‘What’s Happening’ – St Helens Netball Association

You hosted your third State League Match last month, how was that? And what does it mean to the netball community there?

The St Helens Netball Association was privileged to host its third State League match on Saturday 28th April 2018.  Our members were treated to two tightly contested matches, the 19U match resulting in a draw, whilst the Cavaliers Opens winning margin was only 5 goals against the reigning champs.

We are extremely thankful to AYC – Friends Lexus Arrows for supporting the initiative and agreeing to relocate their home game to St Helens, as Northern Hawks and OHA did before them.   

The benefits for members to view elite Tasmanian Netball at St Helens are varied.  Firstly, it creates an active interest in the State League competition.  Sadly, the tyranny of distance is a barrier and many of our members had never attended at State League match prior to the first game at the Break O’Day Community Stadium in 2016.

In addition to providing a spectacle for members to enjoy, games also demonstrate the pathways available to our aspiring junior members.  In recent years we have seen a significant increase in junior members gaining selection in Northern State League Development squads, Netball Tasmania development programs (PAP) and most recently member Tahlia Randall was selected to compete in the RACT Insurance State League 19U competition with the Launceston Bellamy’s Organic Cavaliers. 

 On each State League occasion, one or both competing Clubs have generously offered player clinics for our members.  This is of great benefit to both players and coaches as it provides opportunity to experience current techniques and practices.   This also provides an opportunity for talent identification.  On this occasion, we saw a collaboration of three State League clubs, with Arrows, Cavaliers and Karana’s Mentor coach and educator, Lou Carter working together to deliver a skills clinic for almost 60 of our members ahead of games.  A shining example of the RACT Insurance State League community working together to support regional netball.

There are also development opportunities for umpires, with two local umpires, Eliza Spykers and Larissa Tucker officiating the 19U match in 2017 and Jacqui Lockwood officiating 19U in 2018.  

In the past there have been chances for our coaches to listen to pregame addresses and sit on secondary benches.  These opportunities were thoroughly enjoyed and considered extremely valuable, inspiring some to pursue formal coaching accreditation.

Whilst entry fees are the domain of the “Home” Club, the Association operates a kiosk on game day, providing additional income.

The St Helens Netball community embraces the opportunity to enjoy State League netball on home soil and prides itself on providing a welcoming and positive experience to visiting Clubs.


What else has been happening in the St Helens Netball Community?

The St Helens Netball Association has had an extremely busy start to the season, with an Umpire Education session presented by Netball Tasmania Umpire Development facilitator (South), John Fox in late February, a Coach Education session with John Fletcher 12th April, a Player Skills clinic generously facilitated by the Heritage Isle Northern Hawks 14th April and then of course the RACT Insurance State League match Saturday 28th April.

We have also embraced the MyNetball system, with 2018 registrations being completed via the portal, thanks to treasurer Natacha Bennett.  Our Games convenor, Eliza Spykers has explored the systems functionality, generating weekly scoresheets, inputting player statistics and results for the generation of ladders. 


How many participants do you currently have?

The St Helens Netball Association currently has 215 registered members across all rosters and programs.


What programs and rosters are you running in 2018?

Our 2018 18 Round Winter roster commenced early March and concludes late August.  Our Association currently has four Clubs with representation in all four divisions. Competition is played predominantly on Friday evenings in response to member feedback.

We also offer a separate Net (Tuesdays) and Set (Thursdays) Program based in St Helens, together with a combined program at St Marys (Thursdays).

Whilst the DADA program has just come to an end, we had seven St Helens players who were members of the NENA DADA squad and trained hard for 10 weeks developing and improving their skills. The team was under the direction of co-coaches, Dan Roden and Lydia Coote.


What would you like to achieve as an association, both short term and long?

Despite being a relatively small and isolated Association, St Helens is committed to remaining “current” in the Tasmanian netball scene ensuring we deliver our members the opportunities afforded to our city counterparts.  

In recent years, we have focussed on umpire accreditation. Five years ago, our Association had no badged umpires, we now have 9 “C” badges and a “B” badge.   Our future focus will be coach development and accreditation to ensure the appropriate development of our junior members and improvement of our seniors.


Dan Roden, who is a member of the St Helens Netball Community, recently just went away to Nationals as an apprentice coach. How did he find that experience and how do you think it will benefit the St Helens Netball Community?

Dan is Head Coach of the Surfside Netball Club in St Helens. His experience as Apprentice coach in the lead up to and including National competition, provided him with insight into the Tasmanian High-Performance program.  The Nationals competition experience was extremely valuable, particularly given Netball Tasmania’s appointment of High Performance coach, Jackie Blythe as mentor.  Her court side game analysis over the 7 days was invaluable.  Dan is working towards his Advanced Coaching accreditation and high-level exposure of this nature will assist in that regard. 

The St Helens Netball Association will benefit from Dan’s continued development through his various coaching roles, including DADA coach, Representative coach and Club coach and newly appointed EDS Tier 3 appointment.