After last year’s Netball World Cup in Sydney, Scotland captain Hayley Mulheron faced a life-changing decision.
She had offers in front of her to play in the England Superleague, in New Zealand or in Australia.
Having represented the Thistles for more than a decade in 95 Tests, the talented defender had one more goal to achieve in her netball career – to play in the world’s best netball league the ANZ Championship.
Having experienced first-hand the crowds at last year’s World Cup, Mulheron had no hesitation in deciding to return down under and test herself in the Australian Netball League.
Mulheron will line-up with Canberra Darters this season, which gets underway in Melbourne and Brisbane this weekend, and is looking forward to the challenge of playing against Australia’s the best emerging talent.
“I decided that if I ever wanted to play at ANZ Championship level, this was my last opportunity,” Mulheron – who turned 30 this week – said.
“My ultimate goal is to play in the ANZ Championship. That would be the icing on the cake of my career.”
Photos courtesy of Narelle Spangher, NWC2015 Media
Mulheron is playing in the Netball NSW Premier League with Greater Western Sydney Fury and said she “jumped at the opportunity” when approached by Canberra to be one of its imports.
Canberra coach Melinda Clarke is delighted to have an athlete of Mulheron’s experience on board.
“She has a great work ethic which has been evident throughout our pre-season and brings intensity and physicality, both of which are important to be successful in the ANL,” Clarke, pictured left, said.
“She has a great understanding of the game. She is really keen to improve her netball, contribute to our defensive unit and make the most of her opportunities with the Darters to pursue her ANZ Championship goal.”
Darters face reigning champions Victorian Fury on Saturday night at Melbourne’s State Netball & Hockey Centre before facing off again on Sunday at Hisense Arena following the ANZ Championship match between the Melbourne Vixens and New Zealand side the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.
Fury has never lost to Darters in eight previous seasons of ANL but Mulheron is paying little attention to past results.
“The girls are buzzing with excitement and can’t wait for the season to start this weekend,” Mulheron said.
“There’s a good feel about the team. We’ve been training really hard and we’ve got a great management team behind us. It’s the first game of the season and no one knows what to expect.”
Fury’s line-up includes a Scottish teammate of Mulheron from last year’s World Cup in Fiona Themann.
They were paired together in defence for the Thistles against the world’s best last year but will be at opposite ends of the court this time around.