15/04/2024
Kim Green believes Julie Fitzgerald (R) will be key to the Giants' finals campaign.

Kim Green believes Julie Fitzgerald (R) will be key to the Giants' finals campaign. Image: Dani Brown

Kim Green believes that Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald will be key to the success that the Giants have in the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball finals series.

The Giants were the minor premiers in Season 2021, just like in Season 2018, when Kim Green played for them. Now, Green looks back at her experience, and how it has shaped this Giants team. Read Part 1 here.

Green is still in touch with a number of players and the club itself, and thinks that the experience the club faced when she played for them has not shaped the playing group, but has shaped the club.

“Julie Fitzgerald is probably the best coach to have at the helm in terms of going into finals,” Green told The Inner Sanctum.

“She’s done it many times before, and she’s extremely successful.”

“She knows how to get the players really calm going into the business end of the season,” Green explained.

Fitzgerald talked about the importance of that this week, after the team had a slow start against the Swifts in the major semi final last weekend.

Fitzgerald’s experience will show itself in a number of areas across the finals, be it tactically, or in how she manages the players.

The Giants played the Fever in the last week leading into finals in both 2018, when Green was with the team, and this year, where they secured the minor premiership.

“We came up with a really great game plan during that last week, because we knew that if we won that, it gave us a second shot, so we knew we had to win,” Green reminisced about the 2018 team.

“We came up with a strong strategy, implemented it, absolutely nailed it.”

The problem for the 2018 Giants was that the minor premiership was sewn up, but it came at a tactical cost, Green believes.

“The next week, the Fever had done their homework, and not that we stayed in the same form, but it shook us a little bit because they had clearly done their homework,” she explained.

This year, Green thinks that the Giants have played their hand better, and in the finals weeks of the 2021 season, the team was focussing on doing the basics properly and correctly, rather than giving a hint about any tactical plans.

“I don’t think they’ve shown their cards too early, I think they’ll have things up their sleeve, ready for finals,” the former captain explained.

“You have to be able to bring something different, because there is no way you’re winning a final without bringing something difference against the likes of the Fever, because they’re pretty phenomenal.”

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Green also sees the parallels with young shooter Kiera Austin. Green tore her ACL in Round 5 of the 2018 season, while Austin tore hers in Round 1 of this year.

However, in both cases, Fitzgerald made sure to keep her players involved, despite those season-ending injuries.

“I almost came to terms with it, because Julie allowed me to be part of the team for so long,” Green explained.

“I played a major role within it, I felt like I had worth within the team, and that’s what Julie does so well.

Austin has been along for the ride this year with the team, relocating with them each time as she continues to rehabilitate her injury. The team unity is visible, as Austin’s recovery is celebrated by the whole team.

Green thinks that had Austin remained in Sydney to do her recovery, it would have been a difficult experience for the young shooter.

“That would have been really tough for her, she would have been sitting back, wanting to be a part of that, wanting to be a part of the conversations that were being had, that we’re privy to as a player,” the retired midcourter explained.

“I look at that, and Kiera is going to play a huge role, for the fact that Julie has allowed her to, and that’s why I always just think that Julie has always been the best coach that I’ve ever been under.”

“That shows right there that its more than just netball, and its looking after the person, also understanding that and balancing the emotions that come with a major injury,” Green said.

Green explained what her role within the team was, and how it aligned with Fitzgerald’s goals, at what was a fledgling club at the time.

“I was heavily involved in the team with travel, I would sit on the bench, and I would assist in the midcourt specialist area,” she said.

“Jules is building, not necessarily a successful team, but building a really nice team, players that she wanted to be able to coach, players that she knew would be able to build a club from the ground up.”

And Fitzgerald has done just that. The unity in the team is on display, every time they go out and play. The thing is, this year, it’s not just a really nice team. It’s a successful team too. Minor premiers, and playing for a spot in the Grand Final.

Green knows that the Giants greatest weapon isn’t out on court, but the one pulling the strings, the 350 game veteran coach who is in the finals yet again, and has been there before.

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