Netball New Zealand pursues independent review into Commonwealth Games failure

The Silver Ferns finished fourth the the Commonwealth Games.
The Silver Ferns finished fourth the the Commonwealth Games. Photo credit: Photosport

Nothing is off the table for Netball New Zealand as it looks to recover from a disastrous Commonwealth Games.

The Silver Ferns failed to medal for the first time in history on the Gold Coast, finishing fourth and losing four games, including a first-ever defeat to Malawi.

The knives are out for coach Janine Southby, whose 51 percent winning record is the worst of any Silver Ferns coach in modern times.

Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie wouldn't guarantee Southby will survive an upcoming review of the campaign, stating the organisation must learn from its mistakes.

"The review is the biggest tool we can use in working out what things didn't work and where we need to go to from here," Wyllie said. "We need to let that run its course before we make any decisions."

The review will be conducted by an independent panel, with input from Netball New Zealand executives.

The entire playing and coaching staff will be interviewed as part of the review process, as Netball New Zealand tries to unravel exactly where things went wrong.

"This review will be a comprehensive process led by an independent expert," Wyllie said. "We will leave no stone unturned in the review. 

"Without pre-empting the findings, we do not believe responsibility rests on any one person or event. There are usually a range of factors in sport as to why a team isn't performing at the expected level.

"We have to be open and transparent about what we are doing. We have to learn from this and we need to put some measures in place, which will allow us to rebuild and come back even more stronger than we are now."

Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby (center).
Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby (center). Photo credit: Photosport

Wyllie was questioned on the 2015 hiring of Southby, a process she herself wasn't involved in.

That decision was made by then-CEO Hillary Poole, the board and then-high performance manager Steve Lancaster.

Many considered former Silver Fern Noeline Taurua was the outstanding candidate for the job given her remarkable record at the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.

But Taurua missed out and Southby was given the job, despite having inferior results as a coach at club and franchise level, and far less experience.

Wyllie wouldn't comment on whether Netball New Zealand made the wrong decision.

"In any selection process, it is run by high performance and the CEO of Netball New Zealand.

"They will have a recommended process that they will have the board sign off on and that would have been the process when Janine was appointed coach at that time.

"I think that was talked about fairly extensively. She [Taurua] was involved in the process, but there was independent expertise involved in that selection process that determined Janine was the best choice."

The review will commence in two weeks, with a report due on Wyllie's desk by mid-June.


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