I’m Kendell Ross, and this is my fifth year playing for the Darling Downs Panthers and I play Centre and Wing Attack. My netball story is quite similar to the rest. I started playing when I was 5 in Netta with the Goondiwindi Netball Association (GNA) and continued to play all the way through school. Throughout my schooling I represented the GNA at Inter District, was selected into the Darling Downs team and was part of the Academy squad. The year I left school I trialled for Panthers and was selected. My first year I was coached by Paul Elbourne and Bec Stower has been my coach for the subsequent seasons. The first representative team I was selected in was the Under 11s Darling Downs Netball team, which was when I first met Jane Herrick (Panthers Captain) and we have become close friends over the years playing together. When we first met I actually called her ‘Little Janey’ because I was taller than her, which has since changed because she grew and I (unfortunately) did not!
Travelling is a huge part of my netball story. Gundy is 250km away from Toowoomba which means it’s a 5 hour round trip for training or games. It’s also 400km away from Brisbane, so a trip to Brisbane when we play a game there it is an 8 hour round trip. A lot of people think I’m crazy and insane with how much I travel for the sport but to tell you the truth I wouldn’t have it any other way. Netball is such a big part of my life and I’m grateful to have the opportunities to represent my region.
I would, however have never been able to do this without my amazing parents who have been with me every step of the way, by either driving me to trials, games or training and always supporting my dreams and ambitions. I’d also like to give a shout out to my younger sister Maygen, who has always been my number 1 supporter in the stands at each game and who has this amazing quality of being able to give brutally honest feedback on how I played, whether that be good or bad haha! I do honestly have the best family ever and I am eternally grateful for their support and how it has shaped my netball journey.
My first three years of Panthers, the longest amount of time I had without playing or training was about 4 weeks. So at the end of the third season when I found out I would have six months off of Netball my family and I joked that our car would miss driving back and forth to Toowoomba! In those six months we didn’t leave Gundy once, our first trip away was to trials for the next season of Panthers!
Being part of a representative team is extremely rewarding, but requires an extreme amount of discipline, commitment, motivation and mental toughness. These qualities are very important, especially for me living away from Toowoomba, I do all of my fitness on my own which can be hard to do without someone there to keep you accountable. I can remember one year in Academy Bell Hayes, one of the coaches, made us do a drill for a full hour with no breaks until we did it right. That moment really stands out to me because, well let’s be honest it was torture, but it really taught me the importance of mental toughness.
One season we had only one home game. I geared up all the Gundy crew to come down and watch, with Inter District being in Toowoomba the next day they all agreed to come. Running onto the court with a whole cheer squad of Gundy supporters with posters (I honestly felt famous in that moment haha) would have to be one of the best moments whilst playing with Panthers. It did however rain the next day so inter district was called off, oops!
One thing I’d really like the girls who are reading this to learn from my story is that you are not limited by your location! If you dream to become a Panther one day but live out west, please don’t let that keep you from trialing.