Fresh from making her debut for the Australian Diamonds netball team, Liz Watson is set for a busy year of netball and study at ACU.
2016 might only be a couple of months old, but already it’s shaping as one of the most exciting and demanding years in the life of ACU education student and Australian Diamonds netball star Liz Watson.
In her second year of a Bachelor of Education (Primary), Liz has emerged as one of the brightest prospects in the Australian game, establishing herself as the starting centre of the Melbourne Vixens and earning her first national team call-up for last month’s tour of England.
The 21-year-old’s feet have hardly had a chance to hit the ground as she prepares for the upcoming ANZ Championship season and begins a new academic year at ACU’s Melbourne Campus, relishing the opportunity to get back into her studies and the balance it brings.
“To play for your country in any sport is an awesome feeling and such a privilege, but to be a part of the team that won the 2014 Netball World Cup and gold at the Commonwealth Games is such an honour,” Liz said.
“It worked out so well with the tour of England at the start of the year; I’ve been able to come back to the Vixens setup and implement some of the things I learnt as part of the Diamonds.
“It’s a positive to be able to do something outside of netball that interests you. I find it so important to have that mental break from the game, so that’s why I enjoy coming to uni so much. It’s great to switch off from netball and apply yourself to something else and mix with other people in your classes.
“It’s the best of both worlds.”
It has been a challenge for Liz to balance her growing netball commitments and the requirements of her degree, but she has found support in the form of the Elite Athletes and Performers Program (EAPP), which has been pivotal in managing the demands on and off the court.
“The number one aspect of the EAPP that has been the most helpful for my situation is the flexible timetable assistance. To have that ability to select classes that work around training and competition commitments means I’m not having to compromise my studies,” Liz said.
“Having that constant support from the University that if something comes up expectedly, like commitments with the Diamonds, I’ve got that flexibility to reschedule assessments and attend other tutorials.”
More than 300 students are part of the EAPP, with the program designed to support and encourage students in managing their study and athletic commitments to ensure that elite student athletes achieve their goals.
Through the EAPP students are eligible for academic and financial support, ranging from flexibility for timetables and assessments, to access to scholarships and subsidies.
Liz is one of many high profile sports stars to realise the benefits of the EAPP, including Melbourne Vixens’ teammates Kate Moloney and Chloe Watson, who like Liz have started the new academic year.
Emerging as one of the faces of the ANZ Championship, Liz is becoming a woman in demand, but said the prospect of upcoming teacher rounds will ensure that any thought of celebrity will be quickly dismissed as she continues to edge closer to becoming a primary school teacher.
“I did observational rounds last year and hit home to me that the task of running a primary school classroom takes a lot of planning and patience,” Liz said.
“It was an eye-opener – you learn so much from those experiences and I definitely took away a few things that I’ll look to implement when I have to do my rounds later this year.”
The 2016 ANZ Championship season begins for Liz and her Vixen’s team up against the NSW Swifts on April 3 at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.
To find out more about eligibility and the benefits of the Elite Athlete and Performer Program visit the website at acu.edu.au/eapp.