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Sara joins Firebirds as Asst Coach

Sara Francis-Bayman is set to join Firebirds as assistant coach for the forthcoming season.

EXPERIENCED former English international Sara Francis-Bayman has been added to the Queensland Firebirds staff as Assistant Coach.

Francis-Bayman has been appointed for the 2023 and 2024 Suncorp Super Netball campaigns where she will work alongside new Firebirds Head Coach Bec Bulley.

The 37-year-old appeared 84 times for England during her playing career, winning Commonwealth Games and World Cup bronze medals.She also won England’s Superleague competition four times as a player.

Francis-Bayman has enjoyed a successful post-playing career as a coach, guiding Loughborough Lightning to their first Superleague title in their 16-year history in 2021.

She was also named Superleague coach of the year in 2018.

“Joining the Firebirds is an exciting step in my coaching career and I can’t wait to play a part in the rich history of the club,” Francis-Bayman said.

Most recently, Francis-Bayman worked as an assistant coach for Scotland under former England teammate and ex-Queensland Firebird Tamsin Greenway including the Thistles’ 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign in Birmingham.

“I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to secure Sara as our Assistant Coach for the next two years,” Bulley said.

“A highly regarded international mid-court player known for her hard work and determination, Sara will bring new ideas and a fresh approach to how things are done here at the Firebirds.

“Not only does she boast significant international experience as a player, Sara has had proven success as a coach and possesses an amazing technical and tactical brain.

“Her leadership and understanding of elite level netball will be a huge positive for myself and the entire Firebirds program.”

Currently based in England, Francis-Bayman will relocate to Queensland to take up the role and is expected to arrive in Australia in November.

Bulley has also paid tribute to former Firebirds Assistant Coaches Clare Ferguson and Katie Walker.

Former Australian captain Ferguson’s link to the Firebirds stretches back to her playing days in 2007, winning three ANZ Championships with the club before returning in a coaching role in 2020.

Walker, herself a former Firebirds player, coached the Queensland Sapphires to a bronze medal at the Australian National Championships in September.

“Clare and Katie have both been vital parts of Queensland netball and the Firebirds program for many years,” Bulley said.

“Clare’s impact as a three-time championship winner and then in her coaching and off-court roles cannot be understated and we wish her all the very best for her future.

“The Sapphires head coach provides a vital pathway for our future Firebirds and Katie’s success with the team in 2022 was exciting to witness.”

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