Swift move for Tracey
By ADAM HICKS
DESPITE living in Tasmania last year, Tracey Robinson still managed to coach the Lismore Under-17 netball team into third place at the NSW Championships.
This year she has moved to Sydney to become the NSW Swifts assistant coach.
“It’s an opportunity I thought would never happen, and now it’s happened a lot of people are saying ‘oh my goodness’ but I’m going to grab it with both hands and get the most out of it,” Robinson said.
As the national competition embarks on a new format with five Australian teams and five New Zealand teams, Robinson finds herself coaching at the elite level of the sport.
“The Swifts is basically one level down from the Australian team,” she said.
“With the new competition, it is a fantastic opportunity to get in, in the first year and be a part of it.
“I just feel honoured. We have four current Australian players.
“Julie Fitzgerald has been the head coach since the Swifts’ inception 11 years ago.
“She was the Australian coach of the year and working with someone of her experience and her abilities is something great for me to learn from and to develop my own game as a coach and also how she interacts with these top Australian players.”
Robinson said she had applied for the job thinking she had no chance.
“Basically I just wanted to get some more experience in high performance interviews and answering some of those curly questions about athletes and performance programs,” she said.
But her experience as Tasmanian Institute of Sport head coach and national titles in 2004, 2005, and 2006 made her the prime candidate.
“I took a risk going to Tasmania. They hadn’t had a netball program for 14 years. But I loved the kids, and I loved the Institute,” she said.
“I was based in Launceston, but the Institute was unique in that the girls stayed at home and I travelled around the State and set up programs.
“We had two players identified in national squads.
“Also being involved in the ’04 and ’05 NSW State teams, I knew a lot of the girls already. There are only two (Swifts) players I don’t know.”
The season starts on April 7, and all teams will converge on Sydney next month for a pre-season tournament.
Robinson said the Kiwis’ involvement in the tournament would create new challenges for the Australian players.
“NZ play a different game, a zone-type of defence, where we play a one-on-one style of defence,” she said.
“Most of our Swifts would have experience playing against that but blending in those differences and battling against them week in and week out will be a tough ask for all the teams.
“I think the pre season (tournament) will help sort out a few of the tactics and differences.”
However, even with all the change and reform in the netball world, Robinson denied there was a need to give the Australian national team a name.
“We don’t need one because we’re unique and when you have the amount of members we have throughout Australia, the team is well recognised and marketable, and now we’re world champions we don’t need a gimmick or a name,” she said.
“With the amount of players and supporters we have, we are one of the most recognised teams throughout women’s sport in Australia.”
If you disagree with Tracey and can think of a suitable name for the Australian women’s netball team, email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org