Where are they now
Jan Palazzi spent many years dedicating her time to being the best she could be on the green and was rewarded with the honour of becoming Australia’s 61st female representative; however whilst Palazzi doesn’t get on the green too often these days her main focus is coaching the Australian disability team, a role she finds is even more rewarding.
Palazzi’s first assignment in the green and gold was on the sport’s biggest stage; the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester where she played women’s fours was an unforgettable event to make her international debut.
“I remember when the team was announced for the Commonwealth Games and the selectors were calling out the names, I had already worked out in my mind who I thought would be selected and I wasn’t one of them; so when my name was called out I remember being totally shocked, proud, and very overwhelmed, and of course I cried,” Mrs Palazzi said.
There wasn’t a stand out moment for Palazzi when recalling her time representing Australia; there were many parts that contributed to the overall ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.
“First of all pulling on the Australian colours was memorable; I felt ten foot tall and bullet proof and I was surrounded by a wonderful and supportive team; that is a feeling I will never forget,” Mrs Palazzi said.
“I think going out for the first time to play for Australia is and was a huge responsibility and to have that privilege was awesome; just the feeling and atmosphere is something that will always stay with me.”
Palazzi was the second female bowler to represent Australia from the Northern Territory and whilst being selected to represent Australia is on the top of her personal achievements in bowls, it is her achievements for the Northern Territory that remain fixed in her mind.
“A team event of which I’m proud of was when the NT won the Marj Morris (7 aside) trophy in Tasmania,” Mrs Palazzi said.
“Who would have believed it; I recall in order to win the tournament we had to win every rink on the final day and we were drawn to play NSW (a very tall order) and to this day I do not remember much of my pairs game but all our rinks won; that was such a buzz for all of us.”
Even Australia’s best players have bowlers they find almost impossible to beat and for Palazzi, Queensland’s Edda Bunutto was her toughest competitor.
“She (Bunutto) was so good, and I always had to psych myself up a little bit more when I was drawn to play against her because I knew what I was in for,” Mrs Palazzi said.
“She was a beautiful lady both on and off the green, a great player and any shots you managed to keep after the end was well earned; I don’t think in all the years we were drawn against each other that I ever won.”
On the other hand, people of whom Palazzi enjoyed playing with were closer to her heart.
In the early days of bowls Palazzi had great admiration for her father and at the time he was her favourite person to play bowls with as he educated her so much about the game and had a wonderful sense of humour.
“Dad would never rouse on me when I played bad; I always tried to model myself on him as I progressed up the ranks to play skip because he had this amazing ability to always make you feel ok even if you playing badly,” Mrs Palazzi said.
“Later on in my bowls career I liked playing with bowlers who gave me confidence and pushed me outside my comfort zone; and then further down the track I enjoyed playing with people who were on the same wave length as me.”
“My husband Tom did all of the above and he would have to have been my favourite of all.”
Palazzi has been the coach of the Australian disabled bowls team for over 6 years and has so much respect for them as people and as incredible athletes.
Palazzi says she loves how they just get on with the job without any fanfare or fuss and believes they teach her more than what she is able to teach them.