Mum's the word for Canterbury Tactix twosome

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 12/05/2012

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For Isabella, Harry and Charlotte Galvan, a mother who plays netball fulltime is just the norm.

It's all they've ever known and they'll have an early Mother's Day tomorrow before mum Anna Galvan and her Canterbury Tactix side head to Brisbane to play the Queensland Firebirds in round seven of the ANZ Championship.

As soon as Galvan, now 33, had her eldest child, Isabella, she was straight back into netball and commuting to Invercargill to play for the Southern Sting.

Two children later and Galvan is still playing. And while the 14-times capped Silver Fern wouldn't go as far as to brag about it, she's playing some of the best netball in her lengthy career.

Like many mothers, Galvan said having children has made her more organised, more focused and improved her game.

"I do think I'm a better netballer now," she said.

"It's all about balance. Any athlete is better when they have a balanced life."

And anyone worried what Isabella, 8, Harry, 5 and Charlotte 3 think of mum being away from home for netball trainings and games and the odd match in Australia, need not.

They love the fact mum plays netball and is on the TV.

It's not unusual for the Galvan cherubs to join the hordes of young fans seeking autographs after Tactix games at CBS Canterbury Arena.

Isabella and her friends in the Paparoa Street School Year-4 Future Ferns netball team also benefit as Galvan is their coach.

"It's pretty cool," Isabella said of taking instructions from mum.

Kiley Hikawai is the Tactix' other mum.

Hikawai, 24, and her partner, Mat, are parents to two-year-old Zoe and Hikawai said being a mother had "made me a better person".

Like Galvan, Hikawai said she's more organised and the fact her and Zoe's weeks were both planned out to the hour kept her mind clear of stress.

"I always get my diary out and I know where we're meant to be. Because of that I don't have all these worries racing around in my head," she said. "I'm more focused on what I have to be doing and more relaxed too."

As well as the added dramas that go hand in hand with being the mother to a toddler, Hikawai has plenty of travel to deal with too.

She, Mat and Zoe live about 10 minutes away from Hanmer Springs on Montrose Station and she makes the 220-kilometre round trip to training and games up to five times a week.

Like Galvan, Hikawai said the Tactix have been nothing but helpful and supportive.

"Even when I come to training, Leigh [coach Leigh Gibbs] and Jules [assistant coach Julie Seymour] ask me how Zoe is and make sure everything is going well," she said.

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While the Tactix are supportive, it's Hikawai and Galvan's wider support system that make it possible.

"What's that saying, it takes a village to raise a child? Well that's so true for us," Galvan said.

As well as husband Hugh, "who is exceptional", Galvan's parents help as do her brothers and sisters-in-law, their nanny Amy and even neighbours from time to time.

Zoe Hikawai has help out near her place and is often looked after by Kerry, mother of Kiley's team-mate, Ellen Halpenny, in town.

- The Press

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