Natalie Richardson
Natalie Richardson

Flyer not taking her spot for granted

THE Ipswich Flyers are closing in on the business end of their season.

There are only two weeks until Mount Franklin Challenge finals and the Flyers lead the competition.

Tomorrow night they take on the only team that has beaten them this season, Metro Districts.

So it is the perfect chance to attune to the cut-throat nature of finals.

For one Flyer, however, a recent experience has shown her how lucky she is just to get the opportunity to play netball, let alone vie for titles.

Natalie Richardson is in the final year of her nursing degree and recently spent two weeks on placement in Vanuatu.

There, the beauty of her natural surrounds contrasted sharply with the medical facilities.

"It was really sad actually," the Harrisville-based 19-year-old said.

"It made me realise how lucky we are.

"We're looked after so well.

"Most nurses there are doctors, because there isn't anyone else.

"There was one kid who didn't have treatment options.

"They were trying to take him to Australia for treatment but didn't have the funding.

"And the risk of infection there is triple what it is here."

Richardson spent some of her time living in a village, right by the beach.

But with no electricity or bathroom it was no paradise.

"I had to use a bucket," she said of her bathing options.

While the boys of the village would congregate for daily games of football, opportunities for girls to play sport were more limited.

"They were doing typical women things, like cooking," Richardson said.

"I played some volleyball with one girl."

So Richardson is not one to complain that she sees little court time for the Flyers as the rookie of the squad.

Instead, she has soaked up as much as she can from the likes of fellow defender Erin Cameron.

"I've learnt a lot," she said.

"It's been a good experience being part of the team.

"I really look up to Erin.

"I wish I was as good.

"She always helps me out, but everyone does."



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