04/03/2024

Queensland Firebirds shooter Mia Stower (Picture: Queensland Firebirds/Twitter, Design by Madeline Irwin)

Since joining the Queensland Firebirds three years ago, young goal attack Mia Stower has benefitted from the tutelage of three world-class shooters. They have all been a part of her ongoing development as the 23-year-old hones her craft at Suncorp Super Netball level.

Stepping into a more permanent starting role in the absence of Australian Diamond Gretel Bueta, Mia Stower has forged a partnership with up-and-coming Diamond Donnell Wallam this season for the Firebirds.

Having watched Bueta and Wallam played together last season, as well as Jamaican star Romelda Aitken-George before that, Stower has had the privilege of getting time to grow at the level.

She spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about her rise in the game and how she’s learnt off the three star shooters before her.

“I think the first two years, it was a little bit of a rollercoaster,” Stower told The Inner Sanctum.

“I went into the team on my first year but didn’t really get court time and then I went back as a training partner. [During the season] last year I kind of went into that role where I came on for the impact in the supershot time because I was the long-range shooter for the team.

“I think honestly I was just grateful to get any court time that I could sitting behind Donnell Wallam and Gretel Bueta, like I think that’s pretty self-explanatory that you are going to be sitting on the bench behind those two.

Gretel Bueta using her length to score on England’s defence (Image: England Netball Twitter)

“I kind of just took it as being able to just take the experience on board [while] getting everything I could off them so that when I did get on court I could play my role and I think I did that really well last year so I think fast forward for me to this year now that Gretel is not there, I am playing a very different role where I am being used during one-point time as well as two-point time.

“I’ve actually really enjoyed it like [myself] and ‘Nelly’ (Wallam) have definitely built a connection, we’ve both got that basketball background as well so I feel like we are always on the run and we’ve got good eyes for each other but I’m really enjoying playing with ‘Nelly’ at the moment.”

Donnell Wallam celebrating her match winning goal. (Photo: Australian Diamonds/Twitter)

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Stower then further explained the impact that each of Bueta, Wallam and Aiken-George have had on her, from a netball perspective but then also personally.

“I am that lucky to be playing and I’ve been able to play with those three, Romelda especially really took me under her wing when I first came in to the program. Even to this day, I know she doesn’t play with us now but I’ll ring her up after games and she will always give me feedback,” she said.

“She watches all my games and we have a really great friendship off-court so it’s good to have her as a mentor.

“‘Grets’ as well, she still comes in twice a week and gives me feedback here and then and it’s great to have her, honestly I’m just really lucky and then with ‘Nelly’, it’s pretty great.”

New to the leadership group this season, Stower is relishing the opportunity to learn from some of the best leaders in the SSN. The group includes former captain Gabi Simpson, established leader Lara Dunkley and current captain Kim Ravaillion.

Stower described her journey as a leader and how she is feeling about taking on the opportunity this season for the Firebirds.

“It’s been a really great experience to be part of the leadership team,” Stower said.

“I’ve always played some kind of leadership role growing up so to be under the likes of Gabi, ‘Rav’ (Ravaillion) and ‘Lars’ (Dunkley), it’s been nice to see what happens at the top level in the leadership space, it’s made me realise that I would like to be a leader in the future as well.”

Queensland FIrebirds star Gabi Simpson (Photo: Queensland Firebirds/Twitter)

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