The Goodna Sapphires netball team that won the 2017 and 2018 SEQ Cup grand final.
The Goodna Sapphires netball team that won the 2017 and 2018 SEQ Cup grand final.

Family first for Goodna team that loves winning

BEING able to work from home has softened the shutdown blow for loyal Goodna Sapphires captain Robyn Walsh.

With this year's Netball Queensland Premier League season scheduled to start through the week, that's been a huge help in her RACQ role.

"I am lucky that I have the ability to work from home, so that has kept me occupied,'' Walsh said.

"It is no netball that is causing me the most grief.

"I play nearly every night of the week and multiple games on the weekend so I definitely have more spare time on hands.''

Walsh led the Sapphires to successive QPL SEQ Cup grand final victories before her team lost last year's title decider to the resurgent Ipswich Flyers.

The current coronavirus disruption highlighted the importance of sport to accomplished netballers like Walsh and her teammates.

"It make you realise that you play the sport because you love it, but it's the friendships you miss the most, not seeing all the girls on a regular basis is a bit of a downer,'' she said.

"It is tough for everyone.

"We play so much netball and to have that taken away in all forms, it's not ideal.

"However no complaints as, like I said, I have been able to retain employment, and there are plenty of people who have not.''

The 2020 season was originally planned to start this month with finals in August. That has dramatically changed due to the pandemic.

"We are just awaiting for Netball Queensland to make their next announcement,'' the international indoor representative said.

"I do not believe it will be before the first of June.''

Goodna Sapphires captain Robyn Walsh.
Goodna Sapphires captain Robyn Walsh.

Walsh said her teammates were mainly working on their fitness at home with their families. "Everyone is doing various different forms of physical exercise,'' she said.

"Some of the girls are doing netball programs from various apps, be it from their associations, Netball Q, daughters coaches etc.

"Some of the girls are doing live fitness sessions from their gyms. So basically all keeping fit and ready to go for when we get the green light.''

The Sapphires have been sharing post workout photos and videos of drills.

Being a casual team rich in experience, the Sapphires regulars were simply focused on resuming good competition during the pre-season.

"Everyone is coping well,'' Walsh said. "Most of the girls have been able to retain their employment over this time, which is pleasing.

"The majority of the girls, myself included, have children so they keep us busy and now with school not returning, we have all become teachers as well.''

This year's Goodna team was preparing with two key changes - both in defence.

Taylah Collier and Beth Thorton have decided to take a year off.

Goodna Sapphires recruit Lisa Tucker.
Goodna Sapphires recruit Lisa Tucker.

The Sapphires have recruited Lisa Tucker.

"Lisa brings a wealth of experience to the Sapphires and has represented Queensland and Australia on multiple occasions for indoor netball,'' Walsh said.

"Lisa's inclusion into the defence end will be an assist to the Sapphires. This will give us eight players.''

The Goodna Sapphires squad preparing for the new season is: Robyn Walsh, Rebecca Asquith, Lisa Tucker, Angela Ray, Sarah Cullen-Reid, Renee Keith, Renea Kalao and Chrissy Peever.

Supportive coach David Eustace returns, along with another active Goodna backer in manager Lauren Lavea.