Ellie Rattu is one of the rising stars of the Netball Super League, who after an impressive season, is aiming to drive London Pulse to a historic maiden top-flight title.
Image courtesy of Morgan Harlow / England Netball
The team, who only formed in 2019, will top of the standings heading into the semi-finals (9 June) where the top-four at the end of the regular season will battle it out for the overall title.
The destination of that crown will be decided in the Grand Final on Sunday 11 June at the Copper Box Arena, on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.
“We’re feeling confident ahead of the semi’s and hopefully that will lead to the Grand Final too,” the 23-year-old tells the WSA.
Ahead of the finals Ellie, who after being capped by England at U17, U19 and U21 level made her senior Vitality Roses debut last year, gives the Women’s Sports Alliance the low-down on her career so far and London Pulse’s podium prospects.
Q – Tell us about your journey into the sport.
“I started playing netball when I was around eight years old at a club in school back in Bedford, which is where I grew up. From there I progressed into the county team, the regional Performance Academy and moved up through the ranks at the level pathway and it’s been part of my life for so long.
It’s similar for a lot of the girls in the team because we loved it when we were younger and wanted to keep playing and fortunately had the opportunities to make it our careers!”
Q – When did you realise netball could be a career for you?
I remember being in England age groups, under-17’s, so I would have been 15-16 at the time and we kind of had a had a talk by some of the England staff that was essentially saying, ‘look, this can be a career now’ because of the new full-time contracts that had come in (in 2016). We now have athletes who are being paid enough to live off and ‘survive’ off the money from netball and that hadn't really been a thing before in this country so that was a massive moment for all of us in the sport and I knew I wanted to give it my best shot.”
Image courtesy of Ben Lumley / England Netball
Q – We can see from your social media presence that counselling and mental health awareness are two things you’re passionate about. Tell us a little more about where that motivation and drive came from?
“I think it's so interesting,” she tells the WSA. “I have done some of my counselling qualifications and it's just been a real eye opener for me going into my second year of quite high-level netball and learning what it's like to go through the ups and downs that aren't just over a kind of a monthly basis, but sort of in the everyday in training and competing. It's been really helpful to have that experience of like my own therapy, going into counselling, so that I can try and regulate my emotions and learn how my how I as a person function and what environments work best for me. It helps build that resilience but also to know that there is help if I do need it, because being able to share with team-mates and in the sport you realise that we’re all going through similar things and it’s been really helpful to gain that awareness – we’re not alone!”
Q – You also speak passionately about the importance of faith in your life. How much does that help you when you’re experiencing challenges in the sport?
“That underpins everything I do and it's the biggest part of my life. As much as netball is kind of my career at the moment and does take up a lot of my time, my faith and my belief in Jesus is the ultimate thing and it's the reason why I love doing sport. It's a reason why I love to also have my church community alongside everything that I do in netball and I don't see them as two separate things. I see my faith as underpinning how I play sport. I also feel that God gives us different talents and abilities and sometimes that might be in a work environment, it might be in an office, or somewhere else, but I feel like he cares and invests in my sport and cares about the things that I enjoy doing.”
Image courtesy of Ben Lumley / England Netball
Q – You’ve certainly enjoyed winning on court this season. Your team, London Pulse, has only been around since 2019 so what would winning a maiden Super League title mean to you and the franchise?
“It would be amazing! If you just look back at sort of the journey of the club, it's still quite a young club and to see the progression throughout the seasons is amazing. When I first joined a few years ago, we came eighth and then we came fourth overall last year and to now hopefully, you know, be in the mix to win the title is an incredible achievement. We’ve got such a great mixture of girls in the squad this year from all sorts of different life stages and journeys. It's just been amazing to learn off one another and one another. It (winning) would be the icing on the cake to what's been a great season for us as a club and for us as individuals.”