Beckford’s move to Australia seen as positive for Jamaica’s netball
SUNSHINE Girls goal attack Shanice Beckford has signed a deal with Perth-based West Coast Fever, in the Australian Suncorp Super League, for the 2024 season.
The news was met with enthusiasm from Simone Forbes, first vice-president of Netball Jamaica.
“Any time we have a player in the national programme who signs to play in Australia, it is always exciting. We are always pleased and we are always happy for the individual and for the programmne,” she expressed.
Beckford, affectionately called Mighty Midget for her tenacity on the court and her stature, has been recognised by Forbes as one of the best goal attacks in the world.
“She is a workhorse, and so when we heard that she signed it was really an exciting time for us,” Forbes told the Jamaica Observer.
Forbes said Beckford’s move to Australia adds a crucial element to her already impressive resume.
“It is about time, and it adds to her resume â€” and the one thing that was missing for her was seeing her playing in what is known as the best netball league in the world.”
Forbes, who is former national captain and goal attack player, sees Beckford’s signing as not only a personal accomplishment but also a substantial boost for the national team.
“It is a massive boost for Shanice, first, and then for the national team because she is going to be exposed to what Netball Jamaica doesn’t have,” she said.
“She is going to be in intense competition for four to five months of the year, and she is going to be in Australia where they have the facility and the type of structure in place for elite netball,” Forbes added.
Beckford, at the local level, boasts an impressive record, being a three-time Berger Elite League champion and a former league MVP. She was also part of the Sunshine Girls team that secured a bronze medal at the Netball World Cup in South Africa in August of this year.
This move to the West Coast Fever will see Beckford playing alongside another Jamaican netball standout Kadie-Ann Dehaney, who spent the last two seasons with the Sunshine Coast Lightning. The Fever also boast five-time league MVP Jhaniele Fowler, making it a formidable team.
Beckford, 28, brings overseas experience to the team from her time in the Vitality Netball Super League in England, where she was signed by Team Northumbria in 2015. As she embarks on this new chapter in her career Beckford’s signing with the West Coast Fever not only elevates her professional standing but also marks a significant milestone for Jamaican netball on the global stage.