A winless year cannot be repeated by the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2017.
Adelaide doesn’t accept poor performances from sporting teams. The Crows, Power, Reds and Sixers all face a hell of a lot of scrutiny from fans and scribes alike when their performances are not what they should be.
It was never going to be simple to replace championship winning coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson at the Thunderbirds, but Michelle den Dekker was clearly not the right option.
Despite injuries to a few key players this year, the Thunderbirds have been competitive enough in patches and for this reason they really should have at least two or three wins on the board. They haven’t been awful by any stretch.
The botched way the decision to remove den Dekker as coach was made and communicated to the media suggests to me all is not right at Netball SA. ‘Mutual agreement’ was the throw a way line used by the CEO Ben Scales. If she was sacked come out and say she was sacked. If she is going elsewhere in 2017, tell us that is the case. Stop treating netball fans as fools.
Netball has positioned itself as being a tough sport in recent times. And it is. So as such, stop the niceties and call a spade a spade.
The disharmony needs to cease immediately. With a brand new national competition to begin in 2017 and an almost certain raid on their best players from rival clubs, the Adelaide based netball team has to be sure they find the right person to lead the club into the future.
There are no more chances. A wrong decision here, has the potential to set up tough times for netball for many years to come in South Australia. The state needs a successful Thunderbirds. One, to be able to have airtime in a crowded sporting environment and two, to create heroes for young netball players to strive to be. Without that, the relevancy is zero.
Netball SA have to get this right. And that means looking far and wide. Don’t employ a coach based on what he/she has achieved for the state or the country. Employ a coach who actually has the ability to lead a team and get results and one who is going to treat netball fans with the honesty they deserve.