Magpie swoops on netball world

Magpie swoops on netball world

The stocks of Mount Gambier shooting star Nyah Allen have never been higher in the netball world.

In the past two months Allen has achieved some lifetime ambitions, having been named in the 21 and Under Australian team and signing her first senior Super Netball contract for Collingwood.

The 20-year-old has been in the Magpies’ system for three years as a training partner and had a taste of Super Netball action, but has now hit the big time on the eve of a new preseason.

Allen said it was an emotional moment seeing the paperwork in front of her knowing a lifelong ambition had been achieved.

“It was like a dream come true because it is something I have been working for my whole life,” she said.

“To finally get a contract and to be with Collingwood – a team I have always wanted to play for, so to be signed with them in the best netball league in the world just makes me very happy.

“I have been a training partner for three years at Collingwood and one year before that at the Thunderbirds, so I have been in the system for a while and you never really know what they are thinking.

“I felt if you train and play well you have a chance, but to actually get a contract is very exciting.”

While Allen has been involved in the Super Netball world since she was a teenager and has hit the court at the top level, the elevation means she can enter the 2023 season with the assurance of knowing she is a full-time player.

The star shooter said the new contract was much more than just a pay rise, with the chances of getting court time now much higher.

“To be a contracted player you basically train with the team full time and guaranteed to be either starting on the court or the bench,” Allen said.

“Whereas a training partner only trains with the team and most of the game time is in the Victorian Netball League and there has to be an injury or sickness for a training partner to be called up (to the Super Netball team).

“That is where I was lucky enough to get my opportunity during COVID in the hub.”

Allen’s elevation has been a byproduct of years of hard work, especially behind the scenes where the teenager was not afraid to soak up as much information as possible from some of the biggest stars in the game.

“I was only 16 when I joined the Thunderbirds as a training partner, so I feel like I have grown up a bit more since then,” she said.

“Just being around the different top players in the league, training or playing against them and learning a lot of things from the coaches trying to pick their brains.

“I always tried different ways to get better and did a lot of stuff outside of the club as well as inside.

“I also went outside and did extra sessions whenever I could because I just wanted to be better and train full time.”

Having only just come to terms with the arrival of a full time contract with Collingwood, Allen then found out the news she was hand-picked as one of 14 of the best 21 and Under netballers in the country.

It is not the first Australian squad the shooter has been a part of, but she said the honour remained as high as ever with a four-day training camp at the Australian Institute of Sport this month one of the perks lined up.

“I am always grateful for the opportunity to be selected,” she said.

“Australia always has so much depth coming through so to be named in these squads means a lot.

“At the camps you get to train with the best players around Australia in the age group and specialist coaches which is always really good.

“We also play practice matches against each other and sometimes New Zealand or England come over and play us.”

Of course, Allen has not been able to go this far on her netball journey on her own.

Either ahead or beside her every step of the way has been older sister Sienna, who has also forged her own netball career.

When defender Sienna was playing for the Sunshine Coast Lighting, some tense experiences would have been had in the Allen household as the two sisters and opposing training partners faced off.

It would have been the stuff of dreams when the sisters were tearing the courts of Mount Gambier up a decade ago, but now they are finally back together under the Magpies’ umbrella.

“I played a little bit of basketball, but had a real passion for netball and we both grew up playing netball and dreaming of being professional and now we are in the same team,” Nyah said.

“It is great to have someone else to lean on and help each other out at this level.

“But what was interesting was when she was up at the Sunshine Coast we used to play against each other because she is a defender and I am a shooter.

“It was funny, I always thought when Venus and Serena Williams competed against each other they just had to pretend it was another opponent and not their sister.

“It was always fun and was like practicing in the backyard again.”

With the season starting around March, the Allen sisters are about to start the grind of preseason to as big of an impression as possible ahead of round 1.

Despite the advantage a full time contract brings, Nyah said it was just the beginning of a new chapter.

“Just because I have a contract it does not mean the hard work stops now,” she said.

“I have to keep working hard to try and get better everyday to keep chasing my goals and dreams in the future.

“I want to get some good game time at Collingwood and become a good, reliable player for them and moving forward to a long and successful career.

“One day I would love to try and make it into the Diamonds team.

“This always keeps me motivated to get better.”

Why wait? Get more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox
Join our digital edition mailing list and stay up to date on the latest news, events and special announcements from across the Limestone Coast.

Your local real estate guide - every Thursday


You might also like