Penrith netballer Paige Hadley has been named vice-captain of the NSW Swifts ahead of the 2017 Suncorp Super Netball season.
The Swifts announced last weekend that club stalwart Abbey McCulloch has been appointed captain for the upcoming season, with Hadley her deputy.
Hadley, 24, has played her entire career in the Red Dress after making her elite netball debut with the Swifts as a replacement player in 2012, earning herself a full-time position in the playing roster ahead of the 2013 season.
Her quick career rise has seen the young midcourter become a staple of the Australian Diamonds squad, with 15 international caps to her name as well as a Gold Medal from the Netball World Cup in 2015.
Good friends off the court, Hadley and McCulloch made their 50th Trans-Tasman Netball League appearances in Round 13 of the 2016 season against the Northern Mystics in Auckland.
McCulloch said she was humbled and honoured to be awarded the Swifts captaincy and was ready to step up to her new role. She also spoke of the proud legacy her predecessors had left and her longing to leave her own mark.
“It’s a huge honour and I still can’t believe it to be honest but I’m excited to step up into the role of captain and do my best of fulfill it,” she said.
“I hope to leave something special behind when I do finally retire. I was in the leadership group a few years ago and I learnt a lot from the girls who were around me at that time.
Now it’s about taking those things and twisting them into my own leadership style.
“At the end of the day I want to do justice to the role, especially as there has been so many great leaders before me, but I’m excited about the challenge ahead and feel I’m ready for it.”
Hadley was equally delighted to take on the role of vice-captain, and felt the appointments were coming at the right time for both players.
“Firstly, I’m really proud of Abbey being appointed captain. She’s a great friend and has shown great leadership qualities, and I feel very honoured to stand beside her as vice-captain,” Hadley said.
“I think Abbey and I bring different things to our roles, and we are both really excited to put them into place. It’s a big step up for us, we were both the young ones last year and now we are among the older members of the squad, so it’s our time to step up and create a positive team and Club culture.
“We’re a young team and we’re entering a new competition, so it’s like a clean slate and Abbey and I get to be at the forefront of that to help lead this next generation and I can’t wait to see what 2017 holds for both of us.”
The NSW Swifts play their opening match of the 2017 season against NSW rivals the Giants on Saturday, February 18.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.