Broughton, Foster question coaching

Silver Ferns' Kelly Jury, Maria Folau, Bailey Mes and Katrina Grant leave the stadium after their...
Silver Ferns' Kelly Jury, Maria Folau, Bailey Mes and Katrina Grant leave the stadium after their bronze medal match loss to Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: Getty Images
A review into what went wrong for the Silver Ferns in their failed Commonwealth Games campaign was set to get underway after the side left the Gold Coast empty handed.

The Ferns, currently ranked No 2 in the world, have always dominated on the world stage, previously winning nothing less than a silver medal at the Games.

But over the past six months, the side had fallen into a downward spiral, being unable to defend their major series titles and losing multiple times to their three biggest rivals - England, Jamaica, and Australia.

Now a full review was set to look into their fall, with the findings expected to be released next month.

Under coach Janine Southby's leadership, the Ferns have produced arguably their worst results to date - with 19 losses from 39 matches equalling a winning percentage of just 51.

Former Silver Ferns assistant coach Robyn Broughton believed New Zealand certainly had the talent, but the Ferns' demise came down to the coaches.

"I think it's coaching…I can't see structured game plan out there and I consider that a coach's responsibility," Broughton said.

"It's the coach's responsibility to work with the team, to put together your strengths, to do a game plan and to play your game tactics, but we weren't, we were just running everywhere."

Broughton, who currently coaches the Hertfordshire Maverick in the East England Netball Superleague, criticised the Ferns coaches for not knowing how to manage the team when things went wrong, and said the choices made on court reflected a side that had "lost their identity".

"To be honest I don't think that they looked for extra knowledge to come in. I think that they had two inexperienced coaches at that level who were probably not too sure what to do," Broughton said.

"I think that there were girls struggling with their own identity on the court, coming on and off. At that level you should try and keep it as structured and as calm as you can.

"At that level you should have a top seven, and if that doesn't suit people 'tough bikkies,' there is a top seven and you have to be honest about players' abilities."

Broughton said she believed the review should focus on all aspects of the team, but also specifically around the selection and structure of the coaching system.

"I think Netball New Zealand, not just the coaches or how the coaches got there, right from the top, it needs looking down on systems . . . I think it needs a whole review."

Former Silver Ferns player Margaret Foster said the last six months had been packed with warning signs but as a former player she kept holding onto the hope of a classic New Zealand comeback.

However, when the Ferns lost the Taini Jamison Series to Jamaica, Foster knew something wasn't working. She said the lack of connection between combinations on court should have been the biggest priority for Southby to fix.

"Janine has not been building up that continuity and that sense of feel, even from a player's perspective, it's about familiarity with other players on the court and that builds your confidence up and you've got that connection.

"It felt like when they were playing, they were playing in isolation and there was no sense of what we call an 'invisible thread' around the team, there was no real connection, I didn't feel it.

"Normally as a player I can watch them and feel that connection and passion in there, because it's a collective thing, so I don't know if they have the right type of players in the main seven."

Foster believed the review would be vital to not only ensuring the national side maintained a high standard, but to make sure netball remained one of the top sports in New Zealand.

"I would be looking firstly at having a review and then insuring it's a thorough one, then making the big calls that need to be made," Foster said.

"This is our beloved sport, it's number one for girls' participation at the moment in New Zealand, and we need to maintain that."

- Cheree Kinnear

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