‘Very impressive’: Craig Hutchison blows away Mavericks captain Amy Parmenter, Super Netball’s newest team

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Mavericks by name, mavericks by nature.

That’s the mantra Super Netball’s newest team has vowed to adopt in their first season, which begins this weekend.

The Melbourne Mavericks will replace Collingwood in Australia’s premier netball league after the Magpies disbanded their netball program last year. The shock decision left players already in contract limbo with even more uncertainty.

In July last year, Super Netball granted the league’s eighth licence to Craig Hutchison’s Sports Entertainment Network (SEN) for a team to be based in southeast Melbourne.

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Hutchison’s SEN also owns the NBL’s Perth Wildcats, WNBL team Bendigo Spirit and NZNBL teams Otago Nuggets and Southern Hoiho.

The Mavericks are another addition to Hutchison’s empire of sport teams but inaugural Mavericks captain Amy Parmenter says it’s far from a vanity project for the media mogul, and she couldn’t be more impressed with him.

Parmenter said Hutchison has been “unbelievably involved” with building the team from scratch.

“He has fully set the tone of what this team is all about and what the relationship between SEN and the Mavericks looks like,” she told news.com.au.

“We’ve had heaps of breakfasts, he has an amazing ability to remember details about your life and will ask. I’ve already learned a lot from him, which I didn’t necessarily see as a big part of what my Mavericks journey would look like.

“I really do think that he sets the tone for SEN and the Mavericks in terms of work ethic, partnerships and relationships. He’s very, very impressive.”

The Mavericks’ distinctive blue, pink and purple dress is already a hit with fans — and Parmenter said the team’s values and innovations — you can download a Melbourne Mavericks app — would reflect Hutchison’s trademark left field thinking.

“SEN and Mavericks are trying to think about new and different ways to encourage people to come to games,” she said.

“With SEN being a big radio company, we’re doing all the broadcasting through the radio this year. They’ve got lots of ideas and thinking outside the box.

“I’ve heard there’s a car up for grabs. They’ve been doing awesome social media stuff I haven’t seen in netball before, being really creative.”

Starting a professional sporting team from scratch is no easy feat, but for Parmenter it’s the perfect challenge for a player looking to take the next step in her career after years as a stalwart of the Giants.

“I think that’s what excited me most about the move (from Sydney to Melbourne),” she said.

“I wanted to go because how often do you get to fully build a club from scratch?

“Especially with the SEN machine behind us and a set of values and a vision that I really aligned with. It just all made sense to me.

“I knew it was going to be tough. There’s always going to be teething issues like our uniform getting stuck in China or things like that. But the actual core foundations of the club have been coming together so well. It’s just been a really exciting time.”

Parmenter, 26, has played nine games for Australia but has found herself stuck behind now-retired Ash Brazill and Giants teammate Jamie-Lee Price in a battle for the Diamonds wing defence bib.

The chance to put her stamp on a midcourt and make a team her own could help was springboard ‘Parmy’ towards higher honours as the all-conquering Diamonds enter a new international cycle.

“For me, it was just about growth,” Parmenter said.

“I’m still looking to be challenged in different aspects. I obviously learned a lot during my time at the Giants and had a lot of incredible people around me helping my netball growth.

“But I did just feel I was ready for a new adventure. I have sort of been on that fringe of the Diamonds team for a while now but that wasn’t working, I wasn’t cracking that starting seven or even that (squad of) 12.

“Looking at what areas of my game I could grow, and the likes of Nicole Richardson as our specialist defensive coach and the Diamonds defensive coach, she just offers a wealth of knowledge.

“To have that full time, not just when I go into Diamonds camp, is just so valuable.”

‘Finals non-negotiable’ for Mavericks

With more player movement than usual in the off-season, the Mavericks managed to compile an impressive squad that has the potential to challenge for finals.

Fresh off winning a premiership in her first Super Netball season with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, England goal shooter Eleanor Cardwell joined the Mavericks where she will be reunited with coach Tracey Neville, who served as an assistant at the Thunderbirds.

The Mavericks will be led in the midcourt by Parmenter, along with Molly Jovic, Tayla Fraser and Maisie Nankivell.

Former Vixens defender Olivia Lewis will be the pillar at the other end of the court, but the Mavericks will sorely miss Super Shot specialist Sasha Glasgow, who suffered a broken leg during the pre-season game.

Another injury blow came when defender Lauren Moore suffered a heartbreaking ACL injury at the pre-season Team Girls Cup.

The Thunderbirds, Sunshine Coast Lightning, NSW Swifts loom as premiership favourites, and while history shows new teams often struggle early on, Parmenter is aiming high.

“Finals is sort of a non negotiable,” she said.

“That’s something we definitely want. To win would be unbelievable. 

“No teams win championship after championship every year. Clubs endure because they have a really strong culture and people involved.

“That’s our No. 1 focus and how we’re judging our success this year is about how the club performs on and off the court. The resilience, the culture, that sort of stuff.”

Fox Netball commentator and Australian men’s netball captain Dylan Nexbus believes it will be tough for the Mavericks to beat the top teams.

“I think they’ll challenge teams,” he told news.com.au.

“I’m not sure they’ll quite challenge for finals at this teams. Sasha Glasgow is a really big loss for them. A lot of their structure would have been build around her in the attacking end.

“Lots of the girls in that team have played together in different levels, now it’s a matter of bringing it all together.

“They’ve got Nicole Richardson as their defensive coach who’s just a mastermind, so I’m sure she’ll have some tricks up her sleeve.

“They’ve definitely got the coaching and the personnel to do it, it’s just a matter of how quickly they bring it all together.”

Super Netball Round 1 (all times AEST)

GIANTS vs West Coast Fever — Saturday 5pm @ Ken Rosewall Arena

Adelaide Thunderbirds vs Queensland Firebirds — Saturday 7pm @ Adelaide Entertainment Centre

Melbourne Mavericks vs Melbourne Vixens — Sunday 2pm @ John Cain Arena

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs NSW Swifts — Sunday 4pm @ UniSC Arena

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