Foundation Giant Sam Poolman has called time on an illustrious career, playing 100 games across the Adelaide Thunderbirds and the Giants.
A proud product of the New South Wales pathway hailing from Newcastle, Poolman has represented her state at the National Underage Championships as well as playing for NSW Waratahs in the former Australian Netball League.
Poolman was a part of the Australian Institute of Sport’s Netball program in 2011 before joining the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2013.
Poolman made her National League debut in Round 3 against the New South Wales Swifts and was a part of the Thunderbirds Championship side in 2013.
In 2017, Poolman returned home to be a part of the Inaugural Giants side and has been a key pillar in the Giants defence since.
Poolman hasn’t missed a game for the Giants since joining the side in 2017, including the sides two Grand Final appearances in 2017 and 2021.
Poolman represented Australia at under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels and played for Australia in both the 2017 and 2018 Fast5 World Series, captaining the side in 2018.
Poolman 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,” said Poolman.
“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 10 years later.
“To start and finish my career in a grand final, play 100 elite games and finish performing well is certainly something I’m proud of.”
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The Legacy that Poolman leaves extends far greater than her on-court performances.
Through her relationship with Giants Indigenous Dress Designer Krystal Dallinger, Poolman has been a driving force in the club’s recognition, celebration, and education for the league’s yearly Indigenous Round.
Poolman has been an ambassador for Netball Australia’s Confident Girls Foundation and has also pioneered two extremely successful fundraising events for the netball community in her local Newcastle and Hunter region.
Poolman has also created her Aspire Program where she has become a mentor to many aspiring netballers from the Newcastle and Hunter region
Since joining the Giants, Poolman has 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 has 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 and am proud to be a Giant for life.
“I am excited for what l can achieve in the 10 next 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 Giant Netball Academy and was set to be the Assistant Coach for the side at the Australian Netball Championships this year.
Poolman 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 Sam 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,” Fitzgerald said.
“Sam is yet another testament to the NSW 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 for 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 and contributing to the next generation of Giants.”
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