Robyn Denise Broughton ONZM (née Quirke; 10 July 1943 – 6 September 2023) was a celebrated figure in the world of netball in New Zealand. She not only had a successful coaching career but also contributed significantly to the development of the sport.
Early Life and Family
Born in Lower Hutt on 10 July 1943 to Jim and Margaret Quirke, Broughton had an early inclination towards sports. During her childhood, she showcased her talent in netball, softball, and tennis. Her academic journey led her to Hutt Valley High School, followed by the University of Otago, where she earned a Diploma of Physical Education in 1963. While studying, she played defence for the Otago netball team and met her future spouse, Warren Broughton, a law student. The couple married and relocated to Southland in the mid-1960s. They were blessed with three children, one of whom, Kirsty Carline, later made her mark in netball as a player and coach.
Broughton’s coaching career began in earnest when the National Bank Cup (NBC) was introduced in 1998. As the head coach of the Southern Sting, she led the team to the grand final annually and clinched seven titles in ten years. Her coaching expertise continued to shine with the inception of the ANZ Championship. She took on the role of head coach for the Southern Steel, which emerged from a merger of the Southern Sting and the Otago Rebels, from 2008 to 2011. Following a challenging 2011 season, Broughton opted not to continue with the Steel and subsequently joined the Central Pulse in 2012.
In an astonishing match in 2009, Broughton showcased her coaching prowess with the World 7 side, a mixed team of retired New Zealand players and current players from countries like England, Jamaica, and Samoa. This team triumphed over the Australia national netball team in a remarkable 52–43 victory. This ensemble included prominent players like Donna Wilkins, Geva Mentor, Sonia Mkoloma, and others.
In 2010, Broughton took the helm of the FastNet Ferns team, succeeding Ruth Aitken. This team, comprised mainly of budding players, showcased a commendable performance in the World FastNet Series. Despite initial challenges, they clinched the FastNet Series title by defeating formidable teams like England and Jamaica, further cementing Broughton’s reputation as an adept coach.
Broughton’s contributions to netball and the community did not go unnoticed. She was awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004 and was later promoted to Officer of the same order in 2012 for her dedicated services to netball.
Death and Legacy
The netball world mourned the loss of Robyn Broughton in September 2023. In her honour, the Robyn Broughton Trophy, given to the ANZ Premiership coach of the year, stands as a testament to her indelible impact on the sport.