Netball coach spoilt for choice in men’s starting seven

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Struggling to pick the starting seven players is a “great problem” for Dunedin men’s netball coach Richard Jocelyn to have.

And he will have his work cut out for him when the team competes in the New Zealand Men’s Netball Nationals in Porirua next week.

“There’s a squad of 11 and it’s actually hard to pick a starting seven out of those 11 because they are all good players,” he said.

“It’s a great problem to have as a coach.”

It will be the third consecutive year the team has competed in the tournament. It will play in B grade.

Players have been training together since late June, and had a mini-tournament against Southland and Christchurch teams last month.

Men’s netball was not a huge league in Dunedin – there were about 25 players – so the tournament was the first time this season the team has been able to play other full men’s teams, he said.

“It was a good indicator that we had a lot of work to do because the physical nature is slightly different when you play guys than when you play women.

“It’s a really good aerial, fast game.

“It’s very different to the skill-set that the Silver Ferns have.”

The Dunedin team would have some tough competition in B grade, including an Australian reserve side, but Jocelyn hoped they could reach the finals.

“They’re a very capable team.

“They’ve got some great players throughout the court. It’s just about time on the court against men’s netballers and having that little bit of tournament gel that everybody wants.”

There was an increase in teams signed up for the tournament – 12 in B grade alone – which Jocelyn was pleased to see.

“The Cadbury Series did men’s netball a world of good.”

More young people were interested in the sport, and he hoped they could expand it so they had teams to play in as they got older.

“If we can do well as a Dunedin team and hopefully encourage a few more to play, that would be terrific.”