Sharpshooter signs with netball champs

Sharpshooter signs with netball champs

AMount Gambier netballer has had a homecoming of sorts, returning to where her professional career started with the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Nyah Allen has signed on as a training partner with the Thunderbirds, who won last year’s Suncorp Super Netball League championship.

Allen is one of five South Australian athletes selected ahead of the Thunderbirds’ 2024 campaign.

The young shooter is one of two new additions from last year’s list, having returned to Adelaide from Collingwood after the Pies opted not to renew their Super League licence.

All five athletes have made their way through the Netball South Australia pathways, representing the state at national level and competing in The Hospital Research Foundation Group Premier League.

Formerly representing the Collingwood Netball Club, the 22-year-old Allen has returned to her home state for the first time since leaving for Victoria in 2019.

The sharpshooter played a total of 16 SSN games and tallied an impressive 26 super shots during her playing career with Collingwood.

In the same year, she was crowned Netball Victoria’s MVP in its Championship division.

Allen started her netball career as an eight-year-old, playing for North Gambier in the Western Border competition in the under 12 team with sister Sienna, with mum Nicola as coach.

From there she transferred to East Gambier for a year in the under 15 competition, before moving to Millicent to play A Grade and Under 15.

At the age of 14, Allen moved to Adelaide to further her netball, playing in state teams and Garville in the Adelaide Premier League.

At the tender of age of 16 Allen signed on as a training partner with the Thunderbirds, before moving to Melbourne for the 2020 season as a training partner with Collingwood.

“I spent a few years as a training partner there, but with COVID I was fortunate to go away with the team to the hub and we went to Queensland to play and I debuted in 2020 at the age of 18,” she said.

“Then I was a training partner for 2021, 2022 and in 2023 I got my first contract in the 10, but unfortunately I did not get to play as I had a chest reconstruction and I was not able to get back, I just ran out of time.”

Allen said she had recovered well from the reconstruction and was now back in full health and “fitter than ever”.

“It’s worked out well, I had a longer off season and I trained really hard in Mount Gambier to set myself up for this year,” she said.

“Since leaving Collingwood I have spent a few months in Mount Gambier, trained really hard with running and getting stronger in the gym.

“It’s been nice to have some family time and help Sienna set up her coffee shop.”

Allen returned to Adelaide at the start of the year to undertake preseason training with the Thunderbirds.

“It feels really good, obviously the Thunderbirds were successful last year winning the premiership, there are a lot of girls in the team I grew up playing with in state teams,” she said.

“I won three gold medals in under age state championships with some of them, so I want to help the Thunderbirds continue their success and help the girls I played with when I was younger.

“They have got a lot of South Australian talent plus some international superstars to train with and learn from.

“I had a few preferences of what teams I wanted to go to, and I have a manager who can talk to all the teams … the Thunderbirds said they would like to welcome me back and I was pumped.

“I feel like Adelaide is a bigger Mount Gambier, there are a lot of Mount Gambier people here. I thought that was the best thing for my netball.”

Allen said she was overjoyed to return to the Thunderbirds and rekindle her netball career among friends.

“It’s pretty cool, from when I was younger I always knew this was what I wanted to do and to be able to play with and meet some of the people I’d looked up to,” she said.

“I love being able to wear the dress I saw on people when I was younger.”

Asked for a message for fellow Limestone Coast young netballers, her advice was simple.

“You can do anything you put your mind to and if you put in the hard work it shows you can achieve anything,” she said.

“The Thunderbirds culture is very good, we are a very close group, if you are friends off the court it helps on the court.

“It helps that a lot of the girls grew up together, they are also welcoming of new players.

“We are all training hard and know what we want to achieve and are all on the same page.”

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