February 16, 2016
Yvette McCausland-Durie to coach Central in new NNL
Well versed in working with developing players, Yvette McCausland-Durie is ideally suited for her new role as head coach of the Central Zone team in next year’s National Netball League (NNL).
McCausland-Durie steps into the new coaching position following the recently-established NNL which has been specifically introduced to provide a level of competition that sits immediately below the ANZ Championship but is of a higher standard than the now discarded week-long national championships.
Delighted with her appointment, the former Silver Ferns squad member has plenty of coaching experience, more recently as mentor of the Central under-23 team and prior to that as coach of the Central Pulse in the trans-Tasman league.
``I’m excited because it’s a new competition and with it comes the initiative of looking to retain some of our younger players and the real benefit of it feeding into the ANZ Championship,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``It was clear that the domestic landscape needed a bit of an alteration. We weren’t necessarily getting players coming through and developing depth, so I think it’s good timing. This new league has got a purpose and is a real opportunity for us to build some depth.’’
The introduction of the NNL was a key outcome of Netball New Zealand’s competitions review and is considered a development competition that underpins the ANZ Championship in New Zealand. It will run for 12 weeks, beginning on April 10 and involve five teams (one from each Zone) playing a double round robin, home and away, culminating in a grand final on June 26.
From Central’s perspective, there is a concerted approach towards engaging and enhancing the playing talent which is considered likely in the next one to three years to be in a position to contest a space in the Pulse franchise.
Trials for the Central Zone team for the NNL will be held on Saturday (February 20), with most coming from the Pathway to Pulse squad, players who took part in the last year’s formal Pulse trials and who have been training throughout the summer. There are others who have been invited to trial, from which McCausland-Durie is looking to name a 15-strong squad.
``You can only have a match-day 10 which is good because it means you can maximise game time for players,’’ she said. ``But we’d like to run that squad of 15 throughout the whole period of the national league and each week, so they’d still be getting development through practises. Then each week we’d name a group of 10 from that squad who will go through and play the actual match.’’
McCausland-Durie will work closely with Pulse head coach Tanya Dearns to make the best use of training and playing opportunities between the two teams.
Players in the Pulse team who are getting little exposure in the ANZ Championship, can, depending on their level of experience, get opportunities for game time in the NNL.
Rubbing shoulders with the Pulse players at training, playing at the same venues and simulating the semi-professional environment in which they operate is the key to developing and providing a clear pathway for the NNL players.
``Rather than a tournament format, this new competition is week-in week-out and that is more in line with what an ANZ Championship player would have to replicate,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``It’s a bit more of a performance culture and the ability to grow real judgement about whether somebody can survive in the next environment, so it’s looking a lot more like what we’re trying to prepare them for.’’
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