Amy Sligar is the final piece of the puzzle for Giants Netball for 2022.

Amy Sligar is the final piece of the puzzle for Giants Netball for 2022. Photo: Giants Netball

Amy Sligar has been awarded her first Suncorp Super Netball contract, penning a one-year deal with Giants Netball for 2022.

Nineteen-year-old Amy Sligar has been awarded her first Suncorp Super Netball contract, penning a one-year deal with Giants Netball for season 2022. For all the 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 the departure of Kristiana Manu’a and Kiera Austin who both covered the wing defence and wing attack positions respectively, Sligar has been given the opportunity to enter the contracted 10, joining Jamie-Lee Price, Maddie Hay and Amy Parmenter in the mid-court for the upcoming season.

A 2021 training partner, Sligar told The Inner Sanctum that she wasn’t expecting to get the call up to join the playing group for 2022.

“I was actually in a university exam for chemistry and Julie [Fitzgerald] sent me a message to jump on a zoom,” she said.

“I just jumped on the meeting when I finished my exam and started the conversation and I wasn’t expecting it to go the way that it did.

“She just let me know that she wanted me to be a part of the 10 and I was a bit speechless and a bit shocked and it took a while for it to hit me but it was probably my favourite zoom call of the year so far.”

Growing up playing Australian rules football as well as competing in Athletics, Sligar reflected on how the skills she learned from other sports have given her a leg up in netball.

“With athletics, when I was running it provided me with opportunities to build my endurance and fitness at a base level that I could build upon and transfer into netball,” the teen said.

“With footy, you need so much endurance to be able to run the field.

“The hand-eye coordination, catching above your head and things like that are all transferrable skills.

“The balance where I learned to train and play across those sports has helped so much.”

Sligar made the All Schools AFL Under 15s All Australian squad in 2017. Photo: aflnswact.com.au

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A product of Camden District Netball Association, Sligar says having fun and enjoying the game has allowed her to develop her passion for netball.

“You learn so much from so many different people whether that’s players or coaches,” she said.

“My biggest takeaway is just to love what you’re doing because that’s when you’ll perform your best.”

Crediting her home association for all the support she has received on her journey, the young talent said she’s loved watching so many Camden locals progress through the NSW Premier League competition.

The newly-signed Giants’ identical twin sister Natalie is one of the people riding the wave in the Netball NSW pathway alongside Sligar, offering words of support and encouragement when needed.

“It’s pretty special, it’s something that not many people get to experience and I think when I reflect back I’ve never really been in a difficult situation without her there,” Sligar said.

“She’s someone that I can lean on for support in the tough times but also celebrate the success with too.

“It’s pretty cool, I’m very lucky. Even more recently with Covid, being able to train together has been a blessing.”

Natalie Sligar (L) and Amy Sligar (R) were part of the NSW Waratahs Netball leadership group for the 2021 Nationals Series. Photo: Natalie Sligar (Instagram)

Not only did Sligar share her journey with her sister, she also played a role in both Matisse Letherbarrow’s and Sophie Dwyer’s netball pathways.

“Playing with them has been such a cool experience and obviously we’ve gotten so close as friends,” Sligar explained.

“I think in particular my first year when I played with them for the first time, I looked up to them as idols in a way, with Sophie being a year older and Matisse being the player that everyone looked at as such a superstar.

“I’m really excited to step back on court with them and learn from them because they’ve been in the SSN environment for a bit longer than I have.”

In one of the Giants’ few home games this season, Sligar’s family and friends flocked to Ken Rosewall Arena to cheer on the tenacious mid-courter in her Super Netball debut.

“I think especially for mum and dad and my sister who have been there right from the start when I was seven years old running around in a skirt on the grass courts at Camden,” she said. “For them to see that moment was pretty special and it’s something that I’ll look back on for a long time.”

“To play in Ken Rosewall, that was the first game that we got to play there because of the hub in 2020, it was probably the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of.”

In the games that Sligar took to the court for the Giants this season, she matched up against some of Australia’s best talent, including former Australian Diamonds Kelsey Browne in Round 2 and Gabi Simpson in Round 3.

“It’s one of those things that you always dream about and look forward to and every session you do, you have that goal in your mind,” she said.

“To achieve that this year was incredible, it’s something that I wasn’t really expecting but when the opportunity came up I knew that I wanted to step up and do it for the girls and do it for the team and Julie and Jenny [O’Keeffe] who put so much trust in me.

“It was very rewarding and it’s something that I hope to build upon this year.”

Sligar stayed in Sydney and continued to train from home, whilst the Giants travelled across the country to keep their season alive.

“The move into the hub happened so quickly for them, I remember we were meant to have a training session on the Friday and they flew out on the Thursday night or something like that,” the rising star explained.

“It was all so crazy, but then once they were in the hub, we were on a program set by our strength and conditioning coach who has been really great supporting us this whole year.

“To have Nat here training with me has been so good, we’ve been doing lots of court sessions together at the local courts which has been nice to get back to where I began my journey.

“We’ve been in constant communication with the team while they were away just talking and sending encouraging messages.

“It was so good to see them performing so well, I think that provided so much inspiration for us stuck back here at home.”

Sligar sent messages of support to her Giants teammates whilst she kept training amidst the Sydney lockdown. Photo: Giants Netball

As a result of the Covid climate in New South Wales, the Suncorp Super Netball grand final was played at Nissan Arena in Brisbane between the NSW Swifts and Giants Netball.

Sligar emphasised that she would have loved to watch a derby grand final in her home state, but hopes to have the opportunity to play in one in the future.

“It was selfishly a little bit disappointing because it would have been an all-Sydney grand final in Sydney which would have been amazing to see the stands at Ken Rosewall packed out full of netball fans,” she said.

“It was so great to see both Sydney teams but particularly the Giants because they really pushed through the adversity.

“In a way it kind of made lockdown a bit easier and gave me something to look forward to each weekend.”

Giants Netball have officially locked in all 10 of their contracted athletes for 2022, with all players hailing from the NSW pathway, with the exception of captain Jo Harten.

It’s apparent to Sligar that head coach Julie Fitzgerald is building an empire in Sydney, one that will only get bigger with time.

“It’s something that Julie has worked really hard to create,” the Camden junior said.

“It’s comforting to know that the players around you have been through similar experiences in the pathway.

“I guess we also can combine all our differences to form a really amazing team environment and it’s something that we’re really proud of.

“It’s something that I think really helps us on court and off court in the tough times.”

Playing alongside fellow mid-courter Maddie Hay for the Canberra Giants in the Australian Netball League in 2019, Sligar is hungry to build on her previous connections.

Maddie Hay and Amy Sligar were members of the Canberra Giants in the ANL and Sutherland Stingrays in the NSW Premier League. Photo: Sutherland Stingrays Instagram

The Giants’ mid-courters topped league statistics this season, with Amy Parmenter and Jamie-Lee Price earning selections in the Australian Diamonds squad, whilst Hay earned the call up into the development squad.

Seeing Parmenter’s progression through the pathway has given Sligar the courage to chase her dreams in Super Netball.

“Watching her career has been so inspiring, seeing her progress from a training partner through to the contracted 10 and then now in the Diamonds squad is something that is very exciting to not only me but so many other netballers,” she said.

“It’s pretty cool to work alongside and play alongside your idols and she’s definitely one of them.

“I’m super excited to learn as much as I can from her and then hopefully push each other to then both become the best netballers that we can be.”

With a strong athletic ability and superior aerial skills that have seen her gain intercepts across all levels in the pathway, Sligar will look to continue her dominance at the top level next year.

“I want to be able to do my job for the team but I think to play across all the mid-court positions is something that I hope I can be able to fulfil,” Sligar explained.

“To push the girls and push myself and see what we can produce in 2022.

“I think honestly the training each day is something that I loved as a training partner and that’s something that I’m really looking forward to continuing on a full-time basis.

“I learned so much not only from the coaches but the girls as well.

“So, to be able to go into the club every day and learn something new is something that I’m really excited for and I can’t wait to get started.”

Sligar (L) and Letherbarrow (M) are the final two additions to the Giants Netball team for 2022. Photo: Amy Sligar

Sligar joins captain Jo Harten, fellow young guns Matisse Letherbarrow, Tilly McDonell and Sophie Dwyer, in-form defenders April Brandley and Lauren Moore and the 2021 mid-court of Maddie Hay, Jamie-Lee Price and Amy Parmenter at the club for 2022.

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