There’s something about the Bird family and their connection to Canterbury.
Originally from Hawkes Bay, country girl Ellie, the younger sister of former Canterbury and Crusader Dominic is heading into her second season with the Tactix and has found herself referring to Christchurch as home.
“I love it down here, it’s a great place, it’s not really like a City, it’s just like a bit of an overgrown town.”
And while her mother relocated to the Garden City about 10 years ago, the link to Canterbury started way back in the late 70’s when her dad John was first offered a scholarship to study at Lincoln University. Unfortunately, with responsibilities to attend to on the home farm in Waipukurau he was never able to take up the opportunity, instead playing rugby for Hawkes Bay between 1981 and 1992 and also captained them during that period.
“I think that’s why he was so happy for Dominic to come to Canterbury when he got the opportunity, it was kind of something he missed out on,” said Ellie.
Although the 6’5” shooter admits that her venture south was more serendipitous than planned.
Having played for Coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek for Wellington during the 2013 National Provincial Championship, Bird had taken a year out from Netball and was eyeing up her OE when, “I got a text one day from Marianne saying, what are you doing?”
The opportunity to link up with her former mentor and complete her studies at Lincoln University proving too good to turn down for a player who sometimes needs a little confidence boost. “I guess she has just always believed in me, and believed that I can do it, and she’s taught me to believe in myself.”
“I definitely appreciate everything she has done for me.”
Having recently completed her degree in Environmental Science, along with the shooting responsibilities for the Tactix, she’s targeted a Graduate Diploma in Sustainable Management. A key she believes to balancing out the pressures that comes with being a shooter in the ANZ Premiership. “I need to have something to focus on outside of netball, being a shooter there’s a fair bit of pressure on you, so being able to have something else to focus on away from Netball I think is really important and refreshing, and I hope that improves my game this coming season too.”