Olympian called on to drive Magic recruitment

Magic captain Sam Winders playing against the Tactix on 21 June. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

One third of ANZ Premiership teams require the assistance of Netball New Zealand to keep the elite game going in their region and the national body isn’t ruling out needing to step in again.

In the last 10 months Netball New Zealand (NNZ) has twice been called on to help ANZ Premiership teams improve their game off the court.

On Tuesday, NNZ named a management committee to oversee the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic’s recruitment of players and staff for the 2022 competition, as well as commercial and funding partnerships.

The announcement came hours after Magic coach Amigene Metcalfe stood down.

The three-person committee is former Olympic cyclist Alison Shanks, commercial property lawyer Scott Ratuki and senior commercial executive Andrew Gaze. Magic interim general manager Gary Dawson will also join the committee.

The Magic is the second ANZ Premiership side to have a NNZ-appointed independent management committee.

In August last year the Tactix had a committee put in place to oversee the current season after the Mainland region went into liquidation earlier in 2020.

Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie said while Magic were “not in a liquidation scenario”, some of the solutions NNZ had put in place for Mainland could still apply.

“At the end of last year the Waikato Bay of Plenty board asked the Netball New Zealand board to step in for a number of reasons, but financial was a key driver, and during that time it was important that Netball New Zealand went in and had a really good look at the business from top to bottom and as a result we needed to make some really difficult calls.”

Those calls included some staffing changes.

Wyllie acknowledged it was a work in progress to get the right structure and it would take time, but she believed the Magic was now in a good place with a management committee that knew what was needed.

“[The committee would] make sure the on-court and -off-court performance has that real sharp level of attention and focus to be able to drive what is a great legacy for this team and their region.”

Putting in place a management committee when a team’s situation went awry off the court was a successful solution, according to Wyllie.

“We found that model worked really well down in the Tactix. It’s a really good chance to test some new thinking, some new ideas and ways of doing things.”

Wyllie said the flow-on effect of Covid-19 had forced all sports, especially female-dominated sports, to rethink how their sport would operate in years to come.

“Our environment is incredibly tough and Covid has certainly not changed the broadening gap between how women’s sport is funded and supported so it continues to be challenging and we’re working to our very best to ensure that our domestic competition and what we provide for young women and girls can continue and has the very best opportunity for a sustainable future.”

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