Some clues from a netball legend

IN AN extraordinary turn of events the old saying, It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,  has paid absolute dividends for the sporting community. Two chance conversations over the course of many years have lead to former Australian netball captain Vicki Wilson heading to Charleville in February 2017.

The story goes that distance ed staffer Kerry Radnedge met HOPE project officer Sue Eustace-Earle at the RSL a few months ago. Sue told Kerry how wonderful it was that her husband Shaun ‘Zoro’ Radnedge was so active in the western rugby league community.

“It is,” said Radnedge. “But wouldn’t it be nice if we could do something for the girls? It would be great if we could get Vicki Wilson out here to talk to the netballers and run a clinic, or something.”

Little did Radnedge know that Eustace-Earle and Wilson met many years ago at a dog park in Brisbane. “Sue had a Rottweiler and I had a German Shepherd,” laughed Wilson. “We’ve been friends ever since.”

Eustace-Earle approached the netball legend on behalf of the Hope youth diversion project and Wilson was very excited at the opportunity, citing it had been more than 15 years since she last came to Charleville for a netball clinic.

Wilson, 51, will be in Charleville from 20-23 February 2017. She aims to run a clinic for students and coaches, and provide a session for senior netballers in the evening. Cunnamulla state school have already confirmed that 10 students and two staff members will attend the clinics.

Wilson, who has played for the Qld Firebirds and captained the Australian Diamonds, has over 30 years experience in the game. She currently coaches Fiji’s national netball team as well as working with Netball New Zealand.

“It’s now a career for female athletes,” she said. “We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved and that girls can make a decent living out of the game and many other sporting codes. It’s been a long time coming.

“It is also important young people know that sport isn’t just about being on the field,” she said. “There are so many other opportunities such as performance analysts, dieticians, and strength and conditioning coaches. They’re all very much a part of the team.”

As far as being a professional netballer, Wilson said it takes a lot of talent. “You have to have effort and a great attitude,” she said. “A lot of people are talented but they don’t have the right attitude. You want to be coachable and eager to learn.”

Hope is paying for Wilson’s flights and the rural and remote education access program have supplied an additional $4000 in funding. RREAP helps schools and communities provide opportunities to students who are disadvantaged because of where they live.

The Hope – harmony, opportunity, pride and empowerment – project aims to divert young people in Cunnamulla and Charleville from the spiral of alcohol and drug abuse, umemployment, welfare dependency and petty crime.

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