Toni Farnworth: All in a days work
Pursuing her passion for the game and undertaking a career in accounting is all part of the juggling act of being a professional athlete for Toni Farnworth.
There is a distinct lack of sport in the world at the moment. Along with the rest of us, most professional athletes have had to navigate starting to train at home and where need be, adjust to working from their houses too.
WNBL veteran, Toni Farnworth is praised for her versatility as a basketball player, but this quality also extends beyond the court.
Having moved from Perth to Melbourne in 2019, Farnworth has had slightly less to adjust to than others recently, continuing to work remotely for Perth-based, Westcourt Family Business Accountants.
Farnworth’s success on the court has seen her play 269 games in the WNBL, a feat which last year saw her inducted as a WNBL Life Member.
Outside of Australia, she has remained a key member of her national team, the New Zealand Tall Ferns. In recent years she’s helped them secure a bronze in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and competed in 3×3 for NZ, winning gold at the 2018 FIBA Asia Cup in China.
As a practicing Accountant, Farnworth was recently asked to present to the WNBL Clubs with information and advice on government subsidies, such as JobKeeper payments, that may help her own sporting community get through this difficult and unusual time.
“It was something (Melbourne Boomers Chair) Tony Hallam asked if I could help with… JobKeeper pay is something I am getting a lot of experience with at the moment.”
The reality for the majority of professional female athletes is that their sporting career will not be enough to support them either whilst playing or following their retirement.
Some choose fields that stay in the realm of their chosen sport, but others are lucky enough to identify skills in other fields which allows them to set themselves up during their sporting career and beyond, offering a level of financial stability.
Farnworth’s journey to studying Business started in school. She followed in her dad’s footsteps, who is also an accountant.
“It suited my analytical mind. It ended up being my strongest subject at school, so I continued to go on and study it at University.”
Finding the balance between basketball and her other work requires her to adapt to different demands from in-season to the off-season.
Farnworth values having two very different professions and the variety that gives her in the day-to-day. Currently, in the off-season, she finds it more challenging to fit her two careers in around each other.
“I definitely enjoy having the balance. It’s usually tougher for me in the off season when I am fitting my training around work,” Farnworth explains. “During WNBL season I am usually working about 15 hours a week. I will work a full day on our off day during the week and I will make up the other hours after practice on training days. In the off season, I work full-time and train in the evenings/mornings around work.”
The realities of having to balance work commitments with being a professional athlete doesn’t necessarily mean that both worlds end up blending together too often.
“My work has previously been my player sponsor which has been great, but I would say generally my basketball and work lives are quite separate.”
Despite the WNBL Life Member acknowledging that working in accounting allows her to pursue her true passion of basketball, Farnworth admits it is nice to know she has a skillset that can help this same community when the need arises.
“It is a good thing. If I can be of any assistance helping our sport be in a position to get through our current situation it is something I would like to do,” said Farnworth.