Tayla Williams

Emerging South Australian midcourter Tayla Williams (right) completes the Adelaide Thunderbirds 2022 team. Photo: Netball South Australia/Twitter

Local talent Tayla Williams has been rewarded with a contract at the Adelaide Thunderbirds squad for 2022.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have signed emerging South Australian midcourter Tayla Williams, locking in their squad for 2022. For all your Suncorp Super Netball signing news, stay up to date with our Off-Season Hub and follow The Inner Sanctum’s netball podcast, Over a Third, on Twitter and Instagram to get the news when it breaks.

After two years as a training partner, Williams’ effort and talent has now been recognised with an official contract at the Adelaide Thunderbirds for 2022.

Hailing from the state’s Mid North, the 21-year-old made her Super Netball debut as a training partner in Round 1 of the 2020 season.

She relished her opportunities on the extended Thunderbirds’ bench and impressed in all three midcourt positions.

Her debut season included a Round 10 matchup against fellow South Australian Tyler Orr, who had an opportunity to play for Collingwood Magpies in 2020.

Although Williams did not play in the pink dress in 2021, she travelled up to the Queensland hub to finish the season and was on the bench when Shadine Van der Merwe sat out through injury.

At home, in the Netball SA Premier League, Williams produced a stellar season for Contax Netball Club concluding with a Premiership.

She was ultimately named in the Premier League Team of the Year at wing defence, alongside fellow 2021 training partners Lucy Austin (goal shooter), Molly Watson (goal keeper) and Chelsea Blackman (reserve defence).

Williams is still in shock, not expecting to be offered a full time contract when called in for a meeting with head coach Tania Obst.

“I did not expect it whatsoever, I thought I was just going in for any other meeting – end of season review, like we always have – so definitely didn’t expect it and didn’t really understand what she was saying at the time, to be honest, because it was a massive shock,” she said.

“I’ve been involved with the group for a few years now, so yeah we’ve got a really good group of girls and it’s really exciting what we’re building towards and hopefully 2022 will be really exciting and we can go, make final and see where we can go from there.

While her debut season in the Thunderbirds environment was exciting, Williams admits making a 10-player roster and hopefully playing a full season across the country again is a different prospect.

“Obviously 2020 was the first year we kind of experienced Covid in the hub and the two games-a-week type scenario with the 12 players.

“So I think being in a 10 and being able to play at home in front of the fans and the T-Birds crew and have family and friends in the stands will be really exciting and something different that I haven’t really experienced yet.

“I can’t wait for that, that’ll be awesome.”

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Adelaide’s midcourt now has a very South Australian feel with three out of the four athletes from the Netball SA pathway.

While Williams can play across the midcourt channel, with South African van der Merwe heading to the Vitality Netball Superleague, there is space as a reserve wing defence alongside Jamaican Latanya Wilson.

Pitre Bourdon, the Thunderbirds’ High Performance Manager, said Williams had well and truly earned her spot on the Adelaide Thunderbirds squad.

“Tayla is a very promising local talent who can play all three midcourt positions,” Bourdon said.

“She is incredibly hard-working and has shown true dedication to the club during her two seasons as a training partner.

“Not only is she a great netballer, Tayla is also a great person, and we know she will be a wonderful addition to our list for 2022.”

Williams completes the Thunderbirds roster for the 2022 season, joining Tippah Dwan, Matilda Garrett, Georgie Horjus, Elle McDonald, Maisie Nankivell, Hannah Petty, and international stars Lenize Potgieter, Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson.

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