21 September 2020

Netball star Maddy Gordon says it’s a ‘dream come true’ after being selected as sole debutant for Silver Ferns squad

Netball star Maddy Gordon has said getting selected for the Silver Ferns squad is a ‘dream come true’ after following the national team while growing up.

Now at 20 years-old, the midcourter has rapidly worked her way to the top following her ANZ Premiership debut with Central Pulse and as a result got selected for the New Zealand national squad.

She is the sole debutant and the youngest athlete to be selected and is looking forward to ‘making a name’ for herself within the world No 2 team.

Gordon, from Whangārei, told NewsChain: "I always wanted to be a Silver Fern from when I was little but I wouldn’t tell a lot of people that because I didn’t want them to be like ‘aw right whatever’.

"In my heart I always wanted to be playing netball.

"It is a dream come true and I didn’t expect it to happen so soon so yeah it’s crazy.

"Obviously selection stuff was in the back of my mind but I was originally just going for the development squad as that would have been amazing. 

“But to get the extra call up to the Ferns was amazing, and then winning a final it was just a great year honestly."

Maddy Gordon (centre) is over the moon that she has had such a standout year (Instagram: Central Pulse )

Despite the netball world welcoming Gordon with open arms, her rise to the top was a complete surprise.

Gordon, who also won the 2020 ANZ Premiership final with Pulse and was named Player of the Match, added: "When Covid-19 happened I was like ‘that’s it, I don’t think there is going to be netball this year’ and I was really gutted because it was my first year starting.

“Obviously there is a lot going on in the world right now but yeah 2020 hasn’t been so much of a bad year for me.”

With the first Silver Ferns training camp set for next month the nerves are starting to kick in for the youngster.

She said: "I am really excited for these camps coming up in Ocotber, but obviously really nervous because I haven’t been in that kind of environment before.

"But I have got all those Pulse girls who have been there before so that kind of makes it feel a little less nerve-wracking.

“I’m looking to make my own kind of brand and name for myself. We are a squad of 16 so making that final 12 would probably be the next step for me.”

She is yet to become a full-time netballer and has been doing part-time jobs waitressing in Wellington and doing after-school care to fill in the gaps from playing netball. 

Gordon moved to Wellington with the intention that she might be able to work in the police at the same time as playing netball. 

She added: “I wanted to go into the police and be a detective and that’s why I kind of moved down to Wellington as well to maybe slot that in somewhere. 

"But now that netball has taken off I’m just going to put that aside for a bit and see how it all goes, it might be something I pick up later on.”

But after getting her Ferns contract she is now looking at her ‘options’.

The ANZ Premiership typically goes on for six to seven months and then there is the off-season, which is when players in the Silver Ferns squad will begin to train. 

Maddy Gordon believes that netball in New Zealand is continuing to grow (Maddy Gordon)

Netball in New Zealand was one of the only sports given the green light during the coronavirus pandemic and as a result there was a significant increase in viewers when it got underway on June 19.

Head of Commercial at Netball New Zealand David Cooper said in July: “There are over 100,000 viewers globally that have watched the 2020 ANZ Premiership, which is probably two and a half times where we would have normally been at this point in the competition.”

Gordon added: "I feel like because netball was one of the only sports in New Zealand that was playing I think it grew the netball fanbase in a way because it was the only thing people were watching.

“When I was going back into waitressing there were customers saying ‘I never used to watch netball but now it’s on I love it’. It’s been pretty good this year with all the coverage I feel like it’s definitely growing a lot more here.”

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