07 Nov Cubby gives Wildcats a strong shot at finals
The Wildcats face a tough challenge against the Thunder in their HART Sapphire Series semi-final this Saturday but will be hopeful of their chances following the rapid rise of 17-year-old Goal Shooter Lily Cubby.
Cubby was influential in the Wildcats’ last two games of the regular season, keeping her side in the contest against the minor premiers Jets and steering them towards a dramatic victory over the Tigers in just her second and third Sapphire Series appearances.
After missing out on finals with the Wildcats Ruby team, the Goodooga-born star was selected by Sapphire Coach Danielle Edwards to replace the injured Briony Payne for the double-header.
“I was extremely excited to get the opportunity,” she said.
“When Dan asked me, I was just so grateful to have the opportunity to work beside some of the best netballers in the competition.”
Playing against defenders such as Bridey Condren, who like Cubby was a boarding captain at John Paul College, would be daunting for anyone. However, the experience playing against the Thunder earlier in the season reassured her that she had the skills to succeed.
“I set myself up right because I just told myself to have no nerves or anything going into those games because I’d already done it before,” she explained.
“It’s only another game of netball and I think I just told myself to go out with confidence. I did that and it ended up paying off well.”
The task was made easier by the support Cubby received from the club and her teammates, and, as a proud Murrawarri woman, she was able to turn to the side’s other Indigenous players, the likes of Beryl Friday, Leesa Mi Mi and Jemmason Power, for guidance throughout the process.
“I only met Beryl this year, but she has been the most amazing mentor for me and having the rest of the Indigenous girls there for support has just been amazing this season,” she said.
“The Wildcats as a whole have been making great changes to the way us Indigenous people are treated. We’ve made the Indigenous pattern bibs and we just try and make change, which is good.”
Cubby’s Indigenous culture is a persistent source of motivation for her on-court performances, as she works hard to continue her climb through the netball ranks.
“The biggest thing for me is representing my family back home, my Indigenous culture, and especially my Dad,” she said.
“He passed away when I was six, and that’s where I get my Indigenous family from, so I try to make him the most proud and know that he’s looking down on me.”
Cubby will have family present for the contest against the Thunder, as it represents the first time her Mother has been able to attend one of her games since the border between Queensland and New South Wales re-opened.
The Wildcats will be aiming to repeat as HART Sapphire Series champions with a different set of players and, despite an inconsistent season, remain positive that they can do so.
“We’re feeling confident, just trying to build off last weekend, and do the basic things right,” Cubby said.
“The Thunder are on quite a roll, but I definitely think we’re able to do it. It will be a challenge, but I think we’ll give it a go.”
You can watch Cubby and the Wildcats fight for a place in the preliminary final at 5pm this Saturday on the HART Sapphire Series Facebook page.