Taylah Davies is the perfect illustration of the perseverance GIANTS Netball will need to achieve Suncorp Super Netball’s inaugural minor premiership.
Davies, whose Giants lead the competition ahead of Sunday’s meeting with fourth-placed Magpies Netball Club, has been sharing wing attack duties with replacement player Sarah Wall since captain Kimberlee Green was struck down by a serious knee injury.
Only a year ago she was without a contract after being squeezed out of the NSW Swifts side at the end of the 2015 season.
She could so easily have tipped all her energy into fulltime work as a personal trainer, or returned to surf lifesaving, the sport she pursued as a teenager at the Thirroul Surf Club, north of Wollongong.
Instead, the 22-year-old kept faith that, with constant hard work, a second chance would come.
“I always kept my fingers crossed that all the hard work would be worth it,” Davies said.
“Then when Julie (Fitzgerald) called, you couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I wanted it so badly.”
On a good day, Davies makes the round trip to training from her home in Wollongong in about three hours.
That’s commitment. And it’s also the sort of persistence the side will need to convert its early season dominance into a grand final appearance in June.
Since the loss of Green in Round 5, the Giants have won two-from-three, including successes against the Swifts and Firebirds.
Their only blemish was against the Melbourne Vixens who are arguably the form side in the competition.
“We’ve had a great start, but we’re not happy,” Davies said.
“Yes, we’re in a good spot but we’re always looking to improve.
“We have this tendency to lead by a couple of goals, then let teams back in.
“It’s important to keep pushing.”
For the Magpies, this is a golden opportunity to knock down a top two side and deliver on some of the star-studded team’s potential.
They remain undecided over who of Alice Teague-Neeld or Cody Lange is the most dangerous player at goal attack.
Both young players, and the versatile Shae Brown, could hold the key to converting the glut of ball won by Sharni Layton into goals.
The Giants have questions of their own, like whether Davies or Wall are up to playing extended minutes in the midcourt, and how best to share the shooting load between Jo Harten, Susan Pettitt and Kristina Brice.
They have a mental approach they believe can tame the improving Magpies.
“They’ll be tough,” conceded Davies, “but the key is patience”.
“There are so many star players in their team and it’s a trap to get caught up in that pace.
“We need to stick together in our own little orange bubble.”