Ashleigh Keefe won’t let a demanding new interstate job stop her from reaching a potential grand final in the Sapphire Series.
The 23-year-old will graduate with a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetic Practice on Saturday before immediately packing her bags for Sale, Victoria.
While landing the role of a Clinical Dietician with Central Gippsland Health is a wonderful career move, the timing is terrible for her netball ambitions forcing her to become a sporting equivalent of a FIFO worker.
Keefe is part of the Titans’ first foray into netball.
Her team is currently sitting second on the ladder after six wins from 10 games.
“We’re in a good spot to make finals,” she said.
“I’m definitely hoping to play out the season with the girls so there’ll be a few trips back to the Gold Coast in July.”
Before joining the Titans, she spent five years with the Bull Sharks perfecting her goal defence and goal keeping skills. She admits it was hard to leave the club.
“I had some amazing years with Bond, “she said.
“But you have to make a change every now and then. You have to get outside your comfort zone.”
Keefe was fortunate to receive two ADCO Sports Excellence Scholarships during her undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
During her Exercise and Sports Science degree, one class held by Associate Professor Dr Greg Cox proved to be a turning point.
“I remember thinking this is amazing, I love this so much. Listening to his perspective on nutrition from a sport side of things. I just knew that was the path that I wanted to go down.” Keefe said.
Growing up playing netball, the importance of training was drummed into Keefe. But the role of diet to achieve optimum performance was never discussed.
“At uni I loved learning about how we can manipulate what we’re eating and drinking and at what times and the amount,” she said.
“I started fuelling myself better for my training sessions and recovering better by making sure I was getting enough protein.”
Keefe is unsure if she’ll continue playing netball in Sale, as the state netball league teams are based three hours away in Melbourne.
She’s considering joining the local football club after enjoying what she learnt during her one year playing QAFLW with the Bull Sharks.
“I can’t kick very well and because I’m so tall they would just put me in the ruck,” she said.
“I think there is a really good transition from netball to football because as netball athletes we’re really good at catching and we’re really good in the air.
“I guess it will just be working on the coordination with the footy.”
Keefe’s new teammates can rely on her for nutrition advice for game day breakfast because it is always the same, peanut butter, banana and honey on toast.