Magpies Netball's newest recruit Erin Bell talks about joining Collingwood, the difficult decision to leave the Thunderbirds and living in Melbourne.
From Sydney to Adelaide, to Singapore and New Zealand, the latest instalment of Erin Bell’s decorated netball career takes her to Melbourne.
And while she says she’s prepared to move to the world’s sporting capital, there’s one thing Bell isn’t so excited about.
Hook turns on Melbourne’s busy roads.
“If I ever have to do one of those hook turns in the city, that will be interesting,” Bell told Magpies Netball this week.
“Thank god for Google maps, because I’d be completely lost otherwise.
“I’m really excited to come to Melbourne and experience it all.”
After eight seasons with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, Bell signed with Collingwood during the Super Suncorp Netball free agency period.
“I’d been at the Thunderbirds for a very long time, and I’m very grateful for all the opportunities the club had given me.”
“I found myself as a person and as a netballer (in Adelaide).
“But I think it was just time for me to put myself outside my comfort zone and join a new club and see what else I could give to the sport.
“The timing was right for me and what better place for me to do that than at Collingwood.”
Erin Bell and Sharni Layton compete for the ball during a SSN game this season. Photo: Getty Images.
After joining the Thunderbirds in 2010, Bell went on to win two premierships and captained the South Australian franchise during the 2016-17 seasons.
“I’ve got a lot in Adelaide – I’ve set up my own business there – the people are all lovely and I love the community and everything about Adelaide.
“But in terms of my netball, it was time for me to see what else I could do.
“When I was making the decision, I was weighing up all of these things about netball and my life.
“At the end of the day, I’m an athlete and I’m competitive. I’ve put so of my time and my life into netball. I wanted to see what else I could do in that space.”
Confronted with having to make the difficult decision to leave Adelaide, Bell says it was made easier knowing she’d be we met with some familiar faces at the Holden Centre.
“When Kristy (Keppich-Birrell) was at the Thunderbirds, I loved her style of coaching. It was a really big drawcard to come to a club where I already knew the coach.”
“I also have a relationship with a lot of the players…I’m good friends with Sharni Layton, I’ve played with the girls at the Diamonds, and I roomed with Kim Ravaillion during the 2015 World Cup.”
New teammates Caitlin Thwaites and Erin Bell during the 2015 Netball World Cup. Photo: Getty Images.
After the Magpies fell to the Giants in a heartbreaking semi-final loss, they added Bell in the offseason, and promoted training partner Matilda Garrett to their final squad.
Bell says she is looking forward to creating something special with her teammates, many of whom she’s experienced success with before.
“Netball is amazing when you get the wins, but when you’re actually doing it with your mates, it makes it so much better.”
“I’m excited to come here and train hard, and do my job for the team.
“I’m hoping I come in with a bit of experience and a fresh perspective.”
As on the of the best long-range shooters in the league, Bell joins Caitlin Thwaites, Alice Teague-Neeld and Shae Brown in the Magpies’ attacking third.
“Everyone in the shooting circle offers something different,” Bell said.
“Caity was dominant this season. She had a great year. Watching Alice play, I think she’s so creative. And Shae, she’s a workhorse.
“I think for me to be in an environment, training with these players, I think we can only get the best out of ourselves.”
With the 2018 Super Netball season not starting until April, Bell will join her fellow Magpie teammates as they begin preseason training at the Holden Centre in the coming weeks.