Sally Finch, UNE Sports Academy team photo

Highlight | Sports Academy Student, Sally Finch

We know many students are off campus at the moment, and hopefully away relaxing with friends and family! But, we wanted to take a moment to share a little chat we had with another of our Sports Academy Students and Albies girl, Sally Finch.

Sally, like most of our awesome bunch of students, is always busy – she is a pro at juggling a range of different things; sport, study, life, work – you name it! One thing that really sets Sally apart is her attitude – she oozes positivity and drive, it’s pretty inspirational, which is why we wanted to chat with her!

What brought you to UNE?

A few things actually – the opportunity for me to complete my chosen degree of a Bachelor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at a regional University was probably the biggest driving factor for me to study at UNE. In addition, access to smaller class sizes, and the ability to easily contact lecturers, was also very attractive. Furthermore, I was keen to gain a ‘college experience’, and I’m glad I did, as the past two years at St Albert’s College have exceeded all expectations! I would happily recommend Albies to anyone looking for good sport, great friends, and a supportive academic environment.

When did you start playing Netball and what have you achieved in this sport?

I started playing netball as an 8-year-old in my local club competition. 😊

Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to be selected in the U19 INNSW Netball Team 2019, Australian All Stars 2019, U21 INNSW Netball Team 2020.

Who is your biggest sporting inspiration?

Oh, it’s really hard to pick a single person for this question! I would say that I have drawn on the achievements and stories of many different sporting athletes to help inspire me. Laura Geitz would be an obvious choice, but also the likes of Anna Meares and other female athletes who, like Anna, have helped to pave the way for females in traditionally male-dominated sports. I look up to for their tenacity and passion for their respective sports. I also think that Kurt Fearnley is an amazing athlete, and the way he represents himself and advocates for equality amongst all athletes is very admirable.

Tell us a little about your experience with the Sport UNE Netball Comp?

The Sport UNE Netball comp has provided a wonderful, organised setting for teams of all strengths and varying levels of competitiveness to compete against one another on a Saturday morning. The competition is well-run and it’s inclusive in that there are both college, and club teams from town, whom all compete. My Albies A-Grade team has done quite well, having won our division for the past two years! We will hope to make it three-in-a-row in 2021.

Sally Finch,, St Alberts Netball Team UNE, 2020


How has the UNE Sports Academy helped you with your academic potential?

This year was my second year in the UNE Sports Academy. It’s been great, and offers academic support, making it possible to balance travel for sporting competitions with study, and offering flexibility with assessment tasks and exams when you may need it.

What does a regular day look like for you?

A regular day for me would include at least one form of exercise, whether it be a team training, gym session, or a run, followed by a couple of hours of study, dinner, another hour or two of study, then a bit of down-time and bed. I also played in the Albies Women’s Rugby 7’s team this year, which was quite the experience, and a big eye-opener into the world of rugby! Work is intertwined somewhere in the middle, depending on the day of the week!

How do you juggle studying at university and competing in sporting competitions?

Being organised. I would argue that good time management and organisation, are two of the most imperative skills in order to successfully balance study and competition. Unfortunately, this year saw the National’s in Adelaide cancelled, but in previous years where I have travelled away to compete, being organised and planning my schedule week-to-week has helped me immensely with staying on track. It has also taken away the pressure of having to study whilst away, and allows me to enjoy the trip with my teammates and focus on playing well.

What would your dream job be once you’ve completed your degree?

Running a large agribusiness or an infrastructure fund that invests in agricultural assets would be incredible… but there is a long road of hard work and learning between now and then! I would love to see more females in senior positions and advisory roles within the industry.

Whilst studying which skills have you learned or developed that you didn’t expect?

One of the biggest challenges for me during the COVID-19 period – which saw all classes transitioned to online – was finding the motivation and discipline to stay on top of lectures! Learning at university is obviously a lot more self-directed compared to school, so having a structured routine has helped massively. Sport has definitely aided in keeping me focussed, on track, and keeping my procrastination to a minimum!

What’s the best thing about being a student?

I would say that the best thing about being a student is the fantastic friendships which you make, industry connections which may be forged, holidays, spare time, and the opportunity for learning in a supportive environment.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to any aspiring students?

I would encourage everyone not to be daunted by the thought of failure or rejection; you have nothing to lose, so you may as well grasp any opportunities which are afforded to you with two hands! Give it a go, sign up, trial for a new team, apply for that job or trip, and put yourself in situations where you know no one.

Thanks so much for spending a little time with us Sally, you’re an incredible go getter and we can’t wait to watch you grow further on your journey at UNE and beyond!

If you’re interested in learning more about the UNE Sports Academy you should check this out!