July 29, 2020

Chiefs Rugby Club intern named in Tall Ferns Squad

Ella Bradley joined the Chiefs Rugby Club as an intern in December last year. Since then Bradley has been working across several different facets of the commercial side of the business while balancing her basketball and netball commitments. Bradley was recently named in the Tall Ferns Training squad and is set to be apart of the squad to take the court in a basketball showcase prior to the New Zealand NBL finals at Trust Stadium in Waitakere, Auckland on Saturday 1 August.

Congratulations Ella! We’re over the moon for you being named to attend the Tall Ferns Training Camp. What were your initial reactions on finding out you’d made the squad?
Surprised! Even though I've made NZ age group teams for the last few years it's a big step up to the national women's squad so I'm excited to be selected.

Can you give us a rundown on when you first started playing basketball and what you enjoy most about it?
I first played in year 9 when I started at St Peter's Cambridge. I quickly found myself in both the junior and senior basketball teams and had to learn fast. After playing lots of netball, I loved being able to play both defense and offense where everyone could contribute to the scoring. Leanne Walker is head coach at St Peter's and with Anthony Corban they built a team which dominated secondary school basketball in NZ for the last 5 years. I loved being part of such a hardworking, successful team and was lucky to have two great coaches to learn from. Another large part of my development as a basketball player (along-side the coaches) was playing with and learning from Charlisse Leger-Walker over the past 6 years. Our St Peter’s team ended up achieving 5th place in the World Secondary Schools tournament held in Greece in 2019, dropping only one game.

A strong player for the Waikato Wizards, can you give us some insight on what it’s been like as part of their team?
The environment within the Waikato age group and woman's Wizards team is very competitive. There is a clear vision of what we want to achieve in the season and everyone works hard from the first training. I've learnt how to be a good team player where everyone works hard for each other. I stepped up to the women's league a few years ago and playing against women including current and previous Tall Ferns really helped my game as they were physically stronger than the school age players I was used to playing.

What’s the schedule like for you from here? Heading into camp & then you’ll have a showcase on 1stAugust before the NBL final?
I head to Auckland with camp starting on Sunday and a showcase game the following Saturday. We have been doing our own fitness work but as the season was postponed with Covid-19 it will be different heading into camp without having played any real games in a while.

What are you most looking forward to about heading into camp?
It will be great to train in the Tall Fern environment and learn from the coaching team the style of play they are building. I know a few of the girls from NZ age group teams so will be good to play together again.

What are you most looking forward to about featuring in the Showcase before the NBL final?
It'll be great to be playing again and looking forward to becoming part of the team for the future as they look to qualify for the World Cup in Sydney 2022.

How’ve you found working for the Gallagher Chiefs so far? Any learnings from being involved in a HP sport organisation you’ll be able to take with you as an athlete?
I've learnt a lot more happens around the games than I ever imagined! When you're training and playing it's very focused, but I now appreciate all the work that goes into creating that environment and how hard the team around you work. I'll definitely not take for granted how lucky players are to become part of a HP sports organisation.

I've enjoyed all the different areas I've worked in - operations, ticketing, hospitality and admin - and met some great people. Thanks to the Chiefs Rugby Club for giving me the opportunity.

We also have another NZ representative in the Commercial team, although former Silver Fern Leana De Bruin graced the netball courts (not basketball), however will you get a few tips from her in terms of competing at that level?
Leana is a great role model for girls in sport. She's very supportive and encouraging - and still super fit, I'm a bit nervous to go running with her!

Gallagher Chief #303 Pita Gus Sowakula played basketball for both Fiji & the Otago Nuggets; do you reckon you could take him in a one-on-one?
Sure, shame there's no hoop at the gym though!

Chiefs Rugby Club intern named in Tall Ferns Squad