Lovett Looking Forward To Coaching Role
After success over the past couple of years at a Youth level and as an assistant coach of the Australian Women’s Open side, Australian Mixed Open coach, Micheal Lovett now faces his biggest challenge.
Nine debutants will take to the field for Australia at an Open level for the Mixed side in the Trans Tasman Test Series against New Zealand which starts tonight at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex. Despite only six players still in the side following Australia’s 2011 World Cup final defeat over New Zealand, Lovett is confident his team has what it takes to continue Australia’s recent strong record over the Kiwis in the Mixed division.
“Most of them are coming out of our Youth program and our Youth program has been quite strong since it was rebuilt after the 2005 Youth World Cup that we lost.”
“They are new to Open’s but they’ve played international Touch before and they’ve come from some very good programs in their regional level and even their club based stuff. It’s actually quite a very good balance for me, there are some young players that are coming through, probably the one that is really a debutant is Michael Law. He’s a bit of an excitement machine, he’s super fast, he’s very agile, he reads the game well. He’s going to be a player to watch once he finds his feet at that level,” Lovett said.
Lovett started his coaching career close to 20 years ago and in recent times has coached the Australian 20’s Boys at the 2009 Youth Trans Tasman Series as well as being the Australian Women’s Open assistant coach for the 2009 and 2010 Trans Tasman events as well as the 2011 World Cup. Lovett says that it’s been a long pathway to get to where he has, but he can’t wait to take on the Kiwis from Thursday.
“I’m pretty excited. Coming from a developing state (Victoria) it’s a massive honour, things are a little bit different when you don’t come from Queensland or New South Wales so you have to get up a little earlier and work a little bit harder to keep up on your skills and the modern trends of the sport because it’s not directly at your back door.”
“I think both the roles I’ve had in the past four years have been pretty important, with the Men’s 20’s and the Women’s Open because obviously it’s a crossover between both the girls and guys and stepping into Mixed is a new arena for me.”
“The Open’s Women’s was good exposure to the pointy end of the sport, I got to work with some really good athletes in the Women’s program and some coaches who have been around for a long period of time as well in Kerry (Norman) and Dean (Russell). Both of them have helped hone and develop my skills as I’ve come through as well as my other mentors, so it’s been good.”
Mixed specialist Manu Wakely is Lovett’s assistant coach for the series, with Wakely’s experience in the Mixed arena both as a player and as a coach to be invaluable for the side.
“I’m looking forward to working with Manu Wakely, he’s been a very successful Mixed coach and loves the detail, he pretty much lives and breathes Touch so it’s great to work with Manu and see his passion for the game.”
Lovett says he will be looking to the more experienced players in his team, including co-captain’s Kylie Hilder and Rohit Prasad as well as Jamie Chan and Sarah Spacie, to guide the debutants along the way in the Series. Seeing some of his Australian 20’s Boys side from the 2009 Youth Trans Tasman progress into the Mixed Open side will also be an exciting prospect for Lovett, as well as unleashing a few new faces against New Zealand for the first time.
“I’m looking forward to building a new team together with the senior playing group and fostering some of the development of some of the 20’s Boys I’ve brought through and exposing some of the new players we have like Peter Watkins, it will be exciting.”
“We’ve got a strong side that has a lot of potential, but we’ve got to live up to our potential and deliver on the park. It’s their opportunity now to basically come to the international stage and try to deliver, and some of the young kids, seeing someone like Michael Law getting his opportunity being able to apply his trade at this level and how he takes that into the Youth programs going forward is exciting.”
There are plenty of ways to keep in touch with the 2012 Trans Tasman Series, which will be held at Mudgee’s Glen Willow Regional Sporting Complex from Thursday, 26 April to Saturday, 28 April 2012, including in the following ways:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustralia
Twitter – www.twitter.com/touchfootyaus (be sure to use the hashtag #transtasman2012 in your tweets)
YouTube – www.youtube.com/touchfootballaus