'That's wrong': Netball legend's brutal swipe at new Aussie coach

Chris Young
·3-min read
Netball great Liz Ellis says Stacey Marinkovic's rotating captaincy is a mistake.
Australian netball icon Liz Ellis has criticised Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovic's decision to use a rotating captaincy during the Constellation Cup in New Zealand. Picture: Channel 9

Australian netball legend Liz Ellis has issued some pointed criticism of Diamonds head coach Stacey Marinkovich after Australia's 49-44 loss to New Zealand in the first Test of the Constellation Cup.

Ellis was direct in her questioning of the new coach's move not to name a permanent captain ahead of the three Test series, a decision she says hurt the team, particularly in moments where former captain Caitlyn Bassett was off the court.

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The Diamonds had three players make their Australian debut in Monday's loss, with Ellis arguing a new captain should have been confirmed to help Marinkovic lead the team.

Instead, a rotational leadership policy has been put in place until a permanent captain is named.

Marinkovic's strategy has also attracted criticism from former Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander.

"We felt there was going to be an Australian captain named. It would make sense at the start of a new era with a new coach," Ellis told Channel 9 after the match.

 "Do you stick with Caitlin Bassett? Do you move to a new captain? She felt that she wanted to rotate the leadership. 

"I feel like that's the wrong thing to do. As a former Australian captain I want a leader named.

"I felt like tonight there was nobody to stand up and rally the troops, especially when Caitlin Bassett went off. There's players who are out there trying to prove that they should be leaders and that's terrific.

"But that probably is a reflection of how Stacey Marinkovich operates. I think she sits back and will take her time - whatever time she feels she needs to make the right decision - regardless of what people like me or Catherine say."

Debate unfolds over Diamonds captaincy call

Diamonds mainstay Bassett was named captain for the first Test but is no guarantee to retain it for the subsequent two games - despite having held the position since 2017.

Fellow Aussie netball icon Catherine Cox agreed with Ellis that a rotation policy for the captaincy wasn't the right way forward.

However Cox went a step further than Ellis, suggesting there was a readymade successor to Bassett in highly regarded mid-court player Liz Watson.

Stacey Marinkovich watches the Australian Diamonds in the first Test against New Zealand.
Head Coach Stacey Marinkovich looks on during the Constellation Cup International Test match against the New Zealand Silver Ferns. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

"To me it is precious time that you're wasting. I also think that it's very obvious, very evident, who your next captain should be - and that's Liz Watson," Cox said.

"I think she's the best leader on the court, she's always on the court, one of the most consistent and high-performing in that side. Give her the role."

The COVID-19 lockdown in New Zealand has resulted in all three matched being played in Christchurch behind closed doors.

Game two of the series will tip off on Wednesday, with two more matches to follow on Saturday and Sunday.

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