Experienced coach Natalie Milicich is returning to her netball roots after being announced as the new Northern Marvels head coach for the 2022 National Netball League (NNL).
Milicich, who has spent time in Wellington and Singapore coaching and was also involved in the Mystics campaign with Yvonne Willering in the inaugural year of the former trans-tasman competition, will guide the defending NNL champion Marvels when New Zealand’s premier development pathway league resumes next year.
The former Auckland finance manager headed to Wellington to rekindle her coaching passion in 2016 and led the region’s Central team to victory in what was then the Beko Netball League in 2017 when she was also named Netball New Zealand’s Performance Coach of the Year.
Milicich went on to guide Singapore’s national team for two years, including the 2019 World Netball Cup in Liverpool, before returning home to Auckland.
She takes over the role from Ripeka Pirie, who has decided to move on to other ventures after guiding the Marvels to the 2021 National Netball League title.
Milicich said she was excited about the challenge ahead as coach of the Marvels for the 2022 National Netball League following on from the success of both the Marvels and ANZ Premiership winning Mystics this year.
“To be given an opportunity to work alongside some amazing people and high performing home-grown athletes is exhilarating and I look forward to contributing to the Netball Northern Zone’s legacy and continuing to learn and grow.”
Mystics head coach Helene Wilson said she was delighted to see Milicich return to the Northern Zone and pick up the reins with the Marvels.
“Nat has so many coaching experiences across multiple levels to draw on. Our athletes will be in great hands to strive for back-to-back campaign success,” she said.
“Appointing a coach who has history and connection with our Zone is pretty special and we are humbled to welcome home Nat who is passionate about not only netball, but the Mystics and future success of Netball Northern.
“We pass on our sincere thanks to Ripeka who has laid some great foundations during her four years with the Marvels. Ripeka has been instrumental in shifting the training ethic of development players within the Northern Zone, and that hard work was evident during this year’s title run.”
The Marvels made history with its Grand Final win over the Northern Comets in July for their first NNL title.