Heading into the third season of Australia’s premier netball competition, there are plenty of questions to answer.
The Magpies are 3-7 in the second season of Super Netball, have given up the second-most goals in the league, sit second bottom on the ladder, yet is filled with current and former Australian players.
It simply doesn’t make sense that the Magpies are not winning majority of their matches.
What is more concerning is the impact this is having on the revamped competition, the star-studded Diamonds players within the Magpies franchise, and the greater good of the game.
I attended the Magpies versus Fever match at Margaret Court a couple of weeks ago, and saw a Magpies team with a real lack of care, drive or enthusiasm.
Showing up to the venue with general admin seats, I was escorted back to information, thinking something was wrong with my tickets. No, they had closed off all general admin seating, upgrading everyone to lower-level seats. They simply couldn’t get enough people to the game.
Even then, the lower level was poorly filled. Nobody wants to see the type of netball Collingwood are displaying. Once the lead had got to double digits, any heartbeat left in the game was gone.
Small efforts were over-celebrated by the Magpies like they were game changers – acts like you would see on a footy field when the first gamer kicks a goal.
It feels like the team has been swept up in the euphoria of being a part of the Collingwood Football Club and that culture has infiltrated the netball club and its players. It feels like netball is playing second fiddle down at Collingwood.
But the performances of the team go beyond the wins and losses – the culture and running of the club has to be reviewed. It starts with the coach and captain, both of whom need to be changed.
Kristy Keppich-Birrell has to go. She was virtually gifted the national side almost two years ago and it has all gone downhill from there. Keppich-Birrell has her side playing sideways netball, not direct. It’s poorly executed and riddled with mistakes and turnovers.
Madi Robinson has been well down and her future as captain has to be called into question.
Dan Ryan would be a good fit for the Magpies. He did not have the players to execute at the Thunderbirds, but he demonstrated an ability to get a core group of players to work together, focus on team principles and ethos, and improve their netball.
While the Magpies snuck home against the Thunderbirds, Ryan and his troops’ focus and desire almost saw achieve the win, which would have put a real low to Collingwood’s already woeful season.
The number one re-signing for the Magpies has to be Ash Brazill, who is the only person giving her all each week and sits third for intercepts in the comp – an amazing stat for a wing defence player.
Caitlin Thwaites in goals has to be the other signing. Frustrated at the ball coming down the court, she is an ever-reliable shooter and gets the job done once the ball gets in the circle.
Kim Ravaillion would be your third signing and Shae Browne plays with great intensity and can feature in multiple positions, so would be another potential signing.
The other spots are open slather.
Former players like Sharelle McMahon, Catherine Cox and even coaches like Lisa Alexander must conduct an independent review of the team’s performances over these two years, as well as the culture and club administration.
Things need to change for the greater good of the game.