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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Abbott takes over as netball coach

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has emerged as the surprise choice to be the new coach of the Australian women's netball team, the Diamonds.

Mr Abbott said the appointment had nothing to do with his need to restore his reputation with Australian women, which has taken a battering in recent months.

"No, no, it's got nothing to do with that at all," Mr Abbott told a packed press conference. "I just love the game of netball, and want to do anything I can to help promote and develop the sport in Australia.

"Besides, I think it's time that the team was guided by someone who really knows what leadership and strength and direction is all about – and as we know that really has to be a man.

"Lisa Alexander, the previous coach, did a terrific job – especially given the hurdles she faced, what with being a woman and all. I think it was great credit to her that she was able to find some time in between doing the ironing and washing to help out with the coaching.

"But netball in Australia needs to be more professional. And that means the game needs a man, really. I'm not denigrating women in any way: some of my best friends are women. And my goodness they do a great job raising kids and looking after the home. But let's be honest, when you hear the term 'coach' you don't think of some woman in an apron, you think of a bloke with a whistle and a clipboard."

Mr Abbott, who appeared at the press conference carrying a whistle and a clipboard, said he saw himself as a "new broom" within netball and admitted there would be a "clean sweep" of positions within the team.

"Although it has to be said," he added to much male laughter, "that if anyone knows anything about 'brooms' and 'clean sweeps' then it should be the women."

Mr Abbott said he was "not against" the idea that women could continue to play for the Diamonds, but felt the team might be more competitive if some men were added into the mix.

He also admitted he was still undecided about a new nickname for the team, and was tossing up between 'the Housewives' and 'the Bitches'.