Australia have won back one of their most promising netball talents from the clutches of the New Zealand Silver Ferns, ensuring Jamie-Lee Price’s international future will forever be with the Diamonds.
When the Giants midcourt star was selected in Australia’s World Youth Cup team this week to represent her country in July in Botswana, it formally severed her Silver Ferns link.
Just last year she had been part of New Zealand’s under-21s squad, and on the radar of the Silver Ferns. Fortunately for Australian netball, she was never picked to represent New Zealand.
Price’s convoluted rise to Australian representation is strangely entwined in the NRL.
She’s the daughter of Steve Price, the Canterbury, Queensland and Australian great, who moved to the New Zealand Warriors for the start of the 2005 season when his daughter was still in primary school.
Soon enough Price showed significant aptitude on the netball court, and she was just 17 years old when she made her ANZ Championship debut for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.
It was there she met coach Julie Fitzgerald, and following her to the Giants for the inaugural Super Netball season meant foregoing any plans of representing the Silver Ferns. She was simply told she wouldn’t be considered for selection if she wasn’t playing in New Zealand.
Tearing herself away from decade-long friends was difficult, but her move back to Sydney crystalised what she’d always believed – that Australia was where her heart belonged.
“Originally I always wanted to play for Australia because I am Australian, I was born here, all my family lived here,” Price said.
“Then I guess once I started getting to know all the Silver Fern girls, I did support them. At one stage I did want to play for them but my heart was always with Australia I guess.
“It’s definitely really exciting that I’ve made the under-21s team to Botswana. It’s like one step closer to my ultimate goal.”
The rest of Price’s family have also now moved back from New Zealand, and live on the Sunshine Coast.
But before she can allow her thoughts to turn to Botswana, more pressing matters await the wing defence, namely a desperate Queensland Firebirds outfit on Friday night.
With two rounds left the Giants can firm up their hold on the minor premiership, while Queensland must win their last two matches, and hope the Magpies lose both of theirs, to qualify for the top four.
The Giants come into Friday’s game off a season-defining win over the previously ladder-leading Melbourne Vixens, and Price said her side was determined to stampede towards the finals with every scrap of momentum possible.
“The Firebirds, they’re a really tough team,” Price said.
“This whole competition is tough, there’s no easy game so you’ve always got to be on your A-game. The Firebirds will definitely be coming out hard and so will we because we don’t want to lose either.
“I’m really enjoying the club. All the girls are really cool. I guess we’re just having a lot of fun and that’s probably the main thing.”