What were you doing when you were 14? Just have a think for a moment.
New South Wales Swifts goaler Sam Wallace was already living out of home and playing for the Trinidad and Tobago national team, the Calypso Girls.
“I was staying in the dorms with the netball team while attending secondary school,” Wallace said.
“I was going to training early in the morning, getting back and going to school, and sometimes I would have training after school.”
When you consider how talented Wallace was as a junior to be identified at such a young age, it’s not surprising that she has gone on to forge an impressive career in Suncorp Super Netball.
Although Wallace made her debut for Trinidad and Tobago’s national team as a young teenager, she attended two years of college at Arizona Western College in America and signed to play basketball for Texas State University, but that never eventuated.
“It was really hard financially on my Dad. Being an international student, it’s really hard to get financial aid,” she said.
“I was like, you know what, I’m going to sacrifice this, don’t finish my degree and then netball happened to come along.”
It was the 2015 Netball World Cup in Australia when Wallace was first spotted as a 21-year-old by Rob Wright and Anita Keelan.
Wallace was offered a contract to play here in Australia, but she felt she wasn’t ready.
However, after a short 12-month stint with the Hertfordshire Mavericks for the 2016 season, it was her time.
“I went to England, I performed there, and I called her (Keelan) and I walk like, I think I’m ready for the big stag,” she said.
Since making her Suncorp Super Netball debut in 2017, Wallace has twice won the Swifts’ Most Valued Player award – in 2018 and 2019.
An impressive feat not only considering the Swifts won the premiership in 2019, but given the calibre of Wallace’s teammates in Paige Hadley, Sarah Klau, Helen Housby and Maddy Proud.
A second premiership could be just around the corner for the goal shooter, after the Swifts defeated the GIANTS in the major semi-final to book their place in the Grand Final for the 2021 season.
“For me personally it hasn’t sunk in yet that we’re going to the Grand Final, probably next week it’ll sink in,” Wallace said.
A second Grand Final appearance was the furthest thing from her mind just over a month ago.
During a chaotic season, amid the ever-changing landscape of professional netball during a pandemic, the Swifts were relocated to South Australia on July 15 to finish the Super Netball season in a hub, due to COVID-19 outbreaks and restrictions in other states.
Five days later the Swifts were back on a plane, on their way to another hub…this time in Brisbane.
“After we moved from Adelaide, I was over it. When we came back to Brisbane, I was mentally out of it for a week.”
“I didn’t feel like training, I was in my room bored and I was just out of it.
“If we had to move again from Brisbane, I think that would’ve been my breaking point for sure.”
It was her relationships with her teammates and coaching staff that helped her through the tough period less than four weeks ago. Speaking with them about her struggles was the catalyst to turn it around.
It’s now those same teammates and coaching staff that will all come together to support one another in preparation for the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final in the coming weeks.
Categories: Suncorp Super Netball