Thunderbirds sign McDonald

Melbourne Vixens premiership player and former Seymour Lions coach Elle McDonald has signed her first full-time Super Netball contract with the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

By Jackson Russell

After winning a Super Netball premiership in her debut season, former Seymour Lions coach Elle McDonald is on the move, signing her first full-time contract with Adelaide Thunderbirds.

The move caps off a whirlwind 18 months for the midcourter, winning the Australian Netball League premiership with the Victorian Fury before being offered a place in the Melbourne Vixens’ training squad.

McDonald was subsequently elevated to the Vixens’ extended squad when the Super Netball season moved to the Queensland hub, where she made her Super Netball debut and earned a premiership medallion.

McDonald said she made the move after Thunderbirds coach Tania Obst reached out at the end of the season.

“I had a few calls with her and she talked about her vision for myself at the club and I just felt like I would get more opportunity to take the court at the Thunderbirds,” she said.

“Having Kate [Moloney] and Liz [Watson] in front of me at the Vixens made it pretty challenging to break into [the team], so that was behind my decision to move and I’m also really excited about what the Thunderbirds are building.

“I don’t think any coach is going to promise court time and, for me, that’s fine. I’m more than happy to prove myself and work for that. I’m just really honoured to be offered a contract with a Super Netball team.”

Obst said versatility was an incredibly valuable attribute in Super Netball and McDonald had it in spades.

“We love that she can perform across all three midcourt positions and brings strong netball smarts,” she said.

“In addition to her on court capabilities, Elle is also a quality person and we know she’ll be a great addition to our club.”

With the move, McDonald will leave Seymour Lions and move to South Australia before preseason training begins in late January.

“It’s going to be a really big challenge but I’m just excited about the move and the people I’ve met so far have been really welcoming and they’re going to offer me a lot of support next year,” she said.

“Everyone [at Seymour is] really excited for me. Obviously they’re a bit sad I won’t be closer to Seymour but they know it’s a really good opportunity for me and just want to see me out on court doing what they’ve seen me do for Seymour.”

Signing her first full-time contract also allows McDonald to put all her energy into her netball career.

“Obviously netball is going to be my priority and if I am able to, I might be able to keep up one day of teaching or do some relief teaching and I’m sure there’ll be lots of clinics I could help out with and there’ll be other things for me to do within the community, but I really want netball to be the focal point for me next season,” she said.

“It’s been a complete whirlwind and I suppose my journey’s been fast tracked in the last 18 months.

“When I was up in the hub, it felt a little surreal but now it’s sunk in, and with the announcement, I’m really excited for next season and feel really overwhelmed with the positivity of everyone’s comments.”