There’s not much call for Queensland pride once you’ve pulled on the maroon colours, but for Queensland’s state of origin netball team, the Fusion, a pep talk from one of rugby league’s legends, may be the extra kick that’s needed to win the national championship.
Kevin Walters surprised the Fusion, turning up to the last training session, before the team heads to Melbourne for the finals of the Australian Netball League (ANL) this weekend.
The former Kangaroo and current Maroons state of origin assistant coach told the Fusion, while he doesn’t know a great deal about netball he knows everything about being a Queenslander.
“Queensland has proved over the years, time and time again that it’s the Queensland spirit that wins through in the end. It’s indestructible,” Walters said.
“When it comes to the pressure of the match, what’s important are two things, having fun and patience,” he said.
“Queensland pride takes care of itself.”
Walters, who played 20 State of Origin games for Queensland, including one as captain gave the Fusion an insight into what goes on in his game.
“Mal Meninga would be disappointed if I didn’t say this, which is what he tells the boys.
All of you have different skills that you bring to the team, on the day bring your best skill and your second best skill and it’ll come together,” he said.
“Ultimately what is going to win is having fun, patience, and spirit.”
Fusion Captain Demelza Fellowes said the team lifted when they spotted Kevin Walters walk into their training session.
“We all know what a maroon jersey stands for and we are very, very, very proud to be the girls that represent Queensland in that vein,” she said.
“We are proud to show everyone what we are made of just the same way the guys do on the footy field,” she said.
In its first finals appearance since 2011, the Fusion play the Western Sting on Saturday in the semi-final, with the winner advancing to the grand final- a match that will be against the victor of the other semi, between Victoria and New South Wales.
Queensland has never won the ANL title, and Walters provided a final tilt of inspiration.
“Queenslanders hate Victorians, but we hate New South Wales more, so bring it home.”
SEMI FINALS DRAW
Saturday, August 23, 5:00PM
Victorian Fury v Netball NSW Waratahs
Waverley Netball Centre
Saturday, August 23, 7:00PM
Western Sting v QLD Fusion
Waverley Netball Centre