Alexander chuffed to land starring role

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander will read the Coaches’ Oath at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Picture: Lachie Millard
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander will read the Coaches’ Oath at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. Picture: Lachie Millard

AUSTRALIAN netball coach Lisa Alexander first thought she was in trouble when contacted by Commonwealth Games organisers last week.

But worry quickly transformed into a wonderful surprise and an overwhelming honour when she was asked to read the Coaches' Oath at Wednesday's opening ceremony.

The Diamonds mentor has guided the Australian side to both Commonwealth Games glory (Glasgow 2014) and World Cup success (Sydney 2015) and has her side primed to win the nation's fourth gold medal in six Commonwealth Games.

But netball preparations took a brief backseat on Tuesday when she had to attend a rehearsal for the opening ceremony.

Alexander said it was a great thrill for the sport of netball that she had been asked to be a part of the official proceedings in a similar vein to when then-Diamonds captain Sharelle McMahon was flagbearer at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

"I was really overcome when they rang me about it," Alexander said. "I was in Mooloolaba at our training camp and thinking, 'Oh God, have we done something wrong?'

"I remember distinctly when Sharelle got chosen as the flagbearer in 2010, we were all just really, really chuffed because it wasn't just about Shaz, even though she is awesome of course, it was about the sport and how proud we were that one of our athletes had been chosen.

"I've had so many messages from coaches in the netball community around Australia. They are just rapt. They think it's the best thing since sliced bread.''

Alexander occasionally moonlights as a respected media commentator and is forthright about what she believes to be right and wrong in sport.

Last week she said the Diamonds had addressed the heavy responsibility that comes with being national representatives in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal that engulfed the Australian cricket team.

She said the Coaches' Oath was a good reminder of what the Commonwealth Games were all about.

"It's usually something around the integrity of the Games and the way that we coach needs to be done in a way that's respectful of the rules of sport,'' Alexander said.

The Diamonds begin their pool matches against Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Even though they are competing on day one of the Games, the Diamonds are likely to march in the opening ceremony.



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