43 goals shooting at 90%, it was almost hard to believe that this was Donnell Wallam’s first Suncorp Super Netball game but she played with strength, poise and flare to make all netball fans excited for the season ahead.
Donnell took the opportunity to join the Queensland Firebirds as a training partner after receiving a message on Instagram from coach Megan Anderson. Her career so far has not followed the usual format for netballers. Donnell grew up playing basketball and only started netball seriously at age 28 but she hopes her career can provide inspiration for others.
“My whole journey is completely different, I didn’t do the netball pathways or anything, I was into basketball at the time and I was a bit of a latecomer to the sport,” she said.
“But I’ve loved the journey and learned along the way to take every opportunity.
“I think that’s a great message, that if you do fail to follow those pathways, not to give up on your dreams because there is other ways to go about it.
“I’m an example of it, so if it inspires young girls, then that’s awesome.”
Despite the late start, Donnell has taken no time at all to dominate any league she has played in winning several awards including the league MVP in a premiership winning team in 2019 and 2020 seasons of the WANL. She was also awarded Fans Player of the Year for the Leeds Rhinos in their 2021 Vitality season.
Donnell is proud to be the second First Nations woman to play in the SSN competition and hopes that her story inspires other young First Nations athletes. In 2020 Donnell designed the first indigenous dress worn by her West Coast Warriors WANL Team featuring her Wallam family totem, a kangaroo. Her design captured her memories of being on country in Harvey with footprints travelling from camp to camp along with the yongka (kangaroo) trail going along the centre.
Rather than just wearing Donnell’s dress for Indigenous round the West Coast Warriors wore the dress for every game of the 2021 season.
Stella are proud to be working with Donnell to help her career go from strength to strength.
You can watch all of Donnell’s games on Kayo or FoxNetball. Check the SSN fixtures here for details.