Giants rookie defender Amy Parmenter is forging a fearsome reputation by channelling the courageous spirit of Molly Croft, the young girl she befriended during a hospital visit.
Parmenter was named the MVP in last weekend’s match against Collingwood after her outstanding midcourt performance. Such recognition, in what was only her third Super Netball appearance, has thrust her onto the sport’s radar.
Inspiring: Amy Parmenter is balancing university studies with her Giants training. Credit:Janie Barrett
When the 21-year-old, who is studying a double university degree in Law and Public Communications, was asked what drove her tenacity against the Magpies she nominated Molly from Dubbo.
She and teammate Kiera Austin met Molly when they represented the Giants at the Westmead Children’s Hospital’s Telethon during pre-season. Parmenter felt such a connection with Molly – who was in hospital with a form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma – she gave the child her team jacket as a gift.
Parmenter revealed that during the lead-up to the match against the highly-regarded Collingwood she received news about her young friend from Dubbo that lifted her to rattle the Magpies attack.
"Molly found out before [last weekend's game] that she was clear of the cancer," Parmenter said, smiling. "She’s going home this Friday, so going to the game was like a celebration."
That’s seriously the reason why I want to play elite netball … I can help out kids like [Molly] and make a difference in their lives.
Molly’s bravery is the reason why Parmenter doesn’t hesitate to nominate "a 12-year-old girl" when people ask for her to nominate what’s inspiring her as she finds her feet in the elite league.
"It's just so cool we could put a smile on her face," Parmenter said of the friendship she and Austin share with Molly. "This poor kid is going through one of the toughest things anyone has to go through – and I've got quite a lot of personal connections to that.
"The way that she just kept on smiling [was inspiring] and she was so positive. Her mum would tell me that in the mornings she's like: ‘Oh Amy is coming today and Kiera is coming today’.
"Hearing that just made everything worth it. That’s seriously the reason why I want to play elite netball … I can help out kids like [Molly] and make a difference in their lives."
Molly was embraced by the Giants in the victorious dressing room as they celebrated a much-needed win. However, her presence enriched what was a breakthrough night for Parmenter.
"I couldn’t believe it when my name was read out [as MVP],"said Parmenter, after being wildly cheered on throughout the game by the "Parmy Army" – a group of her old school friends.
"I thought they’d called the wrong one! I’m just so keen to get out there and prove who I am as a player.
"I don’t think a lot of people have seen what I can do. I know my best asset is that I want to chase down all those balls down. Last week provided me with the opportunity to show that."
Teammate Caitlin Bassett said Parmenter’s performance was the reason why she’s considered by many as the "epitome" of what it means to be a Giant. However, Parmenter felt the after-effects of her five-star effort the following morning.
Giants players Kiera Austin and Amy Parmenter with Molly Croft.Credit:Amy Parmenter
"On Monday I felt as if I’d been run over," she said. "I was smashed. These girls [in Super Netball] are so strong because they train so hard.
"My teammates are so supportive, though. I know they have my back. For me [this season has] been about proving to myself that I’m good enough to play in this league and that I belong there."
As Parmenter prepares for Sunday’s match against the Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane, two people who believe she deserves every success are Molly and her mother, Ange.
"Amy has touched our hearts," said Mrs Croft. "She’s something special; a little angel. She’s never let Molly down. On the first day they met she gave Molly her jacket and she’s been in touch constantly."
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