Seymour seen more than most

Silver Ferns captain Julie Seymour in action during a team training session at the Lion...
Silver Ferns captain Julie Seymour in action during a team training session at the Lion Foundation Arena in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Evergreen midcourter Julie Seymour is one of sport's ultimate survivors and admired role models.

The Silver Ferns captain's career has spanned 14 years, 91 tests, several short-lived retirements and three world championship campaigns.

And the 37-year-old mother of three is the only player of the current crop who can remember what is it like to play a test in Dunedin.

The city last hosted an international in 1998 and Seymour was part of the line-up that day. But her memory stretches back even further.

"I also played my first ever test in Dunedin back in 1994 against Australia," she said.

"It was the very first time I made the team and I was in the starting line-up but we lost by two. I remember that game because four or five of us made our test debuts on that day which was quite unreal."

Making their debut alongside Julie Dawson, as she was known then, was Lesley Nicol (now Rumball), Belinda Blair (now Charteris) and Noeline Taurua-Barnett. A lot of players have come and gone since but Seymour has survived.

She experimented with retirement while she started a family with husband, former New Zealand sevens player Dallas Seymour.

The couple have three children - Harrison (7), Hannah (5) and Josie (3). But Seymour's tenacity and love of netball always ensured she returned to the game. With former captain Adine Wilson taking time off to have her first child this year, Seymour has taken over the reins.

Her experience and natural leadership skills made her the obvious choice.

Balancing her young family, netball commitments and the work she needs to do to stay in top shape has not been easy. But for the self-confessed fitness fanatic it is a lifestyle choice.

"Even if I wasn't playing netball I'd probably be out there running. I just love it."

The Seymour's live near a plantation in Christchurch and she is about a minute away from running in the forest. It feels like a haven and more like rest and recreation compared to her other gruelling training regimes.

Seymour likes, no, loves to push herself by sprinting for 300m then walking the remaining 100m of a 400m track. Not so bad but she repeats that process 10 times.

"Being a full-time mother I often don't have a lot of time. So they're not always really long sessions but I try and push myself hard and make use of the time.

"I often feel quite revived [afterwards]. I know other runners will know what I mean when I say you get that running high."

While Seymour cherishes netball, she does have pangs of guilt on the eve of a Silver Ferns series.

"Any mum knows you do feel guilty when you are going away. Spending time away from the kids is the side of netball I don't enjoy. But if you look at it across the whole year it isn't actually masses [of time away]."

Inevitably that leads to the question of retirement.

Like Irene van Dyk, Seymour finds herself batting away those sorts of questions in most interviews.

"I don't want to give myself a date," she responded.

"I don't want to say at the end of ANZ champs or anything because I might get to that point and actually not want to."

She has committed to another season with the Canterbury Tactix in the ANZ Championships but acknowledged it was a long season.


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