Commonwealth Games gold medallist Bianca Chatfield has announced her retirement from international netball on Monday.
The 32-year-old defender bows out from the international stage on a high after Australia ended its 12-year Commonwealth Games gold medal drought on Sunday with a 58-40 victory over New Zealand.
“A couple of months ago I remember thinking that the Commonwealth Games means the absolute world to me so to get to the Games from where I’ve come from I really wanted to win that gold medal,” Chatfield said.
“When I look forward to the 2015 Netball World Cup I realised that a lot of hard work has to happen and I just don’t think that I can give any more to the Diamonds.
“I’ve loved every moment, there have been so many challenges and amazing times along the way, but the team comes first and I want the Diamonds to head into the World Cup with the best prepared players.”
Chatfield hangs up her bib following an international career that spanned 13 years and includes a World Netball Championship title in 2007 and a Commonwealth Games silver (2006) and gold (2014).
The Victorian said she’s proud of her resilience after missing out on Australian selection for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2011 World Netball Championships in Singapore.
“The proudest time for me was coming back from the set backs, people telling me that I’m not good enough or not being selected, but the best part has been the friends that I’ve made,” Chatfield said.
“I never thought representing Australia for so long would be possible, I first made this team when I was 18-years-old so I’ve got this overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation that I’ve been able to be around the team for so long.”
Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander, who first coached Chatfield as a teenager with the Melbourne Phoenix in the former Commonwealth Bank Trophy, paid tribune to her leadership.
“I’m thrilled for her that she’s made the decision to go out on a high,” Alexander said.
“She’s been integral to our success, as vice-captain in particular but also as a fantastic defender, she brought a real hunger and desire to our defensive end and we’re going to miss her terribly.”
Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer believes Chatfield, who amassed 59 international Test appearances, has an exciting future ahead.
“Bianca is one of the sport’s most significant leaders on and off the court, she’s has achieved such an enormous amount for our sport,” Palmer said.
“The exciting this is that she’s retired from international netball on a high and there’s so much ahead of her, she will have an important part to play in our sport in the future and I know she’s going to strengthen us as a sport because of who she is and how she leads.”
Chatfield will continue her domestic career with the Melbourne Vixens in the 2015 ANZ Championship.