Training with Jets keeps skilful Ipswich duo flying high
ONGOING learning is valuable for every Ipswich sportsperson, especially when an unexpected opportunity arises.
After impressing in a recent riveting encounter, Ipswich Flyers duo Bridget Cumming and Abbey Gallagher received that welcome surprise.
The skilful Flyers midcourt netballers were invited to train with the higher level Jets Ruby Series squad.
Cumming was delighted to attend last Tuesday's session, eager to be involved in more Jets sessions under the watchful eye of experienced coach Camille Rieck.
"Camille had watched our nailbiting game against Wests and invited us to come along to train with the Rubies as training partners temporarily with the possibility of being long term,'' Cumming said.
Gallagher was equally thrilled.
"We didn't realise Camille attended one of our games as they were looking for training partners who played centre/wing attack,'' Gallagher said.
"I think both Bridget and I were surprised to be considered for the Jets training sessions.
"We definitely did not see it coming or realise that Camille was thinking about asking us to join but very thankful and excited to have been given the opportunity to go along.''
Rieck said the Flyers duo displayed potential to play at a higher level.
"We invited both Bridget and Abbey into training with the Jets Ruby team to expose both athletes to this level and look to include one of them in the training squad moving forward,'' Rieck said.
Due to ongoing Flyers Queensland Premier League commitments, the duo are focusing on joining the Jets Rubies each Tuesday night.
"Although only having participated in one training session, I got so much out of it,'' Cumming said.
"From the change in intensity to having to step my game up and compete with the strength and speed of the Jets Ruby girls.
"It was also great to see how different trainings are run and be able to debrief with our coach on certain things that could be incorporated into our Flyers sessions.
"Netball is all about ongoing learning - there is never a time where you stop learning and this is an amazing opportunity to keep growing as a player.''
Gallagher was also excited about furthering her netball development.
"At the moment I am just happy with having the opportunity to train with them,'' she said.
"I think not only does it benefit myself but hopefully benefit my team in being able to produce a better performance come game day and execute the little things I have learnt each week.''
In her second season with the Flyers, former Downey Park representative Gallagher said seeing how the Jets operate was hugely beneficial.
"It is helping in so many ways,'' she said.
"Fitness is a major one. You can never have too many fitness sessions.
"I really enjoy 'netball' fitness and doing it in a group setting rather than going for a run by myself. It definitely helps with pushing yourself, especially against the really fit Jets girls.
"On top of that, the court specialist sessions for Bridget and I were really interesting with the different drills and things to consider and think about while doing them.
"They switch up the drills a lot to keep you thinking and on your toes. The different variations was great.''
Preparing for the Flyers' latest Thursday night match against QUT, Cumming said defending premiers Ipswich were still in the finals hunt.
"I don't think we ever won't be,'' she said. "Our attitude is always aimed at making finals and taking it from there, which I definitely think we can do.
"Each week we are growing as a team and getting stronger.
"This has been a crazy year for everyone so it has just been about accepting what's in front of you and working towards moving forward.
"We don't get a second chance in playing teams, so it is crucial that we make the most of it out on court and don't stop pushing as it certainly could come down to percentage goals come final placings.''
Cumming is in her sixth season with the Flyers having trialled for the team after leaving high school in 2015.
"QPL is the highest level of netball I have played,'' she said.
"Growing up I thought I knew what a team was all about but it wasn't until I made Flyers that I truly understood,'' she said.
"In talking major successes I personally think mine is being selected into a team of such high quality, down to earth, amazing girls who continue to support me and help me grow.''
Sharing in last year's grand final was a massive feeling.
"Honestly I wish I could relive this day over and over,'' she said.
"It has by far been the highlight of my netball career and one I'll never forget.''
Cumming was thrilled to see the Jets becoming more involved with the Flyers.
"I think having the Jets work more closely with the Flyers would be great,'' she said.
"The opportunities for our team to learn would be endless as well as potentially have pathways open up in the future. I think match play played a huge part in our success last season and something we could definitely benefit from with the Jets.''
Away from netball, Cumming works as a teacher aide while completing her Bachelor of Secondary Education.
She also coaches the Ipswich Girls Grammar School Open netball team which are still training for the Vicki Wilson Cup which is played in a couple of weeks.
As a relative newcomer to the Flyers, centre Gallagher said being part of last year's grand final victory was incredible.
"It was made even better with the development we showed over the whole year,'' she said.
"We had a lot of experience but also had a few new faces and had to get used to playing together. By the end everyone knew their role, worked really hard for each other and the team vibe was like nothing else.''
But like Cumming, she welcomes what comes out of the Jets Rubies experience.
"I love playing netball,'' she said. "I haven't really ever considered playing Rubies before the opportunity came up to train with them.
"QPL is a great mix between social netball while also having expectations on level of performance, commitment to trainings and games as well as the competition.''
She said strengthening ties between the Flyers and Jets was fantastic.
"Whether girls who play QPL Flyers do or don't want to be considered at the Jets level, training and playing against people who push you to be better is always a benefit,'' Gallagher said.
"In terms of fitness, game play and exposure I think it's all positives.''
Gallagher works in the commercial health team at Commonwealth Bank.
Away from netball, she loves spending time with her family and friends, especially being near the water.