02/12/2023

Rudi Ellis Photo: Queensland Firebirds

This is only her second year in Suncorp Super Netball and fans have already seen what she is capable of – Rudi Ellis is ready to take flight and make the game her own in 2021.

The Inner Sanctum spoke to Ellis about her journey through the netball pathway, how she made her way to the Firebirds and how she juggled study with being a professional athlete.

Ellis started her netball journey in the New South Wales netball pathway, before moving to Victoria to be a training partner for the Vixens.

“I was born in Sydney and went to boarding school there, and did all my junior years, state and national stuff in New South Wales,” Ellis said.

“I got a training partnership with the Swifts and I did a year there but wanted to get out of that Sydney bubble and try something new.

“I wanted to meet new people and had family and friends in Melbourne, I moved to Melbourne a year out of high school.

“I was a training partner with the Vixens for two years, I really enjoyed it there and I played Australian Netball League for the Victoria Fury and won our grand final before I came to the Firebirds.”

At the end of 2019, Ellis was approached by the Queensland Firebirds to join their roster for the 2020 season, which was her first Super Netball contract.

“They asked me to fly up for the day to meet Gabs (Gabi Simpson) and some of the girls and do a training session and screening and stuff. After that they sent through a contract then I moved up in December 2019.”

Moving to a new state and leaving family and friends behind is tough, but the Firebirds went to extra effort to make sure that Ellis felt right at home.

“I think the special thing about the Firebirds is its just such an amazing group of people. I’ve never been in a team like that where everyone puts so much effort in with each other,” she continued.

“The girls were amazing they made an effort to check in with both of us, show us new places to go.

“Lara Dunkley and I moved up from Victoria around the same time, Romelda (Aiken) and Gabs (Gabi Simpson) met us at the airport and made us feel welcome and took us to the apartment we were at when we first moved there.

“Kim Jenner made a real big effort to go on walks with us and we ended up moving in with her for the season. It was a really easy transition and having Kim as well to show us the ropes of the Firebirds.”

Rudi Ellis in Round Two against the Melbourne Vixens Image: Queensland Firebirds

Back in Victoria, Ellis’ support network was great in helping her adjust to the move.

“My support network back home with my boyfriend and my family and friends back in Victoria made sure I was connected through the phone and facetime. Support networks on both ends helped with the move big time. “

Off the court, Ellis studied a Bachelor of Media and Communications while juggling her netball career.

“I studied at RMIT in Victoria when I moved to Queensland, I did cross-institution at the University of Queensland so did the same course but up in Queensland.

“The elite athlete programs at both Universities were amazing at supporting me and making it flexible in terms of making classes and if I needed to hand assignments in late they were really flexible with that too.

“I’ve always found having something outside of netball really helped me with my netball. I think switching your brain on a little bit and doing that sort of stuff is a positive. At times it’s hard but the elite athlete programs are great at managing that stuff for us.”

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