Born in Broken Hill, Makinley Blows has spent the last few years making her name in the world of cricket and her rise in the sport has been very impressive.
After leaving Broken Hill with her family when she was eight, things stepped up a notch after they moved to Gol Gol.
Makinley, 24, started turning heads as a youngster. Using her left hand to bat and right hand to bowl made her stand out from her peers. But there was more than just ambidexterity to her game.
Starting in cricket at just nine years old, she was always supremely talented. Hard work and determination saw her rise to the top of junior cricket.
Makinley turned heads in the Victorian under 18 state championships and scored a superb 152 runs not out playing for Mallee Murray.
That knock was no surprise to keen observers of the junior game. The previous year, she had incredibly scored two centuries in one day at the same competition. In the morning she scored 125 runs from just 69 deliveries, then in the afternoon backed it up with 105 runs in a second match, also off 69 balls.
That kind of talent not surprisingly saw her play at the U-18 national championships later that year, and she dominated there too, scoring 205 runs across the competition, whilst also developing her reputation as an all-rounder. She took a bunch of wickets too, including figures of 2/20 against South Australia whilst representing Victoria.
It was those performances that turned the head of scouts working for Cricket Victoria and earnt Makinley a rookie contract at the Melbourne Renegades.
“I played two years of under 15s, and three years of under 18s for Victoria [in State Championships] and performed solidly,” Makinley says.
Contracted to Cricket Victoria, she is in one of world’s sports meccas. Along with playing for Victoria in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL), she is also prominent in what is becoming cricket’s biggest format, Twenty20.
In the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL), Makinley has played for both Melbourne based sides in the competition. When she first arrived in Melbourne, she was a member of the Melbourne Stars. She played there for three seasons, before moving across town to the Melbourne Renegades. Currently out of contract at the T20 level, Makinley is keeping her options open.
“It’s funny, I was a rookie for the Renegades in WBBL01 and then following that season I had offers from both the Stars and the Renegades. So, I sort of sat down with both clubs, trying to find out which was the best fit for me and ended up signing with the Stars for a couple of years. Eventually I made my way back to the Renegades in WBBL05.”
With no WBBL contract in front of her just yet, Makinley is laser focussed on what she can do for Victoria in the WNCL.
Although playing for Australia, or even an international T20 competition would be nice, she knows the only way to get there is by performing for Victoria this season.
“I guess it is always in the back of your mind [playing for Australia], but I am just looking to perform as well as I can for Victoria and put us in the best position to hopefully make the WNCL final, and everything else will take care of itself.”
With an attitude like that, the chances of seeing Makinley rise to the top of the game seem very likely. And when she does, Broken Hill can celebrate one of their own making it to the pinnacle of sports in Australia yet again.
And as it happens, Makinley still has family in Broken Hill.
“My grandma and grandpa still live in Broken Hill. I don’t make it back as much as I’d like,” she says, “but me and my parents try to make it for Christmases when we can.”