Ruby Barkmeyer became a familiar face for the Melbourne Vixens in 2021 and will once again be a part of the side, named as a squad member for the 2022 season.
Barkmeyer made her Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) debut in round 1 of the season, describing it as a moment she will forever be thankful for.
“I think it was really special to get my first contract with the Vixens. It is something I have worked towards since I started playing in the Netball Victoria pathway, which was when I was about, 12 years old,” said Barkmeyer.
“I was really grateful to step out on court with some of the players that I've always looked up to. I love playing alongside them.”
It was another unconventional year in SSN with the Vixens finding themselves once again on the road. This time Barkmeyer was along for the journey, recounting what it was like to be away from home for majority of the year.
“We had lots of curveballs thrown our way and I think the biggest of them all was having to pack up with a few hours’ notice and get on a plane, not sure where we were going to end up.
“I think being around the girls all the time and having each other's back and the support that we received from all the Vixens staff both that were away with us and at home really did make it a lot easier.”
Although majority of the season was spent on the road, Barkmeyer was lucky enough to make her first appearance in front of a home crowd, a moment that will forever live on in her memory.
“Going out and running out on court for the first time looking back now, you kind of don't remember much because you were just so excited to get out there and play.
“I remember it was against West Coast Fever and it was a quite a close game so, I was really excited to get told to warm up and that I was going out there on court.”
As the season progressed, so did Barkmeyer, with the young goaler adapting to life as a Vixen and steadily adding new skills to ever-growing repertoire to ensure she was prepared for whatever came her way while out on court.
“Being a goaler, I knew that every week was something different and a new challenge with a new defender and a new team, so getting more minutes out there definitely made you feel more confident when you stepped out the following week.”
The Vixens featured a new frontline in season 2021 with Barkmeyer and Kaylia Stanton accompanying stalwart Mwai Kumwenda under the post. The trio was thrust into the limelight and took the opportunity with both hands forging new connections inside the circle.
“It was definitely a brand-new attack line with Caity (Thwaites) and Tegan (Philip) retiring. We did do a lot of work over pre-season to make sure that come round 1 we we're ready to go and we worked on our combination. By the end of the year, I think we were all really good friends both on and off the court which was nice.”
Barkmeyer was not the only player on the Vixens list making their SSN debut this year, with Netball Victoria pathway partner in crime Hannah Mundy also stepping up. A replacement player for the injured Liz Watson, Mundy and Barkmeyer leveraged off their existing strong connection out on court and used the knowledge of the players around them to leave their mark on the game.
“Lizzy came away with us and she was great for me and Hannah down in that attack end. Really using the most of the senior players and the coaching staff that have been in your shoes before, really helps you navigate your first season out there on court as a Vixen.”
Heading into 2022, Barkmeyer will once again join the Melbourne Vixens as a squad member. A raw talent that is still honing her craft, Barkmeyer proved that she has plenty of impressive talents whether it be her speed or crafty drives across the court.
“I think getting the opportunity to be a part of the Vixens again, is really special and I'm looking forward to it.”
“I know there are some fresh faces coming in once again. I think we will be really building from our first session back to really get ourselves up there again and be a contender for finals.”
For the full 2022 squad click here.