by Ruth McIlroy


1. What was it like playing local netball in Wellington?

Wellington has a very connected and tight-knit netball community. Everyone is very supportive of each other.

 2. What are your earliest memories of that?

 I started at the NaeNae Collegians United Club in Lower Hutt and my earliest memories of that would have been playing the pre-season tournament out on the Taita courts before moving into the old Walter Nash indoor courts.

 3. How old were you when you realised you could play netball professionally?

 Realising and wanting to be two very different times for me. wanted to play ever since moving to New Zealand when I was 18 years old. I realised I could do it when I was awarded the Beko Player of the year award in 2016. My desire to do it drove me until the realisation that I could took over in 2016.

 4. Have you ever had to deal with any injuries?

 I am fortunate enough to never have had any serious injuries that took me out of the sport for longer than 3 weeks while playing professionally. However, I did have a cartilage repair surgery when I was 14 years old that took me away from sport for 12 months.

5. What are the most memorable moments you have playing with Central Pulse/Silver Ferns?

 The most memorable moment with the Pulse would be the moment we won the ANZ Premiership Trophy in 2019. As for the Ferns, you’d expect me to say when we won the Netball World Cup 2019, however, I would never forget my first starting line-up game against South Africa when it went into double overtime.

6. What do you like to do in your spare time?

 I am a full-time employee with Athletics Wellington at the moment and I’ve decided to do some business papers as well so there’s not much spare time in my days. If I do happen to get a few spare minutes, I do like some quiet walks or just ringing my family back home to have a chat.

 7. What gets you pumped before a big game?

 I don’t like getting too pumped but rather to calm down my nerves before a game. I tend to listen to some relaxing music before I get to the changing rooms otherwise I just socialise with teammates.

 8. What is key to being a good defensive player in netball?

Being hungry for the ball but also being smart in how to use the hunger. Never giving up and always looking for opportunities to get more ball.

 9. What is your favourite way to keep fit?

 Playing the actual game. What better way to be game fit than actually playing the game.

 10. How do you stay motivated?

 I’ve never had to motivate myself as I’ve just always been motivated because I absolutely love what I do. I’m sure there will come a day that I’d need to motivate myself but then I’ll start with questioning myself why I do it and who I’m doing it for.

 11. What do most people not know about you?

 That I wasn’t raised in New Zealand but only moved when I turned 18.

 12. What is your life outside of netball like, any future ambitions?

 I am working on my 10-year plan. At the moment it is to stay as fit and healthy as possible to keep playing netball for as long as possible and along the way acquiring as much skills and experience to set myself up for a profession after netball that would excite me every day as much as netball does.

 13. What is your favourite breakfast?

This totally depends on the day. I like a good porridge, other times I like a good eggs benny but there’s no particular favourite as of yet.

 14. When was your toughest training session?

This 100% has to be our 2018 Silver Ferns December Camp. The year Noelene Taurua was selected as head coach. It was brutal unlike anything else I have experienced before. I won’t be able to pick one specific training in that week as they were all very hard.

 15. Who inspired you?

 I do not have any specific person who inspires me. Multiple athletes have attributes that I admire, hence it being a combination of many.

 16. What advice would you give future athletes?

Work hard. Nothing ever comes from just waiting to see what happens. There will be difficulties but without them, you won’t move forward. Difficulties forces decisions and decisions lead you on your chosen path. Don’t be impatient, acknowledge the difficulties, make the best decision for yourself and follow your path with determination.

 16. What does it mean to you to be a Gilbert Netball ambassador?

Gilbert has been a supporter of netball for many years. Playing for a team that represents the biggest female sport in New Zealand is an honour. Representing a supporter of this team (Gilbert) is a privilege.