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Alumni Sports Stars Welcomed Home for DNK Cup and GT Trophy

The Daly Norton-Knight (DNK) Cup and Gretel Tippett (GT) Trophy are two of the most hotly contested annual inter-school sporting events hosted by All Saints Junior School.

The DNK Cup celebrates rugby while the GT Trophy celebrates netball, and both competitions are named after All Saints alumni sporting legends; Sam Norton-Knight, Ben Daly and Gretel Bueta (nee Tippett).

School teams from across the Gold Coast converged on our campus for the day long tournament which this year also saw the return of Sam and Gretel to our grounds.

Sam, a former Super Rugby player (and Australian Wallaby), currently works as the Coach Development Manager for the Brumbies in Super Rugby, while Gretel is blazing the trail as a Queensland Firebird and 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medallist with the Australian Diamonds.

Competitors, officials, and spectators were delighted to meet Sam and Gretel, who have since shared their career journeys as well as experiences at the DNK Cup and GT Trophy.

Gretel Bueta
(née Tippett, Class of 2010)

When Gretel dominated the courts at All Saints, she was best known as "the basketball girl".

However, after a career pivot following graduation, Gretel has since become one of Australia's shining stars in Netball.

Gretel has played more than 100 games for the Queensland Firebirds over nine seasons, plus more than 50 games as a Diamond, and in 2019 she received the sport's highest individual accolade in Australia - the Liz Ellis Award.

One of her major career highlights was a stellar performance at the Commonwealth Games with the Australian Diamonds in 2022.\

"Winning gold over in London, having my family there - my son, my parents and my husband - it was an amazing feeling, and with a team of girls that I've grown up with," she says.

Gretel says it was incredible to return to All Saints for the Gretel Tippett Cup, where she presented the awards and met many young fans throughout the day.

"I love seeing young girls play the sport that I love, enjoying themselves and pushing themselves to do better, and I thought their skills on the day were phenomenal," says Gretel.

"I feel like every year I come back to All Saints for the Gretel Tippett Cup it just gets bigger and better, and the people who organise it are incredible."

Gretel is on leave for the Firebirds' 2023 season after welcoming her second boy Toby into the world, alongside husband Niko and son Bobby.

Recently, Gretel also partnered with DrinkWise to raise awareness about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), reminding Australians about the importance of not drinking alcohol during all stages of the pregnancy journey including planning and breastfeeding.

She is looking forward to getting back on court soon and draws inspiration from other strong mums in sport and beyond.

"I have a very understanding husband which helps, and it is always a juggle, but there's so many incredible mums out there that can do anything, and I really look up to them for advice;' says Gretel.

Sam Norton-Knight
(Class of 2000)

Sam’s Rugby journey has taken him to all corners of the world.

Following a gap year in Scotland (organised by All Saints), Sam moved to Canberra for university where his sporting career began to unfold.

“I started studying sports media in 2002 and I started playing Super Rugby for the ACT Brumbies in 2005, so it all happened pretty quickly,” he says.

“I had originally anticipated a career as a journalist, but when Super Rugby came calling, I spent five years in that competition and then ended up taking a contract to play in Europe.”

After one season with Welsh team Cardiff Blues, Sam’s next destination was Japan.

For 10 years he honed his rugby skills on an international stage with Japanese teams including the Panasonic Wild Knights, Kubota Spears and the NEC Green Rockets.

In 2007, Sam also donned the green and gold as fly half for the Wallabies, winning a Test cap against both Wales and Fiji. 

It was a “full circle moment” when he returned to Australia and rejoined the Brumbies in Coach Development.

Sam now works with community coaches to build their capabilities in both the junior rugby and senior rugby divisions, running accreditation courses and providing streamlined support.

Upon his return to the DNK Cup, he enjoyed watching the games, seeing a few ‘potential Brumbies’ in action, and cheering on nephew Will (Year 6) who performed exceptionally on the day.

Sam believes All Saints is a school that does sport like no other.

“Sport plays a significant role in the student’s life, and I think it’s a fairly integral part of the reason why parents choose to send their children to the School,” he says.

“The individuals who aspire to play at a higher level are also really nurtured within that environment which is important."

Offering words of wisdom to the next generation of players, Sam says it’s all about developing a thirst; rugby skills can be taught, but a willingness to compete is something a player needs to discover within.

“The hunger for competition is something that is difficult to teach, and the mindset is challenging to develop,” says Sam. “That’s what we really look for in players.”