IT was a quiet weekend in Suncorp Super Netball land over the weekend, with a real calm before the storm feel ahead of the official free agency period opening today. With only re-signings allowed to be confirmed across the eight squads last week, expect the signings to come thick and fast now despite just a couple of list changes to speak of across the weekend.
The first big change will see Sam Poolman head into retirement with her head held high, ultimately playing one of her best seasons for GIANTS Netball this year before confirming she would step away from the sport yesterday. The tenacious goal keeper was known for her niggling style of play and continuous bodywork to keep her opposition away from easy passes, with her preliminary final performance against Jhaniele Fowler showcasing that in spades. Part of the inaugural GIANTS side in 2017, Poolman has been a stalwart in the GIANTS squad, and said she knew that the timing was right to bid the elite sport farewell.
“I was always told that you would know when it’s time and for me the timing is right,” Poolman said. “I’m so proud of my career – from an aspiring netballer of the Hunter Region that dreamed of playing one year in the elite level to 10 years later.
“The GIANTS has been a really special place for me, with plenty of special games that come to mind alongside some superstar players and friends,” she said. “I have loved contributing to the club and am proud to be a GIANT for life.
“I am excited for what l can achieve in the 10 next years and to make up for all the time lost with my family and friends. They are the ones who have been there for me all these years and l can now be there for them.
“To start and finish my career in a grand final, play 100 elite games and finish performing well is certainly something I’m proud of.”
Intriguingly, this announcement leaves the GIANTS without two of their premiership defenders, with goal defence Kristiana Manu’a heading across the ditch to play in the ANZ Premiership with Central Pulse.
Heading down to Victoria, it was Melbourne Vixens making the call on Kaylia Stanton with the experienced goaler departing the club after one season. With 12 games in her pocket and a Player of the Match award to show for it, the Vixens were clear that decisions will be made to ensure the club gets back to its premiership potential after collecting the wooden spoon in 2021.
“Kaylia has been a great asset for the team this year, on and off the court, and we thank her for her contribution,” said General Manager – Vixens, Performance and Pathways, Rebekah Webster. “With the contracting window for 2022 now open, we are currently making decisions and plans that will put the Vixens in the best position for championship contention.”
Meanwhile, Sophie Garbin has bid farewell to the NSW Swifts, with no details yet on where she is heading but the club confirming that she “has decided to take up a contract elsewhere” for season 2022. The smooth-moving goaler experienced two premierships with the Swifts throughout her four years at the club, after debuting in Round 1, 2018.
“It has been an honour to play for a club as prestigious and successful as the Swifts and I will be forever grateful for the experiences and opportunities I’ve had since joining four years ago,” Garbin said. “I have made many friends for life and a part of me will always be with this club.”
“A lot of players don’t get the chance to win a Premiership and I’ve been lucky enough to win two in my time at the Swifts. That wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my Swifts teammates, coaches, club staff and members and fans; all of whom I will be eternally thankful for.
“The decision to leave has been one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make but I would like to thank everyone at the club, its supporters and Netball NSW for an amazing four years.”
Meanwhile, Melbourne Vixens confirmed its first official signing for the season was captain Kate Moloney, keeping fans in the dark – and in silence – for almost 10 minutes on Facebook Live on Monday night before making the announcement.
Picture credit: NSW Swifts