During one of Suncorp Super Netball’s most chaotic free agency windows since 2017, all eyes were firmly fixed on Melbourne Vixens to see just who would come to the club to join the front line late last year.
With speculation rife across the netball world, the Vixens management kept their cards close to their chest before announcing former West Coast Fever goaler Kaylia Stanton would join the squad.
The Perth Netball Association junior spent seven seasons with West Coast Fever through the club’s most successful period so far. Despite this, Fever did not offer Stanton a place in its 10-player squad for 2021.
Speaking to The Inner Sanctum, Stanton said she was initially disappointed in the decision.
“At the end of the season I wasn’t offered a contract with Fever and we were in quarantine at the time so initially was quite disappointed with that outcome from the Fever. Obviously playing with them for seven years and being a Perth girl myself it was quite heartbreaking and I was pretty devastated by it all,” she said.
“I think the silver lining of all of that Vixens had an opportunity and two spots available so I spoke to them. Long story short – I got a contract with them and I was incredibly grateful and humbled for them to even have the interview with me.
“I think for me coming from Western Australia, I’ve always known the Vixens to pick Victorian players and girls from their own pathway as well. To pick someone from outside of that pathway as well was truly remarkable and I’m just so grateful to have the opportunity.”
So, why did Stanton reach out the Vixens?
“I think there was an accumulation of things, they have a great culture and a good winning culture. Their ability to back up as well, year in, year out I see them as a quality side coming into the team,” she said.
“Melbourne as a state and as a city as well is the sporting hub of Australia and it’s such a great environment to be in. I think to immerse myself in that as much as possible and really challenge myself.
“It will help me go out of my comfort zone of living in Perth. It was really familiar to me so to be able to move to the other side of Australia was really something I looked forward too.”
Moving across the country and leaving all your friends and family behind is not an easy choice, but there were a few people who are close to Stanton to make the decision just that little bit easier.
“I have a really strong family connection back in Perth and I think for me going away to the hub over in Brisbane for three months was able to strengthen that and know who I was close to,” she continued.
“I can lean on them for support regardless no matter if it’s good times or bad times.
“That’s something that really stuck out for me, when we move to different states as athletes you still have the support network back home and they are with you no matter what.
“In theory, I guess they are a zoom call away or a phone call away so it’s not that bad.”