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Swifts secure coaching ticket

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The NSW Swifts are delighted to announce that Head Coach Briony Akle and Assistant Coach Anita Keelan have signed on with the club for another two years.

The pair, who first coached together last season, have returned the Swifts to Finals netball for the first time since 2016 with nine wins and a draw from 13 games in 2019 so far.

Today’s news means Akle will take charge of the Swifts’ Suncorp Super Netball campaigns in 2020 and 2021 with Keelan at her side.

A double Premiership-winning player with the club when it sported the yellow dress of the Sydney Swifts, Akle came through the Netball NSW coaching pathway afterwards, achieving huge success with state teams at underage level before taking over from Rob Wright in 2018.

Keelan, who was part of the Swifts backroom team that took the club to back-to-back Grand Finals in 2015 and 2016, is also a stalwart of NSW coaching and was Head Coach of the Sydney Sandpipers in the days of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy.

NSW Swifts General Manager Nikki Horton said the club was excited to have the pair locked in for two more seasons.

"This is wonderful news for everyone at the NSW Swifts," she said. "Briony and Anita have created a fantastic culture and developed players who not only want to excel for themselves but for everyone around them.

"They are also exceptionally popular with the players, the performance staff and everyone who works for the Swifts in any capacity which means everyone is pulling together.

"That we have secured a top-two finish for the 2019 regular season, and still have the opportunity to win the minor premiership, is a testament to the amazing work they have done in a short time.

"The goal is to win a first Championship since 2008 and Briony and Anita have put us in a great position to achieve that, so retaining them is a huge boost for us."

Akle paid tribute to her Assistant Coach and said she was excited about the challenges ahead.

"You are only ever as good as those around you, and while I really enjoy working with everyone at the Swifts, Anita is a standout," she said.

"Her work ethic and attention to detail is phenomenal, as is her passion for the club, its history, its legacy and its future.

"On a personal level I cannot wait for the challenges ahead, especially the rest of our 2019 campaign. We have a special group of players and we’re pretty well advanced in preparations for 2020 so now it’s about putting our heads down and building on the good work that’s gone before."

Last weekend’s loss to the Collingwood Magpies in Tasmania means the Swifts sit second on the Super Netball ladder, just two points behind the Sunshine Coast Lighting.

However, they have a chance to push for a home Major Semi-Final when they host the Queensland Firebirds this Saturday in the Round 14 Double-Header at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena.

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