Steel appoints new assistant coach - February 2, 2021
Former Silver Fern and England international Jo Morrison will bring extensive experience to her new role as assistant coach of the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
A stalwart of the Otago sporting scene, Morrison’s netball nous is highly-regarded in the sport’s top echelon as a selector for the Silver Ferns.
Now she will be tasked with mentoring Steel’s all-new attacking line-up comprising England Roses shooter George Fisher, New Zealand under-21 dynamo Tiana Metuarau and young gun Kiana Pelasio – a challenge she’s ready to embrace.
“I think it’s the first time we’ve ever had so many debutants in the Steel team. There’s some really strong young talent coming through and if we can pull together as a team the possibilities are endless,” Morrison said.
“Kiana was thrown into the fire so to speak as a replacement player last season and did extremely well. Tiana is new to the south but not the ANZ Premiership so brings a lot of experience with her and George is a player of international quality which adds another dynamic into the mix.”
The Steel role was an opportunity Morrison simply she couldn’t turn down.
“To be working with the calibre of players at that level in a semi-professional environment will be incredible. I’ve been a player in that world before but I haven’t been a coach so I’m looking forward to developing a new perspective and honing my skills even further,” she said.
“I’m excitedly nervous and I know from my time as a player that’s a great place to be because that’s often where you do perform at your best.”
Morrison will also be at the helm of the Southern Blast team to contest the 2021 National Netball League.
“Having my finger on the pulse with those players coming through the ranks will be really invaluable in terms of the pathways we’re creating here in the south. Working across both teams means I’ll be able to move the Blast players up to where they need to be so it’s not such a daunting step up to the Steel.”
She was eager to learn from Steel head coach Reinga Bloxham, who she often used to do battle with on court in their own representative playing careers.
“We really share the same values and I think we’ll complement each other nicely,” Morrison said.
“And we have a spiritual connection with Georgie (coaching legend Georgie Salter) – I know she’s on each of our shoulders challenging us when we need to be.”
Bloxham was equally excited to join forces with Morrison.
“Jo is a very experienced shooter who will add knowledge and skill to our attacking end, especially the shooting circle,” she said.
“She has a good understanding of the game and the demands of competing at the elite level. She also brings enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and grow her coaching skills.”
Training for the Steel squad is now in full swing as it prepares for its 2021 ANZ Premiership season opener on home turf at ILT Stadium Southland against the Good Oil Tactix on April 18. In a prelude, the neighbouring rivals will contest a pre-season tournament in Timaru on March 12 and 13.