This weekend marks the official start of the 2019 Australian Volleyball Super League, where the WA Steel Men & Women will kick off against the Canberra Heat from 5:00pm Saturday 19th at Warwick Stadium. This year within the two Steel Squads are seven U19 men and women who are excited about their chance to step up and make an impact in the National League.
Rising star Tessa Browne, fresh off winning both Indoor & Beach Junior Female Player of the Year at the 2019 VWA Volley Awards this past weekend, is returning for her second season with the WA Steel. The women’s team will look different compared to 2018 with a few key leadership roles being replaced, but Browne along with her other junior teammates are ready to take on the challenge.
Born in Regional WA and growing up on a farm with her brother and two sisters until Year 7, Tessa’s sporting career began a little different than the norm. Every Saturday, her town and six others would come together to play a range of different sports including netball, hockey and footy. These weekly gatherings introduced her to the idea of community and participating in team sports.
After moving to Perth as a boarding student at Penrhos College, Tessa recollected the moment competitive volleyball swiftly and simply entered her life in Year 9. “I was playing around in the sports centre after school with some of my friends who played volleyball. The coach of the team [Michael Ruggerio] saw us and asked if I wanted to play for the school team because he needed another player for their trip to the Australian Volleyball Schools Cup in Melbourne. That was where it all started.”
Tessa proclaimed how big of a role Coach Ruggerio and Penrhos College played in kicking off her career in both beach and indoor volleyball. “He always encouraged us to participate in the Development Squads and to play both codes. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t end up at the Penrhos Sport Centre that day, but I’m forever grateful for all the places I’ve been and the friends I’ve made through this sport,” Browne added.
In June, Tessa along with four WA athletes participated in Volleyball Australia’s first integrated European tour. Tessa was on tour for around five weeks, travelling throughout Europe, learning how to be independent and looking after her body as an elite athlete would. “We cooked all of our meals ourselves and conducted a consistent routine of stretching and recovery. This trip showed me the importance of all the off-court activities when trying to become a complete athlete. When you’re training every day, multiple times a day, there is no room to be unprepared or not at your best,” said Browne.
When asking Tessa about her future volleyball goals, her Steel captain Jen Sadler came to mind. “I would love to follow in Jen’s footsteps and make it to the Volleyroo’s, but also make it a priority to come back to WA and be a leader and role model for the younger girls as Jen has done so well.”
With such great leadership in both WA Steel Squads, the young guns have all the support and direction they need to not only make a splash in the first round, but to learn how to become great leaders in the future.
To stay up to date on the Volleyball WA Steel and their 2019 AVL campaign, follow them on Instagram and Facebook: @vwasteel