Image: Netballers at the University of Gloucestershire

 The Severn Stars aimed high for their coach appointment and are thrilled to announce their major signing.

Published: 13/07/2016 12:04

The Severn Stars aimed high for their coach appointment and are thrilled to announce their major signing. The Head Coach for the Severn’s first Netball Super league campaign will be former Australian Diamonds netball sensation, Mo’onia Gerrard. 

On the International stage, Mo’onia played in 68 test matches for Australia and career highlights range from her influential role during the 2007 Netball World Cup success and the defeat of New Zealand in the final through to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where she won a silver medal. She also played at the 2011 World Netball Cup in Singapore, primarily as a Wing Defence.

Mo’onia forged a reputation second to none as a reliable, uncompromising defender for the most competitive ANZ sides, New South Wales Swifts and the Adelaide Thunderbirds, playing in over 182 national league games.  Her tenacity, tactical mind-set and ability to outwit the most powerful attackers was incredible and she achieved intercepts some thought were impossible.

Since retiring from playing Mo’onia has been an incredible force in coaching and is committed to nurturing the next generation for the Australian Diamonds.  Since embarking on a coaching career in 2013, she has gained experience at State League level in her home state of New South Wales and has made significant contributions as a specialist coach during the past two years with Australia’s 19/U and 21/U squads.  Mo’onia has also served as a technical coach to the NSW Swifts in the ANZ Championship and also coached internationally in Tonga.

Mo’onia gave her own thoughts on the challenge ahead: “Being appointed the Severn Stars Head Coach in 2017 comes with great responsibility to breed and develop the South West/Midlands players in England. It's also exciting for me to get amongst the English culture and migrate my Australian approach to the England style.”
Mo’onia was invited by the current Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander to join the coaching panel at Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence, the `Future Diamonds Focus’ camp. The key aim of the camp was to develop future International players and significantly, it gave Mo’onia Gerrard the opportunity to develop her coaching skills with some of the most talented players in Australia.

University of Gloucestershire’s Anita Navin and Severn Stars Director of Netball commented: “Mo’onia was a world class defender and her tenacity and resilience was witnessed by all around the globe.  She knows exactly what it takes to win, to be the best you can be and will be an asset to the franchise in the coming season.  It is always great to see players like Mo’onia commit to a coaching role and she is no doubt a valuable asset in the Australia junior set up.  Mo’onia and her family are moving to the South West of England in August and she will take up her role for preseason training soon after.  Mo’onia shares our vision to build a competitive squad but also to ensure the next generation of England players are given opportunities and a quality coaching experience.”

University of Worcester’s Mick Donovan (Director of the Severn’s Franchise) commented: “ We are absolutely thrilled to be able to announce that Mo’onia will be the Severn Stars Head Coach and believe it really sends out a clear message about our ambitions to succeed in netball’s top flight, whilst also bringing an ambassador to our local netball communities.”

Head Coach for the Australian Diamonds Lisa Alexander added her thoughts: "As coach of Mo’onia at both International and Domestic level, I have always been impressed with Mo’onia's unique understanding of our game. She has now progressed so well and this is a reflection of her work at the craft of coaching."

England Coach Tracey Neville spoke from the national perspective stating: “Having known Mo’onia as a player, she was always ready for a challenge and this will be an important quality when developing a new and exciting franchise along with the key role of selecting a squad that can compete for a title.  A coach with her status will certainly bring the best out of players and I am thrilled that she has been appointed and look forward to working with her.”

Mo’onia is greatly admired for her dedication to the community, mentoring younger people, promoting healthy lifestyles along with sporting and personal excellence, particularly in disadvantaged communities. In 2013 the New South Wales Parliament's Legislative Council voted unanimously to commend her for outstanding service to the community.

The Severn Stars have already started to look at playing options for next season and soon hope to be able to announce dates for trials for those players who would like to join the 2017 campaign. Follow us on social media for all of the latest news about trials, player signings and events.