8 July 2022

A swift rise to the top for Wagga netball rookie

| Chris Roe
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netball player holding ball

Sophie Fawns has secured a permanent place with the Swifts. Photo: NSW Swifts.

Wagga teenager Sophie Fawns has secured a permanent spot on the Swifts roster for Super Netball in 2023.

“You never want to forget where you come from and I am really grateful to my family, junior coaches and teammates who’ve supported my dream along the way,” she said.

The former Kooringal High School student has made her way through the Swifts Academy and debuted for the club in this year’s narrow Round 2 loss to the Melbourne Vixens.

Brought in as a replacement after goal-shooter Sam Wallace suffered an ACL injury, Fawns had an impressive season and was rewarded with an ongoing place on the Swifts’ 10-strong list.

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“I’ll never forget that first moment I ran on in a Swift dress at Ken Rosewall Arena which is a dream for almost every young netballer in NSW,” she said.

“I have loved every moment since then and getting to play with the likes of Helen Housby, Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud has been surreal.”

Despite having big shoes to fill, head coach Briony Akle said the young attacker delivered under pressure.

“Sophie is one of the brightest talents in the Australian game and to see her smiling on court with every shot she takes reminds us of why we play,” she said.

“For Sophie to perform like she did on that stage with little preparation is a real demonstration of the raw talent she possesses.”


18-year-old attacker Sophie Fawns impressed on debut for the Swifts in 2022. Photo: NSW Swifts.

Ms Akle said Fawns’ rapid rise from her starring role as goal-attack for Wagga’s MCUE Goannas to the national competition has been remarkable.

“To provide some context, last year she was training on asphalt courts in regional NSW and in the space of months she was playing in Super Netball,” she said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of pathway competitions such as the National Netball Championships so when she got her chance it was sink or swim, and she did the latter brilliantly.”

The Swifts will be aiming for their third Premiership in five years after narrowly missing out on a finals appearance in 2022.

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With Wallace on track for a return in 2023, Ms Akle said next year would be another big step up for the 18-year-old.

“We feel she has what it takes to develop both on and off-court and we are very excited to see where she goes from here,” she said.

“I feel we have only scratched the surface with Sophie and there is still a lot of work to do.

“Raw talent is wasted if it isn’t matched with hard work but Sophie is a great young woman with a good attitude and she is eager to learn and develop her game.”

Fawns said she’s ready to do the work and knows the club will have her back.

“I am under no illusions of how competitive and challenging playing at this level is, but I am ready for the opportunity and I want to thank the coaches for believing in me,” she said.

“I’m ready to give it my all.”

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