With three starting players and coach Megan Anderson departing the Queensland Firebirds in the offseason, it seems like there might be rough times ahead. Despite this, new coach Rebecca Bulley is the perfect candidate to steady the ship and bring the Firebirds out of the rubble.
Bulley is one of the most successful Australian defenders to play the game of netball. She played 42 games for Australia over eight years after making her debut in 2008.
Winning a gold medal at the 2015 Netball World Cup and the silver medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, she knows how the game is played at the highest level.Embed from Getty Images
Experience as a player
Paired with the experience as a player playing international netball and winning silverware, she was also a part of three state league premierships.
In 2008, Bulley played in the NSW Swifts side that won the ANZ Championship and in her time at the Adelaide Thunderbirds she played in the 2013 title. In her last year at the Firebirds in 2015, she was involved in their grand final win as well.
After she departed the Firebirds, Bulley decided to retire to start a family. Needing to replace Kristiana Manu’a at short notice, GIANTS Netball head coach Julie Fitzgerald managed to convince the star defender to don the orange dress in 2017.
Retiring for the final time in August 2018, Bulley left GIANTS Netball as a legend of Australian netball.
Her longevity in the game was immense, starting at the Melbourne Kestrels in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy era in 2000, through to the last year at GIANTS Netball in 2018.Embed from Getty Images
Experience as a coach
Plying her trade as an assistant coach in 2019, Bulley found her feet in the Australian Netball League at the Canberra Giants.
She rose quickly up the ranks being appointed the head coach of the Giants Netball Academy in 2020, which lead to her first fully-fledged SSN opportunity.
Named as the assistant coach at the Swifts in 2021, Bulley was part of the premiership winning team, this time from the sidelines. This has then directly led to her current job as Queensland Firebirds head coach for the next four seasons.
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What Bulley brings
Bulley has many attributes that she brings to the head coaching role at the Firebirds, such as her experience across multiple clubs and their set-ups and her netball smarts.
Playing for the Firebirds, she is well-versed in the club, what they stand for and what their history is. She has helped to bring success to this club and will be looking to impress and do the same thing in her time as a coach over the next few seasons.
In the selection process, it was noted that Bulley possessed a measured approach to coaching and is a confident communicator.
Being measured with young or inexperienced players will get the best out of them and help to bridge the gap between where they are and where she sees them going in their playing careers.
It is well-known that Bulley has a high netball IQ, which served her well in her playing days and continues to assist her coaching.
Playing as a defender, she will be key in helping to set-up the new look Firebirds defensive end with second year player Ruby Bakewell-Doran likely to pair up with one of first year players in Remy Kamo or Ash Unie.
Her knowledge in playing as a defender against some of the best attackers that have played in the Australian league, will be an invaluable asset to this team as they find their feet.
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