Indigenous netballer Donnell Wallam’s dream debut to score the match winning goal for Australian Diamonds against England has been trashed by bitter trolls.
Despite sealing the victory with her first touch, she was branded a ‘whiner’ and a ‘sook’ by online critics who said she had ‘absolutely nothing to be proud of’.
One added: ‘She’s a $0 hero and a $15m zero.’
Wallam, 28, was mired in controversy this week after the row over the Diamonds’ $15million sponsorship deal with Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.
The rising netball star didn’t want to wear the brand logo over controversial comments mining magnate’s late father made decades earlier.
Lang Hancock suggested in 1984 that Indigenous Australians should be sterilised to ‘breed themselves out’ over the following years.
There were some trolls who couldn’t be happy for the netballer, claiming she almost bankrupted the sport (pictured)
Donnell Wallam scored a last-second winner to help Australia defeat England in Newcastle
The 28-year-old made her Diamonds debut in the fourth quarter and made an instant impact
Wallam’s stance was supported by her teammates and led to Rinehart pulling out of the vital sponsorship deal which now threatens the future of Netball Australia.
The fiasco saw all eyes pinned on Wallam in Newcastle on Wednesday night, with the 28-year-old named on the bench to face England, hoping to make her international debut.
Coming onto the court in the fourth term, Wallam received a huge ovation from the Newcastle crowd and there was bedlam when she scored with her very first touch of the game.
But it got even better for Wallam, who scored an incredible lay-up in the final seconds to seal a one-point victory for the Diamonds against their arch rivals, setting off jubilant scenes in the arena.
Social media was flooded with comments praising Wallam and saying it was a ‘fairytale’ end to the saga.
‘What a moment, what a game, so impressed by what you do on and off the court!’ one person said.
‘Donnell Wallam. YOU SUPERSTAR!’ said another.
Social media was flooded with comments supporting Wallam (pictured)
But some refused to enjoy the moment and argued she had nearly brought Australian netball to a point of collapse.
‘Hero of what? A club and team she’s pushing into financial turmoil with her sooking,’ one said. ‘Absolutely nothing to be proud of.
‘She should front to Gina, hat in hand and beg for the money, then wear the logo without question.’
Another added: ‘She’s no role model to anyone I know, especially my kids – we can’t stand whiners.’
‘Australians overwhelmingly support Gina in this,’ claimed another.
‘She’s a day late and $15,000,000 short,’ posted one troll. ‘She’s put her sport and her teammates through an incredibly rough week and now all is supposed to be forgiven?
‘It’s a no from me.’
‘So what, it won’t help the next generation of netballers,’ a fourth said, while another added simply: ‘Not my hero – I work for a living.’
But others were bitter at the drama she put the sport through over the previous week
Hallem (pictured) refused to wear uniforms sponsored by the company of mining magnate Gina Rinehart who pulled her $15million sponsorship
Even Fox Sports commentator Matt Russell found himself the target of much ire after saying ‘she cost Australian netball 15 million dollars this week’ during the broadcast.
‘Disgusting comment, Matt Russell should apologise,’ one person wrote.
‘Who betting his wife makes him sleep on the lounge tonight,’ added another.
Fox Sports commentator Matt Russell also copped flack after mentioning the money on the broadcast
Wallam had ‘one of the toughest weeks’ of her life amid a $15million row with Gina Rinehart
An emotional Wallam was in tears as she spoke to Fox Netball after the game, describing the past seven days as ‘one of the toughest weeks of my life’.
‘It was just kind of instinct, to turn straight to the goal. I just made sure when I got my chance I would execute,’ she said.
‘I was kind of relieved to finally get my chance on court. It has been one of the toughest weeks of my life so to get out on the court was really special.
‘It’s really special, I just hope I’m now a role model to the young girls and boys coming through for their turn.’
Earlier, Wallam was all smiles as she lined up alongside her teammates during the pre-match Welcome to Country.
During the national anthem, she received a supportive embrace from her teammate when the cameras zoomed on her and wiped away a tear as she proudly sang the anthem.
She also got a huge cheer as she was introduced to the crowd when she entered the court for the pre-match warm-up.
‘Donnell Wallam got the loudest cheer in the house when the court-side presenter introduced the players… a pretty clear message of support from the fans here tonight,’ one fan tweeted.
Donnell Wallam (second left) was named on the bench for her first international netball match against Newcastle
The partnership between Hancock Prospecting and Netball Australia is reportedly worth $3.5million a year until the end of 2025.
Swimming legend Dawn Fraser was the latest spots figure to back Rinehart on Wednesday.
Four-time gold medallist Fraser said she’s worried Mrs Rinehart will now be deterred from sponsoring other sports after vicious public backlash over comments her father made in the 1980s.
‘I don’t think (the players have this story straight) and I don’t know the full story either, but I really cannot understand it, it’s bad for the sport, it’s bad for those girls she said no to,’ she told 4BC.
‘She might stop her sponsorship with other sports now and I’d hate to see that happen to be honest with you.’