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Coffin Calls Time

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

3 October 2008 - Twenty years after debuting at netball's National Provincial Championships, Jenny-May Coffin will fittingly end her playing career at the tournament in Rotorua this weekend.

The dynamic midcourter was recently named in the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel's preliminary squad for next year's ANZ Championship. However, a new role as TVNZ's weekend sports presenter and the additional work commitments involved has forced her to withdraw from the team.

"I'm not one to do something unless I can give it 100 percent," she said.

"I'm confident this is not where my involvement with the Steel ends and I would love to renew my association with them at some stage in the future.

"My passion is netball and, while I might be walking away from it now, it's not forever."

Embarking on a coaching career remained a goal.

"It's something I've always wanted to do - it's just a case of when." Just 14 when she first represented King Country at the 1988 NPC fixture in New Plymouth, Coffin has experienced netball's evolution first hand.

"It's (NPC) always been a tough tournament. We used to play two or three 40 minute games a day, followed by hour-long finals and then a North verses South game at the end of it all - and it was all played outside on a concrete court," Coffin recalled.

She still regards the provincial tournament as the heart of netball and believes it has a vital role to play in the sport's future.

"I've always been hot on provincial pride for that reason I'm very happy to be going out in this provincial competition."

The fact Coffin has only missed one NPC tournament (to attend Police College in 1994) in the past two decades comes as no surprise - her unwavering determination and athleticism have made her one of the sport's standout players.

"I've had some wonderful experiences, played with amazing netballers and been coached by many talented people but it's fitting that I was able to end my professional career under a coach the calibre of Robyn Broughton," she said.

"She's got a really good balance of personal and professional - you know that she genuinely cares for you as a person, not just as a player on her team."

Coffin reached netball's top echelon in 1997 and was a regular inclusion in the Silver Ferns team until 2002.

"I can remember my first tour to England and rooming with Donna (Wilkins). She took the first photograph of me with my Silver Ferns shirt on that had my name emblazoned on the back - it's a nice memory from my first tour."

With careers in teaching, policing, radio and television under her belt, Coffin was excited about the next chapter.

"I love a challenge."

Southern Steel chief executive Julie Paterson said Coffin had been a loyal member of the team.

"Not only is she an extremely talented player, her commitment and leadership skills made her an integral team member both on and off the court," she said.

Paterson hoped to name a replacement for Coffin shortly as finalised squads had to be confirmed with Netball New Zealand by November 1.

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