01/03/2024

Former Magic captain Sam Winders will ply her trade in Australia with the GIANTS (Image: Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic)

Former Silver Fern Sam Winders will cross over the ditch to join the GIANTS for the 2024 season.

Winders will now join a niche group of players to cross over the ditch and re-locate to join the Super Netball competition. Some of the other Kiwi netballers that have joined the SSN include Maria Folau, Laura Langman and Katrina Rore.

The 28-year-old has a 10 year national career racking up 138 games, and will be one of the GIANTS most experienced heads. The first nine years of Winders’ career was spent with her home club the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic before moving south to Invercargill to join the Southern Steel in 2023.

Winders is no stranger to the way GIANTS Head Coach Julie Fitzgerald works, having been mentored by her for three years with the Magic. The former Magic captain will reunite with former teammates Jo Harten and Jamie-Lee Price, this time in the orange dress.

Winders has represented New Zealand on 47 occasions, taking home the Silver Ferns Player of the Year in 2021.

The Kiwi is a naturally athletic netballer being able to play both attack and defence effectively. Naturally a wing defence or centre, Winders has slowly added wing attack to her game, but she’ll be a stand-out wing defence at the GIANTS with Price and Hay to follow.

Winders is grateful for the opportunity and ready for the challenge to come.

“It’s a massive privilege to have the opportunity to play in the Suncorp Super Netball league,” Winders said.

“I felt like I was in a transitioning phase of my career. 10 years of playing at the top level had me asking, ‘now what else do I want to do before it’s all over?’ When the opportunity came up to play in Australia and for the GIANTS, it just felt like the right thing to do, at the right time.”

The midcourter was tempted to sign with the GIANTS knowing she will be joined by Harten, Price and Fitzgerald.

“They’re all great women, who are superstars of the sport,” Winders said.

“I cannot wait to reunite with them all.”

Winders kept a close eye on the GIANTS leading up to the signing period, but admiring from a distance when the club was first established in 2017.

“I’ve followed the GIANTS closely since their inception given I knew some of the girls. From the outside it looks like an awesome club with an awesome game day atmosphere and I’m super pumped to get amongst it,” she said.

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Fitzgerald is excited to announce the first new signing of the GIANTS roster and is proud to have it be the experienced Winders.

“It’s exciting to welcome a fresh face into the side,” Fitzgerald said.

“Sam’s versatility and experience will complement our 2024 list and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with her again.

“She has the characteristic of what we believe makes a GIANTS player both on and off the court and she will fit in seamlessly.

“She is such a friendly and warm person, and I can’t wait for the members and fans to get to know her.”

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