She may have only played four Tests for Australia, but Pat McCarthy (nee Doherty) revolutionised the game style of centre court players for generations to follow.
McCarthy, who captained Australia on its inaugural tour of England in 1956, is the latest induction into Netball Australia’s Hall of Fame.
Her inclusion to the Hall of Fame was announced at the 2014 Australian Netball Awards at Parliament House in Canberra and McCarthy (pictured left) said she was “absolutely gob smacked” to be recognised among the greats of the game.
“Netball has played a very big part in my life and I’m thankful I was able to participate at such a level,” McCarthy said.
“I always tell my friends it was a God-given gift and I really believe that I was blessed with this ability to play at such a high level.
“It’s a great honor and I’m very humbled.”
While she only stood at 147cm, McCarthy’s speed and ingenuity has her credited with introducing passing on the run in netball. She was known as a mercurial player who took that extra step and delivered the ball in flight.
“I used to get pulled up so often,” McCarthy said. “It’s a very thin line whether you’re stepping or not and the solution to that is get rid of the ball – don’t worry about your feet; get rid of the ball.”
McCarthy was first chosen in an Australian team in 1952 as part of a non-touring side. The team was chosen at the end of the interstate series and would play against ‘The Rest’ in a match.
“It was quite fierce competition because you might have been playing against somebody that was in your (state) team,” McCarthy recalls.
In the very first Test played between the two countries, Australia won 14-11 in front of a crowd of about 8000 in London.
McCarthy loves watching the current athletes in action and believes the modern game is “fantastic” for spectators.
“I see these young girls out playing on a Saturday afternoon and I think `this is wonderful’ (because) the friendships I’ve had formed during netball were absolutely fabulous,” McCarthy said.