Australian Diamonds and Melbourne Vixens shooter Catherine Cox has called time on her illustrious netball career, announcing her retirement from international and domestic competition on Friday.
The 37-year-old hangs up her bib from international netball effective immediately and domestic netball at the conclusion of the 2014 ANZ Championship season.
After making her international debut in 1997, the Test veteran bows out of netball as one of the sport’s greatest shooters and one of only four Australian players to record 100 international Test appearances.
Cox finishes her career as a two-time world champion (2007, 2011), Commonwealth Games gold medallist (2002), stood in as acting Australian captain on nine occasions and was vice-captain from 2011-2013 in an international career that spanned 16 years.
“She is a great champion, she is always passionate about representing Australia and never took that honour for granted,” Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said.
“No doubt that Catherine is right up there with the best; the longevity of her career alone is an amazing feat but to be able to consistently back up game after game and still be one of the best shooters in the world is a fantastic achievement.
“The legacy she leaves is that of an ultimate team person, she was always looking to improve herself and her teammates, was unselfish in the way that she has mentored the athletes coming through and I will always value her loyalty and commitment as a leader in my time as national coach.”
After joining the Australian Institute of Sport on scholarship in 1995, where she made her national league debut in the Mobil League, Cox went on to carve out a distinguished domestic career with the Sydney Cenovis, Perth Orioles, NSW Swifts, West Coast Fever and Melbourne Vixens.
Cox has recorded over 250 national league appearances, which includes four national league premierships with the Sydney/NSW Swifts in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy (2004, 2006, 2007) and ANZ Championship (2008), in 20 domestic seasons.
After consulting Alexander for the last six months, Cox said it wouldn’t be fair on her Diamonds team mates to continue with the Commonwealth Games and 2015 Netball World Cup approaching.
“I’ve made the judgement call that it wasn’t right for me, nor would it be fair on the Australian team, to continue on when I see the Diamonds next couple of years as a block period with the Commonwealth Games and World Champs if I wasn’t fully committed,” Cox said.
“I’m looking forward to waking up and enjoying a life away from the netball court. I obviously want to stay involved with netball in some capacity beyond this season, this sport has given me so much and I have loved every minute of it, but after more than 18 years you just know when it’s time for a change and something new in your life.
“There are so many great shooters in Australia to choose from so I know they’ll have nothing but success, and I will be there supporting them every step of the way.”
Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer said Cox has significantly contributed to the sport as leader on court and ambassador off it.
“Cath Cox has inspired thousands of young netballers and fans, she epitomises the Diamonds brand – the girl next door who dreams of representing her country with pride,” Palmer said.
“What a legacy she leaves for netball in Australia and we will want to keep Cath close to the sport and look forward to watching the next stage of her glorious career.”
Cox will retire as Australian netball’s longest serving player, both internationally and domestically.
Catherine Cox Bio
Test Caps: 108
Positions: GS, GA
Born: Whangarei, New Zealand
Australian Team: 1997, 1999-2013
Australian Squad: 1996-2013
Test debut: 11 June 1997 v South Africa, Perth
Last Test: 26 January 2013 v England, Birmingham
World Championships: 2003 (Silver), 2007 (Gold), 2011 (Gold)
Commonwealth Games: 2002 (Gold), 2006 (Silver), 2010 (Silver)
Mobil League: AIS (1995), Sydney Cenovis (1996)
Commonwealth Bank Trophy: Sydney Swifts (1997-99; 2002-07), Perth Orioles (2000-01)
ANZ Championship: NSW Swifts (2008-11), West Coast Fever (2012-13), Melbourne Vixens (2014)
Premierships: Commonwealth Bank Trophy (2004, 2006, 2007) and ANZ Championship (2008)
NSW Swifts Player of the Year: 2008, 2009, 2011
Australian Team Player of the Year: 2004, 2005
Australian Players Player of the Year: 2001
New Ideas Australia’s Favourite Diamond: 2011, 2012
Australian Goal Shooter of the Year: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007