A stalwart of the netball community, den Dekker will lead the club for the next two seasons. The current Australian Diamonds assistant coach (until the end of the Netball World Cup), and former captain, is honoured to take the reigns from Jane Woodlands-Thompson.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be named the new coach of the Adelaide Thunderbirds and I’m very excited to take over this prestigious role,” den Dekker said. “Having been born and bred in this state, I’m a passionate South Australian and it’s an honour to lead the Thunderbirds in the next chapter of the club’s future.”
As one of the greats of the game, den Dekker played 84 Tests and is the country’s longest serving, and most successful captain, winning 92 per cent of her 71 Tests at the helm. After building her portfolio of skills in Netball Australia’s High Performance system, she can’t wait to put her stamp on the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
“The Thunderbirds have success in their sights,” said den Dekker of the team moving forward. “What’s important is that I have time to sit down with the players and find out what works for them, what has worked for them, and what support services I can bring to just tweak their performances.
“But what’s most important is that I look at what we can bring that’s new and creative in that space.”
Netball SA CEO, Ben Scales, says the new coach will be a wonderful asset to the team and organisation. “Michelle is a proud South Australian and one of the greatest players the state has ever produced. She brings playing and coaching experience from the highest level and is passionate about not only developing sustained success at the Adelaide Thunderbirds, but ensuring that South Australia continues to produce outstanding netballing talent throughout the pathway.
“I have no doubt that Michelle’s clear vision for the team, commitment to excellence, and strong athlete focus will ensure that the Adelaide Thunderbirds build on their successful history.”
Den Dekker’s career achievements:
Played 84 Tests
Captain in 71 Tests for a 92 per cent winning record
Captained the 1991 and 1995 World Championship winning teams
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 1992
Coached Queensland Firebirds in old National League in 1997 and 1998 (playing coach)
Captained Adelaide Ravens 1999-2000
Inducted into the inaugural South Australian Hall of Fame 2009
Inducted into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame 2009
Appointed Australian Diamonds Specialist Defence Coach 2011
Appointed Australian Diamonds Assistant Coach December 2013
Appointed Centre of Excellence Head Coach January 2014