4 Jul 2016

Northern Mystics appoint new coach

11:18 am on 4 July 2016

The Northern Mystics have appointed home-grown product Helene Wilson as their head coach for next year's new elite domestic netball league.

Northern Mystics players Nadia Loveday, Kayla Cullen and Serena Guthrie celebrate a win 2016.

Northern Mystics players Nadia Loveday, Kayla Cullen and Serena Guthrie. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

She replaces Debbie Fuller who is stepping down at the end of the final ANZ season, and will lead the Mystics in the new look competition, which will include a sixth side in the greater Auckland area.

Wilson's coaching CV includes guiding the New Zealand Secondary Schools team to wins over Australia, leading the Northern Zone under 23s to a national title, and being an assistant with the Mystics.

Most recently, Wilson has coached the Northern team in the Beko Netball League.

She is excited by the opportunities the new domestic league presents.

"The fresh start with the competition structure gives you a license to explore the style of game you want to play," Wilson said.

"We can really focus on that with the Mystics. Netball in New Zealand is about flare, excitement and playing an aerial style of game. This is a chance to get back to that."

In addition to working with many of the region's top netballers, Wilson has also played a role behind the scenes with the national women's sevens rugby and hockey sides.

Her day job for the last four years has been as an athlete life advisor at High Performance Sport New Zealand.

For most of the current Mystics playing group, Wilson is a familiar face.

Northern Mystics netball coach Helene Wilson.

Northern Mystics netball coach Helene Wilson. Photo: Photosport

The former physical education teacher has coached many of the side in their youth, including working with a 14-year-old Temalisi Fakahokotau and Silver Fern Kayla Cullen, back when she was a promising schoolgirl goal attack.

Unlike many coaches at this level, Wilson did not achieve major honours as a player. North Harbour age group rep sides were the peak of her wing defence efforts.

"I was always the 12th person selected in a rep team," she said. "But I'd work really hard and contribute to the training environment. I was a student of the game, with one coach telling me: 'If your legs could do what your brain understands, you'd be awesome.' I took that as a compliment. I had to work really hard - and I expect others to do the same."

Wilson will start assembling the team she will take into next season's competition as soon as the final ANZ season is over.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.