Former netball coach's AFL bid knocked back

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
A 50-50 split image shows Lisa Alexander on the left and the North Melbourne Kangaroos on the right.
Former Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander has had her application to be the next head coach of AFL club North Melbourne rejected. Pictures: Getty Images

Lisa Alexander has been told by North Melbourne that she needs more experience after looking to shift her coaching career from netball to AFL.

The former Diamonds coach applied for the vacancy left by the recent resignation of Rhyce Shaw but didn't even get an interview.

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"It was a thanks but no thanks," Alexander told AAP on Monday afternoon.

"I was told I need to get more experience."

Alexander coached Australia's netball team for nine years and 102 Tests with a 81 per cent success rate, until she was told in March her contract would not be renewed - with the failure to secure the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal and Netball World Cup title contributing to that decision.

Despite her high-performance credentials, Alexander hasn't had any formal elite involvement in AFL, which the Kangaroos were looking for in a senior coach.

Australian coach Lisa Alexander hugs Tegan Philip following the 2019 Constellation Cup match against the New Zealand Silver Ferns.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander hugs Tegan Philip following the 2019 Constellation Cup match between the New Zealand Silver Ferns and the Diamonds. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Alexander said she would look at working as an assistant coach at an AFL club or possibly a director of coaching role with the aim of becoming the first female coach of an AFL team.

She admitted it "might take 10 years".

Alexander said she hadn't turned her back entirely on netball, with the Queensland Firebirds and Collingwood Magpies both yet to name their coaches for the 2021 season,

Another avenue is moving into rugby, of which she is a passionate fan.

Alexander spent time early this year collaborating with an old friend in Eddie Jones, who coaches England's national rugby side.

The former Wallabies mentor has often trawled Australia's coaching elite for knowledge and ideas with Canberra NRL coach Ricky Stuart present during England's World Cup campaign in Japan last year, while Melbourne Storm assistant Jason Ryles recently joined Jones' staff as a skills coach.

Richmond forwards requests trade to Saints

Richmond small forward Jack Higgins has officially requested a trade to St Kilda as he seeks greater opportunity at AFL level.

The 21-year-old has one season left to run on his existing Tigers deal but would sign a multi-year contract with the Saints, who surged back into the top-eight under Brett Ratten this year.

Higgins recovered from brain surgery to play 10 games in 2020 but managed just one senior appearance after round 10 and was overlooked for Richmond's successful finals campaign.

Higgins' manager Paul Connors said the player had contacted Tigers coach Damien Hardwick and football talent manager Blair Hartley over the weekend to signal his intentions.

Richmond's Jack Higgins takes a mark.
Jack Higgins has officially requested a trade from Richmond to St Kilda. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

"He has a year left on his contract but he just wants to play footy and he'd love the opportunity at the Saints," Connors told Trade Radio.

"I just think Jack's such a passionate young man, I think it's in everyone's best interests that he moves."

Richmond are eager to keep Higgins and have reportedly knocked back St Kilda's offer of a future second-round draft pick.

The Tigers would entertain a trade if well compensated but the Saints are unlikely to offer up their first-round draft pick (No.17 overall).

Higgins was drafted at pick 17 three years ago.

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