Super Netball star Sam Poolman and 22 netball associations from Newcastle, the Central Coast, Mid North Coast, and Tamworth have combined to raise more than $10,000 for the Netball Bushfire Relief at an 11s development day on Saturday.
The event, hosted at National Park Netball Courts, was run by Sam’s Aspire development program and the Newcastle Association in conjunction with Netball Australia’s relief drive to raise funds for those affected by the nation’s bushfire crisis.
While Netball Australia helmed a Super Netball All-Star charity match at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday, Poolman was hard at work the day before working with more than 270 young athletes, as well as 51 coaches and 27 umpires from a host of associations.
After raising more than $10,000, Poolman took to Facebook, where she thanked the “incredible netball communities” from Newcastle, the Central Coast, the Mid North Coast, and Tamworth for everything they’d done to bring the day together.
“We came together as a Hunter and Central Coast region to donate to the Netball Australia Netball Bushfire Relief, and wow it was incredible!” she said.
“The amount we raised has exceeded expectations, and after we all take in how special it is, we will add up the donations. Thank you to everyone involved, I am so beyond grateful and proud. Thank you!”
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The 28-year-old also confirmed the “great team effort” of more than $10k would now be heading to the Aussie firefighters who had been battling the blazes across the state during “our hot and scary summer.”
“To all our Associations, coaches, umpires, volunteers, players and their families who were involved in the lead up to and on the day—we have come together as a community to make raise funds and l couldn’t be prouder!”
Poolman’s massive fundraising effort comes off the back of a huge 2019 for the queen of netball in Newcastle. She clocked up more than 2,500 kilometres on the road between associations like Newcastle, Charlestown, and Port Stephens last year.
Sam said she was looking to expand Aspire again in 2020, and was looking to bring a more “family flavour” to her ever-growing development program.
“The ultimate goal is, of course, to increase the talent in the Hunter and make a stronger region for all of us for the sport, but we want to do that on a deeper level now moving into the new year,” she told the Chronicle. “That’s the plan at least.”
Ahead of this year’s Aspire expansion, Poolman prepares for the return of the Super Netball season. She recently inked a new two-year deal with the Giants, and is now set to begin preseason matches in Western Australia this week.
The Super Netball season proper is set to begin on Saturday, May 2. Poolman and the Giants will play the Thunderbirds in the opening round.
Relive the special day at the National Park Netball Courts thanks to 9Netball: