Downie has the pride and the passion
If Samantha Downie can bring just half of the passion and commitment she has already shown to netball to her new role with AFL South East – then the sport in this region is in very good hands.
Downie, or ‘Sam’ as most will get to know her, started her new role as the region’s Netball Operations Manager on Monday 29 January, overseeing the running of the sport in both the MPNFL and South East Football Netball League.
Downie will work alongside Haydn Parsons, the AFL South East Football Operations Manager, who adds the SEFNL clubs to his 2017 portfolio with the MPNFL.
Downie’s history in the sport started at a very young age.
“I started in Netta’s (now NetSetGo) when I was eight and I’ve been playing ever since, I just love the sport,” she said, before explaining her particular love for one end of the court.
“I played my junior netball with Keysborough and started as a defender and never played in any another position ever since.
“I moved across to Dingley to play with friends which gave me the opportunity to play representative netball with Springvale and District (SDNA) in the 15s and 17s. I played in the Dandenong Regionals team in the 17s and represented the region at the state titles.”
The new Ops Manager, who has a Diploma in Sport and Recreation and several years of experience in Sales, Account Management and Marketing, has continued her involvement in the seniors, including six years as president of Keysborough and a leadership role with Melbourne Waverley.
“I kept playing as a senior but took on additional opportunities to team manage and coach at SDNA and Melbourne Waverley,” the Western Bulldogs supporter said.
“I was captain and coach at Melbourne Waverley and was awarded life membership in 2014, which is something I am very proud of. I had a couple of years away from Melbourne Waverley but went back in 2017 to coach the Open-1 team.”
Leadership would appear to run deep in the Downie bloodlines with Sam’s brother Michael captaining the Keysborough Football Club seniors in 2017 - and he was recently renamed skipper for this year.
Sam, who has stopped playing netball due to wear and tear on her knees, is looking forward to getting her hands dirty in her new role.
“I can’t wait to get in amongst it, to find out what makes the clubs tick and to provide some really positive guidance and support to all clubs in the region,” she said, before acknowledging the challenge of bringing the MPNFL and SEFNL clubs together under a divisional structure in 2019.
“There are some obvious differences between the structure of clubs in the MPNFL and SEFNL, regarding juniors, seniors and facilities, but if we all work closely I’m sure we can grow together and make this thing a success.”
Netball Operations Manager - AFL South East
Phone: (03) 5995 0555