Jovic steps up for Collingwood

Molly Jovic in her Collingwood debut. Picture AAP

Tara Murray

Collingwood Magpies midcourter Molly Jovic is taking every chance thrown at her as she steps onto the court in the Suncorp Super Netball competition.

From being a temporary injury replacement to a full squad member and then best on court in just her third game, Jovic has looked right at home among the best players in the world.

For the 24-year-old, just being a part of the Magpies team this season was a shock, after deciding to step back from high-level netball last year.

“I played two years with Vic Fury and last year I was probably at that point. I had got my degree and got a job and I was working fulltime and trying to do ANL [Australian Netball League] as well,” she said.

“It’s all after hours and I found it really challenging giving my time to work and also netball. I decided to have a year off to see if I miss it and see if I want to give it another go.

“I ended up having the first few months of pre-season off and then an injury came up with the Tassie Magpies ANL side and I got a phone call asking if I’d like to help out with them for a couple of games and I thought why not.

“It’s a bit of a shock that I’m here now.”

For the City West Falcons gun, the decision proved to be the right one with the Collingwood Magpies, who are aligned with the Tassie Magpies, seeing what Jovic could do on court.

It led to her being signed as an injury replacement for Australian player Kelsey Browne, who was recovering from a knee injury.

Jovic thought she would just be with the side until Browne was right to play, but a knee injury to cross-code star Ash Brazill, resulted in Jovic being signed for the rest of the season.

“I was just stoked that I was going to have an opportunity to train with the likes of Kesley Browne, Madi Browne and Ash Brazill. Obviously it was devastating that Braz got injured as well.

“Sometimes I was finding myself thinking I’m actually training with these amazing athletes, it’s incredible now that I’m getting to play alongside them now as well.”

With COVID-19 shutting down training just before the start of the season, Jovic said she was determined to do whatever it took to keep playing.

“We would go from training really intense with your teammates to taking home some equipment from the Holden Centre and just trying to keep ticking over, until we heard something about a potential season,” she said.

“There was definitely some doubt there would even be a season. When the talk started coming about hubs, I was absolutely going to be on board for that as it’s potentially my only opportunity to play at this level.

“If that’s what I have to do to get a go, I’ll move my life to Queensland.”

Having already stepped down to part-time at work when she joined Collingwood, Jovic is now having a work break so she can follow her dream of playing netball.

Jovic said while there had been some challenges living in the hub, it also had its benefits.

“It has been really good for us as a team we’ve gotten to know people a lot faster than you normally would in a normal training environment.”

Among those in the hub, is Collingwood assistant coach Nicole Richardson.

Richardson has coached Jovic for many years, firstly at Altona representative netball and then at the City West Falcons.

Jovic said it was “pretty cool” to have someone involved in the team who she’s known nearly her whole life.

The condensed season has changed how clubs use their players and bench, resulting in younger and newer players being given more opportunities than before.

Jovic has played in every match so far, including being named best on court in her third match.

She said that knowing the calibre of her teammates, she wasn’t expecting to get the opportunities she has.

“It’s a bit of a weird season,” she said.

“I was definitely in shock [when she made her debut.]. I think [coach] Rob [Wright] called me on as a rolling sub within the first quarter.

“I thought it would be a bit later in the game than in the first quarter, so it was a bit of a surreal moment.

“It was amazing to even get the opportunity to step onto the court at all.”

Jovic has split her time playing the three midcourt positions, which has taken her out of her comfort zone.

At the Falcons, she is predominantly a centre. At ANL, she normally plays centre or wing attack.

She’s played on a number of international level players, including gun New Zealander Laura Langman.

Jovic admits there are times where she’s had to take a breath and take in what is happening around her.

For the Magpies, making finals is the aim.

“We want to make finals and give it a good shot, just because it’s going to be a year to remember for everyone. We want to head out on top,” Jovic said.

While it’s been a crazy ride to get a spot in the world’s best competition, Jovic is keen to stay in it for more than one year.

“Absolutely, if an opportunity arises in the future, I would love to do that.”