Meet Margaret Ryan, a dedicated and passionate 13-year Melbourne Vixens member who jumped on board after the Melbourne Phoenix and Melbourne Kestrels combined. Every home game Margaret and her daughter Skye make the 3-hour return journey from Stawell to Melbourne Arena to cheer for her beloved Vixens.
Game day is Margaret’s day. It’s her time to sit back on the sidelines, enjoy the spectacle and be a part of the Vixens success one game at a time. Like all Vixens fans, Margaret cannot wait for the season to begin – with or without a crowd.
“I can’t wait…I just love it”
“I just love netball, it’s my thing and I just admire their athleticism, their skill and that they can still make mistakes like anyone else. I just their respect their professionalism and I just love the team,” Ryan said.
“I really like the fact that they stayed together. You know a lot of girls moved from team to team for money, but certainly they all seemed to have stayed together and look to be good mates.”
Why did you decide to follow the club and become a member?
“It’s a three-hour return journey to come to the netball. I have been coming since the Phoenix days. I just love it. We used to go as often as we could during the ANZ championships.
“My husband doesn’t have the best health, so my daughter Skye comes. She’s not the fan of netball like I am, but she comes, and we have a day together and her day is made if we see Foxy.
“I’d not ever been a member of Phoenix, but I just felt this was something that was mine and that I loved to do and I thought I needed to support the club when you’re going to follow them along.
“So, I’ve been a member since then and not ever have I had any thoughts of going to another team…and certainly never to Collingwood Magpies [laughs].
Who is your favourite all time player?
“I love Natasha Chokljat and Renae Ingles back before she went to Adelaide and came back again.
“I’d say of all time, maybe Kate Moloney. I really like her as a leader and as an example for the kids who are playing netball and going to watch. I just think her leadership is wonderful and her on-court support for the others is great.
“I’m also a great fan of Caitlin Thwaites as well. But probably Natasha Chokljat when she played and Susan Meaney back in those days.”
“I don’t tend to have a favourite player, I just think they all do what they’re supposed to do, they all have a role and each position has something they need to contribute to on game day. Then if they all do that, the team should be successful or have a good day.
“I really admire Kate for the way she looks after the team and her on-court persona.”
Did you enjoy your experience at a Vixens game?
“My daughter always says we’re there before the doors open [laughs] and that’s okay because it’s my thing and you can’t miss anything.
“Years ago, I used to go and see everything, you know all the face-painting…I’ve had my face painted and my hair coloured and all those things.
“Now that I’m older, my daughter goes and does all of those things and I just like to get in my seat so I don’t miss anything.
“I used to take my binoculars so I could find everyone, and you’d see Norma Plummer in the stands. Now I have my distance glasses so I can sit there and take it all in.
“Even just the warm-ups, to see them do their drills and just the anticipation of getting on the court is fantastic.
“From a member’s point of view, if I don’t see a game of netball…as in come to attend a game of netball this year, it’s not the same, but its televised and the safety of the community other than netball, is more important than me going to see a game of netball live.
“If we don’t get to see a game of netball until next year, then so be it. It will be even more exciting.”
Favourite Vixens moment that you treasure?
“It’s been wonderful as a member to be at a grand final or perhaps even just a game in the finals series.
“Particularly when they have a win. It’s a long way home when they don’t have a win [laughs].
“Certainly, highlights would be finals appearances, that’s what they play for and as a team they would be disappointed about not getting to that point.
“For me to be there as a fan to support when they get to that certain point of the year is a great thing to be able to do.
Do you play netball yourself? What do you love most about the game?
“I sure did. In a country league, I grew up near Horsham. Played for a little country town called Kalkee. Played there forever. When we moved to Stawell and Skye started playing netball, I started playing in a married women’s Saturday morning competition.
“The little country club I was involved in, I became President of the club and President of the Association. At that grassroots level, you used to coach the kids, umpire another game and you just did everything other than play and you were just involved. That’s just the way country clubs play.
“It’s very family-orientated and people go for the social aspect, and to go and watch the footy and talk about who played well and who didn’t…so it is very much a social thing for country clubs.
“I’ve got some lovely looking fingers from netball, but yes I have been involved for a very long time.”
What would you like to pass onto the Vixens?
“Just do absolutely what they do now and let’s just take it to the last game of the season. Let’s get it!”
“I really think last year they certainly had the team to do, but that’s sport and that is how it is. But just keep on doing what they’re doing, and Simone will get them there.”
I’m a Vixen4Life!