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Simmons new journey begins with LionsWednesday, March 20, 2024 - 1:57 PM - by Chris Pike

VERITY Simmons did have at least one familiar face out on the field when she made her WAFLW debut for Subiaco last Sunday as the former West Coast Fever premiership winner begins her foray into a new sport.

Simmons put together quite the decorated netball career with 140 of her 159 games either in the ANZ Championship or Suncorp Super Netball at the West Coast Fever where she was a key part of the 2022 premiership winning team.

She had also earned three caps playing for Australia and as vice-captain of the Fever, she was right at the top of her sport and at age 32, at the peak of her powers.

But by the end of the 2023 season and then with the pay dispute leaving players unpaid for four months, if Simmons was ever going to make the jump to Australian Rules, then she felt it was now or never.

She was quickly wooed by both the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles to be part of their AFLW programs. She ended up joining the Eagles, but in the more immediate future is the start of her WAFLW career with Subiaco.

Simmons made her debut last Sunday in a loss to West Perth at Joondalup's Pentanet Stadium, but getting that first game out of the way was a big moment.

It was also a unique occasion with Simmons looking over at the opposition and seeing her former Fever teammate Stacey Francis-Bayman playing for West Perth as both former netball premiership stars and international representatives embark on a new sport.

Simmons showed encouraging signs with her 10 possessions for the Lions and while she's playing a new sport, she hopes some of the skills are transferrable.

"I guess the one percenters I’ve learnt off the court and the standards we hold is something I can definitely bring," she told CODE Sport.

"Being in netball for 12 years gives you experience as a professional athlete and I understand that’s not in the sport I’m playing right now but experience is something you can’t be taught. I’d love to bring something across to make myself valuable in this environment."

When AFLW began to emerge as a growing sport in the country, Simmons did think it was something she wanted to be involved with.

She didn’t imagine it would come so quickly and that she would stop playing netball at age 32, but now that she's jumped in the deep end, she will be doing everything to make it work.

"I always thought ‘it would be really cool to try that and strive for something like that one day when netball is done and dusted.’ I didn’t think it would be this early," she said.

"I’m back in rookie mode and it can be very overwhelming at times and the doubts start to creep in but at the same time, you’ve got to back your ability and be confident in what you know and where you’ve been. I’m trying to learn as quickly as I can.

"Trying to up the fitness has been a big one. It’s a lot bigger oval and you’re doing longer stretches of sprinting. You can fit a fair few netball courts into a footy oval."