When Jordan Deutrom offered to fill in for his school’s netball team as a Year 6 student, he never dreamt it would one day lead to Australian representation.
The Blackfriars Year 11 student has recently returned from New Zealand, where he was a member of Australia’s U17 men’s netball team.
The tournament, in Christchurch, capped an incredible few years on the netball court for Jordan, who was one of only two South Australians on the National U17 team.
“The girls (at primary school) didn’t have enough players for their team,” Jordan says of his initial foray into the sport.
“My mum was friends with the coach. They (the girls) were helping out with our soccer team, so my brother and I just signed up to play with the netball team.
The following year, he earned a spot in SA School Sport history, as the first boy to ever play in the SAPSASA netball competition.
“That was very cool. It was all girls, but me,” he says.
“I just loved the whole experience. I never thought I would be able to do that (play SAPSASA). I have to credit my PE teacher; he did a lot of work behind the scenes to be able to let me play.”
From there, he joined the newly formed Junior M League – comprising four teams of under-16 boys.
“Then, in 2020, I was invited to join the (state) team for under-17s. I was 14, 13 at the time,” he says.
Unfortunately, covid derailed the 2020 and 2021 seasons, so it was not until this April year that he made his debut at the Australian Championships, where he was vice-captain of the SA team.
His stellar performance at that tournament – the SA boys came second – led to his Australian team selection.
“I thought I was good enough (for the Australian side), but I was telling myself I wouldn’t make it,” he says. “I was the first SA boy to be called up. My heart was in my throat. I was just so excited.”
The Australian U17 men competed in an U23 competition in New Zealand, winning all but their final game, in which they went down by a solitary goal.
“I’m obviously really proud to represent my country,” says Jordan, who also plays in Netball SA’s Premier Men’s competition.
Jordan, who predominantly plays wing attack and goal shooter, with some time in centre, trains every day to maintain his fitness. Off the court, his routine includes running, interval training, weights and some swimming.
He hopes to one day make the Open Australian side.
“It is a big commitment … but hopefully, in the next five or six years, I’m at that level,” he says. “I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m not afraid of hard work.”
And his advice for other young boys who want to play netball? “If you enjoy it, you should go after it.”
“It’s good that there are more options now,” he says.
“It’s not fair to say, ‘look, you’re a boy, play football, you’re a girl, play netball’. I think a lot of people see it (netball) as a soft sport. But it’s so quick, so physical. Maybe if people saw that product of netball they wouldn’t be consumed in that old, soft mindset.”