I wouldn’t say I was a standout ... I’ve worked hard to be where I am today
otshot netball player Jamie-Lee Price enjoyed one of the greatest groundings for a sporting career before she was even old enough to realise it.
As a six-year-old picking up her first netball, she was already well versed in the skills that go beyond the court, the ring or her dexterity — in teamwork, playing through disappointment and keeping a sharp focus — having soaked them up from the stands of Belmore Oval while cheering on her dad Steve Price with the Canterbury Bulldogs.
“It was really cool watching my dad play while we were growing up. League is a very professional game and watching him and the things he did prepping for games and how he dealt with the disappointments, and resilience and his leadership skills, are things I’ve learnt from him,” she tells BW Magazine.
“Now he’s retired, he just wants the best for me. He says a lot — he loves to have a chat, my dad! He’s told me not to stress about things, to not over-think it, to play games and enjoy it while you can. He says it happens so quickly, before you know it, you’re retired, so to make the most of opportunities.”
For his part, Price senior has repaid the devotion, flying home from New Zealand last year to catch every one of her netball home games with the Giants, one of two NSW teams in the National Netball League.
The pair make for quite the sporting family. Steve enjoyed two premiership wins with the Bulldogs (1995 and 2004) before moving to NZ to play for the Warriors, retiring in 2010 at the age of 36.
And while he was making yards and landing tries, his daughter was carving out her own successes, playing her first championship for NZ in her final year of high school in 2013.
Now 22, she’s since made the jump across the Tasman and is itching to kick off her second season with the Giants tomorrow after a six month pre-season. But she’s quick to point out that it hasn’t been an instantly made career, saying she had some early setbacks, but kept her focus on her love of the game until things were back on track.
“Growing up I didn’t always make the top teams, I had a few disappointments, but that’s sport. It’s a good thing for some people. It makes you train harder, want it more. I wouldn’t say I was a standout player. I’ve worked hard to be where I am today.”
And while the decision to follow her NZ Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic coach Julie Fitzgerald to Sydney was difficult at the time, it’s paying off for Price. She was last year part of the Australian Diamonds national under 21s team in the World Youth Cup in Botswana, playing in each of their games and being named player of the tournament.
“I grew up in NZ and got my start over there and I got to play in a few under 21s tournaments before moving to Australia. If it wasn’t for NZ, I wouldn’t be where I am today, I’m grateful for what it gave me in terms of learning and development,” she says. “But now I look back, I don’t regret it at all. I’m playing against the best players in the world week in, week out and I’m close to my family (now based on the Sunshine Coast).
“And it’s definitely cool playing for the Giants. It was exciting that it was starting as a new club last year. It’s been something special to start from scratch.”
Outside of netball she’s studying ng to become a personal trainer, but her r goals are firmly on a strong sporting future. .
“My ultimate goal is to make the he Diamonds. Last year in the under 21s world cup I got a taste of the Australian environment and it was obviously a step forward towards the Diamonds. I’d love to play in a world cup and Commonwealth Games. That would be a dream come true.” JAMIE-LEE PRICE AND THE GIANTS TAKE ON SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING AT QUDOS BANK ARENA TOMORROW. TICKETS VIA TICKETEK Jamie-Lee with dad Steve, and (right) Bulldogs star Steve with Andrew Ryan after defeating the Roosters in the 2004 NRL grand final. Jamie-Lee Price practising for the Giants. Picture: HillyardPhilPhil Hillyard