SSN After the Fact: Nicole Richardson

WELCOME to After the Fact, a new series at Rookie Me Central, chatting to key figures in the Suncorp Super Netball post match and get their thoughts on the match that just transpired and the bigger issues in the game.

Today’s chat, the first of two this week, is with Collingwood coach Nicole Richardson, who spoke after her side’s emotionally charged win over Adelaide on the weekend.

You could hear the emotion in Richardson’s voice and see it in her body language after the match.

“I’ve been emotionally, physically, mentally drained for the past month along with my players,” she said. “They’ve worked so hard throughout the season, unfortunately not to get the rewards, but tonight we got the rewards and the way that they stayed strong”

“We got a message of support from a fan that basically said ‘thank you for inspiring my two children and for allowing them to be the best versions of themselves’, and I used that in the changeroom, and I spoke to our group about the best version of themselves and the best version of us, and I think you saw that out on court today.”

As the Thunderbirds came back at her side in the last quarter, Richardson spoke of how she was riding the waves of emotion of the quarter.  

“Oh I don’t think I sat down much,” she said with a laugh.

“I think it’s one of those things. This game of netball is so close, the two point shot, you know the Thunderbirds had sunk a few throughout the game, so no margin’s big enough. So, just super proud of the group to be able to hold on”

“They challenged us at the back end, we kept our composure, we kept momentum by having ball in our hands, and that’s what they’ve trained all year to do, and to be able to do that in their last home game in front of a really vocal, loyal supportive crowd, it was good to see.”

The Pies’ defenders really shone in the win, and received praise from their coach post-game.

“I thought they did a good job” Richardson said. “We need to make sure, they’ve got a tone of talent down that end, Tippah Dwan’s having a good season, Elllie Cardwell’s been a bonus to them this season and added some strength down that end”.

“When you play against them scorelines are really low anyway, so I just thought we were able to just keep pressure on them the whole time. I spoke to them at the last break I think it was and just making sure they continued to have the defensive intent and what’s next mindset, particularly between the transverse line and the top of the circle, otherwise they just drive in on top of you.

“I thhought Brazzy and Molly did a good job out in front and Geva and Jods were just a little nuisance tonight, so it’s a relief but it’s not a surprise because I know what they are capable of and as I said that’s what we saw tonight against a really good team in Adelaide Thunderbirds.”

It has been a hard month for anyone involved with the netball team at the Pies, and Richardson is no different. She confessed everything that’s going on has been taking a toll on her.

“It’s really hard,” she said. You’re kind of just surviving but within the game and when you’re at training you’re focused, you’re intent, you’re in the moment and then when you get a bit of down time like the siren goes and you saw it last week, the emotions spill out.”

“It’s been hard, the last month’s been crazy particularly the last two weeks. It’s tough but we’ve got a very good support unit around us, friends and family and my friends and family that have reached out to support me, I draw strength from them as well, and I draw strength from our supporter base just knowing we’ve given them so much, and that’s really important for me as a coach that not only do our girls are in a privileged position to be able to do what they do on court, but be able to give back, inspire the next generation of netball, that’s an amazing place to be.”

Next week is another big game for the Pies, this time against crosstown rivals the Vixens, and Richardson is under no illusion of the challenge in front of her girls.

“We match up well against the Vixens. We need to make sure we execute the game plan, which is what we did today for almost 60 minutes,” Richardson said.

“But I thought we had our speed in our attack end, our ball movement was pretty good defensively, we put them under pressure, we kept the ball low, we took Shamera Sterling out of the game just by playing smart, opened up the fat side of the court”

“It’s just making sure that the next week we control what we can control, and hopefully we can put another good game of netball in in from what I understand is a sold out John Cain Arena.”

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