McPherson Media Group has partnered with Valley Sport to bring you Our Game: Women's Stories Shaping Sport highlighting the brilliant and often under-appreciated, contributions females of the region make to their sporting clubs and organisations, on and off the field.
Each week a different district female athlete, leader or champion will be highlighted — so make sure you contact MMG or Valley Sport to nominate those around you to be profiled in the series.
This week, Kialla's Amy Marshall is featured.
Although most who know Amy Marshall associate her with netball prowess, the Kialla resident actually fell in love with sport via a different avenue.
Marshall — who was elected to the Goulburn Valley League board ahead of last season — held badminton on a higher pedestal from an early age.
“Growing up I would play anything and everything; I just loved being active and having a go at new things — my whole family was the same,” Marshall said.
“However, many people are often surprised that growing up, netball was always second fiddle when it came to sports.
“As a toddler I was often dragged along to badminton training with my brother and sisters so that Mum had a break from us all — when I was about four years old I picked up a racquet for the first time and never looked back.”
The early start helped Marshall carve out a strong junior career on the regional badminton circuit.
“I trained and played about five or six days a week as a teenager,” she said.
“I travelled to Bendigo once a week for training with a high level state coach, and Mum and Dad spent a lot of time driving me around the state for numerous other specialist training sessions and tournaments.
“I was reasonably successful as a junior and made so many lifelong friends that I still see to this day.
“It wasn’t until I was about 17 when school became more important that I went back to playing socially in the local competitions.”
One pastime Marshall did not try her hand at was football — with the female revolution in the sport coming too late for her junior years.
“Saturdays in winter were always spent with my Dad watching the football at Mooroopna and they are honestly some of my greatest memories,” she said.
“While I was never allowed to play football growing up, because it wasn’t socially acceptable back then, I still loved it.
“I loved the strategy and the athleticism that is so unique to our game.”
Injury struck following Marshall's teen years, but she returned to the netball court to taste plenty of premiership success.
“I stopped playing everything except social badminton for about six or seven years in my 20s as I was battling numerous injuries and had to undergo some surgeries to get them resolved,” she said.
“I went back to netball with Tallygaroopna after some persuasion from a few friends.
“I spent six years at Tally playing and coaching and was lucky enough to win a few premierships along the way.
“Eventually though, my family pulled me back to Mooroopna where I played and coached until being appointed to the GVL board in 2019.”
While playing in a premiership is every sportsperson's dream, Marshall enjoyed the elation of coaching a flag just as much.
“You can’t go past winning a premiership,” she said.
“But I think the one that stands out the most is the one I was a coach; seeing the elation on the team's faces was so rewarding.”
Marshall feels leadership is all around us in the community — and anyone can fill the role — while the accessibility of sport to women and girls has come a long way since the days of it being frowned upon for females to play football.
“I think we are making some amazing strides forward where all sports are no longer associated with a gender,” she said.
“I think we need to keep on this path, and soon enough it will be a thing of the past.
“There are so many great female leaders in our community, from the tireless volunteers that keep our sports running to the people that dedicate their time to teaching our youth.
“(Leadership is about) not being a passenger. Sometimes if you want to see things change, it will require you to stand up and be part of it or even lead it.
“That doesn’t always mean that it must be life-changing, doing something small is just as valuable.”
And while in isolation, Marshall is using a variety of tools to help keep active — including running for a great cause.
“I’m pretty lucky in that I have a great home gym setup, so at the moment I try to do something every day,” she said.
“It can vary from just taking the dog for a walk, to a 5 km run or a full-blown 60 minute CrossFit workout.
“Work have a fitness group where we share workouts, which is fantastic to keep motivated.
“And we are also currently participating in the May 50k — a virtual run where we all commit to running at least 50 km for the month of May while also raising money for MS research.”
More in the Our Game series