This is the third instalment of Mamamia’s ‘Sport Siren’ series – where we will shine a spotlight on a brilliant Aussie athlete every single Saturday.
This is Courtney Bruce’s story…
Courtney Bruce tells me she doesn’t like phone calls all that much. As a stand-alone claim, this would be unremarkable, except for the fact we’re on the phone together when she tells me.
I laugh, and point it out. Okay, she concedes, in the past she hasn’t liked them, but she’s getting better.
And there’s probably a good reason why that is. At 23, Bruce is recognised as one of those cliched ‘up-and-comers’ on our Australian netball scene; a spotlight rests on her progress, expectations grow with every game she plays for Perth’s West Coast Fever.
And she’s receiving call after call from selectors telling her good news.
The first of these call-ups came from Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander last year. She wanted Bruce on the Diamond’s national training camp in Canberra.
“I hate talking on the phone,” Bruce reiterates. “It’s especially daunting talking to my Diamonds coach because I never know if it’ll be good or bad news.”
It would be one of the most important phone calls the then 22-year-old would receive, a dream offer for any young netballer across the country. And it was one she didn’t want to pick up.
“It was exciting, it was something I had wanted for a long time. I don’t remember much of the conversation, I just remember saying yes, yes, yes 100 times and thank you 100 times.”
Bruce was born in Perth and has played netball “for as long as she can remember”. From the age of about six, her parents threw her and her two younger sisters into the game. It would come to be a very clever move.
The gun defender’s break-out season came in 2016 when she managed to rattle some of the competition’s strongest goalers, earning her a spot in the Diamonds squad by the end of the year.
But it was running out with the girls in Round One of the re-branded Suncorp Super League that was especially memorable for the 23-year-old.
“It was a really good feeling,” she says, recalling those first few moments running onto the court. “It felt like a long time coming. There’s a lot of WA girls in the team and there was this big sense of pride, playing for our home state was so good.”