After three years in the role of assistant, Geni Ah Tong is ready to take on the challenge of head coach for the Mainland team in the 2024 National Netball League (NNL).

Ah Tong was confirmed in the head coach role and is already looking ahead to the new season and the opportunity to help grow netballers in the region while also growing her own coaching credentials.

“It’s been one of my goals to get to this point and looking ahead to the future,” she said.  “To be able to work with kōhine and wāhine who are on their own netball journey and empowering them to be the best they can be is exciting.”

Ah Tong, who is currently on the Netball New Zealand coaching pathway, has spent the last three seasons as assistant coach – two years working closely with former Silver Fern Julie Seymour and this year alongside former Canterbury coach Tania Hoffman.

She said it had been a great learning experience with two “netball heads” who have been strong identities in the region.

“I was lucky enough to be appointed assistant coach when Jules (Seymour) was at the helm and felt very fortunate to be learning from someone with such a vast netball knowledge,” she said.  “And then this year I was fortunate to work alongside Tania, who was my former NPC coach.  It was a relatively young team and seeing it from a different perspective was a great learning opportunity.”

Now she will get to work with Trident Homes Tactix head coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek to help ensure a seamless link between the two elite leagues – the Synergy Hair Netball League and the ANZ Premiership.

“I am looking forward to contributing to the decision-making process with girls transitioning from NNL to the Tactix and vice versa, as it’s important that we consider the whole person in this process,” she said.

“And it’s also exciting to work alongside Mits (Delaney-Hoshek) as well and to hear her vision – what that is for the Tactix but also what that pathway looks like for the girls coming through.”

Ah Tong, a former Canterbury and club player in Christchurch, was first convinced to take on a coaching role with the St Nicholas club and it was here that she found a passion for her new role in netball “developing people”.  She has guided other clubs including the UC club (University of Canterbury) and taking the Technical Netball Club A team to the Premier 1 spoils this season.

“I never really envisaged becoming a coach, but I like a challenge and love watching the growth and development of the players around me.”

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