The Australian headed to the Superleague following four successful seasons as assistant coach at Adelaide Thunderbirds in the ANZ Championship – winning the title with the Southern Australian outfit in 2013. He has put Manchester Thunder on the verge of securing their third Superleague trophy if they can get past a strong Surrey Storm side on Saturday. Couple this with injecting some Trans-Tasman flair and style to the Black and Yellows, the 31-year-old has been a hit with players and fans alike. But his success to this point will be insignificant if Thunder fail to lift the trophy at the Copperbox at the weekend.
Ryan, said: “This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I’m so glad I made the decision to move to the other side of the world and take on this challenge. We’ve looked closely at our opposition as much as we have looked at ourselves and we’re prepared and ready to go. There’s certainly great energy filtering through the group at the moment and we can’t wait for Saturday to arrive.”
Ryan could become both the youngest and first male coach to lead a team to the title, which is no easy feat in a league brimming with internationally experienced coaches. “The premiership-winning year with the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2013 was so important for my coaching development ,” added Ryan, as he claims his time in the ANZ was ‘instrumental’ in preparing him for life at the helm of Manchester Thunder. The Melbourne-born coach said: “Every game is like a final in that competition (ANZ). It’s so important not to get caught up in the occasion, certainly acknowledge it and what it means, but at the end of the day it’s just another game of netball and we all have a job to do. Everyone’s been very professional in their approach and we all know a big challenge awaits us so we’re simply focusing on our respective tasks and finishing off what we started six months ago.”
A big fan of his team playing as a unit all season, Ryan is especially keen for this to continue for the final. “The beauty of this team is that we are not dependant on one, two or three players to get the job done for us. Each player has a role to play on game day and that’s what has taken us to the championship decider. This group of athletes prides itself on doing their job for the team, they all contribute and that’s how we plan to roll in the final,” he added.
Manchester Thunder v Surrey Storm, The Copperbox, 5pm live on Sky Sports