Fresh faces at Suncorp #TeamGirls Cup

The Suncorp Super Netball #TeamGirls Cup in Brisbane last month was the first of its kind, with the Collingwood Magpies taking home the title. The pre-season tournament was the first of a different kind for Tayla Favell, Tamara Welsford and Justin Barnes.

The three Emerging Talent Umpires were given the opportunity to experience the elite environment and umpire players who they would usually watch on the tv.

Although fresh faces in the Suncorp Super Netball league, these three have been along the sidelines of the Deakin University Australian Netball League and the National Netball Championships for many years.  Having come from the Developing Umpire Program to the Emerging Talent– all three look set to join the likes of Bronwen Adams and Tim Marshall in the High-Performance cohort.

High Performance Umpire Manager Jacqui Jashari believes opportunities to umpire at the elite level are critical to the Emerging Talent umpires and their development through the umpiring pathway.

“We want Emerging Talent umpires to have as many opportunities as possible to umpire at this level of competition, so they understand what mental and physical attributes are required,” says Jashari.

Barnes has been very close to the action after being named as a reserve umpire in 2017 and 2018 for the Suncorp Super Netball league. But it wasn’t until the Victorian Flight Attendant received an email to umpire at the pre-season tournament that it all hit home.

“It was a bit surreal for a week until all the information got sent and uniforms came,” said Barnes.

“I grew up watching this level for a long time now and I had a moment of I’ve made it. It was again so surreal and overwhelming however very exciting which has left me wanting more matches at that level.”

New South Wales umpire Tamara Welsford achieved her National A Badge in 2016 and didn’t expect to be heading to Brisbane and a part of the inaugural #TeamGirls cup.

“When I received the email to say I had been invited to umpire at the tournament, I was so shocked. It was an honour to even be considered let alone be invited,” said Tamara.

As a Zoo Keeper by day you can’t imagine Tamara to have too many nerves but any that she did have were quickly replaced with the reassurance and support of coaches and fellow umpires.

“It’s so easy to get into your own head and be distracted rather than concentrating on the task at hand – so maintaining that focus and concentration was key for me,” said Welsford.

Fellow New South Wales umpire Tayla described the biggest challenge of the tournament as taking the opportunity she’d be given and giving it her best shot.

“All of the small challenges from physical to mental played a part in this and in order to feel that I had achieved what I set out to do I just focused on the process,” said Favell.

“I wanted do the opportunity justice and prove that I deserved to be there.”

Welsford and Favell were involved in the National Netball Championship in Brisbane this week and all three will be in the pool of umpires for the Deakin University Australian Netball League season later this year.

But now that they’ve experienced the game at this level you can only assume they will be looking for an opportunity to get involved in the upcoming season of Suncorp Super Netball.