Rising teenaged talent Samantha Sinclair is a young woman in a hurry as she prepares to discard her school uniform for life as a semi-professional netballer with Kia Magic.
Sinclair, 18, has chalked up an enviable list of netball achievements during her time at John Paul College in Rotorua, a school not normally known for its netballing prowess.
She was good enough to make the Kia Magic trials last year but missed out on the final cut, sealing the deal this year with a contract following a string of outstanding performances at secondary school and age-group level.
``It’s definitely been a big goal of mine for the last couple of years to make the Kia Magic team,’’ she said.
``Missing out last year was totally fine because I don’t think I was ready for it but it gave me the urge to go hard this year and I was really, really stoked that I did make it.’’
In her final year of school, Sinclair helped put John Paul College on the netball map when they reached the finals of the 16-strong national secondary school championships for the first time recently, continuing to surprise throughout the tournament with a strong showing to finish a well-deserved fifth.
Midcourter Sinclair co-captained the title-winning New Zealand Secondary Schools team in the annual Trans-Tasman Secondary Schools tournament, featuring teams from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, while also being a member of the New Zealand under-21 squad.
To cap an eventful year, Sinclair got what she really wanted when offered a contract with the Waikato/Bay of Plenty team for next year’s ANZ Championship.
Sinclair is ready to depart the confines of school armed with a real sense of purpose about her netballing future, athletic ability and the confident aura of youth where anything is possible.
``It’s going to be a huge step-up from any other netball that I’ve played,’’ she said. ``It’s semi-professional, it’s going to be really intense and for a lot of girls this is their life and it’s something that I want to be my life as well.’’
Sinclair will soon be rubbing shoulders with an international mix of coaches and players who will become her day-to-day buddies in the fullness of time and has already identified what her priorities will be in the early days.
``Because there’s more than 12 in our squad (Kia Magic have a squad of 13), the first step will definitely be getting onto the bench for the first game and after that it will be biding my time, doing everything right and training hard and working towards that opportunity to take the court,’’ she said.
Sinclair can play all three midcourt positions but primarily sees herself as a centre/wing defence.
Sinclair joins a clutch of exciting young talent to be included in the Kia Magic ranks for next year, having previously played with Malia Paseka, Jamie-Lee Price, Katherine Coffin and Brooke Leaver at either secondary school or under-23 level.
``I think there might be a perception out there that this is a new, young team which might not be as good as other years but I think that’s wrong,’’ she said.
``I think that mix of experience and youth is going to be the thing that makes us really good next year and that’s something I’m really excited about.’’
Sinclair has enrolled in a fulltime course at Waikato University next year where she is planning to do a Bachelor of Social Sciences. She intends living in the Halls of Residence so she can fully experience university life.
An avid trainer, Sinclair has no qualms about fulfilling her training programme requirements by herself in Rotorua until the team assembles for the first time in early January.
``I have trained on my own for the last however many years and it’s not a problem,’’ she said. ``I love training….and I could never skip one.’’
Sinclair will finish school for good on November 20, seemingly well equipped for the new challenges that lie ahead.