Harrop’s balancing act as league's netball chairwoman becomes Allansford coach

MEL Harrop will wear two hats during the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League (WDFNL) season.

Allansford yesterday unveiled Harrop, the WDFNL netball chairwoman, as its A grade and A reserve coach for 2014 and 2015.

She takes over from Stacy Rohan, who will remain with the Cats as a player and in her executive role.

Harrop, 51, said yesterday she was excited about the chance to coach for the first time since 2010, when she guided Deakin University.

Her netball resume includes coaching stints at various clubs in the Shepparton and Murray River regions during the 2000s.

“You need a bit of a break to refresh your passion. I thought while I still feel active and I can contribute in a coaching role, I’ll do it,” Harrop said.

“Things have changed.   You get people with modern ideas and I’m a very old-fashioned coach, but I think that can help the rebuilding process.

“I’ve been coaching for nearly 30 years. I can bring a lot of the familiar basics to people’s games.

“I’m very concerned with people’s strength and fitness and physical well-being first and foremost.

“There will be game plans and tactics but it’s more about being physically ready to put it out on the court.”

Harrop said she had canvassed people around her about taking on a coaching role while being on the executive.

She acknowledged there could be a perceived conflict of interest but believed the two roles would be separate.

“I’m there to take a group of sports people and make them the best they can be,” she said.

“I’m not there to be involved at a club level.  I’m there for the sport.

“If there’s any conflict I step aside and we’ve got a really good netball subcommittee so they can deal with that.

“I’m sure with that some people will sit back and monitor how things go and that’s what we need to do.”

Harrop heaped praise on Rohan, who she said had done an “enormous” job.

“Looking at what she’s done and now she can actually commit herself to playing without the pressure of selection or decision-making,” she said.

“The girls have been really lucky to have her. Her netball skills and knowledge are phenomenal.”

Harrop opted against predicting where Allansford, which has recruits in the pipeline, would finish.

She promised any side under her guidance would be fit and strong enough to hold its own against the best.

“What I want to have happen is teams will go out and show them the respect they deserve,” she said.

“They just need to win some games and build on the respect of other clubs.”

New netball co-ordinator Liz McKinnon said she expected “a new-look Allansford” next season.

“But, in saying that, we’re still looking after the locals. We haven’t lost anyone,” she said.

In other developments, Lindy Bellman has taken on a junior development officer role after coaching B grade last season.

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