"Sky is the limit" for Thunder's Woulf
Words By Madeleine Dowling. Image supplied.
After significantly injuring her knee playing netball in 2018’s pre-season, USC Thunder’s Sarahpheinna Woulf has made a comeback to the sport, training amongst Australia’s finest. Returning to elite sport after injury is no mean feat, and 19-year-old Woulf has tackled it head-on, playing in the 2019 Hart Sapphire Series and being selected as talent for an AIS training camp earlier this month.At the AIS the talented teen engaged in off-court education sessions about personal brands, nutrition, and the World Cup, as well as playing with the England under 19’s.
“It was a really good experience to have high quality coaches and also have the Australian under 21 coach there and play against international teams,” Miss Woulf said.
“It’s a good way for us to learn while we’re still young.”
The training took place in Canberra over the first weekend in July and facilitated a squad of 26 players, all qualified to trial for the Australian under 21 World Cup team. Despite Woulf’s initial nerves about her return, determination and her heart of gold are paving the way for a “bright future”.
“I was nervous about how I would perform,” Miss Woulf said.
“My speed and my explosiveness weren’t there for me, and for me that’s a big part of my game, “It took me a while to find that spark again and find my feet again and just find the way I play.”
USC Thunder’s Operations Manager, Emma Wakefield, believes greatness is ahead of the youngster.
“Sarahpheinna has a great presence on and off court,” Ms Wakefield said.
“Being signed by the Lightning at age 17 is testament to the bright future ahead of Fina.”
Since making her comeback Woulf hasn’t slowed down, volunteering her time to coach Net-set-go teams and run netball clinics for children.
“For me to help other kids and see that they’re having fun and smiling honestly just makes me very happy,” Miss Woulf said.
Following rehabilitation processes and listening to her body’s needs allowed Woulf to make such a comeback to her sport.
“Definitely do your rehab,” Miss Woulf said.
“Even if you have one day off or two days off it’s going to really set you back more.”
Ms Wakefield said “anything is possible” for injured players who can put in the work to rehabilitate.
“Coming back from an injury, whilst a setback, presents an opportunity for an athlete to return to their strongest, both physically and mentally,” Ms Wakefield said.
This season of the Hart Sapphire Series netball is sure to be just the beginning of an exciting career for Sarahpheinna.
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Sapphire Series or its clubs