Mia Stower is a star on the rise, having played a key role in the Brisbane North Cougars’ back to back premierships in the Hart Sapphire Series. In 2022, she’ll be swapping the red and black for purple as she joins the Firebirds team for the upcoming Suncorp Super Netball season.
Although its her first Super Netball contract, Stower has been with the Firebirds for a few years already, as both a training partner and member of the extended squad in 2020.
The Inner Sanctum spoke to Stower about her journey through the Netball Queensland pathway and her call up to the Queensland Firebirds in 2022.
It wasn’t an easy journey to get to the Super Netball, with a number of hurdles she’d overcome to be able to get to where she is today.
“It’s been pretty challenging, I’ve gone through every single step that there is, I haven’t missed out on anything,” Stower told The Inner Sanctum.
“I’ve also had my setbacks as well and it’s been pretty challenging but it’s been a very good journey as well.
“The first setback I had was I didn’t make under 17’s for the Queensland team, I only got a training partner [spot]. That hurt a lot, but I just kind of persisted through and someone ended up getting injured so I got pulled in anyway, so that was my first one.
“The second one was I missed out on the Aussie under 21’s which was last year. That one probably hurt the most because I was actually in the squad then I got dropped, but I ended up getting put back through again based on performance.
“With my setbacks I never really gave up, and I just wanted to prove them wrong and in the end making them.”
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Stower was a part of the Firebirds extended bench in 2020, when squads were increased from 10 to 12.
Although it was a big step up from what she had become accustomed to, it’s an experience that Stower has taken a lot from.
“It was very overwhelming,” she said.
“I don’t think I was ready at that point but it was also very exciting. I learnt so much from that experience, [I’m] really grateful. Having this year as a training partner and having next year to be a part of team, I’m definitely ready for that next step.”
Stower made her Super Netball debut in round one that year against the Sunshine Coast Lightning, which saw her go head-to-head with one of the best defenders in the world.
“I don’t think I had any feelings at all at that point, it was all kind of surreal and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.
“Once again I thought it was really overwhelming [with] the crowd, then knowing you’re going to be on TV and all that
“I was playing against Karla Pretorius at the time, who is an absolute GOAT. I actually don’t think I had anything going through my head, I was completely blank because I was so excited, it was crazy.”
Although Stower may not have been ready in 2020, after a year in the Firebirds training environment, she’s ready to shine out on court.
“I think just getting that experience, taking the court a couple of times and getting a taste of it.
“Having that extra year as a training partner, training with the best and learning from the best. I’m definitely ready to take it will two hands this time.”
When Stower got the call from Firebirds coach Megan Anderson, she was left speechless.
“I didn’t really know what to say and I think she thought that I was gonna decline the offer because I did not sound excited at all, but I just couldn’t wait to tell my mum.”
The thing that Stower is most excited about is getting wear that coveted uniform on a weekly basis.
“I think just to get to wear the purple dress for real this time, to keep learning off all the players and I’m particularly excited to work a bit closer with Megs, the coach,” she said.
“She just has so much experience and she has such a good netball brain, so I can’t wait to pick her brain and learn more.”
Anderson has been a mentor for Stower throughout her netball pathway, her new coach having watched Stower develop first hand from the Queensland School Girls to the Australian Under-21 team.
“I’ve had Megz [Anderson] a couple of times through the years for Aussie stuff so I’ve always loved her,” Stower said.
“So when she was announced as the head coach, I was really excited. She was a goal attack for the Diamonds, so I’m really excited to work with her.
“Even this year I’ve learnt her so much off her already, so I can’t wait to work with her again.”
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