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Hunter netballer Sam Poolman calls time on Super career

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After nine seasons at the elite level, across two clubs, the Hunter’s Sam Poolman has called time on her on-court netball career.

The 30-year-old, who notched up her 100th National League Game in round 13, played her last match as the Giants fell short to the Sydney Swifts in the 2021 Super Netball grand final.

A proud product of the Netball NSW Pathway from Newcastle, Poolman represented her state at the National Underage Championships, as well as the NNSW Waratahs in the former Australian Netball League.

In 2011, she was an athlete at the Australian Institute of Sport before being offered her first National League contract with Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2013.

At 22, Poolman made her National League debut in her inaugural year with the Thunderbirds and was a part of their 2013 premiership-winning side.

In 2017, she returned home to NSW to form part of the inaugural Giants line-up.

Since then, she has been a stalwart for the club as the team’s goalkeeper, playing every possible match to date, including two grand finals.

Poolman represented Australia at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level and played for Australia in both the 2017 and 2018 Fast5 World Series, captaining the side in 2018.

The 2021 Newcastle Young Citizen of the Year said she knew the timing was right to hang up the bib.

“I was always told that you would know when it’s time and for me the timing is right,” Poolman said.

“I’m so proud of my career.

“From an aspiring netballer of the Hunter region that dreamed of playing one year in the elite level to a decade later.

“To start and end my career in a grand final, play 100 elite games and finish performing well is certainly something I’m proud of.”

Poolman’s contribution to the game hasn’t just been her on-court performance.

Through her relationship with Giants indigenous dress designer Krystal Dallinger, she’s been a driver in the club’s recognition, celebration and education for the league’s yearly Indigenous Round.

Poolman was an ambassador for Netball Australia’s Confident Girls Foundation and has also pioneered two extremely successful fundraising events in the Newcastle and Hunter region.

Since joining the Giants, she’s been a representative on the Players’ Association board, which has just negotiated a new deal that sees netballers continue to be the highest paid female domestic athletes in the country.

It’s a contribution that Poolman is particularly proud of.

“The Giants have been a really special place for me, with plenty of special games that come to mind alongside some superstar players and friends,” she said.

“I have loved contributing to the club. 

“I am excited for what l can achieve in the next 10 years and to make up for all the time lost with my family and friends.

“They are the ones who have been there for me all these years and l can now be there for them.”

Poolman was a specialist coach for the Giants Netball Academy and was set to be the assistant for the side at the Australian Netball Championships this year.

She will remain involved with the club through a coaching role within the Academy and conversations will continue in the coming months regarding further opportunities.

“It’s certainly not goodbye,” she said.

“I look forward to continuing to work within the club in the Academy space, helping regional aspiring netballers to reach their dreams through Aspire Netball and any further involvement l can have within the sport.”

Coach Julie Fitzgerald congratulated Poolman on a fantastic career.

“I think Sam has played some of her best netball this season, so for her to end in such great form is a credit to her,” she said.

“She is yet another testament to the NNSW Pathway and to have her return home and represent her state and the Giants has been pleasing.

“As an inaugural Giant, Sam has played her part in shaping this club and we are extremely grateful her contributions both on and off the court.

“While one chapter ends for her, it’s exciting to have her remain a part of the club as she now focuses on her ambitions as a coach.

“She’ll also contribute to the next generation of Giants.”

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