New Manchester Thunder director of netball Karen Greig has confirmed Sara Hale and Liana Leota as the rest of her coaching team for the 2017 season.
Greig was appointed Thunder head coach last month following the departure of Dan Ryan to the Adelaide Thunderbirds and will work with the pair of experienced former internationals as the team look to go one better than last season’s Grand Final runners-up finish.
New Zealand veteran Leota joined Thunder as a player for the 2016 season, making an instant impact on her debut on Super Saturday, winning the Player of the Match Award.
Hale, a defensive expert, recently returned from working with Tracey Neville’s England coaching team during the Quad Series in Australia and New Zealand and the former Wales defender switched from Black and Yellows player to coach ahead of the 2015 season.
With the new team in place, Greig is delighted with what both Hale and Leota bring to the table: “As soon as I was appointed the position of director of netball I have no doubt in my mind who I wanted as my coaching team,” she said.
“In my new role I know I need coaches that will both challenge and support me in my decision making and with Liana and Sara on board I can 100% trust that they will do this.”
Hale offers a specialist defensive coaching option to Greig, who herself is a more natural attacking coach having played as a shooter for both England and Thunder.
“Sara had been a key part of the Thunder coaching team for the past two years, she is a passionate hardworking coach who has a bank of defensive knowledge, having transitioned from a Welsh international into her coaching career,” said Greig.
“She has more than proven herself with the work she has undertaken with Thunder and more recently defensive technical coach with the England team during the recent Quad series , she is a great sounding board and will prove great support for myself in my new role.”
Leota’s addition to the coaching set-up is an exciting one, with the former Commonwealth Games champion able to offer support to Greig in the centre court and attacking areas
“I am super excited to work with Liana next season , the former Silver Fern fitted seamlessly into the Thunder set up last year and straight away gained the respect of players and us coaches around her.
“Her depth of understanding of the game and ability to exploit defences will be something I am sure she will be looking to develop.”
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