013 Netball NSW Blues contesting the Australian National League (ANL), Assistant Coach of 2011 & 2012 Netball NSW Blues (ANL) and Assistant Coach of 2011 NSW 17/U’s.
"Briony and Moira have been successful members of the NSW coaching system for many years and both share an ambition of becoming elite coaches. This season long apprenticeship will expose them to the pressures and the skills and attributes required to coach in the world’s premier domestic competition and provide them with knowledge and tools to progress their own development as a High Performance Coach," said Tracey Fear.
The appointments of Keelan and Simpson complete the new look NSW Swifts’ coaching team for Season 2014;
Coaching Bench for all home and away games: Rob Wright, Megan Anderson and Anita Keelan
Contracted Specialist Coaches: Mo’onia Gerrard & Megan Simpson
Apprentice Coaches: Briony Akle and Moira Gaha
The NSW Swifts 2014 Roster officially return for pre-season training on Monday 2 December, with their opening game of the 2014 ANZ Championship against West Coast Fever at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on Sunday 2 March, 2014.