For the last two months, everyone driving into our Capital City has been greeted by a giant billboard of Katrina Grant, Captain of both the Central Pulse and our National Netball team the Silver Ferns. At two stories high, Katrina looks pretty imposing, but what’s she like in person?
Standing 1.87m (6ft 2in) with a svelte, athletic physique Katrina definitely stands out in a crowd, but with her easy-going, bubbly personality, she’s far from intimidating – unless perhaps, you’re on the opposing team.
Now aged 30, Katrina started playing netball when she was 10, following her big sister Natalie into the sport. She joined the Silver Ferns in 2008, partnering Casey Williams in the defence circle in her debut game against Australia. She played with the Silver Ferns at the 2009 World Netball Series in Manchester and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi (her proudest moment), with New Zealand winning gold medals at both events. Katrina has also been playing for Wellington-based Central Pulse since 2010.
Last year she was offered the Silver Ferns captaincy and now she’s “living the dream”.
Katrina’s rise to fame was the result of hard work and determination. Her day usually starts around 6am with a warm-up walk to the gym where she has training with the Central Pulse team. This can include weights, speed-work and other focused work-outs. Afterwards she heads to a local café for a quick coffee then it’s home to catch up on the large amount of emails, paperwork, speaking engagements and other commitments that come with being a professional netballer. “The captaincy was a lot more work than I thought it was going to be” says Katrina. “I had no idea what to expect from the role. The first four months were quite stressful but I’m loving it now.”
At about 4pm, Katrina drives her Vitara to the stadium for more training – at least two or three hours. And that’s four days a week, more when there’s a game coming up, plus players will often do their own training on weekends.
Suzuki is proud to be in partnership with Netball New Zealand – the organisation responsible for promoting the sport from grassroots through to the Silver Ferns. Katrina drives a Vitara JLX auto.
One of the things Katrina loves most about her Vitara is that there’s plenty of headroom. It comfortably seats five netballers and their gear. “It’s helpful the boot is big” says Katrina. “My flatmate is a Pulse player too. If we’re going away we always take the Vitara as it has plenty of room for two sets of kit. There’s a surprising amount of legroom and even with a full car, it has plenty of power.”
Like many Wellingtonians, come the weekend, Katrina likes to drive round the bays into town. “That’s what I love about Wellington” she says. “It’s always changing, there’s always new places to check out.” With the city’s steep, narrow streets, twisting hillside roads, and compact inner-city area, the Vitara’s manoeuvrability is essential. Sometimes Katrina has training out in Porirua and her parents live in Kapiti, so the Vitara gets put through its paces on the motorway too. On these longer trips Katrina enjoys using Apple Carplay, listening to Spotify and her own tunes from her phone.
For all you aspiring young netballers, Katrina’s advice is “Start now! Play every sport you can, that way you learn different skills. Enjoy it, and it will come.”