Home Grown Produce A Natural Decision For GIANTS Netball
This was Julie Fitzgerald’s fork in the road moment.
The departure of arguably the world’s best netballer Serena Guthrie and world cup winning pair Rebecca Bulley and Susan Pettitt left the GIANTS Netball coach with two options.
She could either go to the international player market and select big names to fill the gaping hole left behind by the star trio. Or the vacancies could be filled from the New South Wales development pathway.
With the exception of the arrival of Australia Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett, Fitzgerald chose the latter option and she’s satisfied the decision is already paying dividends as GIANTS Netball approach their third season in Suncorp Super Netball.
“We didn’t restrict ourselves to only considering New South Wales players,” said Fitzgerald who has spent three decades coaching teams from her home state.
“When you’re recruiting, you’re not doing the right thing if you don’t look at every available player.
“But when we looked at some of the available imports, we didn’t feel they were much better than our home grown players.
“There’s also the chance when you recruit from outside the state that they will want to return home at some point. So, in the end, we felt we’d be better off picking locally.”
Of the 10 contracted players on the GIANTS Netball list, seven were developed in New South Wales. Bassett (Western Australia), Jo Harten (England) and Jamie-Lee Price (New Zealand) are adopted favourites.
Kim Green and Sam Poolman head a talented list striving to bring back a netball premiership to the state for the first time since 2008.
Teenage defender Matilda McDonell has been a big improver during the pre-season and is enjoying her first campaign with GIANTS Netball.
And midcourter Amy Parmenter will push for a starting spot this season after two years as a training partner.
“Serena Guthrie is an amazing netballer and without doubt one of the best players in the world,” Fitzgerald said.
“She’s not some one we can replace straight away. But we’ve got a young and enthusiastic centre court that I think can replace her in the future.”
Bassett’s fractured arm is continuing to heal, with the champion goal shooter expected back in full training within weeks.
The Diamonds skipper’s return will give her almost two months to form a combination with circle partner Harten.