Home Australia ‘My biggest challenge will be patience’: Liz Ellis appointed to Netball Australia board

‘My biggest challenge will be patience’: Liz Ellis appointed to Netball Australia board

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A woman dressed in white poses with a crystal prize.

A year after being rejected in her quest to join Netball Australia’s board, Liz Ellis has finally found a seat at the table.

The former Diamonds captain (2004-2011) has been appointed manager and says she believes now is the right time to try to influence change.

Ellis spent 15 years representing her country at the top, appearing in four World Cups and three Commonwealth Games as she worked her way to becoming our most capped player (122).

The Diamonds’ annual MVP award is named in his honor.

Goalkeeper Courtney Bruce won the 2023 Liz Ellis Diamond.(Getty Images: Graham Denholm)

Off the court, Ellis studied law at Macquarie University and served on the boards of the Australian Sports Commission, the New South Wales Institute of Sport, the Sydney Olympic Park Authority and Players Voice.

She has also built an impressive media career, previously commentating on the Super Netball league for Channel Nine and 10, writing columns for the Sydney Morning Herald, appearing regularly as a panelist on The Project and winning reality show I’m a Celebrity Get Me. Out of here in 2023.

Ellis got a good look behind the curtain of her beloved sport when she led a state of the game review in 2020 that assessed where netball was at before making several recommendations to help maintain its status as the number one sport for women and girls in Australia.

Overall, many would say there is no name more synonymous with netball in this country, perhaps even the world, so the news that Netball Australia had set aside Ellis’ experience to re-name some of its existing directors last year definitely caught the eye.

Two netball commentators hold microphones courtside before a Super Netball match.

Ellis commented on netball when it was broadcast on Channel 10 and Channel Nine.(AAP: Darren England)

Speaking about his appointment, Ellis told ABC Sport that he now felt the time was right to take on a governance role, three seasons since he last commented on a game and moving into a different area of ​​the media industry.

“Look, I’m really excited and I think it’s the right time to do it,” Ellis said.

“I used to think I couldn’t do it while commentating, simply because it’s a conflict of interest, but now I feel far removed from those tasks to take it on.

“I have sat outside the organization and had an opinion for several years, but now is the time to come in and contribute in my areas of knowledge and experience.

“A crisis should never be wasted and sport has experienced a number of crises in the last 12 months, but it has actually created an opportunity for some meaningful conversations to happen.”

Ellis has criticized the sport’s management in previous years, decrying its “callous disregard” for player welfare during last year’s pay dispute, particularly its decision to give Diamonds players a letter warning of legal action regarding to his attendance at the Australian Netball Awards. .

He was also part of a failed bid by businessman Matt Berriman to buy the Super Netball league and believes privatization should definitely be considered in the future.

This conversation comes at an important time, with talks between Australia and New Zealand about the possibility of reuniting in a netball league beyond 2026, when Fox Netball’s current broadcast deal expires, particularly considering neither team of Super Netball is currently converted. profit and expansion are high on the sport’s priority list.

As Ellis also points out, the year 2027 will also be crucial as Sydney will host the next World Cup, a tournament that will mark the centenary of netball.

“I still firmly believe that we should look very carefully at privatizing Super Netball or some other type of investment,” Ellis said.

“If later, after proper assessment, it is decided that it is not the right thing to do, then you can explain to the system why and what your alternative plans are.

“There are a couple of years left for the broadcast deal with some good sponsors, so there is some opportunity before the World Cup in 2027, where we will celebrate the centenary of the sport, to see what is best for it going forward.

“Obviously it’s like planting a tree, the best time to fix some of this stuff was 20 years ago, but the next best time to look at it is today.

“I think my biggest challenge will be not to be impatient, because I only want the best for the sport.”

Irene van Dyk and Liz Ellis

Ellis in the middle of one of his famous battles with the New Zealander Irene van Dyk.(Getty: Simón Cruz)

When asked what his other focuses will be in his new role, Ellis said he thought the recommendations made in State of the Game Review were definitely worth revisiting.

“I think there are some really pressing issues, like making sure the relationships with external stakeholders like sponsors, broadcasters and government are really solidified, solidifying those and seeing how we can add value to them and give them what they need,” Ellis said. .

“Other things too, like ensuring the digital landscape of sport is optimal, whether it needs third-party investment, talking to all the member organizations and making sure everyone’s needs are met, so we can position the sport to be become a real voice for women in Australia.

“The State of the Game review certainly doesn’t have all the answers, but it’s a good starting point, so I hope that coming in as a new board member with that kind of knowledge under my belt will help and won’t take too long.” Catch up”.

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