Richardson excited by Magpies challenge

Nicole Richardson, third from the left, is the new Collingwood Magpies coach. Picture Shawn Smits. 223430_01

Tara Murray

Having spent 1000s of hours developing netballers in Melbourne’s north-west, Nicole Richardson will take the next step in her career as the new coach of the Collingwood Magpies Super Netball team.

The City West Falcons and Altona Netball Association coach, who has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at the Magpies, was named as the new coach, replacing Rob Wright.

Richardson, who represented Australia in both softball and netball, said she is looking forward to the opportunity.

She is excited by the challenge of coaching a club entrenched in tradition and history within the Australian sporting culture.

“I put myself in positions that if opportunity arose, I could look to put my hand up for a role like that,” she said.

“I was fortunate enough to have two years working with West Coast Fever and I’m very grateful for them, backing a Victorian to come along into their coaching environment.

“I’m then very grateful to Rob Wright and the Collingwood Magpies as an assistant coach.

“Four years as an assistant coach across the two clubs, both those experiences I think have put me in a really good position to put a stamp on the Collingwood Magpies netball club.”

The Magpies won just one game this year, finishing bottom of the ladder in a season which saw the competition played in a hub in Queensland.

Richardson said they were competitive, with the side losing four games by less than five goals.

“I’m not hiding away from the fact that the results weren’t good enough, still a lot of work to be done, but there’s still a lot of positives to be taken out of the 2020 season.

“In particular those young players who got some court time, particularly the likes of a Molly Jovic who has come through the Altona Netball Association and City West Falcons, it was great to see her get her opportunity out on court and really flourish within the environment.”

Jovic is just one of the many players Richardson has seen through her coaching with the Falcons and Altona.

Richardson’s new role means an end to her time at the Falcons.

She said it was a hard decision to move on from the club that is a second family to her, but will take much of what she learnt to the Magpies.

“Marg and I have been at the City West Falcons for a very long time,” she said.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to learn my craft under Marg Lind and the development that I’ve had in my coaching through the Falcons.

“What I take from them is the winning culture that we have developed at City West Falcons… And being part of a family environment. “We’re really big on that and when I put my case forward [to the Magpies] that was one of my big philosophies about developing a winning culture and developing those athlete-coach relationships.

“That’s something that is embedded throughout the City West Falcons and I want to further that and extend that to the Magpies.”

Having been part of the Victorian Netball League season for so long, Richardson said it was important for her to develop a pathway for Victorian athletes in that competition through to the Magpies.

The Magpies started training earlier this month.

“You see the likes of Ashleigh Brazill coming back into the line up and we’ve got Jacqui Newton, who has spent four years in the Vixens environment and has come from a very successful winning culture.

“Kalifa McCollin is coming over and joining us from Trinidad and Tobago. I guess those three add a little flair to our line up, looking forward to seeing what they can do.

“I think one difference between Collingwood and the rest of the teams this year, was we were up against teams that are rather established in combinations. For me the exciting thing moving forward iswe get to spend another year further developing these connections.

“I want Collingwood Magpies to be the choice of clubs for Victorian athletes and fill a stadium, hopefully we can show the supporters an exciting brand of netball.”