Bethany puts her all into netball

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North Otago netballer Bethany Robertson knows all about challenges, but she welcomes every one put in her path. The versatile sportswoman has emerged as an under-the-radar star in the Netball South region, and has been rewarded with a place in the defending champion’s training squad for the 2017 Beko League. Robertson (22) has an effervescent personality but the soul of a scrapper, and it easy to see why. While most of her squad mates live in Dunedin or Invercargill, and have easy access to top coaching and facilities, Robertson lives at Maheno, and spends as much time on the highway as in the stadium. She is also on the slender side for a circle defender _ frequently having to bump bodies with physically imposing shooters _ and balances netball commitments (for two premier teams) with tertiary studies and running her own business. Phew. “It’s been a crazy time,” Robertson dead panned. Another impressive element to her progress is that she has nearly finished a degree in applied science while dealing with dyslexia. “I never actually thought I’d study. So I’ve had to get past that. I don’t know how many years I thought I just couldn’t get things like others got things.
“With study, I have to make sure I have enough time to hit the books, because it takes me so much time.” A passionate advocate of physical activity, Robertson runs an in-home personal training business, ProjectU, flitting between Oamaru and Dunedin in her distinctive pink car. Netball is now consuming more of her time than ever as she trains with the Netball South squad as it prepares for the second season of the Beko League. “I feel so lucky. I never like to assume anything. There are people coming from all over the place and you’re always going to be fighting for your place.”
Robertson did not play her first organised netball game till she was 13. Her first love was rugby _ she relished the physicality of the game, and played tackle alongside boys _ but she also tried her hand at rowing, touch and hockey, and has now started athletics.
Tall in her early teens, she is now of average height for a circle defender, so wing defence might be her future position in netball. The former Otago under-17 and under-19 representative played goal defence for the Southern Magpies when they won the Dunedin premier club title this season. And, because Dunedin netball is played during the week, she was able to double up and play for Valley Silver in Oamaru on Saturdays.
Robertson said she never thought of herself as a star but simply wanted to put everything she had into her netball. “I really like playing with and against really good players, and I suppose I’m the one who gets pulled through because of that.
“I like to learn from other really good players. Every second of every game, I like to be switched on. I don’t think I’m capable of switching off on the court.
“I don’t yell but I probably don’t smile much.” She hails from a sporty family, and said her parents, Ross and Donna, were incredibly supportive. Another big influence had been the great Georgie Salter, who “sorted my head out.”. “Whenever you’re trialling for a team or whatever, she’s always there.” Robertson has no specific ambitions other than making the most out of the two major parts of her life. “My business, I just want to love it and enjoy it. For netball, to love it and enjoy it.”