05/03/2024
Maddy Proud NSW Swifts Suncorp Super Netball

Maddy Proud will play in her first Suncorp Super Netball grand final this weekend. (Photo: Suncorp Super Netball)

NSW Swifts co-captain Maddy Proud will go into the Super Netball grand final with a strong support network that transcends state borders, all yearning for a win.

Maddy Proud was forced to watch the NSW Swifts’ first Super Netball championship win in 2019 from the sidelines, playing a supporting role to her teammates that included two fellow South Australians. This year, there’s a chance all three of them could bask in the glory together.

It’s been well-documented Proud’s anguish of missing the Super Netball grand final two years ago after suffering a season-ending ACL injury midway through the campaign.

Relegated to the sidelines for the remainder of the 2019 season, the Swifts co-captain was always going to remain vocal and be an off-court support to her team. Every single bit of her encouragement throughout the year became a contributing reason to the eventual premiership victory – the first for the franchise in the revamped competition.

Also on the Swifts squad at the time were South Australians Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner, who remain at the club now also. Klau made her way to the Swifts at the same time as Proud in 2017 ahead of the league’s inaugural season with Turner joining the club a year prior.

Klau and Turner each played important roles and had huge impacts to deliver the Swifts their first Super Netball championship in 2019.

For Proud, although distraught to not be a part of the on-court action, to see former teammates who she’d had a long history with from playing back home in Adelaide, vying for a premiership, was something she believed the defensive duo were capable of achieving.

“I think to see Sez [Sarah Klau] and Maddy [Turner], y’know, I grew up in underage teams playing with them and they were sort of that defensive duo back then so to then see them carry that through to the top level is pretty exciting,” Proud told media on Thursday.

“You can kind of see the way they play together, they know each other like the back of their hands and to see them be able to excel at this level is so nice.”

Reflecting on the 2019 grand final, the Swifts centre said it was a bitter feeling not to be able to jump onto the court but that she had faith in the team as a whole to get the job done over the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

“That whole 2019 grand final, every single player on court, it was just one of the best moments ever just to see what we’d done that whole year come together in that game,” Proud said.

“No matter where I was, it was on the sidelines, I think every player knows it was just as special for every person involved and those on the court as well.”

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A member of the Swifts who originally hails from and has family living in a different state to where she plays, Proud confirmed that her family would be in attendance at Nissan Arena in Brisbane this weekend. Having her loved ones in the stands will get her going throughout the game.

“That’s actually been the one really big silver lining that my parents are able to come over, and even Maddy Turner’s parents are coming as well,” Proud revealed.

“When we found out those borders had opened, I think my parents had bought their tickets beforehand so they were going to quarantine and do whatever they could to get here. I think you’ll be able to hear my dad in the stands that’s for sure!”

While Proud was excited at the fact her closest supporters would be inside the stadium cheering her and the team on, she was also quick to point out the hardships endured by the dedicated Swifts fanbase who won’t be able to watch the game live in-person.

“That’s where we are, so lucky that we do have people from different states that parents can come and to have any form of support’s gonna be awesome but in saying that we know how much love is coming from Sydney,” Proud said.

“For us even though we’re not born in Sydney, we’ve spent so much of our lives in Sydney and as a family there and as a group there and we really have sort of formed our lives as Sydneysiders and so we still do call that home. Knowing how much love and support we’re getting from everyone there is gonna be really nice on Saturday.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s chance at glory against crosstown rivals Giants Netball – who last went head-to-head two weeks ago in the semi-final – Proud remained aware that this occasion will be vastly different to the grand final two years ago.

“We’ve always said that no two grand finals are gonna be the same and every year’s different and you kind of can’t try and chase that exact same feeling or that exact same game,” Proud commented.

“We’re just coming in with a fresh perspective and just knowing again that this opportunity might not come around again so we’ve just got to soak up every single moment.”

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