Georgie Horjus enjoying life as fully fledged Adelaide Thunderbirds netball player

NETBALL STAR: Kangaroo Island netball star Georgie Horjus shoots for goal in the Adelaide Thunderbirds' Round 6 match against the Vixens that they won in Melbourne. Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds/AAP
NETBALL STAR: Kangaroo Island netball star Georgie Horjus shoots for goal in the Adelaide Thunderbirds' Round 6 match against the Vixens that they won in Melbourne. Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds/AAP

Georgie Horjus is enjoying her first year as a fully fledged member of the Adelaide Thunderbirds Suncorp Super League netball team.

The Kangaroo Islander started last season as a training partner but was quickly snapped up by the main squad, impressing with her super goal shooting abilities.

Despite her diminutive stature, she is not afraid to take on all the taller opposition, and is shaping up as a key player for the team.

Her advice to young netballers, particularly goal shooters, is to keep practicing, every day if possible, even looking into the mirror to reflect on their technique.

"When I was young, my technique wasn't that great," she said. "I had to learn to shoot over much taller defenders.

"If you put in the practice every day, it will come naturally to you."

Horjus is in her second year of university where she is studying to be a PE teacher, and while her current focus is on secondary education, she is not sure where she will end up with her career.

Adelaide Thunderbirds goal shooter Georgie Horjus in action against the Magpies in Round 9. Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds/AAP

Adelaide Thunderbirds goal shooter Georgie Horjus in action against the Magpies in Round 9. Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds/AAP

Last year was a very different year not just for netball but for the world, as COVID-19 pandemic border closures and health considerations forced Australia's premier netball competition into the Queensland hub.

This was a strange introduction to national competition for Horjus, who this year up until the latest pandemic scare, had been enjoying travelling with the squad.

Now while the other teams have been forced into a new hub in Victoria, the Thunderbirds had so far been lucky enough to stay at home, hence the home game against the Queensland Firbirds last weekend.

Horjus said the team was still building and while it had only had three wins for the season so far, players were hoping for a strong finish to the season and a berth in the finals.

"We've had a few really close games and are doing better than last year and we still aim to make the finals," she said.

Horjus, despite having a few stints at wing attack, has cemented her position at goal attack.

"I wasn't too happy with my stats at the start of the season, but I have been getting better," she said.

Regarding super shots, she said she hasn't been taking too many - "I only take them when I need to".

While her mother moved to Adelaide with her during her high school and early netball years, Horjus has now moved in with a group of Kangaroo Island friends, also studying in the city.

She hasn't made it back to the Island too much this year, what with her studies and netball career, but hopes to visit at the end of the season.

And if the Thunderbirds don't make it to the finals, she will have the silver lining of being able to attend the netball and football grand finals on Kangaroo Island.

Adelaide Thunderbirds goal shooter Georgie Horjus in action against the Magpies in Round 9. Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds/AAP

Adelaide Thunderbirds goal shooter Georgie Horjus in action against the Magpies in Round 9. Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds/AAP

League changes

The Suncorp Super Netball league went ahead with its Round 10 fixtures on the weekend, despite the latest COVID-19 disruptions.

The league closely monitored the health advice and worked with state governments to determine that the West Coast Fever could host their Round 10 match against the Sunshine Coast Lightning at RAC Arena.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds game against the Queensland Firebirds went ahead as planned at Netball SA Stadium, while the Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies hosted their Round 10 matches at Melbourne's John Cain Arena.

The Thunderbirds worked with SA Health on capacity arrangements for the stadium.

Netball Australia Interim CEO Ron Steiner said the league was committed to the season, while the health and safety of the players, coaches, staff and officials continued to be the first priority.

Steiner said the decision to bring five clubs to Victoria had been made to manage the challenging and fast-changing COVID-19 situation across Australia.

"Netball Australia will continue to remain adaptable as the season progresses in this constantly changing environment," Steiner said.

"While COVID-19 continues to impact the community, we are working closely with state governments, health officials and our clubs and players to ensure the best possible outcome for everyone in our great game.

"The reality of the current COVID-19 situation in the community means the fixture will become a week-by-week proposition for the short-term as we navigate through an uncertain period.

"All sports have been impacted by this pandemic - they face the same challenges and health restrictions that we do.

"It's impossible to say when we'll be back to normal, but when we do emerge, netball's players, coaches, staff and administrators will be able to look back with pride on the strength of character, resilience and grace they have displayed."

Netball Australia has been and will continue to keep the clubs informed with regular communication.

The organisation wrote to all players, support staff and umpires thanking them for the sacrifices they and their families have made, all the while remaining focussed on keeping the competition alive and working so hard for the benefit of our sport.

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