I was born in Sydney, New South Wales, before moving to New Zealand for 12 years. Growing up my family and I spent all of our holidays, and every other opportunity we could in Queensland with our extended family. I grew up watching the rugby league as my father (Steve Price) and uncle (Brent Tate) both played. When it comes to the State of Origin, I am a Queenslander – with my whole family supporting the Maroons, I was really left with no choice (my siblings and I were the only ones in the family born in New South Wales but we keep that quiet, so shhhh!).
I haven’t done a whole lot of travelling, but in my spare time I do enjoy exploring new places, cultures and experiences. I am particularly fond of visiting beaches, climbing mountains and I am obsessed with chasing sunsets. I recently returned from Africa after playing in Botswana for the Netball U21 World Youth Cup, that was an amazing experience. The people are the happiest humans I have ever met, especially considering that they don’t have it all. I was fortunate enough to experience some pretty amazing things, like walking with lions, travelling on safaris, canoeing down the Zambezi River, visiting the Victoria Falls and going on a sunset cruise. Africa by far has one of the best sunsets I have ever seen. I am obsessed. When I got back from Africa I went to Bali for the first time. After spending a week there, I fell in love with the people, the place, the food, the beaches, the resorts and villas, beach clubs and much more. There is so much to do there and so much beauty to explore.
Everyone that knows me knows how much I love my food, and knows how much I can eat. When I was growing up my father used to call me ‘Hoover’ because I used to inhale my food and finish it all off. When I go away with the netball girls and they can’t finish their meals, they always ask me if I would like to finish it. May I just add that I’m not the only one in the team that loves their food; Serena Guthrie has also got an appetite. My guilty food pleasure is without a doubt ice cream – I do also love my fruits, especially mangoes.
Being Australian born, the ultimate dream was always to play for Australia. When dad signed with the New Zealand Warriors in 2005, my family and I made the move across the ditch. I played all my netball there and made my way through the NZ system. I first represented NZ when I played for the New Zealand Secondary School Netball team in both 2012 and 2013. In 2014 I played in the Fast 5 tournament, due to Casey Kopua being injured. I was then put into the NZ U21 squad from 2014 to 2016 looking towards the 2017 NWYC in Botswana. I had been playing with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic from 2013 to 2016 in the ANZ Championship.
Last year when they announced that Australia and New Zealand were parting ways, I made the huge decision to follow Julie Fitzgerald and some fellow Magic teammates to the Giants for the 2017 season. The decision I made was set to have a massive bearing on my New Zealand commitments. This meant that I had to start all over again, not just in my career but also in life, I was completely out of my comfort zone. I was unaware if I was going to play in the NWYC in Botswana and represent Australia. Hopefully my journey through netball sees me one day representing the Australian Samsung Diamonds, which is the ultimate dream.
My move back to Australia was a risk that I was willing to take and ultimately a no brainer. I was moving to play in the best competition in the world and play weekly alongside and against some absolute legends of the sport. It wasn’t just a career decision but also a life decision, as my immediate family moved back to Australia to join my extended family and I. It is something I definitely do not regret. I absolutely love my Giants family and I was fortunate enough to experience my first ever Grand Final, unfortunately it wasn’t the result we wanted but finals netball is what you train and play for. Making the Australian NWYC team to compete in Botswana, Africa was an amazing experience. I was guttered that we lost to New Zealand in the Final, but they were the better team on the day. To top it all off I was named as the MVP of the tournament, which was something that I was extremely proud of and did not expect at all. All of these experiences have made the move worthwhile. Following the Grand Final loss in Botswana I recall someone asking me whether I wish I had stayed in New Zealand, I remember saying “I don’t at all. I have had the best year and learnt so much which is helping me become the best player that I can be”. I will always be grateful for my time in New Zealand, as it is where I grew up playing my netball and the place where I was taught many valuable lessons. I love the culture and the amazing people I have met, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. But Australia has always been, and always will be my home.
I was very fortunate to have some amazing coaches throughout my development, with the likes of Te Aroha Keenan, Paula Smith (my school coaches), Noeline Taurua and Julie Fitzgerald (who is my current coach). Noeline and Julie both led their teams to the inaugural Super Netball Grand Final this season, showcasing the coaching quality of these two women. In 2013 (my last year of high school), I was lucky enough to be a part of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic team coached by Noeline Taurua. It was the biggest dream come true as I was training weekly with legends of the game, including Casey Kopua, Laura Langman, Irene Van Dyk and Leana De Bruin, whilst still being in school. I was never academically talented and it was struggle to keep up with the demands of school, but I got through it all with the help of my school at the time, Mount Albert Grammar School. They were extremely understanding and helped me get through my last year successfully. My school allowed me to have two days off a week, enabling me to travel to the Waikato Bay of Plenty region from Auckland. Depending on where we trained it would be a two to three hour drive there and back. I would leave on a Wednesday at lunchtime and have Thursdays off completely, because I was on my learners at the time it meant that my dad had to drive me down and back. I am extremely grateful for my parents and family, and the ongoing support they have given me. The year that I made my debut, I played a quarter against the Swifts. My opponent was Kim Green. Since that day, Kim and I have always had the best of battles. We both loved to push and shove each other around whenever we played. I’m so glad that she is in my team now because she is the best WA in the competition; I am very fortunate that I now get to train with her.
From when I was a little girl, I have grown up watching my dad and uncle play Rugby League for a living. They were extremely fortunate to play the sport that they were passionate about, and their success and sporting journey has assisted me enormously. I watched them through the ups and downs in their careers. Their professionalism, hard work and success was something I always looked up to as they were legends of the game. I have always admired their resilience through disappointments in not making teams, adversities and injuries. Especially my uncle and his ability to come back from four ACL injuries, it’s a testament to his character to have the ability to return from four of the same severe knee injuries and to return to league at the highest level – to me, that is truly inspirational. I always admired my dad’s leadership skills as he captained both the Bulldogs and the Warriors. It still shows today, as he always has the right piece of advice for us kids, and we can always rely on his honesty no matter what the situation is.
I must admit it that it wasn’t easy not having dad around all the time. When we were living in New Zealand he would travel to Australia every second week, on top of Origin and Australia commitments. But the thing about dad was, was that he would spend every second of his spare time with us, and that made up for it. Throughout my childhood my mum was incredible, not only did she take care of three children on her own when dad was away, but she also played the role of taxi, cook and nurse. She was always there for us, and I am eternally grateful for her ongoing support.
I am very proud of all that dad has achieved, but growing up I didn’t really like being known as ‘Steve Prices’ daughter. I am my own person and not one to brag about it. You could definitely tell that there were people who spoke to you because of your surname, instead of the person that you are. It was quite noticeable when I started out with my netball, I always got “Steve Price’s Daughter – Jamie-Lee Price” which is nice but I did all the hard work to get to where I am now, not because of who my dad is. Dad helped me a lot growing up as I always played sports, he always trained with me and helped me to become mentally strong, assisting me with that ‘never give up attitude’. It is good to have someone who has been there before, and can relate to the situations that you face as an athlete. I can always talk to him and get his advice on things that I need help with, as he has had his fair share of setbacks. He’s always willing to help no matter what and does his best to be at every one of my games. I am very proud of my dad and uncle, and I am very fortunate to be surrounded by my supportive family, which is something that I will never take for granted.
I’ve been out of High School for four years now and every time I meet someone new I get asked the same question – “What do you do outside of netball?” For the last four years I’ve said the same thing, “I don’t really know what I want to do outside of netball”. The truth is pretty simple; I honestly don’t know what I want to do. I don’t want to go to university for the sake of going; I want to go because I’m passionate about something. I feel like this is a struggle that many young people can relate to, but I guess it is all part of the experience and excitement of growing up. My move to the Giants has seen me surrounded by people like Kim Green and Sarah Wall, who are two very inspirational women. They have both helped me immensely and motivated me to want to start something outside of my netball career. I am currently learning and being trained by the NETFIT Netball family, which is based on all things netball, fitness, events and tours. I absolutely love working with kids and getting them out of the house and doing physical activity, and I am also very passionate about netball so it’s something that I really enjoy. I will soon be starting a personal training course to help with this, which will keep me busy during my off-season and downtime.
I would like to think that I have improved when it comes to my superstitions, I only have two now. My first superstition is wearing the same pair of socks to each game. Secondly, I wore the same sports bra until I had a poor performance – then I changed it to another one… Weird I know, but that’s just what I do, I will grow out of it one day I promise! I also get into a game day routine that changes yearly, but if it’s not an early game, I have to fit in a pre-match nap.
This year I spent the season living with the two English imports, Jo Harten and Serena Guthrie. It was a very crazy and fun household and I learned a lot from the girls, mainly on what not to do – only kidding. We decided to call our household “The Terror Squad” and I think it really represents us well; we are always up to some sort of mischief.
My future goals include premiership success and making the Australian Diamonds squad. I am super keen to get into the 2018 season with the Giants, and continue from where we left off last season. The 2017 Grand Final loss has motivated me, and made me more determined than ever to achieve success next season. The feeling of sadness and despair in the change rooms following last season’s loss is what drives me to succeed. I recall tears and silence in our room, as we could hear the other girls celebrating in the change rooms next to us – it was a gut-wrenching feeling that you never want to experience again. There is something special about winning a premiership; it’s a common goal from staff members to players that unites the team. Blood, sweat and tears go into the journey, and a premiership is ultimately the reward for all of that effort. You are not only representing your club, but you are striving to achieve success for your community, the fans who support you week in and week out, and most importantly your friends and family who ride the bumps with you. The ultimate goal is to win the premiership next season with the Giants, but I also want to make sure that as a team we have the best time and enjoy the journey as it is an emotional rollercoaster. I am determined to play my role for the team, and hopefully be selected in the Australian Diamonds squad in the process – that is definitely a goal. From the moment I started watching netball I dreamt of representing Australia in the sport. I will never forget the moment I was a flag bearer for Australia in the World Cup in Auckland in 2006, Australia’s captain at the time Liz Ellis said to me, “I hope you want to play for the Diamonds when you are older”. I remember nodding my head back to Liz, I was so caught up in the excitement that I was extremely nervous, shy and a little bit scared because it was what I dreamed about.
The next 12 months will also include my work with the NETFIT Netball family; I am extremely passionate about spreading the netball spark throughout Australia. I will also endeavor to complete my Certificate 3 and 4 in Fitness (Personal Training). I think it is really important that I enjoy the simple things in life over the next few months, like spending time with my loved ones, doing things I love and enjoying my spare time.
|| 21 • Giant #5 🏐 • SunnyCoast 📍 ||