Super Netball 2022: NSW Swifts young gun Sophie Fawns gets pranked by coach

A teen netball sensation was supposed to be receiving exciting news but for a nervous moment she thought she was getting told off.

Teen sensation Sophie Fawns’ meteoric rise in Super Netball has continued after she was signed by the NSW Swifts as a full-time contracted player.

The teenager was parachuted into the Swifts line-up last month after star shooter Sam Wallace went down with an ACL injury in the opening game of the season.

Fawns, who was a training partner with the Swifts, replaced Wallace in the starting seven and has slotted in seamlessly in the shooting circle alongside Helen Housby.

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The 18-year-old nailed 39 of 45 attempts in her first two games at a shooting accuracy of 87 per cent to prove to coach Briony Akle she deserved a long term shot at the top level.

On Thursday, the Swifts announced Fawns had been named a permanent replacement player for the rest of the Super Netball season.

She was told the exciting news when she was called to a meeting with Akle and co-captains Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud.

The trio congratulated Fawns on her performances in Super Netball so far before Akle delivered the news in the most agonising way possible.

“You’ve done an amazing job,” she told Fawns.

“I know that you’ve proven to us that you want to be a part of this crew running around each week and for me.

“I know you’ve sort of wanted to have answers all the time, what’s happening week to week. “Obviously we needed to see where you’re at, how you played last week and all that sort of stuff.

“Obviously you killed it. But unfortunately you won’t be a TP (training partner) anymore, we are giving you a full time contract.”

Fawns was hanging onto her coach’s every word with bated breath and her jaw dropped to the floor when she heard she was now one of the Swifts’ 10 contracted players.

With her eyes and mouth wide open, she embraced Hadley, Proud and Akle before composing herself.

The Swifts released a video of the exchange, which is delightful viewing.

Fawns told News Corp she wasn’t sure what to expect from the meeting and even thought she might be getting cut from the team.

“I thought that it was going to be about (playing in the) state (age) team this weekend, so I was really pretty relaxed about it all and then the way (Akle) worded the news was so funny that she had me pranked,” Fawns said.

“I really thought it was going a different direction.

“But it was just amazing. If a video (of the announcement) gets released, I think my mouth is open like a fish the whole time.

“I grew up supporting this club and to become a capped Swift a few weeks ago was a moment I will cherish forever, but this is next level.

“I just love playing netball and the support I’ve had from Briony, my teammates – especially Helen, Sam and Kelly (Singleton) – has made me feel really at home.”

Akle said Fawns had more than held her own in the team since Wallace’s injury and she was very deserving of a full-time contract.

“We knew when Sam went down that we couldn’t replace like with like because there is only one Sam Wallace and you can’t replicate what she brings to a court,” Akle said.

“It meant we’ve had to adjust how we play and Sophie has brought her own style and approach which really adds something new to our attack.

“She is a great kid who’s proven if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. The past two week she’s gone toe-to-toe with international standard defenders and more than held her own.

“She plays with a smile on her face and loves every moment she’s on court … I think she reminds us all of how lucky we are to do this for a living because Sophie is out there making her own dream come true … her enthusiasm is just infectious.”

The Swifts’ Super Netball campaign continues this weekend when they take on the West Coast Fever on Sunday afternoon.

Originally published as Super Netball: Hilarious moment NSW Swifts young gun gets pranked by coach

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