Rhinos score with shooting sensation Donnell Wallam
Leeds Rhinos Netball has landed a major signing coup with the addition of West Coast Fever training partner, Donnell Wallam, 26, for the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague season.
The shooting sensation has signed a two-year deal and joins the Rhinos after dominating the Gold Industry Group West Australian league, winning back to back premierships with West Coast Warriors.
Wallam also claimed consecutive Grand Final Most Valuable Player awards and won the ‘Jill McIntosh Medal’, the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2019. The Australian is expected to claim the honours again for this season when the award winners are announced next month.
In the 2020 season she scored a record total of 1,013 goals, averaging 63 goals per game. A record haul that is expected to remain unbroken for some time.
She first caught the eye of the game’s elite with a breakthrough performance last July, when she spearheaded the Western Australian All Stars in an exhibition game against the West Coast Fever at Perth Arena.
She shocked everyone, bagging over 50 goals against Australian Diamonds goal keeper Courtney Bruce and leading her team to victory. She was signed as a training partner with Fever the following day.
The 190cm rising star is a former state basketballer and has only been playing elite level netball for the past two years.
Wallam said the opportunity to challenge herself against world class players in the Superleague was what she was looking for to help launch her promising career.
Speaking about joining the Rhinos she said: “I am so excited to get this opportunity and I think it’s a great way to start my professional netball career.
“I felt I needed to get the on-court exposure at the next level and to be able to learn from a shooting specialist coach in Dan Ryan really helped my decision to join the Rhinos.
“We have got some exciting big names on the team and I’m looking forward to learning from them and playing with them.
“I can’t wait to meet everyone and join my teammates for pre- season and start building as a team for the season ahead.”
High Performance Director and Superleague Head Coach for Leeds Rhinos Netball, Dan Ryan said: “Donnell is a hidden gem and has absolutely exploded onto the netball scene, taking all before her in the past two years.
“Some of her performances have been absolutely jaw dropping and when she’s on her game, she’s an unstoppable force in that shooting circle.
“She’s an almighty target, deadly accurate and her ability to pluck the ball out of the air is a sight to be seen.
“What’s so exciting though is she’s still very raw and has so much development ahead of her.
“She’s so determined to learn and grow and has her sights set on some big dreams. I truly believe she has the potential to be a world beater and we are just so thrilled she has chosen Leeds Rhinos as her new netball home.”
Wallam joins Jade Clarke, Vicki Oyesola, Brie Grierson, Rosie Harris, Britt Coleman, Rhea Dixon, Sienna Rushton, Amelia Hall, Fi Toner, Paige Kindred, Michelle Magee and Emily Hollingworth as the players confirmed so far in the Leeds Rhinos Netball squad for 2021.
*Leeds Rhinos Netball have one final athlete to announce next week to finalise their squad. This is subject to medical clearance