7 Sep 2023

Netball legend Robyn Broughton dies

11:35 am on 7 September 2023
Coach Robyn Broughton and captain Bernice Mene after Southern Sting beat Canterbury Flames in the 2001 Coca Cola Cup domestic netball final.

Robyn Broughton, left, with captain Bernice Mene after Southern Sting beat Canterbury Flames in the 2001 Coca Cola Cup domestic netball final. Photo: Photosport

Robyn Broughton, one of New Zealand's most successful netball coaches, has died.

Broughton, MNZM and ONZM, left an unparalleled record in New Zealand's elite domestic competitions and became an icon of Southland netball.

The 80-year-old died after a recent illness.

The wily operator put Invercargill on the map during her long tenure with the Southern Sting where netball became a top flight sport. It gained wide-spread and almost a cult-like following while dominating the local media.

Broughton was head coach of the Sting from 1998-2007, winning a record seven Coca Cola/National Bank Cup titles during that time while being the only coach to lead a team for all 10 seasons of both those competitions.

She led the Sting for 100 matches, returning an impressive 82 percent win record which was 14 percent better than any other coach while achieving 47 more wins.

With the introduction of the trans-Tasman league in 2008, Broughton took over as coach of the Southern Steel, remaining at the helm until 2011. She moved north to coach the Central Pulse from 2012-15.

On the international front, Broughton was the Silver Ferns assistant coach in 2000-01. When the shorter form of the game was introduced, Broughton led the FastNet Ferns to the world series title in 2010.

"Robyn Broughton was an incredible woman that gave a huge amount to our game, the most successful domestic coach in our history, winning seven titles in the National Bank Cup," a Netball New Zealand statement said.

"She was a Netball New Life Member, Silver Ferns assistant coach and a mentor to many of the coaches who now in the Netball NZ High Performance system.

"She had a huge impact on the players and people she came in contact with her and made Southland the true home of Netball in her time."

In the 2012 Queen's Birthday and Diamond Jubilee Honours, she was appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to netball.

Netball South chief executive Sonya Fleming paid tribute to Broughton's unrivalled dedication to the sport which saw her inducted as a life member of both Netball Southland and Netball New Zealand.

"Robyn sparked a netball revolution in Southland and ignited a sense of southern pride which continues to burn bright," Fleming said.

"Her impact on our game was immeasurable. Legend isn't a word you bestow on someone lightly but Robyn was truly deserving of that status and well-respected by all who had the honour of being coached by her.

"Her legacy undoubtedly lives on in all of those players she mentored - many of whom have gone on to carve their own successful coaching careers.

"While she was often been hailed for her success at the elite ranks, perhaps it was her influence on the younger generation which was arguably her greatest accomplishment. So many of her young players went on to forge impressive sporting careers, fuelled by a passion for netball she inspired."

Netball New Zealand is planning on a tribute to the revered coach when the Silver Ferns host Australia in Invercargill at ILT Stadium Southland, a fortress of Southern netball, on the 19th of October.

Two years ago Netball New Zealand named a trophy in her honour - the Robyn Broughton Trophy, awarded to the ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year.