New tradition ensures Diamonds are forever

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As a fan of all sports, Natalie Medhurst was fascinated by the esteem surrounding the iconic baggy green cap given to Australian cricketers.

A couple of years ago Medhurst and Caitlin Bassett decided they wanted to create something similar that would be presented to every athlete who has worn the Australian netball dress since 1938.

After being given the green light by Netball Australia, the concept of an Australian Netball Diamond Player Pendant was born.

In 2015, the majority of the 168 athletes who had played at least one Test for Australia were presented with their specially marked piece of jewelry either at the `Memories and Milestones’ lunch held during the Netball World Cup in Sydney or the Australian Netball Awards night.

“I’m a big cricket fan and there’s so much significance around the baggy green cap,” Medhurst said.

_MCA5544Li“You read stories about how (former Australian captain) Steve Waugh only wore one (baggy green cap) throughout his whole career.

“I thought it would be good to have something that we, as players, could have that represented our part in Australian netball history which we could hold on for years to come or even pass it down.

“I went to CBass (Bassett) with the idea and asked her `what do you think?’ and she was all for it.

“It was awesome at the awards dinner last year to see so many of the game’s great players wearing their pendants and hearing them talk about how special it was and how much it meant to them.

“It home to me then that this was a good idea and how important it was to people. Because it is a huge privilege to represent your country.

“You’d see someone wearing it and you’d go up and say `hi, what number (Australian representative) were you?’ and find out a bit more about that player.”

_MCA6006LiThe front of the pendant bears the Southern Cross with the back engraved with the player’s Test cap `number’ and year they made their Test debut.

Medhurst, whose own 80 Tests has her placed equal eighth on the all-time list, said she was privileged to be able to present Gabi Simpson, Gretel Tippett and Jo Weston with their pendants.

“It’s a pretty elite group to be part of,” Medhurst said. “To hear that response of how much it means to people is humbling and, personally, to be part of creating that is extremely special.”

Netball Australia has undertaken a significant project to celebrate the sport’s rich history at international level through a `History and Traditions’ feature on its website.

Since its launch late last year, we’ve heard from many past players or their families and friends to help us `fill in the gaps’ about their Australian careers.

Click here to visit the History and Heritage section on Netball Australia’s website or email [email protected] and help us continue to celebrate the contributions of our past greats for future generations to absorb.

Donations of any old, unseen photos – whether that’s team or individual – are also welcome.