Julie Corletto retires with third world title after injury-plagued career
Emotions were running high for the Netball World Cup-winning Diamonds after their three-goal victory in Sunday’s final, but no higher than for retiring defender Julie Corletto. After 52 Tests and three world titles, the 28-year-old goal defence has drawn the curtain on her illustrious 12-year netball career. To have even played in the final was an achievement in itself, given the injury challenges Corletto has endured.
A troublesome knee had threatened to derail the Diamonds stalwart’s swansong in Sydney on Sunday, but after a heavily managed workload this week, the 2009 Liz Ellis Diamond recipient managed the full 60 minutes in front a world-record 16,752 crowd in Sydney. As she hobbled around afterwards with both knees packed in ice, the 2007 and 2011 World Cup-winning veteran said a hat-trick was every bit the fairytale ending she had hoped for.
“I was trying to hold my emotions back but it’s hard,” Corletto said. “As you can see I’m pretty much broken now, but I got a gold medal so there’s nothing sweeter than that to finish on such a high.” Plagued by various injuries throughout her career, Corletto has played in just over 50 per cent of the 92 Tests Australia has contested since her debut against Jamaica in 2007.
But her tireless performance against the Silver Ferns showed every bit why she has been hailed as one of netball’s most extraordinary athletes. Captain Laura Geitz, arm in arm with Corletto and coach Lisa Alexander, described her team-mate as an inspiration. “She made me cry before the game,” Geitz said.
“It’s just amazing to see emotion from this girl, because she’s a warrior. I don’t think any of you sitting here understand just what this girl puts herself through to be out on court and just what she brings to the team. She inspires every single person that wears the green and gold. And she just deserves all the success, she’s one of the most amazing human beings.”
Corletto’s departure was very real for goal-attack Natalie Medhurst, who has played alongside Corletto for eight years. “Probably the most emotional thing is to share this with Jules,” she said. “She’s a freak, and it’s really sad to see her go. It’s surreal, I just can’t believe it … we made our debut together, we’ve been in three winning World Cups.”