The Adelaide Thunderbirds Round 6 clash against Giants Netball marked the Suncorp Super Netball debut for South African superstar, Shadine van der Merwe.
The 26-year-old joined the Adelaide Thunderbirds as a permanent replacement player for injured for Beth Cobden, who sadly torn her ACL earlier in Round 3.
When Shadine received the call from Adelaide Thunderbirds Head Coach Tania Obst, she was still in the UK having just finished her first season with Surrey Storm in the UK Vitality Netball Superleague where she was awarded the 2019 Best and Fairest.
“My life changed totally, I wasn’t expecting it!” Shadine said when reflecting on the call from Tania.
The call-up for the Adelaide Thunderbirds wasn’t the only one Shadine received. She had also just recently been announced in the SPAR Proteus squad to represent South Africa in the Netball World Cup in July this year. The two call-ups meant that she first needed to head back to South Africa to sort out her Visa requirements for the Netball World Cup before joining the Adelaide Thunderbirds. When she arrived, she discovered that everything had been sorted, meaning she was only in her home country for 24 hours before she got on her flight to Adelaide to join the team.
Shadine only had time for two training sessions with the rest of the Adelaide Thunderbirds team before they took flight to Sydney to take on the Giants.
In her first game for Suncorp Super Netball, Shadine came up against a fierce competitor in former Diamond, Kim Green.
“She’s a player with a lot of experience and I needed to up my game against her.”
But getting physical with the star WA didn’t faze Shadine saying, “I’m up for that game as well.”
Reflecting on her debut, Shadine said that she is glad the ice is broken.
“Getting the first match behind my back is a big relief for me. It can only get better from here on.”
Overall Shadine was happy with her performance but looks forward to improving more every week as she continues to gel with her new team.
Competing in the Suncorp Super Netball has been a long-time goal of Shadine’s and one she didn’t expect to realise this year. She’s thrilled at the opportunity to compete in the best league in the world, going up against the best of the best every week and developing as a player.
She sees her place in the Adelaide Thunderbirds is the perfect preparation for the upcoming 2019 World Cup. Her call-up to represent South Africa is a first for the tenacious defender, cementing herself as a world class netballer to keep our eyes on!