Ervin’s enormous career just continuing to grow

IT has been a big few years for one of Australia’s newest Diamonds Ash Ervin.

She may not have been in the Suncorp Super Netball competition for long, but has quickly made an impact on the Sunshine Coast Lightning and the wider competition.

Although these days she is a well respected defender, she has not always been a defender throughout her netball career.

“I was just very tall and not on the fit or fast side, so I knew I’d be down the end somewhere,” she said.  

“But I started off as a defender and I really enjoyed it. I think I just had a natural read of the game and I just sort of naturally fit in there.

“But I also had a bit of a love for shooting. At training sessions I’d always be at the post and practicing my shots and I’m not even sure why, but I just loved it so much. Then just out of one of my junior club days, all of our shooters were gone and my coach had said “oh, do you want to have a go at it?” and I had a go and I did really well and I did shooting since then.

“Probably up until under 17s, Queensland, I was still getting flicked back and forth, and I just had one really bad year of shooting, and I just stuck with defence.

“So that’s just kind of how it panned out, and it was a lot of back and forth, and trying to flick between the two, but I’m really glad that it ended with defence.”

Although she is more well known as a goal defence at national level, that’s not actually her primary position.

“Well my primary position is goal keeper,” she said. “If anything, I’m learning how to play goal defence.

“That’s been one that I haven’t really done in the past before, so I think it’ll be a bit of a mix up.”

Ervin’s debut season culminated in her selection in Australia’s Fast Five team, which Ervin described as “an amazing experience.”

“I think, aside from it being so exciting that I got to play for Australia, it was just a really fun time and I think that’s what made Fast Five,” she said.

“It just took the pressure off a bit because it was a bit more of a fun environment and it was a bit more dress up for the audience and it was a bit more fun and that just kind of made it a bit less stressful I guess.

“But I think the whole experience was just really exciting and it’s the first time I got to play for Australia and I was just really grateful to be there and I remember when we’re in the grand final and our national anthem was playing I was even a little bit emotional because I was really glad that I got to be standing there singing our national anthem and I was just really happy and grateful I don’t even know how else to put it.”

Season 2023 did not end well for the Sunshine Coast Lightning, with the side narrowly missing out on finals. Ervin confirmed that the frustration of the way 2023 ended has been a driving force for the Lightning this season.

“I think for us girls, we’ve got a taste of what it was to be so close and just being not able to make it because there were a lot of games that we had only lost by one or by two,” she said.

2024 has been a bit of a different year for Ervin, with several new defensive team mates to play alongside.

She said that it had been a smooth transition over to the second year.

“I think something about Lightning is we have a really good culture and environment and I think that’s just made it really easy to go into every year,” she said.

“So we’re just all really enjoying each other’s company and just really learning off each other in training sessions. And I think that’s made it really easy for me to test my limits at training and especially having Courtney Bruce in there, it’s just really been a good opportunity to learn from her. I think we learn off each other a bit as well both having a go at goal defence and it’s just been really, really good, good energy and just a really good outlook on it all this year.”

She also said that working alongside Bruce has been a great experience.

“I knew that having her in this environment was going to be a really good opportunity, not only for our team,” she said.

“For me as a player, and we’re both sort of learning off each other out in that goal defence area. But when she’s back in keeper, she’s just like a goldfield of knowledge, and I really try and open my brain and try and pick her brain and just try and keep improving.”

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