They are keen and they are skilful. One can shoot goals, two can stop goals and two have the speed and agility to have an impact in the midcourt.
Meet our red recruits: Samantha May, Kimberly Borger, Kristy Guthrie, Jo Sutton and April Letton.
These are the five fresh faces that have injected new blood into the NSW Swifts camp in 2012.
Defender Samantha May, or Mayo as she is known to her team-mates, is no stranger to the NSW Swifts, but you can sense how much she cherishes her time back in Swifts colours.
After playing 11 games for the NSW Swifts in 2009 and 2010, May missed out on a contract in 2011 but with steely determination put in the hard yards on the training court and during DOOLEYS State League and the Australian Netball League to catch the eye of selectors for 2012.
“To be given the opportunity to come back and play again is awesome; I’m not going to waste that opportunity. I’m looking forward to stepping up week-in week-out and representing the red,” May said.
Training alongside and learning from two of international netball’s most experienced defenders is one of the highlights for May.
“It’s awesome - the strength that the defensive end has is great. Especially with Mon [Gerrard] and Son [Mkoloma] who have so much experience,” she said.
“To talk to them about what they see and think and then try to do it yourself is great. It’s a wealth of knowledge that they share with us.”
Shooter Kimberly Borger is another player who was excited about getting the opportunity to pull on Swifts colours. An AIS graduate, Borger wasnamed in the 2009 Australian 21/U Team to contest the World Youth Cup before injury ruled her out which then forced her withdrawal from the NSW Swifts in 2010.
Making her ANZ Championship debut in round one against the Adelaide Thunderbirds Borger commented that the time she had away from netball made her hungrier and the support of her family had been crucial.
“I’ve had so much support. My whole family and the netball girls I’ve coached in Macleay have been great. I just want people to know that if you do put in the hard yards it is possible to play at this level,” Borger said.
“Everyone has commented on how nervous I looked in my debut. I can honestly say that it was the most nerve-wracking eight minutes of my life. It was awesome though and the best feeling.
“Watching the netball since I was a kid and wanting to be out there, it’s great that I’ve finally been able to do it.”
Midcourter Kristy Guthrie, or Krit as she is known to her team-mates, is back in Swifts colours after she joined the team at the backend of the 2010 season following a season ending knee injury to Vanessa Ware.
“I’ve definitely grown my game since then; I’m more aware of what I’m able to do as a player, my abilities, how I interact with the players around me and that has a lot to do with training with top athletes all the time and the feedback we get from the coaches as well as the video analysis that we do,” Guthrie explained.
“The most exciting part this year has been spending every day with the girls and getting to know them. Having filled in during the 2010 season I didn’t really have those relationships with the girls, but to be part of the team from the start has been really good.”
Midcourter Jo Sutton returns home to NSW to wear Swifts colours for the first time in the ANZ Championship after a three-year stint with the Adelaide Thunderbirds which saw her play 27 games.
“I’m proud to play for the Swifts. I grew up playing for the Swifts, that’s where all my passion started and that’s where I’d like it to finish,” Sutton said.
“Being away from home I had a lot of time to grow as a person. But coming home and having all the support of my family and friends is definitely a bonus and it’s great to be back out on court with the girls that I grew up playing netball with.”
Rounding out the five new faces is defender April Letton. Named Australian 21/U Player of the Year in 2011, Letton was a replacement player for the Queensland Firebirds in 2011 who went on to win the premiership.
For Letton, running out with the NSW Swifts in round one was like a dream come true for the Sutherland Shire junior.
“It was a dream come true because I’ve always wanted to play for the Swifts. I was very excited and just to experience the whole atmosphere was great,” Letton said.
“Mo’onia gave me some advice before the game which was comforting. She just said to go out there and be myself, that that’s good enough as it’s what got me here, so just go for it.
“Anyone in my position would want to make the most out of the opportunity and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
As read in SCOOP: Volume 5, Issue 1
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