There was no one more shocked than Renae Hallinan when her name was read out as the Liz Ellis Diamond winner in 2013.
The star wing defence said receiving the honor at last year’s Australian Netball Awards was “beyond (her) wildest dreams” and will always be “extremely grateful” to be judged as Australia’s best netballer in 2013.
Hallinan said it was special to share the occasion with parents Denis and Margaret, who had been there through the highs and lows of her netball career.
“I actually couldn’t believe it; I didn’t believe it,” Hallinan said of her reaction on the announcement.
“Then seeing tears in my parents’ eyes made me well up with tears myself.
“It was, and will remain, one of the most special memories of my career. Therefore it is impossible to describe how honoured and proud I am to be able to say that I won the award.”
Hallinan’s victory capped off her successful year where she was a key part of the Adelaide Thunderbirds’ ANZ Championship premiership team – her second title – and was named in the ANZ Championship All-Star Team for the first time.
“2013 with the Thunderbirds was a year, and premiership that I hold very close to my heart,” Hallinan said.
“So much hard work went into each and every one of us playing our own individual role in the team’s overall success.”
“It was a dream ending to such an enjoyable year with both the Thunderbirds and the Diamonds.
“We never play our sport for individual awards, although it was lovely to be recognised as playing my role for the team.”
Hallinan said winning an award named after Australia’s most-capped Test player and Netball Australia Hall of Fame member Liz Ellis is the ultimate accolade for any Australian player.
“Winning the Liz Ellis Diamond is the most prestigous award an Australian netballer can win. Liz Ellis has done so much for the sport of netball, was a powerful and influential leader and was the ultimate competitor,” Hallinan said.
“To win an award named after her makes me so unbelievably proud.”