By Fayth Doherty and Zac Attwood
After a second grand final appearance with The Good Oil Tactix and ankle surgery in the offseason, the Netball Post caught up with Jane Watson to chat about her career, the Silver Ferns and the upcoming 2022 season
The Journey to Elite Netball
Jane received a scholarship to Lincoln University and was playing club netball when she first got called into the Tactix playing team as an injury replacement player. After a strong performance, she was given a contract the following year. In 2016 she got the call up into the Silver Ferns when Anna Harrison got injured before the Netball Quad Series in which she made her debut in the black dress against England.
When reflecting on her elite netball journey to date she is quick to point out the value of every experience along the way. “From every coach, you learn something different, whether that is good or bad and I think everyone has a part to play to get to where you are”. She concludes that the best way to rise to the top is to be challenged on your journey there “I don’t think it should be an easy road, I think it needs to be hard and it needs to be challenging”.
The Tactix in 2022
Talk then turned to The Good Oil Tactix and what she wants to see from her team in 2022. Jane is keen that they start the new year strong “I just want everyone to take it to the next level straight away” and hopes that they will take an attitude to the court where they “expect every game to just be your best game”.
This is in comparison to last season where she felt like “sometimes it can just feel a little bit reserved”. She reflects that the team was holding back in earlier rounds and took their time building into the season. In the upcoming season, she wants to see them start off strong and keep that momentum throughout the whole season; she wants the Tactix to start with a bang!
When asked about what the team can do to improve collectively and strategically Jane responds “I would like to see more rotation of players, I think we could use our whole ten to use everyone’s strengths and I think that would be a real force to be reckoned with. Bring fresh legs out and make the other teams think and adapt. I think that would be a really cool thing that we could do.”
Her partnership with Karin Burger at the ANZ Premiership level has been strong all throughout the season and she hopes that it will translate nicely into the Silver Ferns environment, even though it is a very different environment from the domestic competition.
Looking towards the Commonwealth Games
The prospect of playing at a Commonwealth Games was exciting for Jane and she has her fingers crossed that fans will see her there come July next year. With the Commonwealth Games being in England, the Netball Post asked about the success that the Silver Ferns had previously had in Liverpool.
When reflecting on the preparation for that series back in 2019, Jane said “I think it was really well planned by Noeline… we actually had quite a bit of time together and normally we only get two days together and are expected to perform with people who you might not have played with very much. Having a lot more time together was beneficial”.
She commended the way that players were kept fresh all the way up to the semi-final and final by the coaching staff, “There was just so much clarity, everyone knew what their role was and we were all on the same page and there was just a really good group and it all seemed to work.”
Looking at herself as a senior player in the team, Jane said “It doesn’t matter what role I am in, it will just be me and I am pretty honest, pretty straight up… I guess with me you get what you get and nothing really changes. Whatever you have seen out there recently you will see more of that in the future. ”
When it comes to the future of the Silver Ferns, she wants to see more of Kimiora Poi. “She has got so much potential and I’ve seen her work ethic and how she is as a person and I think she would be really good for the team”. Jane is also looking forward to seeing more of Maddy Gordon as “She has been performing well and she has guts and she won’t stop”. Finally, she is interested to see the development of Grace Nweke, specifically “Her mental game, maturity and everything else that comes along”
To conclude, Jane was asked about her takeaways from the two recent series that the Silver Ferns played in.
Jane is a big fan of Silver Ferns coach, Noeline Taurua as part of that experience. “She is just real, you see what you get… she is a bit out the gate but she is very clever.”
She notes how the Silver Ferns coach has reinvigorated the line up, and not shied away from making changes “Noels has had a chance to see some different people out there, she is not afraid to make changes. So I think it has been good for her to see if people can perform at the international level because it’s definitely different than ANZ.”
“We still have a whole season to play before the Commonwealth games so who knows what will happen.”