Four eras of Australian netball were acknowledged when six former and two current Australian athletes were presented with their Australian Netball Diamond Player Pendant by current national coach Lisa Alexander.
The group were presented with their specially-marked pendants at a function during the Finals Day of the 17/U and 19/U National Netball Championships in Perth in front of proud family members.
The athletes acknowledged were Annette Simper (nee Foley) and Corin Sambell (nee Fleming) – members of Australia’s inaugural Netball World Cup team in 1963 – Cheryl Stevenson (nee Sidebottom), who was part of two world championship-winning sides, Sally Ironmonger and Jessica Menehira (nee Shynn).
Current Diamonds Ashleigh Brazill and April Brandley (nee Letton) were also presented with their pendants.
Simper’s 12 Tests were spread over three Netball World Cups – 1963, 1971 and 1979.
Stevenson, who represented Australia in 14 Tests in the 1971 and 1975 Netball World Cups, said it was a special moment to be presented with her pendant.
“Looking back, when you play for Australia you’re very, very proud. When you’ve done your journey, to get recognition like this is very special – for me and my family,” Stevenson said.
“I’m still very proud and I always be.
“I feel very humbled because I’m in a room of champions; but it’s been wonderful to be recognised as one of the champions.”
“Winning a silver medal at the (2006) Commonwealth Games is one of my fondest memories but probably most of all the friendships that I made,” Menehira said.
“It’s awesome, that recognition of the past and present players. I went to the World Cup (in Sydney) last year and said to Lisa it had been over a decade since I’d seen everyone but it felt like it was only yesterday.”
Menehira said she’s began assisting a fellow mum running the ANZ NetSetGO program at Eden’s primary school in the Perth suburb of Kalamunda.
“I might be taking the court in the state netball league,” she also quipped.
Netball Australia hopes to hold similar functions around the country this year and present past player with their pendants to recognise their contribution to the game.