As the most prolific shooter in the Vitality Netball Super League – with seven titles to her name – Rachel Dunn heads into her 16th Superleague season ‘incredibly grateful to play’ as she continues her netball at Wasps.
The NHS genetic technologist has been working throughout the pandemic in England and complimented the Wasps coaches for keeping the team’s spirit and fitness up throughout the lockdowns.
Despite her workload, it was without question to her whether she would continue, even as she juggles her full-time job alongside being an elite netballer.
“[Not playing] wasn’t something I really thought about, I didn’t have time to think about it! I still have that hunger; everyone says when you know you’ll know, and I still don’t have that feeling,” she said.
‘’My body is ok, and I still have the drive to get out on the court so it was certainly in my mind that I would carry on, wasn’t a decision I needed to make. I have everything in place to carry on so why not?’’
Since her international debut in 2004, Dunn has worked a job outside of playing elite netball. Simply, she is no stranger to having to manage her time, but that’s something she believes is actually so important to her success.
‘’Throughout my entire Super league career I have been working for the NHS and it just makes it normal, before there wasn’t the option to not work when I started out, there weren’t the full-time programmes so it was just what I had to do, so carried on,” she told The Inner Sanctum.
‘’I think a balance is needed actually, it is not like football where you can earn a lot and that will see you through forever. It important, you do need to think about your future, and limited time span as an athlete, I have always thought you need one eye on the future.’
‘’It would be less of a worry and stress without having all that to think about, but sometimes for me I know I really enjoy that life outside of netball, as full-time programmes themselves can be very hard when you do it.
“I like having a focus outside of netball – gives good balance and perspective, you have a bad day at work and then you go training and forget about it, and that’s why so many people play so for me, it’s a key part of my career.’’
Wasps confident ahead of 2021
The Wasps team this year has some new fresh faces, after the retirement of Hannah Knights and Jade Clarke’s move to Leeds Rhinos, but that has not affected Dunn’s confidence of Wasps lifting the Superleague trophy for the third time.
“It has been a long time in preseason and we have all been itching to play and we are all excited to get going now,” she said.
“Team is shaping up well, new players are really exciting talents, and it’s a really good mixture of new and old faces. In preseason games we played lots of combinations so it is unsure to see exactly where we are at so ahead of that first game we will see where we are at as a squad but we feel good.
‘’I am confident with the players we have around us, and the team has got those new faces but they come into the squad in a great manner, we are all really happy playing with each other.
“It’s one long season definitely, so how you start is not going to determine how you end, need to peak at that last little bit to get over the line, but the squad is fresh, its got young talent but plenty of Superleague winning experience, so I am very confident and just so excited.’’