• Georgia Musolino

Australia's top netball stars who have overcome adversity

The 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season was packed with highs and lows, both for clubs and for individual players.


Players have endured injuries, exclusion from the Diamonds Netball World Cup squad and ongoing losing streaks.


Setbacks such as these can be personally devastating, but they also provide an opportunity to build resilience, improve performance and, ultimately, come back stronger than ever.


Elite athletes who have experienced these challenges make for great motivational guest speakers or keynote speakers for sports clubs, school events, corporate functions and more.


Here's PickStar's list of the top netball guest speakers of 2019.


Maddy cheering from the sidelines (Source: Instagram, @maddyproud)

Those with injuries


A number of players have suffered injuries this season, ranging from minor setbacks to major injuries requiring a year's worth of rehabilitation. The path back from injury is where players can really grow. Some insights injured players can bring to a guest speaking role include:

  • How to handle the devastation of an injury and come to terms with the situation

  • Knowledge of injury management, including the rehabilitation process and ongoing treatments to keep the injured area in check

  • How to make the best of the situation and still remain invested and supportive of the team

  • How to deal with a long time out of the sport

  • Strategies on returning to peak form

These three athletes have had major blows to their knees this year which have left them on the sidelines.


Maddy Proud (Swifts)

Maddy Proud's season-ending ACL injury in Round 7 against the Firebirds was one of the netball community's biggest heartbreaks. After captaining the NSW Swifts through a scintillating start to the season, it was devastating for the squad to lose such a key player and driver of their success. Yet Maddy strives to be just as involved in the game and can be found cheering on her girls from the sidelines.


Madi Browne (Magpies)

Magpies co-captain Madi Browne injured her knee in a pre-season tournament against the Vixens in March. Despite intensive rehabilitation, the injury didn't improve and she has since been permanently removed from the 2019 SSN season following knee surgery.


Abbey McCulloch (former Swifts)

While Abbey McCulloch's first knee injury occurred in 2011, the biggest hit came in 2018, when an MRI scan revealed the top of her tibia was on the verge of breaking. After playing netball nonstop for over 10 years and captaining the NSW Swifts for the last two, this came as a huge shock for Abbey and resulted in a year break to rehabilitate. During these experiences, Abbey has still maintained an extremely positive outlook, even after her recent announcement on her retirement from representative netball.


Those who were overlooked


With every season, tournament and international championship comes a new round of disappointment for those players who narrowly missed out on selection. While upsetting at first, this can drive athletes to improve their performance and become the best athletes possible. Therefore, these players can be valuable and influential guest speakers who possess in-depth knowledge on how to:

  • Cope with the upset and disappointment

  • Maintain a positive self-esteem and good mental health

  • Stay motivated and improve performance

  • Manage social media conversations and judge how to best respond

  • Make quick career plans and decisions following an unexpected delisting

These two players have experienced starkly different situations but have equally powerful stories to tell.


Ashleigh Brazill (Magpies)

The omission of Ashleigh Brazill from several recent Diamonds squads, including this year's Netball World Cup team, has sparked huge outrage amongst the online netball community and elicited great controversy around the reasoning behind the star wing defender's exclusion.


Natalie Medhurst (Magpies)

The sudden delisting of fan favourite Natalie Medhurst from the West Coast Fever at the end of the 2018 SSN season was a shock to both fans and Natalie herself. Natalie has been extremely open about her emotions and perspective on the incident. Fortunately, she found a silver lining in being recruited by the Magpies for 2019.


Natalie Medhurst and Ashleigh Brazill (source: Instagram, @natmedhurst)

Those who are enduring a losing streak


Losing streaks are common in the sporting world, but they're still a difficult period to endure and overcome. A great deal of resilience is required, and impacted players can provide these crucial insights in a guest speaking role:

  • Strategies on building resilience and dealing with criticism

  • How to maintain a positive outlook

  • How to maintain good mental health and positive self-esteem

  • Strategies on improving performance standards


This season, the Firebirds have experienced an uncharacteristic losing streak, which is partly due to the loss of several key players who either retired last year or have been injured (particularly Romelda Aiken). Remaining players in this squad include Gretel Tippett, Laura Clemesha and Caitlyn Nevins, who would be perfect for a sports club or school looking to re-inspire their teams.


Laura Clemesha and Caitlyn Nevins (source: Instagram, @caitlyn_nevins)

You can now book these superstar netballers and plenty more with the help of PickStar.


Simply browse our database of over 1300 elite athletes, shortlist your favourite sports stars and submit the brief and budget. The PickStar system will handle the rest.


Check out the PickStar marketplace now and get started.


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