Team Girls is dedicated to fostering and promoting girls’ participation in sport. It’s about girls supporting girls, building up their confidence, and knowing they’re stronger when they stand together – on and off the court.
We’ve teamed up with Fox Sports to showcase a selection of stars as they reflect on the importance of the people who supported them on their netball journey, from families through to current teammates.
In Their Corner: Gabi Simpson
Gabi Simpson: My role models growing up firstly, were my parents, they are pretty incredible people, they spend their time working in the intellectual disability sector, so constantly trying to make other people's lives better, and that for me, has really shaped who I am. From a netball perspective, firstly, probably a lady called Danielle Bowyer, who was in my state league team. She took me under her wing when I was 16 and she was mid 20s and showed me what it means to be in a team sport to help lift the people around you, but also what it is to live as an adult, so very helpful.
Sport has helped me grow as a person heaps, I think, in a short period of time in a sporting career, you have amazing highs, and you have some pretty solid lows. And I think it teaches you lots of mental lessons of how to deal with the little things that come along in your life and how to make sure that you don't put all your eggs in one basket, how to find the lessons in the things that do unfold for you, and it's pretty special to be able to learn that in a short space of 10 years as a netballer.
My teammates are incredibly important in my support network when I'm dealing with the highs and lows that come with netball and in life in general. It's something special when you're in a team, you are such different people but you're forced to be together, and it brings this sense of commitment to each other their support. And that's unwavering because together you're working together to try and achieve something bigger. So they've played a really big role in in my life
In Their Corner: Verity Simmons
Verity Simmons: My role model was definitely my Mum a gun netball player, was MVP in our little hometown of Grafton but killed every game which is a freak of a netball player still kills it on the court now and she made huge sacrifices for me. I travelled from Grafton into Sydney every weekend for three years maybe which is about a 10-hour trip so 10 hours down 10 hours back every Friday getting back either Sunday or Monday. I was missing school yeah she was amazing and you know I took her away from my sisters as well every single weekend and you know she never complained and just got on with it.
So I'm very lucky I rely on my teammates heavily they are they're the most important girls in my life at the moment you know we're a little family we've got here we do everything together we see each other every day train eat even sleep we're yeah we're a tight little unit and you know i think you get along with your teammates off the court you've got a really strong bond on the court so I think that's crucial for us.
Sport has taught me everything I know and it is everything I know um I’ve just thrown myself 100 into sport it's opened up so many doors I’ve met some incredible people have got some amazing friends and I think we'll continue this journey you know long after my years of playing netball in some kind of sporting role I love live and breathe it yeah it's everything to me
In Their Corner: Lenize Potgieter
Lenize Potgieter: My role model growing up I would say is Cathrine Latu (or Tui Vaiti). I think she's an amazing player. She's a mum, she's a coach, she's just everything! Smart, accurate um I don't think there is a better goal shooter than her um and I know she went overseas to support her husband and they have two little kids as well, so I think there's a lot of sacrifices that she made.
Life lessons that sport taught me was just to find happiness within yourself and to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. For instance, coming from a country like south Africa and playing in the big leagues like Australia or New Zealand or England, it just helped me grow as a person to make my own and find myself during this journey.
My teammates are very helpful in helping me cope with all the highs and the lows by just having my back when I have very dark days, and inviting me to go and have coffee or lunch dates or just go for a walk on the beach, so it's very mentally stimulating just to be next to the water with a friend and also when I have my eyes then we celebrate doing everything together like when I shot a super shot or just having a great meal at a cafe so they've been helping me especially when I have my darker days.
In Their Corner: Gretel Bueta
Gretel Bueta: My role models would be my brothers. I idolised them growing up. I wanted to be like them, I wanted to do what they were doing, hence why I played basketball and when I first started playing netball they were my biggest supporters and really helped me, and would go down to the local courts and shoot with me and they still do. They trained with me over Christmas when I was training for quad series. So yeah I just love doing them proud. They get to everything they can um and also having my parents there as well as my husband, just all of them are all my um role models and my biggest heroes.
Sport has taught me so many life lessons. I think a lot of resilience and patience. It's taught me how to be confident in myself. Being a tall awkward young girl, when I played sport I just felt right at home and yeah it gave me that confidence to be who I am.
My teammates are so important. They're who you play for out there on court, they're who you go into battle with, they’re who you want to win with, they're who you you lose with. They're who you see every day for half the year, so they become more like your sisters but yeah they're so incredibly important.
In Their Corner: Courtney Bruce
Courtney Bruce: My role models growing up were definitely my mum and dad and my sisters there too. Mum and dad drove me around a lot so I could play in that ball and get to this level, and I guess my sister sacrificed a lot too, um having to come along and missing out on a lot of fun family things. So yeah, definitely mum and dad for driving me around, sitting in the stands. We didn't live close to where we played a lot of our underage netball growing up so yeah, those two.
Netball um, sport in general has just helped me with my self-confidence a lot. As a younger kid I was extremely shy and I think that yeah sports just helped me come out of my shell a lot more and be a lot more confident in myself and love the person that I am.
Teammates are huge in helping me go through the highs and the lows. I think particularly the last two years for us as a club and for the league it's been really hard being away from our friends and family, but I guess the best thing about playing netball is that your teammates are your family along with the staff here. So definitely had had the girls there to cry in the good and the bad times and lift you up like any other family member would and yeah, I think that that's what gets you through those hard moments.
In Their Corner: Kiera Austin
Kiera Austin: I think growing up definitely my role models were my parents. Mum and Dad drove me to all my training sessions, they were the ones that were really encouraging me to achieve my best, not to have too many late nights out and whatnot, and do all the right things. So they were definitely my role models growing up and I probably wouldn't be where I am today without them.
Some of the main things you've learned as a I guess a sports person is being very punctual and being on time. I feel like you have to really have a good balance with everything going on in your life, so if you are missing out on you know hanging out with your friends or doing something else like uni, I think it really teaches you to have a full but balanced plate. So I'm going to always be very appreciative that I've had sport growing up as well.
My teammates are so important with coping with competitive sport. I've just come back from an injury and it can be very isolating doing rehab by yourself so having them encourage you and cheer you along is so important and that's definitely the same during a game if you throw a bad pass or you miss a shot you just got to get on with it and your teammates are right behind you to do that too.
In Their Corner: Cara Koenen
Cara Koenen: My role models growing up were definitely my siblings. I think they pushed me to become a better person and a better athlete. They're all very talented in their own sporting fields so, yeah I really looked up to them and we had a real competitive flair growing up as well.
Playing sport, I think has helped me grow in so many different ways. I was very very unconfident as a youngster and always really really tall so um sport kind of helped me find such a pride in my height and um yeah, it really made me use that as an asset and see a real benefit in that aspect of myself.
Yeah, I think teammates are everything in our team sport obviously I definitely play a team sport for a reason. Being an individual athlete would be so hard so on those low days it's always really good to be able to lean on those around you, and I think the group that we have at sunshine coast lightning is incredibly special in that respect as well.
In Their Corner: Kelsey Browne
Kelsey Browne: So when I started netball probably my biggest role model was my big sister I think my first season um I just was a ring in for her netball team I didn't touch the ball for the whole first season but absolutely fell in love with the game. Obviously my parents who spent a lot of time driving me here there and everywhere, we're from Geelong so we'd make the trip up to Melbourne a lot of times and they sacrificed a lot so they were my biggest role models and probably who I play for now.
I’ve learned so much from netball and I think sport has been such an integral part of shaping who I am today. I think netball teaches you how to work with others how to be a part of a team. It teaches you commitment, how to set a goal and chase after it. It teaches you how to be resilient through injuries, setbacks if you miss out on a team and I think all of those things that you gather along the way really shape you and start to create your personality a little bit as you get older. I wouldn't change anything in the world I absolutely love how I’ve grown up with netball and I think it's such an amazing sport to be involved in.
I adore my teammates I think we have such a special bond we spend upwards of 30 hours together a week and then leave the club and spend as much time outside of that they become your sisters they become the people that you call when you're crying or I’m getting emotional now but they, they become your entire family and they know the ins and outs of you they know what makes you tick what drives you and I think that bond is really special and when it translates onto court I think it's just magic, but yeah, I couldn't live without my teammates and um I’ve got friends for life for sure from netball
In Their Corner: Helen Housby
Helen Housby: My biggest role model’s definitely my Mum.
Growing up, she used to drive me up and down the motorway back in England, a couple of hours round trip three or four times a week, we were getting back after midnight because we used to train super late, and she sacrificed so much for me in those early years, and I definitely would not be here without her, and it's so nice to be able to reward her a little bit and she's came out to Australia and watch me play and came to the Commonwealth Games. And yeah, it's just really special to have her on this journey. And I definitely know wouldn't be doing it without her.
Playing sport is probably the biggest thing that shapes me as a person. Growing up, I was always the sporty kid at school I wanted to do every single sport. I think it just makes you a very well rounded individual. And you know, some of my best friends, I met on the sports team. So you learn so many skills, teamwork, and you know, being persistent and courageous. Sport is for everybody. And I think you can get something out of it. No matter what you do. If it's just going for a walk everyday or if it's playing professional sport, there is something in it for everybody.
My teammates, I probably cost them more like family, especially for the girls, myself and Sam on our team that come not from Australia. We kind of have to treat each other like sisters. We spent so much time together off the court that if you don't have a good relationship, it can quite quickly unravel on the court. So I feel very, very lucky to be part of the Swifts and to have the girls around me that I do. They're incredible girls and the people that I would want to be friends with even if I hadn't met them through netball so the Swifts do a really good job of making it feel like home away from home and yeah, it makes it so much easier when you hit the court.
In Their Corner: Steph Wood
Steph Wood: A role model of mine was her name's Melissa Passion she was actually my boss at the time and I wanted to quit netball and she had a really hard conversation with me and she was the first one, she probably doesn't even know this that she is one of my role models and it's someone that I really looked up to and she did a lot of sacrificing we used to do a lot of conditioning together and I definitely credit her for me being in this position that I currently am playing in the Suncorp Super Netball
Playing sport has taught me a lot. I was a shy kid I have red hair and I’m freckly so probably was a little bit bullied when I was younger but sport was my outlet and it brought me a lot of confidence and now it gives me time management and there's a lot of skills that you learnt that you when you can kind of step back you actually go oh I’ve learnt this with it and I definitely credit I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't found the love for netball when I was nine years old.
My teammates are very very important you can talk to your family your friends about how you're feeling but the people who actually understand it the most are your teammates, so they understand if you're feeling down, they've probably felt that same feeling so they're very important and they're the people I lean on in those moments.
In Their Corner: Jo Harten
Jo Harten: My role models growing up were pretty much my family. I had grandparents that were born in times where you know there just wasn't much around two of them came over from Ireland to the UK and yeah they really gave me inspiration that if you had a little bit of a dream or if you wanted to kind of you know step outside of your comfort zone and chase your dreams, with a bit of hard work it can definitely you know change your life bank.
Sport has taught me so much it's given me so much it's helped me to you know delve into communities that I might not have even heard of if it hadn't been for netball. It's helped me become so much more resilient as a person living away from my family for over 12 years now on the other side of the world has yeah it's taught me a lot about myself but it's also taught me to follow my dreams and chase my passions.
I think teammates are everything in netball you need people to rely on the bad days and you want people to celebrate with on the good days and I think that's what netball's all about it's celebrating those small wins in the training sessions in the games and ultimately you want to win with a really great team by your side
- What’s the deal with self-talk?
- VIDEO: Team Girls Tips
- Game On! Your guide to keeping girls playing sport
This content includes the views and opinions of a third-party, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp.
The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.