Fiona Crowe for Netball SA News, reports
They call her Mrs Netball and for dedicated volunteer Yolanda Cannizzaro, her commitment to her favourite sport shows no signs of slowing down.
After playing for a couple of seasons as a junior, Yolanda – fondly known in the netball community as “Yolly” – reconnected with the sport when her two daughters started playing at Two Wells Netball Club.
“I can never say no to anything,” Yolanda said.
“I love giving my time. It was just our lives – working on the farm during the week and then netball on the weekend.
“It began with helping at the Club and when the secretary of the Gawler District Association retired, I took up that position and spent ten years in the role.”
Yolanda’s entire family has had a long relationship with the Priceline Pharmacy Country Championships.
She was the Adelaide Plains delegate and spent almost 30 years as Convener, collecting and distributing score cards from the main office.
“People would come back every year and say, ‘oh are you still here?’” Yolanda laughed.
She spent ten years as the South Australian U17 team manager, caring for a generation of future stars like Sarah Sutter, Peta Schulz and Rebecca Saunders.
Country players who would travel to Adelaide for training would regularly stay at her home and along with her other roles on the weekend, she worked with her husband to run a baked potato stall at the Country Championships to fundraise money for the state team.
“I loved those girls and it was amazing to watch them go on to play at higher levels,” Yolanda said.
“We won six championships in my time and we had so much fun together.”
Yolanda is now a Life Member of Netball SA, Gawler District Netball Association and Two Wells Netball Club, which she still regularly supports.
“It’s a bit trickier these days, as I try to go and support my granddaughters playing in the Barossa, Mid-Hills and Mallala, but I love going out to Two Wells and supporting the teams,” Yolanda said.
“Everyone is still so welcoming and it feels like home.”
She continues to give her time to netball as the Adelaide Plains delegate and has spent the last five seasons as a Netball SA Premier League bench official.
“My journey started back in the 1980s and I’ve loved every minute of it,” Yolanda said.
“It is amazing how you achieve certain things in your life and it is times like now that you can look back and reflect.
“I don’t do as much these days but I am keen to get back into things and hoping the season kicks back off soon.”