Netball: Willsher calls time at Jets

RILEY STUARTSouth Western Times

The Griffin Souwest Jets officially began their search for a new coach last week, after premiership-winning mastermind Michelle Willsher called time on her six-year stint at the club.

She sighted a desire to spend more time with her children as the principle motivator behind her decision.

‘‘I finished this year really exhausted — physically and mentally more than any other year,’’ Willsher said.

‘‘I just couldn’t see myself getting up for another year and did not feel that I’d be able to give the players 100 per cent of myself.

‘‘That’s really important — you have to be able to give that if you take over the role of head coach.’’

The 36-year-old will continue in her role as the South West development officer for netball WA.

Willsher successfully oversaw their club’s return to the top-flight SNL this year, in which they finished sixth with three wins from 18 games.

She took the reins of the Jets State Netball League side in 2005, and when that team was withdrawn from the competition in 2007 she coached their reserves where she won a premiership last year.

‘‘It’s a huge time commitment, but also a huge emotional commitment,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve still got a young family, and I’d like to be able to spend a bit more time with them in the coming season.’’

Willsher, who last year became the inaugural recipient of the South West Academy of Sport’s Wally Foreman award for contribution to sport, could not rule out another stint at the club in the future.

‘‘It’s not a break for ever, I certainly feel that way, It’s a break just for now,’’ she said.

‘‘I could certainly see myself back coaching at that level again but in what time frame I’m not sure at this stage.’’

Souwest Jets coordinator Julie Hughes said Willsher would be missed by the WA netball community and said the club hoped to appoint a new coach before its player selection trials in November.

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