DIAMONDS CAPTAIN VON BERTOUCH CALLS TIME ON CAREER

Australian Diamonds captain Natalie von Bertouch has announced her retirement from netball after leading the Adelaide Thunderbirds to a historic second ANZ Championship title last weekend.

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Von Bertouch bows out with two World Netball Championships gold medals (2007, 2011), two Commonwealth Games silver medals (2006, 2010) and two ANZ Championship premierships (2010, 2013) since making her national league debut with the Thunderbirds in 2001.

“I’ve made this decision because I could no longer contribute to the team in the way that I wanted after injuries have limited my court time,” von Bertouch said.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunities that netball has provided for me; the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had have just been amazing.

“Obviously it’s going to be a huge change for me.  Netball is everything I’ve known since I was nine years old, but it’s exciting because of the new opportunities ahead of me.”

After making her international Test debut on 20 November 2004 against the New Zealand Silver Ferns in Melbourne, von Bertouch went on to make 76 appearances in the green and gold, including 16 games as captain, over a nine year international career.

Following in the footsteps of legendary South Australian national captains Michelle den Dekker and Kathryn Harby-Williams, von Bertouch was appointed as captain of the Australian Diamonds in April 2011, but has missed eight of 18 international Tests since winning the 2011 World Netball Championships title due to foot and finger injuries.

Widely regarded one of the best centres in the world, von Bertouch claimed the sport’s highest individual honour, the Liz Ellis Diamond, in 2010.

“I would like to congratulate Natalie on an outstanding netball career,” Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander.

“Natalie has significantly contributed to the success of Australian netball, with both the Diamonds and Thunderbirds, as a leader and role model.  She will go down as one of the best players this country has ever produced.

“Natalie’s world-class leadership qualities and midcourt presence will be difficult to replace with the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 World Netball Championships in Sydney on the horizon.”

The Australian Diamonds squad for the 2013 international Tests will be announced on Thursday morning.