Maggie Lind had shown what she could do in the Victorian Netball League with the City West Falcons across a number of years.
Two competition best and fairests, including one this year, Lind had shown she was one of the best midcourters in the state.
But the opportunity to play at the higher level, the Suncorp Super Netball competition, had eluded her.
That is until now, with Lind securing a contract with Collingwood for next year’s season.
Lind admits she thought that her opportunity might never come.
“It is a bit exciting,” she said. “I think a few swear words came out, I was like really?
“I had no expectations there and I guess at my age I thought it had surely passed me.
“I’m super excited. We’re in our third week of pre-season now and it’s been really good to get back into it and see the girls and be in that environment full time.”
The first person Lind called when she found out was her mum, Marg Lind. The former Melbourne Kestrels coach, has coached her daughter at the Falcons and been one of her biggest supporters.
“She is pretty laid back,” Lind said of her mum.
“We’re sort of a family that doesn’t get super excited about things.
“She was super happy. I said to her she wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, but of course she did.
“She was super proud, she knows how much hard work I’ve put into it, for her she was happy to see me get the reward for the work I had done.”
Lind is the first to admit that she didn’t think she would ever get the opportunity to get a Super Netball contract.
She trained with the Adelaide Thunderbirds while studying in Adelaide a few years ago, before becoming a training partner with the Magpies in the last couple of years.
That included making her Super Netball debut this year. But even then, she wasn’t sure the chance would come.
“I think I thought that a couple of years ago,” she said about her chances being over.
“I fell out of love with it for a couple of years. I thought stuff this, what is the point? I was being overlooked all the time.
“It wasn’t until maybe 2018, when I decided to play for the fun of it, I really started to enjoy my netball again and I really went in with the mindset that if I make it, I make it, it’s not a massive deal.
“I think that was the best thing for me to do. I think I was lucky I always had another career path and never just focused on netball.”
Having been part of the Magpies system the last couple of years, made the transition to a contracted player easier.
The Magpies also had a distinct Falcons feel. Coach Nicole Richardson was part of the Falcons coaching panel for many years, Molly Jovic and Lind formed the core of the Falcons midcourt, and Jacqui Newton also played with the Falcons.
“I do have history with a lot of people there,” she said. “The Falcons’ environment we are one big family, not three separate teams and I think Richo has taken that to Collingwood and she has completely changed the environment and culture there. It’s a really good place to be.
“Everyone is doing it for the team and everyone wants to win. Richo is good like that, serious when she needs to be, but it’s a game and you need to enjoy it.”
Lind said it hadn’t really sunk in that her and Jovic would be playing together for Collingwood, after the partnership they had formed playing with the Falcons.
The move to Collingwood has meant a couple of changes for Lind.
One is stepping away from the Falcons for the time being. Lind, who shared the competition MVP this year, and the side were sitting on top of the ladder when the season ended due to the pandemic.
“I didn’t expect that,” she said of the most valuable player award.
“That was really good. When you’re playing in a team doing so well, that is a massive achievement.
“I don’t really look at that stuff, we won’t be where we were if it wasn’t for the team. This year was really disappointing we didn’t finish the season.
“It was one of the best teams I’ve been in for a long time. The energy was always up and we were super competitive, I really wanted to see how far we could go.”
The contract also threw a spanner in the works for Lind with her studies. Lind was set to start her final year of university next year.
“I’m studying to be a veterinarian,” she said. “Next year is my final year and it sort of threw a cat among the pigeons.
“It’s an opportunity I was never going to refuse. I can do uni at any stage, with netball, the body can only hold up for so long.
“I’ve worked out with my uni, to expand my final year [of studies] out to about 18 months. They’ve been really supportive and Collingwood is really supportive too.
“I thought I was going to have to take the year off uni.”
Pre-season training has started for the Magpies with the team’s preparations for 2022 underway.
And Lind is enjoying every moment of it.
“It is going to be a huge jump, even training at that intensity is a massive jump. I have an expectation we are going to go all the way. I’m really excited.”