Alexander’s future with Diamonds unclear
NETBALL Australia chief executive Marne Fechner admits it is "premature" to say whether coach Lisa Alexander will continue to lead the Diamonds beyond 2020 towards the two next major tournaments.
Fechner said she had yet to speak with Alexander about her future following the Diamonds' heartbreaking one-goal loss to the Silver Ferns at the netball World Cup last month.
Alexander's contract was extended last year until the end of 2020 when she will become the Diamonds' longest-serving coach.
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The 2015 World Cup-winning coach also has an option to extend the contract for a further two years that would take her up to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Fechner said Alexander would be a key part of a review in the team's World Cup campaign - conducted as a matter of course after every major event - and discussions about her contract would be held at the "right time".
"Lisa has been on leave and we have had no conversations in relation to her contract or whether it's going to be extended or not extended," Fechner said.
"Our focus is really on completing the review, which Lisa is a key part of, and our next milestone event (Constellation Cup against New Zealand).
"There will be the right time for that conversation, but that date hasn't been set.
"I think it's premature to be pre-empting anything in relation to that and there will be the right time and the right place and the right process around that.
"With respect to the team and Lisa we need to go through what we need to go through in terms of understanding what happened and that's going to take a couple of months to do."
Alexander conceded her position could be under pressure after the Diamonds stumbled at the final hurdle at a major event for the second consecutive year. The Diamonds also lost the Commonwealth Games final to England on the Gold Coast last year.
"Netball Australia expects success and one of the things I'm judged on is benchmark events," Alexander said after the World Cup loss.
Fechner said a review into the World Cup performance would be part of a wider review being conducted at the end of the team's four-year high-performance cycle.
"While a silver medal is not what we went to Liverpool for and the entire program is hurting as a result of that, we are really proud of the team," Fechner said.
"We do a review after every campaign … there is no special review because we lost by one goal and we've lost twice.
"There will be a review. It will be thorough, they take around three to four months to collect all the data and conduct all of the interviews and that will really inform and feed into a much broader review that's happening at the moment because we are at the end of a four-year cycle.
"The review is going to look at all elements of it; the preparation of the team on and off the court, how it integrated with the Super Netball program and these are all really important conversations for us to have."
PUSH FOR INTERNATIONAL NETBALL WINDOW
Australian netball chiefs are leading a push for a designated six-month window for international netball with the sport's world governing body.
Fechner has revealed discussions have been held with the International Netball Federation (INF) to find a way to give the world's top domestic leagues and international events their own exclusive space on the netball calendar.
The move comes after Australia's Super Netball competition - considered to be the world's premier domestic league - was forced to break for a month mid-season for the Liverpool World Cup last month.
It's a clash Fechner was eager to avoid in the future and raised the issue with the international federation during the World Cup.
"What we are working on with the international federation - and it's a conversation that has involved and is open to all international members - is around how do we actually designate a period of say six months for international content and a period of six months for domestic content," Fechner said.
"So around the world the major leagues that are starting to emerge and have prominance that they can have a designated space to operate in.
"I think that that's an ideal scenario. It's a complex conversation to have globally when there is a broad range of things that impact on when netball is played."
The push for designated windows for domestic and international netball would require the world's top competitions - Super Netball, New Zealand's ANZ Premiership and England's Superleague - working in unison.
Fechner acknowledged there would be competing interests that would make the move difficult, but believed it would be the best outcome for the sport internationally.
"I think it would be easier for the sport to actually manage the competing needs of athletes, the competing needs of countries, commercial agreements all of those types of things that actually play into the pressure that we put on our system," Fechner said.