For as long as Jan Breddy can remember, she has loved netball. One of her earliest memories of the sport is sneaking into the local primary school as a 10-year-old to watch the seniors play the sport – which back then, was called basketball – sitting on the wall, dreaming about playing herself.
When she went to secondary school, she started learning the game, sparking a life-long passion for the sport. Originally from Victoria, Jan has played, umpired, coached, and mentored people throughout Australia.
After moving to Hedland with a plan to stay for 12 months, Jan and her husband have happily called the Pilbara home for 12 years.
While watching her son play mixed netball in Hedland, she got back into the game, getting involved with Lynx Netball Club to coach the C-grade ladies.
Jan said some of these ladies had never played, but they won the competition that year.
While Jan lives and breathes the game in all areas, coaching the younger players gives her the most satisfaction.
“I like to encourage the young ones to come along and learn the fundamentals of the game and to be good sports,” she said.
“It’s about teaching them that we don’t all have the same level of skills, but we can all encourage each other.
“It’s all about building their morale. My passion is coaching the young ones so that they can follow the pathways that lead to the State League and, perhaps ultimately, play for Australia.”
Jan has coached and mentored within the Port Hedland Netball Association for three years, recently stepping into the role of Development Officer.
This year she became a dual premiership-winning coach for the A-Grade Spectres in the local competition and the Port Hedland Masters at the 2022 North West Championships.
Port Hedland Netball Association president Cath Widdup said Jan dedicates much of her life to the sport.
“Jan has been an amazing asset not only to Port Hedland Netball but to our junior and upcoming superstars,” she said.
“She has provided so many hours to all aspects of Port Hedland Netball, and we are truly thankful for her expertise and care for our netball community.”
It’s often said that sport is the lifeline of local communities, creating a place for people to socialise, stay healthy and escape the everyday grind. Of course, local sporting groups don’t exist without people like Jan Breddy, which is why she’s a Hedland Hero.