In 2017, Netball Australia is celebrating its 90th Anniversary. We look back with spectator Julie Wade on a netball milestone- the record breaking crowd at the Netball World Cup in 2015.
When you’re a sports fan, it’s the big matches you remember.
The bumper crowds, the tantalising atmosphere, the cliffhanger finishes.
The feeling you’ll have for the rest of your life that you were there.
For aficionados of netball, there hasn’t been a bigger occasion than the final of the 2015 Netball World Cup.
August 2015 is a month and year that avid netball fan Julie Wade remembers fondly.
Julie is a regular match-goer at Qudos Bank arena in Sydney, cheering on her beloved NSW Swifts.
Julie was a spectator at that grand final – the Netball World Cup in August 2015 – when the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns came head to head in what was arguably the greatest game of all.
This unforgettable encounter broke the world record attendance for a netball match with 16,849 fans filling the stadium.
Julie says that occasion was like no other. It was spine-tingling.
“It was great being on home ground in Sydney. You knew that it was a record, all the seats were taken and it was very exciting.”
Julie said looking around the stadium everyone was decked out in their teams colours.
“The colour was amazing- the black, the silver, the yellow, the green.”
And the atmosphere was tense. Australia and New Zealand have long been fierce competitors, they share a mutual respect, and this match lived up to that wonderful rivalry.
“I remember the first quarter we got out to a lead and it was very quiet amongst the Kiwi supporters. But then after quarter time New Zealand started coming back.”
The Diamonds had a six goal led in the third quarter and then it became close again.
“The atmosphere started to build more and more in the stadium the closer the teams got. By the final quarter, it was really noisy and exciting. There was a frenzy among the supporters of both countries.”
“I felt Australia was going to win. But I was glad there wasn’t another five minutes in the game or New Zealand might have gotten us.”
At the final siren, Australia won by just three goals.
“The final score was 58-55. Australia played really well as a team and they were very slick. They really gelled on court.”
For Julie Wade, and for 16,848 others at that match, this was one of the greatest sporting events they ever witnessed.
Whenever the World Cup final of 2015 is mentioned, Julie can say: I was there.