I’m studying psychology. I want to be a sports psychologist. It’s so cool to be able to learn in class and then apply it on court. To be able to motivate yourself when there’s a lot of pressure is a plus, and also being able to push through whatever bad situation you’re in. And just to try to understand myself more.
It was a learning experience for me in Adelaide because I only came as a replacement player for Cat Tuivaiti. So I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to take the opportunity, and wherever it takes me I’ll just go with it’. I was open to anything and just being focused on what’s ahead, because it’s all about building. I guess it didn’t work out, because we lost all the games throughout the season, but I kept working as hard as I could and it helped me learn to be resilient.
It was my choice to move from Adelaide. There were actually a few teams chasing after me. I was like, ‘This is my first year, are you kidding me?’ I had so many offers that came I was still in shock that it actually happened: being a replacement player and at the end of the season having teams wanting me to play for them, I never expected that.
That same year, last year, I got selected for the Jamaican 21-and-under team to go to Botswana for the World Youth Cup. I had still only played one short season of netball.
The Magpies offered a wide variety of things, not just netball alone. It’s really diverse; you have more than one opportunity here. Anything study-wise, basketball, netball is right there, and easy for me to access.
I was a little bit aware of Collingwood being such a famous club when I was studying sports management in Adelaide. We studied footy, and I was like, ‘I don’t know the sport, but that’s all right!’
In each session we had an update of how the footy season was going. That included Collingwood, and the lecturer would talk about the teams in Melbourne, how the facilities are there, how well they treat their athletes, and I thought, ‘OK, that’s really nice’ but I never thought I would have the opportunity to be scouted by the Magpies. When I was, I thought it was a really, really good opportunity.
It’s a new team and everyone’s trying to bond with each other, and having little sessions trying to know how we play. Being able to have the connection, the combination and the trust with each other, I’m really looking forward to that, and when that time comes we will see what happens. We just have to be work-driven, determined, honest, trustworthy and be patient with each other and very humble. As goal shooter, I want to be the backbone of the team.
I do know there are high expectations for any Collingwood team but I don’t really let other people’s expectation get me down, because if you try to please them, then in the end you don’t please yourself.
Melbourne is a really busy city. The weather is different. ‘Mixed’ weather! But I’m not the type of person to always be going out – I’m always home, studying, or just doing things at home. That’s how I am. I’m at training, then home, and studying, and back again in that routine. That’s just me. That’s how I feel comfortable.
I miss the weather in Jamaica. And the food. I don’t really have a favourite food. As long as it’s Jamaican it’s good food!
I haven’t tried to kick a footy. No. No, thank you!
People ask how does Jamaica produce all these big, tall goal shooters? I don’t know! Maybe it’s the food. Or maybe it’s in the genes. I’m not sure. But we do utilise our height and bodies. We do.
Not knowing about sports, I didn’t know who Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken were. What I know now is that they’re amazing. They’re unstoppable.
It’s just so tremendous to know you’re in the same field as them, you can learn from them, ask them questions, annoy them all the time and they’re able to help you. They communicate with me, I communicate with them. It just feels as if we’re sisters but from different mothers.
Including Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Shamera Nelson, there are now five of us Jamaicans in Suncorp Super Netball, and we’re in touch all the time. They’re amazing. For Fast5 last year and this year I treasured every moment with them. I just love being around these females and the entire team. They’re so energetic, they’re encouraging, they’re creative.
We’re always talking. We always know what’s happening with each other. We are a nuisance to each other – it’s just like that family feeling. Being in different teams in this competition doesn’t separate us; we have an even closer bond now.
People ask how does Jamaica produce all these big, tall goal shooters? I don’t know! Maybe it’s the food.
My mum didn’t come to watch me play in Adelaide. She doesn’t like long flights. She’s afraid of them. I’m gonna try to get her to come to Melbourne. I’ll just have to persuade her.
She used to be a domestic helper, but she doesn’t work any more because my sister Shakira and I are able to give her whatever she needs. We were very keen to make a better life for her and as well for ourselves, so that she doesn’t have to worry about how the bills are gonna be paid, how we’re gonna eat, little things like that.
That makes her so much more relaxed and her smile means so much to me and my sister. That’s why we work hard with the books, so that when we do well in our exams, we will always get that smile – not presents – as a reward for our accomplishments.
That helps us to keep pushing ourselves, to know that there’s a better future waiting for us. We’ve learnt the hard way. Things don’t come really easy for us.
But it’s an amazing journey for me. It’s so incredible what’s happened.
I wasn’t the type to get sweaty. Now I’m all for it.