Ash Brazill: Collingwood Magpies in the present

Brazill during the Melbourne Derby. (Photo: Dani Brown)

There have been a lot of changes at the Collingwood Magpies over the five years the team has been in the Suncorp Super Netball.

In 2021, only one player remains from the side that was unveiled in late 2016. Mid-court legend, Ash Brazill.

Brazill spoke to The Inner Sanctum about how the club has changed since the beginning and what’s install for the Magpies in the future.

READ: Part one of our interview series here.

When the program first launched, the team was full of Australian players with no internationals. Nowadays, there is a 50/50 spilt.

“I think I’m the only one left not just as player but as a coach,” Brazill told The Inner Sanctum.

“It is weird, there has been a lot of changes and with that then you change the way you play.

“I remember the first year we were all Australian players, where as with this year including Geva [Mentor] as an international it’s about 50/50.

“When you have players that are from all over the word, you’ve got England, Jamaica, Australia and Trinidad and Tobago, we play different brands of netball.”

“Our focus has gone away from the Australian style and trying to find a way that we can fit all these different types of netball into one. I felt like we started to get there at the end of the season.”

Collingwood Magpies squad for 2021. (Photo: Collingwood Super Netball/Twitter)

In a sign of stability for the club, Magpies coach Nicole Richardson signed an extension that will see her remain in the role until the end of 2023.

Brazill said that Richardson has made a big impact since being at the helm of the Magpies.

“Richo is great, and all of our coaches have been great. The club obviously wants success and last year our team only had one win, this year we had six wins,” Brazill said.

“We’ve definitely improved, she’s a coach that players just love and we know she gets around us.

“She’s probably more passionate then anyone in the team. She loves winning she loves training, and she just wants to build a good culture, which I think she’s doing. We’re definitely heading in the right direction.

“My biggest thing is continuity. If we can keep a solid group together including the coaches I think this team can go anywhere.

“You look at the Swifts when they won the Grand Final, they were just a young team that had played together for three years consistently and anything can happen from there.”

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The foundations have been set for a great future for this young Magpies team, but there is still a bit to go before they challenge for the premiership.

“I think we still have a long way to go, you even look at Fever like they’ve been the same team for five years,” Brazill said.

“I think we’ve definitely headed in the right direction. I think the best thing is we know it’s not perfect, so there is things to improve on.

“We’re not going to sit back and go we’re good here, because I think if we do the same thing we’ve done this year we’re not going to get any better.

“We recognise that and already you see how excited Richo is for next year, she’s already wanting us to train and we’ve told her to cool her jets!

“I think we’re headed in the right direction. When you’ve got a coach is just passionate and is driven for success, any team can go anywhere with her.”

Looking back to 2016 when Brazill made the choice to move to the Magpies, she never would have imagined she’d be where she is now.

“Playing footy and netball no, I’d never thought I’d play the both at the one time.

“My goal was to always to make the Diamonds, so it’s been really nice to get back into the squad after doing my knee and having 12 months away from the game.

“It’s a bit surreal and really nice to share it with my son and my wife, because they’ve been through the journey over the last 18 months.”

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