Donnell Wallam is coming into the Vitality Super Netball League season ready to make a name for herself with the Leeds Rhinos Netball Club.
Hailing from Perth, the shooter is ready to take England by storm.
Wallam has been playing in the West Australian Netball league for the past two years, where she averaged 63 goals a game. A strikingly similar average to the world’s best goal shooter in Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler.
These impressive stats was one of the many things that stood out to Head Coach and High-Performance Manager Dan Ryan.
Wallam is still relatively new to the netball scene. She played state basketball which she brings aspects of to her game with her inventive shooting style, lay-ups and over-the-shoulder shots to the goal circle.
After a seven-year hiatus from the sporting world, Wallam said she decided to give netball a go.
“I played for one year in the PEEL Netball Footy League. Then my coach at Werona played in the men’s state league and he told me about the women’s league, and I should go try out because I’d be perfect to go and play,” she told The Inner Sanctum.
“I just thought I had nothing to lose, I might as well go and try out for the state team and then I think it was a day before the try out I wasn’t going to go. I was like ‘ I don’t reckon I’m good enough, not fit enough’ but he convinced me to go and try out for West Coast Warriors, then I played with them for two years.”
Wallam’s time at West Coast Warriors put her on the map as she became a real force in the goal circle.
Wallam’s hard work and impressive performances were recognised by the league as she won back to back Jill McIntosh Medals, which is awarded to the player deemed Best and Fairest in the West Australian Netball League.
In 2020 Donnell was selected as a training partner for the West Coast Fever. However due to COVID-19 Wallam wasn’t able to train with the team.
“That was pretty cool and overwhelming, it was just unfortunate that COVID-19 happened that they had to go away in the hub, and I didn’t get much experience in that environment. We played scratch matches against Fever and that was good and I learnt a lot in those sessions. It was cool to be a part of the squad.”
Donnell was a standout in one of the practices matches against the Fever, giving Australian Diamonds defender Courtney Bruce a run for her money.
Her performance in the practice match caught the eyes of many in the netball community, including Coach Ryan who was assembling his inaugural side for the Leeds Rhinos.
For Donnell, the opportunity to play for Leeds was too good to pass up.
“I felt like I could get a lot of experience on the court for the Rhinos. it was about my progression in netball, that was my main drive, like that was the main decision to play for Leeds,” she said.
“I needed to get that on court experience at that higher level.
“The fact that we are like the inaugural squad for Leeds Rhinos – that’s pretty exciting to build the foundation for the club and the expectations.
“I’ve never done anything like this before. It’s going to be awesome to play at that level. Just learn, I’m looking forward to learning so much like I’ve been here for a month and I’ve already learnt so much.
“I just want to get out there and do as well as we can as a new squad and I want to be a better shooter than what I currently am.”