1 ON 1: KIM R AVAIL LION
THE AUSTRALIAN DIAMONDS MID COURT STAR TALKS ABOUT HER MOVE TO MELBOURNE AND COLLINGWOOD’ S NET BALL OUTFIT, THE EARLY RETURNS FROM THE NEW SUPER COMPETITION AND A BIG PROGRAM AHEAD FOR THE ALLCONQUERING NATIONAL SIDE.
You’ve come off the inaugural season of Super Netball with a new club, and now you have the Diamonds’ matches ahead. Is there a transition to make to international duty?
With the season I had this year, we didn’t make it that far. We made the first final and got knocked out. It’s kind of foreign to me, having a threeweek break.
You’re too used to getting to grand finals.
Yeah [laughs]. Probably the biggest break I’ve had in a long time; I’ve actually had time to reflect and relax a bit. Do my own training. I’m kind of pumped to get back into netball and really tackle the international season.
You characterised your move to the Collingwood Magpies from the Queensland Firebirds as a way of testing your own boundaries. What surprised you about the move?
The decision at the time was very difficult to make, having the bond with the girls and the success that we had. But I think, as an athlete, my game was plateauing. I had to challenge myself, take a risk. Be comfortable feeling uncomfortable again. That led me to my decision to move down to the Magpies, and really test myself as an athlete. We’ve only got a career for so long, and I want to make the most of it. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing; it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. But in saying that, I’ve grown so much as an athlete and as a person. You can get so caught up in the netball bubble – if it’s not going well, you can go downhill. If you’ve got life sorted – and Melbourne’s a perfect place to be a human, there’s always something happening – getting that balance and enjoying life off the court, versus enjoying on the court as well, is vital. I can definitely say my netball wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. But I’m never going to give up. I’m always going to strive for the very best.
There was a lot of intrigue with these new Super franchises and how they’d operate. How much crossover did you have with the football club?
They had obviously never shared with girls, so that was interesting. We were going to their, kind of, home. But I think they enjoyed having us there. They saw the way we trained, the way we carried ourselves, the way we speak. I think they learned a lot from what we do, and we learned a lot from what they do – even in training, how they move the ball. We had one of the ruckmen coaches come in and teach us how to hold off a defender.
We’re growing together. It was really fun, the guys were nice. We go and support them when they’re playing, and they come and support us.
Was there an “upgrade” in professionalism with the coming of Super Netball? Was there a tangible change you could feel?
I don’t think money inspired us to be more professional at all. Netballers as athletes are very driven from a young age, which is why there’s so many great girls out there playing. We’ve earned what we’re getting now, which is a credit to everyone before us and the way they taught us as young athletes. Hopefully, growing the sport, in ten years’ time, the girls who are playing up there are earning even more. We’re all in it together.
Was there something new about the competition that you appreciated?
The crowds, the competitiveness of it all, stepped up a lot. Every game was so close, it was just awesome to watch. That was great for the fans, and great for the sport again. Hopefully, it’s just going to grow.
You were one of the players who pointed out that the comp would drive the already incredible standard of Australian netball upward. With a Diamonds campaign coming up, how do you assess that? Also: with a Commonwealth Games at home, how important is that?
It’s gone up another level. There was about 13 games where there was one goal in it. Every game was like the grand final. Gosh, imagine next year ... It’s only going to get better. Being in Australia, you want to do Australia proud. It’s what we strive for as athletes. And we know that Australians love to tally up those Games medals ...
"We’ve earnedwhat we’re getting now,which is a credit to everyone before us."