Kurt Tippett may have share headlines with Firebirds sister

SYDNEY Swans forward Kurt Tippett might find himself sharing the headlines with his young sister Gretel when his 11-game ban ends on June 22.

The former Adelaide Crows star has not yet played for the defending premiers after he was suspended by the AFL for his involvement in the Crows' salary cap breaches and draft tampering.

He'll be keen to make the headlines for the right reasons on his return against Port Adelaide, just like his sibling is aiming to do now she is set to make her debut for the Queensland Firebirds in the trans-Tasman Championship.

The 19-year-old Gold Coast resident is in the squad for tomorrow's showdown between the third-placed Queenslanders and second-placed Vixens in Melbourne.

Her call-up signals a rapid rise in the game after she decided to quit basketball to focus on a netball career a little more than 12 months ago.

Before swapping codes, Gretel had represented Australia at under-17 and under-19 levels in basketball and, in 2010/11, was named Rookie of the Year award in the Australian Women's National Basketball League while playing for the Logan Thunder.

A bout of glandular fever caused her to miss the entire 2011/12 basketball season, but she discovered she did not miss the sport - she had lost her passion for it.

She decided to give netball a go, a sport she played briefly as 10-year-old, only because her best friend did, and she took to it like a duck to water.

Queensland Firebirds netballer Gretel Tippett
Queensland Firebirds netballer Gretel Tippett

In her first year back she represented Queensland in both the Australian Netball League and under-21 national championships.

Her performances earned her a shot with the Firebirds, and she even missed Kurt's birthday party in Sydney last week because of it - she was on the bench for the clash against the Tactix in Christchurch.

Although she missed his party, Gretel said her brother couldn't be happier for her.

"Both he and Joel (her other brother, who played two games for the Gold Coast Suns in his AFL career) have always supported me through the good times and bad times, and I do the same for them," she said.

"It was tough what happened to Kurt, but we stayed together as a family and we've moved on."

Gretel said she spoke to Kurt almost every day, and despite him being sidelined, she said he was loving life in Sydney.

"Obviously he cannot wait to get back playing again, and I am sure he'll come out firing against Port," she said.

"He's also been helping with the under-16 and under-18 squads at the Swans' academy, and said he's learning so much under head coach Paul Roos.

"Coaching is something he'd love to do when he stops playing, but that's a long way away yet."

Natalie Medhurst will captain the Firebirds in the absence of Laura Geitz following the death of her father Ross earlier this week.

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