Aiken-George joins Swifts
Three-time Premiership winning attacker and Jamaican international Romelda Aiken-George will join the NSW Swifts for the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball season as a Training Partner.
The 33-year-old moves to the seven-time Premiers after 14 successful years with the Swifts’ long-time rivals, the Queensland Firebirds.
A Commonwealth Games medallist with her native Jamaica, the star shooter played a host of National League Grand Finals with the Queenslanders including two memorable ANZ Championship deciders against Swifts in 2015 and 2016, which the Firebirds edged on both occasions.
With double Swifts champion Sam Wallace still on the road to recovery after undergoing ACL surgery in late April, Aiken-George joins as a Training Partner and gives the Club the option of calling her into the playing squad should she be required.
Aiken-George, who gave birth to her first child (daughter Gianna) in August, will move to Sydney in early 2023 ahead of the new season.
Swifts head coach Briony Akle welcomed her to the Club.
“Romelda is one of the greatest players in the history of our game and we are delighted to welcome her,” she said.
“While Sam’s recovery is going well, there is a chance that she may not be ready for the early rounds of next season and we really wanted to have some added experience in the circle should her return be delayed.
“There aren’t many shooters in the game with a track record like Romelda, and that’s why we reached out.
“People need to remember that while Sam got injured in late March this year, she had to wait five to six weeks for the swelling to go down before she got surgery, and that is the delay that we’re worried about – especially in a World Cup year. Ensuring that Sam is 100% right before she returns to the court is our No.1 priority and we don’t want to rush her. As a three-time Club MVP she deserves that, and we can’t wait to have her back.”
“Sam and Romelda have been in touch with each other and are both very supportive of this move, which is sign of respect they have for each other and for our team.”
Akle added that the Club was proud to be supporting new mothers making a return to elite sport.
“Romelda is a new mum and we know that this is a huge move for her and she has been the utmost professional to work with and I think she will be a brilliant fit for our group. As a Club, and sport, it is very important that we support athletes like her to have the opportunity to return and excel at elite level. Romelda is exceptionally driven and still has a huge amount to give our game which really excites me.”
Aiken-George said she couldn’t wait for the new challenge ahead of her.
“I have always had a massive respect for the Swifts and what they have achieved in netball over past 25 years and I am really happy to be making the move,” she said.
“I feel I still have so much to give and would like to thank Briony, the team and the wider Club for this opportunity. As Briony said, this is a huge move for me but the culture at the Swifts and the closeness of the playing group makes me very excited and they are providing an environment which will be very supportive of me as a new mum.”
“I would also like to thank Sam Wallace who has been really great to talk to. I’m really keen to play my role to help the Club to further success while she regains full fitness.
“On a personal level I would like to thank my husband and family for being so supportive and enabling me to continue playing the sport I love so much.”
Aiken-George is the latest Training Partner to be announced for next season. The Swifts have already announced the signatures of Audrey Little, Lili Gorman-Brown, Clare Iongi and Chelsea Mann.
The NSW Swifts will make further announcements regarding Training Partners in due course.