Newcastle netball star Sam Poolman may be on the national selectors’ radar, but two other causes close to her heart are taking precedence before the Diamonds squad is announced next month.
Netball experts rate Poolman a strong chance of making the national squad after her outstanding form for the table-topping Giants in Super Netball, and Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday that the 26-year-old would get “some sort of opportunity this year”.
But the defender is focused on helping the Giants to grand final glory rather than on individual goals.
“Back half of the season there’s plenty of media attention, and selectors and the TV reporters and stuff talking about those sorts of things, because that’s their job, but everything I put it into it is us making the grand final and winning that,” Poolman said on Thursday. “There’s a lot of defenders who have been given Australian opportunities in the last couple of years, and I definitely haven’t been one of those.
“It’s not saying that I have a chance whatsover. At the end of the day if we make the grand final and I’m playing the best I can for my team, I’m satisfied with that.
“Anything that happens after that, fantastic, but if it doesn’t, that’s life.”
The Giants (20 points) play the Queensland Firebirds at home on Friday night trying to keep the Melbourne Vixens (19) and Sunshine Coast Lightning (19) at bay. They play the Lightning in the final round the following week.
The Friday game will allow Poolman to take part in the Memory Walk & Jog in Tulkaba Park, Teralba, on Sunday in aid of Alzheimer’s support services.
The 26-year-old’s grandfather, Gordon Erskin, died two years ago of the disease, six years after being diagnosed, and Poolman is now an ambassador for Alzheimer’s Australia NSW.
“It’s something extremely close to my heart and obviously to my family,” she said.
“We saw the decrease in him remembering things quite quickly, and it got quite extreme in the end that he wouldn’t be able to speak and function.
“My granddad wasn’t aware that those little things were happening to him. It was more family around him saw those things become more common.
“That’s why Alzheimer’s Australia and NSW are onto having that support system in place for people and families.”
Poolman said her grandmother, Barbara, still attended all her games.
“She was with my granddad since they were about 14 years old. They lived their complete life together and owned a family business and brought all of us kids up and their kids as well.
“She’s doing well, but it had a massive effect on her when he was alive.
“I’m doing this for my grandma and to help out and share awareness.”
All proceeds from the Memory Walk go to the Hunter Dementia and Memory Resource Centre.