Collingwood’s Kalifa McCollin on finding her feet

Collingwood Magpies' Kalifa McCollin.
Collingwood Magpies' Kalifa McCollin.

Trinidad and Tobago shooter Kalifa McCollin is ready for the challenge of the Suncorp Super Netball competition.

McCollin has settled in quickly to life in Melbourne.

“I’m still getting accustomed to the Melbourne weather,” McCollin joked when speaking with The Inner Sanctum prior to the season opener. 

Collingwood boasts four international players this season, but the challenges to connecting as a team 

“We were having conversations back and forth, they were updating me on what was happening and I would be on Zoom looking at the training sessions,” McCollin added.

“I think I’ve slotted in quite well.

“I really enjoy playing with Kelsey (Browne) and Braz (Ash Brazill), also Molly (Jovic). They each bring something different to the game.”

As for the goal circle combinations, McCollin said they are growing each time they get out on court. 

“We have a moving circle with Gabby (Sinclair) and myself, and then you have a holding shooter in the back with Shimona (Nelson),” she said.

“It’s really awesome that we have variety. 

“You don’t just have someone standing in there [the circle], but we will be able to put something on where you have a bit more movement and it just depends on what the game calls for at that point in time.”

McCollin was 17-years-old when she made her debut for the Calypso Girl’s – Trinidad and Tobago’s national netball team – in the 2015 Netball World Cup. 

Her talent as a teenager led to an opportunity to play in the Vitality Netball Superleague with the Celtic Dragons and then Saracens Mavericks.

The attacker moved to New Zealand in 2020, where she played for the Southern Steel in the ANZ Premiership. 

“For me, experience in those other leagues was really good for my development as a player,” she said. 

This year, McCollin has crossed the Tasman Sea to play in the Suncorp Super Netball competition for the Collingwood Magpies. 

“Coming here, I think the massive difference is the fact that the intensity is always high,” she said. 

“The demand from your teammates and your coach is always there. 

“They demand for you to be better, to do better and to bring all that you can every single training session.

“The fact that in this league you have so much talent from all over the world. The people that I will be coming up against, I only tend to see them at the World Cup or the Commonwealth Games.

“I’m looking forward to coming up against the likes of Shamera Sterling, because she is another Caribbean girl. 

“And Karla Pretorius – a South African defender. She was named one of the best defenders in the world, so I think that’ll be really interesting,” she said.

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The Collingwood Magpies finished in last place in 2020 with one win for the season. 

McCollin wasn’t a part of the team, but has heard and read about the disappointment of last year. And hopes to rectify it with her new teammates, despite two losses first up.

“Nobody wants to lose, nobody wants to be at the bottom, so I think it just lit a fire under everybody,” she said.

“Richo (coach Nicole Richardson) came in and did a massive job talking about team culture and building team culture.

“We’ve bought into her vision and what she expects from us and I think we’ve been tracking quite well where that is concerned.” 

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