Just getting started: Beckford settling into new home at West Coast Fever

By February 01, 2024
BECKFORD...I'm really loving the environment so far. BECKFORD...I'm really loving the environment so far.

Shanice Beckford knew adjusting to life in Australia would take some doing, but knowing the opportunity that was there to be grasped, she did not hesitate to make the move when West Coast Fever called.

Just as Beckford expected, the first two weeks in Perth took its toll, but she is just about getting ready to turn the proverbial corner ahead of what she hopes will be a very successful debut stint in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League.

“The first two weeks were difficult for me, but I must say it has been quite fun. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, with a strong emphasis on family-oriented activities. I'm really loving the environment so far. Despite some initial struggles with my sleeping patterns, I'm gradually settling in. Overall, everything is going pretty well and I'm feeling quite content with my decision to join this club,” Beckford told SportsMax.TV.

To her credit, Beckford adapted quite quickly and judging by her bubbly and energetic movements in training so far, the talented goal-attack is merely just getting started where taking on a significant workload and displaying her usual craftiness on court is concerned as she fits into the new environment.

“I am learning to be patient with myself and to trust my coaches, teammates, and the process as I gradually work my way into the team. I am taking my time to improve and find my place in the different combinations,” Beckford shared.

“Although, I am still adjusting to the time zone, when it comes to training, it's a whole different ball game. Moreover, it's been good as I have enough time to recover, and I don’t have to worry about rushing to work or getting home late at night, like the challenges we face back home in Jamaica. I felt like after the first two weeks, everything became a little easier to handle,” she added.

Despite the fact that she has honed her skills in a fairly successful career spanning 10 years, Beckford, 28, was eager to not only parade her skills in the SSN, but also to continue her development outside of the Sunshine Girls setup, and for her West Coast Fever represents the perfect fit.

“Being in this environment will provide me with the necessary structural skills and resources to unlock a new level of potential in my netball career. So far, it's been going well, although, I can’t stress this enough, the first two weeks were a bit of a struggle as I had to get back into the groove and adapt to the standards and way of playing of the Fever team. However, I'm getting there and I'm pretty excited to see how much this experience will enhance my skillset and develop me as a player by the end,” the soft-spoken player noted.

With the start of the season still just over two months out, Beckford expressed excitement at the prospects for her and Fever’s teammates – which includes compatriots Jhaniele Fowler and Kadie-Ann Dehaney –to find success and, by extension, lay a solid foundation for a possible future at the club, as she has not ruled out the idea of an extension on her one-year contract.

The Dan Ryan-coached West Coast Fever, which won the title in 2022, will open their campaign in this, the eight edition of the SSN against Giants on April 13.

“I'm feeling very optimistic about this fresh crop of girls. It's an entirely new-look team, with many new players joining the ranks alongside some of our more seasoned members. Despite the differences in experience and style, we're blending together seamlessly and making excellent progress so far,” Beckford said. 

“So, I am prepared to do my best to get the job done, no matter what condition I am in. Everyone wants to play in the finals at the end of the season, but I know it won't be easy. Therefore, I am keeping an open mind, embracing the journey, and taking things one session at a time and it will be the same approach come game time,” she declared.

Having so far achieved all that she set out to when she just launched her career as an 18-year-old, Beckford pointed out that adding a SSN title to her accolades, would be the icing on top.

She has so far won Commonwealth Games medals in 2014, 2018 and 2022, along with Fast5 medals in 2013, 2017 and 2018, as well as a Netball World Cup medal last year. All this is complemented by her 2015 stint in England’s Superleague.

“Personally, winning the SSN title would be an incredible moment that I wouldn't be able to explain right now. Let’s just say it would be the icing on the cake, and I know the West Coast Fever family would be thrilled with the victory,” she ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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