With the view to building on its depth of coaching talent, Central Manawa has appointed Emma Weenink and John Atkins as assistant coaches for next year’s Beko Netball League.

Coaching has played a key role in the success of Netball Central after the Zone scooped both the Beko and ANZ Premiership titles in 2019, the appointment of two assistants, for the first time, being pivotal to succession planning.

The pair will join Anna Andrews-Tasola, who will assume the head coach role after three years as assistant. Former Manawa head coach Pelesa Semu has moved up to the assistant’s role with Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse for 2020 while head coach Yvette McCausland-Durie also came via the Beko route.

``We believe having two assistants is a great way to provide opportunities at a higher level and having one from outside Wellington highlights our Zone-wide and inclusive approach to coaching pathways,’’ Netball Central High Performance Director Waimarama Taumaunu said.

``While this was a challenging process involving a small but talented field, we’re delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to Emma and John. It will effectively broaden our coaching base while adding to and developing individual skillsets.’’

From coaching at school and representative level, Palmerston North-based Atkins has forged an impressive resume during the past nine years. He has enjoyed considerable success with Manawatu age-group and NPC teams and the Massey University Tertiary Games and club teams while expanding his knowledge through coaching courses, programmes and workshops.

The experienced Atkins filled the criteria that one of the assistants would be based outside of Wellington and was delighted with his appointment.

``I think my enjoyment of coaching netball is reflected in the players that I have coached,’’ he said.

``I encourage them to work hard, have fun and to be the best they can be and look to build their confidence while empowering their belief and feeling of being a cohesive team.

``I have an expectation that players will endeavour to be the best they can be, and have the same philosophy for myself as a coach.’’

After a successful playing career, which included being part of the NZU21 squad and New Zealand Secondary Schools team while playing at NPC and age-grade level for Wellington over a number of years, Weenink quickly moved into coaching.

She has been involved with coaching at school, club, university and age-group level in recent years in Wellington and was Netball Wellington Coach of the Year 2016 and Netball Wellington Coach of the Year (Developing Players) 2014.

``I am passionate about Netball Central Zone’s homegrown vision,’’ Weenink said.

``My previous experience has largely been at development level but I’m ready for this next step up. My general approach encourages athletes to develop both personal ownership and team commitment.’’

Sitting directly below the ANZ Premiership, the Beko league is an important pathway for coaches and players to the elite level, Manawa having been a dominating presence since its inception in 2016. Finishing runners-up in the first edition, Manawa have forged a considerable reputation after winning the next three on the trot.

Trials for the 2020 Manawa team will be held in early January.