Blow to Calypso Girls: Samantha Wallace out Netball World Cup

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Samantha Wallace, right, in action for New South Wales Swifts in Australia. –

THE Calypso Girls have been dealt a huge blow ahead of the 2023 Netball World Cup in July, with pro netballer Samantha Wallace ruled out owing to a setback in her recovery from knee surgery.

This was confirmed in a statement by her Australian-based club New South Wales Swifts on Monday.

Wallace had season-ending ACL injury in round one of the Swifts’ 2022 title defence and was aiming to return to action midway into the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball season. Apart from her World Cup absence, Wallace will also miss the entire season in Australia. The TT player is a double Premiership winner with the Swifts, and was named MVP in the 2019 Super Netball grand final.

Despite her disappointment, Wallace said she was thankful for the support she’d received from the club and fans alike.

“It’s hard knowing that I won’t get the chance to play with the girls this year, and also miss out on the World Cup in South Africa. I was so excited about getting back on court quicker and when my knee didn’t feel right again it was very hard to take.

“But everyone at the Swifts has been so good to me… our physio, the doctors, the girls, coaches, staff and fans.

“The club has given me the best medical care and I feel very lucky and grateful because not everyone in the real world can get access to this,” Wallace said to NSW media.

The setback has left Wallace disappointed, but she remains optimistic.

“It’s like one step forward, two steps back, but at least I know it is going in the right direction. I have done so much recovery work that some more won’t break me because I know I have more to give at the highest level,” she added.

TT netball boss: Hard to fill her shoes

The Vitality Netball World Cup gets under way in Cape Town, South Africa, from July 28 to August 6. TT qualified for the World Cup after good performances at the Americas Netball World Cup Qualifiers in Jamaica last year.

TT Netball Association president Sherry Ann Blackburn said Wallace’s on- and off-court experience will be dearly missed.

“Being the athlete that she is, a long-standing professional athlete, it’s definitely a big blow to us. Sadly, this is part of an athlete’s journey. These things can happen. We were preparing for any eventuality.

“We now have to work around it, however, we were looking forward to her being part of the team for the World Cup. She’s a key player. It would be hard to fill her shoes but the show has to go on, and TT has to be strong. We have to encourage those who are playing,” Blackburn said.

The local-based players have been training four times per week since January.

“We have to rally around them, provide the support needed to keep them enthused and encouraged to keep going,” the TTNA boss said.

The team is being coached by renowned umpire Joel “Twiggy” Young-Strong, who took over after the TTNA controversially sacked interim head coach Kemba Duncan and manager Ashelle Legall, last November, over alleged poor communication with the executive.

Swifts head coach Briony Akle also spoke of Wallace’s overall impact on the team.

“Sam’s positive attitude and work ethic in her recovery has been top-notch, and despite setbacks, she remains a true champion in what she brings to our group.

“Only a few weeks ago she was braving the rain to support young grassroots netballers and she remains a vital part of our support team on game days, especially at home.”

Akle provided some additional context surrounding the delay to Wallace’s return.

“What people need to remember is that while Sam was injured in round one last year, she was not able to have surgery for six weeks until the swelling went down – the injury was that bad…

“When the recovery slowed it became obvious that rushing Sam back could be detrimental for her in the long-term and our priority will always be long-term athlete wellbeing and duty of care ahead of everything else.

“Sammy still has so much to give the game and we would never put that at risk for a quick sugar-hit. First and foremost, we want to get Sam’s knee to where it needs to be before we look at 2024 and beyond.”