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The First Interview: Rachael Fee is hungry for more netball

Wasps defender Rachael Fee never stops – even when she is tucking into a post-match meal, her brain is working.

The 21-year-old is studying nutrition at the University of Exeter and she regularly eyes up her teammates’ food, calling it research.

Fee, who has re-signed with Wasps for the 2023 season, played her way to the club’s Young Player of the Year award last season.

“I always do take notice on what they eat,” she said. “I’m not quite confident enough to comment on it.

“But it is very interesting to see the different styles and what people eat and use it as a little bit of an experiment, which is nice.

“I definitely would say I’ve learnt about fueling your body before a game, how to recover properly with food after a game and what you eat/drink during a game.

“I wasn’t quite aware, or I wasn’t very knowledgeable about that but doing the course last year, and looking back, it does work, fuel is good for you. You need it!”

The goal defence helped Wasps to a ninth-place finish last term, missing out on eighth place and a spot at the Fast5 All-Star Championships on goal difference – something Fee wants to put right next season.

The proud Devonian is Exeter born and bred and makes the long commute every week to train alongside her teammates in Coventry.

She added: “It is hard because obviously you want the university experience, but at the same time, I’ve got to think I am a high-performance netball player, I need to balance.

“I think my friends were very shocked with how much I was up in Coventry last year, but I balanced it well.

“It took me a few months to get into the routine of planning my week and planning my meals and making sure that I still needed to have a university life.

“I still need that experience to bond with my mates there but also have enough time up in Coventry with the girls to create connections.

“Devon is so far down the country, not many people even realise it exists half the time, but I am extremely proud to say I’m from Devon.

“Anywhere I go, any franchise I would play for I would have to travel and I’m very used to it. I do get asked ‘don’t you get tired? Don’t you get fed up?’ And I say ‘if you love your sport, you are willing to travel for it.’ But I’m very proud to live in Devon and represent Devon.”

Last season saw Fee switch from goalkeeper to goal defence, guided by teammate Ella Powell-Davies, and this season’s focus is about making that position her own.

“I would definitely say one of my main goals and what I would love to achieve is starting seven, that’s definitely a big aspiration of mine,” she said.

“Cementing a good position, developing goal defence a lot more because last year, goal defence was quite a new position to me.

“Goal defence is a lot more running than goalkeeper and I learned that the hard way. But learning off Ella, it was great to watch her play.

“For me to sit on the bench, see where I needed to go. It was obviously very hard learning where I needed to run after certain passes and things like that, but I picked up on it.

“I did feel like I improved throughout the season and I just now need to keep building on that.”

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