Jodi-Ann Ward disappointed

Netball

Jodi-Ann Ward disappointed

...but Sunshine Girl finds comfort in J'can teammates Down Under

BY SHERDON COWAN
Staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, May 04, 2020

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Despite the deep disappointment that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought to Jodi-Ann Ward's expectations for a good season with Australian franchise Collingwood Magpies, the Jamaican netballer has found comfort in the company of her Sunshine Girls teammates Down Under.

Ward, who had signed with Collingwood Magpies late last year after a season with Severn Stars in the English Vitality Netball Superleague, was excited about starting a new chapter in her budding career.

But instead of making her long-awaited debut in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League, Ward is now left clinging to hope that the pandemic will soon cease, paving the way for some action before her one-year contract comes to an end.

The defender and compatriots Shamera Sterling of Adelaide Thunderbirds, Kadie-Ann Dehaney who plays for Melbourne Vixens, and West Coast Fever's star shooter Jhaniele Fowler have bunkered down in Western Australia to see out the infectious disease which has wreaked havoc on sporting activities across the globe.

Data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center show that Australia has recorded over 6,700 confirmed cases and 95 deaths from COVID-19, which resulted in organisers of the marquee tournament deciding against the May 2 start.

Even with more than 5,500 of those cases listed as recovered, the situation is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, leaving Ward disheartened by the uncertainty that surrounds the new June 30 start date.

“I'm extremely disappointed with all the uncertainty because this is my first contract to play in the SSN league and I was really excited to be here and kick-start the season. But with everything going on right now no one knows for sure if, or when, the league will be played so I guess we just have to wait and see,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

“I'm really hoping the league does go on, especially with all the work that everyone have been putting in for the past couple months,” Ward added from her quarantine base in the city of Perth on Saturday.

While awaiting the start of the league, Ward, a University of Technology, Jamaica student who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, pointed to the significance of having Sunshine Girls Captain Fowler and the others around during the difficult period.

“It has been really hard for us not being around our immediate families that are home in Jamaica during this time, but despite being stuck here in Australia it has been really good and comforting being around my Jamaican teammates,” Ward shared.

“We have lots to talk about due to the fact that we share the same culture and we can relate to a lot of stuff. We are comfortable around each other so that makes it a lot easier, rather than being by ourselves,” she added.

Outside of their usual Netflix moments, Ward said they have also been using the time off court to maintain some semblance of form.

“Even though there is a lot of uncertainty around the netball season and the SSN League at moment, we are still trying to remain positive and optimistic that things will get back to normal sooner than later,” she said.

“When that happens, we have to make sure that we are somewhat ready to take on the season, so we still have to do our daily workouts,” she noted.

With 25 Test caps across her three-year career so far, the 25-year-old Ward is also hopeful that she will have the opportunity to add to that tally if and when the Sunshine Girls next take the court.

The brisk and hard-working St Ann native was a member of Jamaica's bronze medal-winning team at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as well as the team that competed at last year's Netball World Cup in Liverpool.

“I'm just hoping for the best after this pandemic and also hoping that it doesn't affect international netball too much, because the majority of us are not through with representing Jamaica as yet,” she said.


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