Newcastle defender Sam Poolman may not have the profile of many of her star teammates, but she is establishing herself as a consistent and effective force in Super Netball.
The 26-year-old goal keeper’s marking job on Australian shooter Caitlin Thwaites in a seven-point win over Collingwood two weeks ago earned her rave reviews and a spot in the Super Netball team of the week.
The Giants boast Australian veterans Kim Green, Bec Bulley and Susan Pettitt and English stars Jo Harten and Serena Guthrie.
Poolman has played all but five minutes of the club’s first season, and she and Bulley have the second-best goals-against record in the league.
She said she was thrilled with the side’s four-from-four start to the year and proud of her team-of-the-week award.
“It was nice being acknowledged seeing I was against one of the best Australian shooters,” she said.
Poolman endured several years in a struggling Adelaide Thunderbirds side in the old trans-Tasman championship before joining the Giants.
“Obviously winning is fun. It makes everything a bit easier, the energy there, at the moment,” she said.
Poolman may be earning praise but said a national call-up was not on her mind.
“My passion is definitely for my club and this team, and I’m enjoying every minute of being in the Giants environment. My priority is to win this championship in the first year with them. Australian selections, teams, squads, camps you don’t have any control over.”
She said the early closeness of Super Netball set it apart from the trans-Tasman league, where many of the Kiwi teams struggled to match their Australian rivals.
“I feel the teams are a lot closer. Vixens had an awesome start – people probably wrote them off at the start – Firebirds have always been strong, Collingwood have had a couple of losses but they were really, really great against Adelaide on the weekend. I think overall it’s a really tight competition, which is perfect for our sport.
“And I guess younger girls growing up are watching mostly Australian athletes in our competition and watching that that’s a pathway they can be a part of.”
The Giants travel to Canberra on Sunday to host Adelaide, who have a 1-3 record.