HISTORY OF THE NETBALL WORLD CUP

HISTORY OF THE NETBALL WORLD CUP2023-07-25T13:43:16+10:00
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        From Silver Ferns TV

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          From Netball Fan

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            From Sebastian Luckai

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                2007 – 12TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (AUCKLAND, NZ)

                The 12th World Championships headed to Auckland. New Zealand had taken up the slack to host the tournament after it was taken away from original hosts Fiji due to political turmoil. And Auckland did a great job at short notice. For the first time, the number of competing countries was capped at 16, with qualifying events held around the world.

                One of the big highlights was the performance of Malawi. They had come to prominence at the 2006 commonwealth games with their exuberant celebration after beating South Africa, and here they climbed to fifth in the world after defeating the Proteas once again, thanks in no small part to the ageless Mary Waya.

                The playoff for third was also a classic game. Jamaica dominated most of the match until an extraordinary late fightback from England that ultimately came up just short, Jamaica winning 53-52.

                The final was a strange game. Australia was seemingly in control for most of the match, but misfiring shooters kept the Kiwis in the hunt. Australia led New Zealand 27-20 at half time, with sisters Nat and Laura von Bertouch in hot form in the midcourt.

                The Australian shooting circle was a bit chaotic in the second half, up against a strong New Zealand defence led by Casey Williams. They scored just eight goals in the third quarter as the Silver Ferns narrowed the gap to three. Then came an extraordinary last quarter.

                Australia managed just seven goals, but somehow that was enough as New Zealand only scored six. In what would be her last match, champion goal keeper Liz Ellis turned in a superhuman effort to continually deny Irene van Dyk and the Silver Ferns’ attack. The final score was 42-38 and Ellis, in tears, bowed out a winner with an amazing tally of 3 world and 2 commonwealth titles to her name.

                It was also a great victory for Norma Plummer who had guided the Australian team through one of the toughest patches in its history and now had them back on top.

                .

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                  1st – AUSTRALIA
                  CHATFIELD, Bianca
                  COX, Catherine
                  ELLIS, Liz (Captain)
                  GERRARD, Mo’onia
                  GILSENAN, Selina
                  McMAHON, Sharelle
                  MEDHURST, Natalie
                  NOURSE, Lauren
                  PRATLEY, Susan
                  PRENDERGAST, Julie
                  VON BERTOUCH, Laura
                  VON BERTOUCH, Natalie
                  Coach: Norma Plummer

                  2nd – NEW ZEALAND
                  BOWDEN, Maree
                  DE BRUIN, Leana
                  GRIFFIN, Paula
                  HENRY, Joline
                  LANGMAN, Laura
                  SCANLAN, Sheryl
                  SEYMOUR, Julie
                  TE HUNA, Jodi
                  TUTAIA, Maria
                  VAN DYK, Irene
                  WILLIAMS, Casey
                  WILSON, Adine (Captain)
                  Coach: Ruth Aitken

                  3rd – JAMAICA
                  AIKEN, Nicole
                  AIKEN, Romelda
                  BRYAN, Nadine
                  BYFIELD, Althea
                  DAVIS, Elaine (Captain)
                  EVERING, Kasey
                  FORBES, Simone
                  GIBSON, Nichala
                  HENRY, Sasha-Gaye
                  SOLMON, Christina
                  THOMPSON, Paula
                  WILES, Sharon
                  Coach: Connie Francis

                  All team lists… https://netballscoop.com/forums/topic/team-lists-2007-world-championships-2/

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                    COMPETITION FORMAT:
                    16 teams. 4 pools of 4 teams with the top teams then going on to 1/4 finals, semi finals and a final.

                    POOL A

                    New Zealand 85 def Malawi 26
                    (van Dyk 42/42, Te Huna 22/29, Tutaia 21/25)
                    (Magombo 14/16, Waya 12/19)

                    Wales 54 def Botswana 35
                    (James 36/45, Evans 18/24)
                    (Radipotsane 26/30, Motsumi 9/12)

                    Malawi 44 def Botswana 32
                    (Waya 26/32, Magombo 17/21, Mdzagada 1/3)
                    (Radipotsane 26/30, Modise 4/9, Moeng 2/3)

                    New Zealand 86 def Wales 24
                    (van Dyk 37/39, Te Huna 27/31, Griffin 11/13, Tutaia 11/14)
                    (James 15/28, Moseley 6/11, Blucher 3/6)

                    Malawi 55 def Wales 52
                    (Magombo 45/51, Waya 10/13)
                    (James 35/42, Evans 17/23)

                    New Zealand 76 def Botswana 20
                    (van Dyk 33/34, Tutaia 19/21, Te Huna 14/18, Griffin 10/12)
                    (Moeng 9/11, Moabi 7/9, Motsumi 4/4)

                    Pool order:
                    1. New Zealand
                    2. Malawi

                    3. Wales
                    4. Botswana

                    POOL B

                    Trinidad & Tobago 47 def Scotland 39
                    (Wilson 37/47, Barker 10/12)
                    (McDonald 32/50, Higgins 4/9, Lyon 2/7, Fraser 1/4)

                    Australia 82 def Samoa 26
                    (McMahon 28/37, Cox 24/30, Medhurst 18/18, Pratley 12/14)
                    (Latu 13/20, Faasavalu 10/14, Senio 3/3)

                    Samoa 60 def Scotland 39
                    (Latu 31/35, Faasavalu 21/22, Senio 8/9)
                    (McDonald 25/30, Lyon 14/22)

                    Australia 78 def Trinidad & Tobago 34
                    (Pratley 42/49, McMahon 25/26, Medhurst 11/12)
                    (Wilson 17/23, Barker 9/10, Morgan 5/7, Cooper 3/4)

                    Australia 93 def Scotland 20
                    (Cox 37/40, McMahon 34/37, Pratley 11/12, Medhurst 11/14)
                    (McDonald 10/17, Lyon 6/12, Fraser 4/8)

                    Samoa 52 def Trinidad & Tobago 48
                    (Latu 30/32, Senio 18/25, Faasavalu 4/4)
                    (Barker 23/23, Wilson 23/26, Zamore 2/3)

                    Pool order:
                    1. Australia
                    2. Samoa

                    3. Trinidad & Tobago
                    4. Scotland

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                      POOL C

                      Fiji 61 def Singapore 32
                      (Rara 26/30, Bereso 21/22, Tuisasa 8/12, Shaw 6/7)
                      (Chen 16/23, Heng 6/9, Li 5/7, H.Tan 5/9)

                      Jamaica 71 def Cook Islands 29
                      (R.Aiken 49/53, Forbes 21/28, Solmon 1/2)
                      (Andrews 15/22, Tate 11/14, Patti Te Huna 3/7)

                      Cook Islands 45 def Singapore 43
                      (Andrews 27/28, Patti Te Huna 13/17, Tate 5/8)
                      (H.Tan 31/40, Chen 12/15)

                      Jamaica 78 def Fiji 35
                      (Davis 28/30, Forbes 28/34, R.Aiken 22/23)
                      (Bereso 11/14, Rara 11/17, Tuisasa 7/11, Shaw 6/8)

                      Cook Islands 42 def Fiji 36
                      (Andrews 24/29, Patti Te Huna 18/33)
                      (Bereso 12/16, Tuisasa 10/14, Shaw 9/14, Rara 5/6)

                      Jamaica 91 def Singapore 35
                      (R.Aiken 64/71, Davis 17/21, Forbes 6/7, Solmon 4/7)
                      (Heng 19/30, H.Tan 9/14, Chen 7/11)

                      Pool order:
                      1. Jamaica
                      2. Cook Islands

                      3. Fiji
                      4. Singapore

                      POOL D

                      South Africa 67 def Malaysia 28
                      (Gumede 28/34, Markgraff 20/34, Mbewe 19/23)
                      (Aruna 15/20, Nur Azzaini 13/19)

                      England 88 def Barbados 34
                      (Brownfield 36/42, Harten 24/28, Cookey 14/16, Greenway 14/18)
                      (L.Browne 19/23, Piggott 15/20)

                      South Africa 56 def Barbados 36
                      (Gumede 32/42, Markgraff 24/38)
                      (L.Browne 27/32, Piggott 9/15)

                      England 99 def Malaysia 16
                      (Harten 34/38, Brownfield 26/31, Cookey 20/24, Greenway 19/25)
                      (Nur Azzaini 11/23, Aruna 4/10, Noorul Afniza 1/2)

                      Barbados 62 def Malaysia 38
                      (L.Browne 46/49, Piggott 10/13, Griffith 6/10)
                      (Aruna 19/29, Nur Azzaini 19/31)

                      England 62 def South Africa 32
                      (Cookey 24/30, Brownfield 23/24, Harten 15/19)
                      (Basson 14/19, Markgraff 12/16, Mbewe 4/4, Gumede 2/2)

                      Pool order:
                      1. England
                      2. South Africa

                      3. Barbados
                      4. Malaysia

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                        QUARTER FINALS

                        England 81 def Malawi 37
                        (Cookey 40/49, Brownfield 34/41, Greenway 7/8)
                        (Waya 20/30, Mzagada 9/9, Magombo 8/10)

                        Australia 90 def Cook Islands 22
                        (Cox 25/28, Medhurst 25/28, Pratley 21/23, McMahon 19/22)
                        (Patti Te Huna 10/16, Tavioni 6/9, Andrews 5/8, Tate 1/3)

                        Jamaica 73 def Samoa 42
                        (R.Aiken 57/65, Forbes 13/16, Solmon 3/3)
                        (Faasavalu 27/32, Senio 11/18, Latu 4/6)

                        New Zealand 82 def South Africa 23
                        (van Dyk 54/60, Te Huna 14/16, Tutaia 14/18)
                        (Basson 9/14, Gumede 6/8, Markgraff 5/8, Mbewe 3/5)

                        .

                        CLASSIFICATION MATCHES

                        15/16 Playoff: Singapore 59 def Malaysia 44
                        (Li 26/33, H.Tan 18/24, Heng 15/21)
                        (Nur Azzaini 27/39, Aruna 15/23, Noorul Afniza 2/3)

                        13/14 Playoff: Barbados 51 def Scotland 45
                        (L.Browne 37/42, Piggott 9/12, Griffith 5/6)
                        (McDonald 38/54, Lyon 6/15, Higgins 1/1)

                        11/12 Playoff: Trinidad & Tobago 48 def Wales 45
                        (Wilson 32/40, Morgan 8/8, Cooper 8/11)
                        (James 37/44, Evans 8/16)

                        9/10 Playoff: Fiji 65 def Botswana 20
                        (Rara 46/49, Shaw 16/20, Bereso 3/4, Tuisasa 0/4)
                        (Radipotsane 8/11, Motsumi 7/9, Moeng 5/9)

                        7/8 Playoff: Cook Islands 56 def Samoa 55
                        (Daniels 31/38, Patti Te Huna 25/27)
                        (Latu 37/40, Faasavalu 10/15, Senio 8/10)

                        5/6 Playoff: Malawi 52 def South Africa 49
                        (Magombo 24/29, Waya 22/25, Mdzagada 6/7)
                        (Gumede 31/33, Markgraff 11/20, Basson 7/7)

                        .

                        SEMI FINAL 1
                        AUSTRALIA: 51 (Cox 32/48, McMahon 19/26)
                        ENGLAND: 33 (Brownfield 24/30, Cookey 7/7, Greenway 2/4)
                        (11-10, 25-16, 36-25, 51-33)

                        Starting lineups:
                        AUSTRALIA: GS Cox, GA McMahon, WA L.von Bertouch, C N.von Bertouch, WD Prendergast, GD Gerrard, GK Ellis
                        ENGLAND: GS Brownfield, GA Cookey, WA Atkinson, C Clarke, WD Agbeze, GD Mkoloma, GK Mentor

                        .

                        SEMI FINAL 2
                        NEW ZEALAND: 59 (van Dyk 41/44, Te Huna 18/20)
                        JAMAICA: 49 (R.Aiken 30/32, Forbes 19/23)
                        (13-16, 26-30, 40-39, 59-49)

                        Starting lineups:
                        NEW ZEALAND: GS van Dyk, GA Te Huna, WA Wilson, C Langman, WD Seymour, GD Scanlan, GK Williams
                        JAMAICA: GS R.Aiken, GA Forbes, WA Bryan, C Wiles, WD Henry, GD Evering, GK Byfield

                        .

                        3/4 PLAYOFF
                        JAMAICA: 53 (R.Aiken 30/38, Forbes 23/28)
                        ENGLAND: 52 (Brownfield 29/35, Cookey 23/29)
                        (16-11, 27-21, 43-32, 53-52)

                        Starting lineups:
                        JAMAICA: GS R.Aiken, GA Forbes, WA Bryan, C Wiles, WD Henry, GD Evering, GK Byfield
                        ENGLAND: GS Brownfield, GA Cookey, WA Atkinson, C Clarke, WD Newton, GD Mkoloma, GK Mentor

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                          FINAL: NEW ZEALAND V AUSTRALIA

                          AUSTRALIA WON 42-38
                          (10-13, 20-27, 32-35, 38-42)

                          NEW ZEALAND:
                          GS van Dyk
                          GA Te Huna
                          WA Wilson
                          C Langman
                          WD Seymour
                          GD Scanlan
                          GK Williams

                          Changes:
                          2nd Quarter.. Henry WD (Seymour).

                          Shooting Stats:
                          van Dyk 26/31 (84%)
                          Te Huna 12/15 (80%)
                          TOTAL 38/46 (83%)

                          AUSTRALIA:
                          GS Cox
                          GA McMahon
                          WA L.von Bertouch
                          C N.von Bertouch
                          WD Gilsenan
                          GD Gerrard
                          GK Ellis

                          Changes:
                          3rd Quarter.. Pratley GA (McMahon)
                          4th Quarter.. Prendergast WD (Gilsenan).
                          During 4th Q. Medhurst GA (Pratley).
                          During 4th Q. McMahon GS (Cox).

                          Shooting stats:
                          Cox 27/38 (71%)
                          McMahon 7/10 (70%)
                          Pratley 5/9 (56%)
                          Medhurst 3/3 (100%)
                          TOTAL 42/60 (70%)

                          .

                          FINAL PLACINGS:

                          1. AUSTRALIA
                          2. New Zealand
                          3. Jamaica

                          4. England
                          5. Malawi
                          6. South Africa
                          7. Cook Islands
                          8. Western Samoa
                          9. Fiji
                          10. Botswana
                          11. Trinidad & Tobago
                          12. Wales
                          13. Barbados
                          14. Scotland
                          15. Singapore
                          16. Malaysia

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                            Aussies triumph at World Champs
                            Cathy Walshe – New Zealand Herald

                            New world netball champions Australia had to battle every inch of the way against an inspired Silver Ferns team for an outstanding 42-38 win in the final of the world netball championship tonight. In match that could have gone either way. The Silver Ferns fought back from a seven-goal deficit to close within one goal but just couldn’t close out the Australians in a low-scoring but full-on match. The game was typified by extreme commitment and white-hot intensity, with both teams throwing everything into it, and Australia secured victory only the last two minutes.

                            The Silver Ferns opened at a frenetic pace, with Jodi Te Huna netting the first goal with aplomb and goal keep Casey Williams breaking the Australians on the next pass with a brilliantly timed intercept in the circle. The Australians broke right away, only to see the Silver Ferns net the next three goals for a narrow lead. But once the Australian midcourt starting working the ball around, the amount of possession finding the shooters was hard to stem.

                            Sharelle McMahon had a quiet quarter, and Catherine Cox made a few uncharacteristic early misses, but it didn’t matter because there was always more ball coming through. The Silver Ferns, guilty of slow starts in early pool play, came out firing on all cylinders, but the Australians’ through-court defence was stifling, wing defence Selina Gilsenan in particularly spoiling form. The benefit of that came in the steady stream of possession finding its way into Cox and McMahon, who converted 13 from 17 attempts compared to Te Huna and van Dyk’s 10 from 11.

                            As she did against Jamaica in last night’s semifinal, Aitken brought on Joline Henry to take over from Julie Seymour at wing defence after the first quarter. But the Australians started the second spell with the sniff of a lead, and some rugged work from circle defenders Liz Ellis and Mo’onia Gerrard broke up New Zealand’s cohesion on attack to see the lead balloon out at one stage to seven goals. The Silver Ferns dug deep and closed the margin to four goals as the second quarter neared a close, with Williams showing outstanding anticipation and quick hands to keep the pressure on Cox and McMahon.

                            But the von Bertouch sisters were running riot in the Australian midcourt, Laura at wing attack in brilliant form, and three goals right on the whistle gave them a 27-20 lead at halftime. New Zealand’s problems didn’t lie in the shooting circle, however, as Te Huna and van Dyk missed only two goals from the 22 shots they put up. In contrast, Australia gloried in a wealth of possession and could afford the odd miss as they sunk 27 of their 36 attempts. Australian coach Norma Plummer benched McMahon after 30 minutes, after she sunk five from only six shots on goal and brought on the ultra-reliable Sue Pratley.

                            The Silver Ferns showed the same mettle they had the previous night against Jamaica, fighting for every ball and inching their way back into the game to trail 32-35 at the three-quarter time. It was more of the same through the fourth spell, as both teams upped an already impressive defensive effort and bodies started flying. One of them was Pratley, who fell heavily contesting a rebound five minutes into the final spell and was replaced by Natalie Medhurst for the final chaotic minutes. And McMahon came back on at goal shoot with five minutes left, as Cox left the court while Langman was being treated. But the Australian machine maintained momentum and rolled on to the win.

                            New Zealand captain Adine Wilson praised her team for their efforts. “We asked you to leave your guts out there and I think its all over the court….,” she said. “… We did everything we could but we couldn’t bring it home.” Victorious Australia skipper Liz Ellis said the Australians knew New Zealand were going to be a super opponent in the final. ” At no stage of the game did we feel safe. But this (Australian) team have worked incredibly hard and their heart and soul and fight (in them) is unbelievable.”

                            New Zealand coach Ruth Aitken said Australia had a great game and did a good job to hold her team out. ” We came back at them, we fought and we fought but it just wasn’t to be at the end.” Australia coach Norma Plummer said she felt sick in the aftermath of the victory. She had decided to make a number of changes at different times in the game because she had the depth in the team and “that’s what we went for”.

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                              Australians win fighting finale
                              Linda Pearce – The Age

                              FOR the past four years and four months, for the first time since the early 1990s, the world netball title has resided elsewhere. Later today, after a heavy night of celebration, the trophy will return to Australia, carried proudly by a team that upstaged defending champion New Zealand 42-38 in last night’s dramatic final in Waitakere.

                              It is Australia’s ninth championship from 12 attempts( and eighth outright, as the 1979 crown was shared three ways) and the celebrations reflected the fact it had been eight years since the last. The entire team, including the coaches and support staff, swore off alcohol almost two months ago with this result in sight. The first sip of victory fizz last night was the first of many.

                              Another chapter was written in the rich history of a rivalry that brought a one-goal margin in the first world championships in 1963 and has so often produced results of two goals or less including in the two previous finals, with Australia’s 42-41 triumph in 1999 followed by the Ferns’ 49-47 revenge in 2003.

                              Australia owes its victory to an heroic defensive effort, as its shooters again faltered under supreme pressure. For the second consecutive night its scoring percentage was inferior this time (it was just 70) but sheer weight of shots and a timely rebound by captain Liz Ellis inside the last two minutes, when New Zealand had surged back to within two goals, counted in the end.

                              “What a fight,” said an emotional Ellis. “The Silver Ferns were always going to be a super opponent tonight, and they fought back and fought back, and at no stage of that game did we feel safe. The heart and the soul and the fight in this team is just unbelievable. We just kept fighting and at times it wasn’t pretty, but it was desperation. Both teams were desperate but perhaps we just had the edge.”

                              New Zealand was slightly steadier in a frenetic start, leading 7-4 as Australian struggled to penetrate its attacking third and shooters Catherine Cox and Sharelle McMahon both logged two early misses. But, gradually, things settled, Cox found her range, and Australia scored nine of the next 12 goals to take a 13-10 lead at the first break.

                              Joline Henry replaced Julie Seymour at wing defence, but Australia’s lead only increased, and in less than four minutes had stretched to seven. Ellis and Mo’onia Gerrard were brutally frugal in defence, keeping Jodi te Huna well covered, and increasing the pressure on Irene van Dyk, who was being worn like Ellis’s favourite party frock.

                              An important steal from Laura von Bertouch, converted by Cox, when the Ferns had edged back to within four just before half-time helped Australia take a 27-20 lead to the main break. Coach Norma Plummer sensationally dragged vice-captain McMahon, replacing her with Susan Pratley after McMahon had been held to just six shots.

                              But Pratley, too, struggled, and Australia lost the third quarter 12-8. New Zealand had a sniff, and when Pratley left the court after a poke in the eye a few minutes into the last quarter, Plummer made the stunning decision not to recall McMahon but to include rookie Natalie Medhurst. Minutes later, McMahon was back anyway, and it was Cox who was dragged.

                              However chaotic, it was sweet retrieval for Australia, which had lost both its world and Commonwealth Games titles in the past four years. The nadir was reached on this court late in 2005, when Ellis wrecked her knee in the first quarter of a Test that delivered a record 25-goal loss to her traumatised team.

                              “I just think this team has worked so hard together, they’re so united and I think they were relentless,” said Plummer, who also defended her coaching moves, including benching McMahon when Australia led by seven.

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                                All goals achieved
                                Linda Pearce – The Age

                                ON SUNDAY morning, after many celebratory drinks, two hours’ sleep and the mandatory fried breakfast at the team hotel in Auckland, Liz Ellis told her fellow world champions that she had played her last game. Most of them cried. Almost three months earlier, when Ellis confided her secret plans to her great friend Catherine Cox over lunch at a restaurant in Sydney’s Rose Bay, Cox admitted to a different emotion: anger.”

                                I said, ‘No, you’re not’ and Liz said, ‘Yes, I am’ and I said, ‘No, you’re not’, and we went on like that for about five minutes and then she told me that she’d discussed it in detail with Matthew, her husband, so then I rang her husband and abused him for not trying hard enough,” Cox recalled yesterday. “And I probably would have sat there for the rest of the day and tried to make her change her mind, but nothing was going to happen. At that stage, she said she may even think about having children and that was what made me cry because I thought, ‘God, she’s serious’!”

                                So she was, but Ellis also had made a pact with national coach Norma Plummer some time earlier that she would not announce any decision to quit until the world titles were over – unlike four years ago in Jamaica, when captain Kathryn Harby-Williams was one of three players who flagged their retirement intentions ahead of what also was to be coach Jill McIntosh’s swansong.

                                And, for Ellis, if that meant telling a few fibs to the media, and others, then so be it. In Melbourne for the launch of the Tasman Trophy in October, she suggested she was keen to play on. On Saturday night, she said she had given no thought to anything past 9.30pm on November 17. By then, her priority was to share with her teammates what only Cox already knew.”

                                I didn’t want to even hint that I was thinking about it because to win a world champs, you have to have such tunnel vision and be so focused,” Ellis said yesterday. “I’d felt bad telling Catherine but I couldn’t have kept it from her, and she kept the secret very well – even though that day was not a pleasant day.”

                                She left all these dreadful messages on my husband’s voicemail – the first one was, ‘What are you doing? Why don’t you talk her out of it?’- and I was just hoping she could put it out of her head. And telling the girls on the Sunday morning was pretty difficult. I kept thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll put it off. I’ll tell ’em now. No, I’ll tell ’em later’.”

                                She told them – and then promptly burst into tears – the delicate morning after the long night that had just brought her proudest achievement, and one of what history will judge as perhaps her finest, toughest and most desperate performance against New Zealand star Irene van Dyk.

                                Ellis’ third world championship added to her two Commonwealth Games gold medals, four national league Most Valuable Player awards, and four premierships as captain of the Sydney Swifts, among countless other honours. She is the most capped Australian in national league (173 matches) and Test (122) history.

                                Yet she has felt for much of the year that now was the time to go. Despite being in the best shape of her life, and habitually outplaying much younger and taller opponents with her spring, toughness and intelligence, her body is creaking. Amid all the tall young shooters coming through, she jokes that she is shrinking annually. And the next major event is not until 2010.

                                Despite the temptation to stay on for the start of the trans-Tasman league in 2008, the fact that this year the Swifts ended the national league era by winning consecutive titles completed the first leg of Ellis’s desired double. Only the burning ambition to reclaim the world championship remained unfulfilled.”

                                After the Swifts won, I thought, ‘That’ll do me’. I was 99.9% sure, then on Saturday night at the end of the game, it was just easy to say, ‘That’s enough’. On the one hand, it’s been really difficult – it’s hard to walk away from such a great team at the height of its powers – but I’m 34, things are starting to fall apart.”

                                When I get up in the morning, I have to hobble around and it takes me a while to get going, so there just comes a time where you know it’s time to finish. I wanted a fairytale, and I got it, so that was good enough for me.”

                                Ellis admits she briefly considered retirement in the moments after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in Auckland late in 2005, an injury that, at 32, cost her a place at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. “It was tempting, but I really wanted to leave the sport on my own terms, and I wanted to leave the sport that I love playing, by playing.”

                                “The highs for me that standout are obviously the three world championship wins – ’95, ’99 and this one – and I’ve said that ’99 for me was the best, but Saturday night, I think just shades that, knowing that it was my last. There is nothing I would do differently. I’d even have the knee injury because that really renewed my passion and my fight for the sport.”

                                As the public face of netball, too, Ellis has been exceptional. A qualified solicitor and experienced television personality, she is articulate, witty and accessible. “Full credit to Liz, she built her own profile,” Plummer said. “Being captain of the Australian team has assisted her with that, but every time she gets up to speak, she just blows the opposition away.”

                                “And on the court, it’s never say- die. Even if she’s getting beaten, my God, you know she’s going to try and turn it around, and that’s a great quality. A lot of players go missing; if somebody’s got the wood on them, they sort of fade away, but Liz never has. She’s one of the most dogged competitors I’ve ever coached.”

                                Even Cox did not fully realise the extent of Ellis’ brilliant finale against the Silver Ferns until the team gathered to watch a replay on Sunday night. “Full credit to her, she had so much weight on her shoulders knowing that she was going to retire, and then she still gets up and gets the intercept to win the game,” Cox said. “She leads by example, and she’s just the most phenomenal player that’s ever been.”

                                She also, probably, could be the best coach, or the best commentator, but plans to take at least 12 months to travel, reduce her golf handicap from an “embarrassing” 36, and spend time with her husband. Ellis will keep working for her gaggle of sponsors and continue with her coaching clinics, board memberships and public speaking engagements, while launching a charitable foundation. In that regard, she is more Pat Rafter than Shane Warne.

                                In purely netball terms, less of Ellis will be heard. She insists she is too close to her former club and national teammates, and way too biased, to yet contemplate a career behind the microphone. She has told Cox a special-comments career is not on her radar at any stage, and Cox is confident that much broader horizons beckon, anyway.

                                “Liz is so much better than just the netball commentary; I think she’ll go on to bigger and better things,” said Cox, ever the loyal sidekick. “Oh God, she’ll be running the country before we know it. No question.”

                                LIZ ELLIS – A GREAT NETBALL CAREER

                                – Australian netball team 1993-2007.
                                – Australian captain since February 2004 (vice-captain 2000- 2003).
                                – Most capped Australian player of all time (122 Test matches).
                                – Represented Australia at four world netball championships (won 1995, 1999 and 2007) and two Commonwealth Games (won 1998 and 2002).
                                – Captain of the Sydney Swifts since 2000 (vice-captain 1997-1999). Won national title in 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2007.
                                – Commonwealth Bank Trophy Most Valued Player award in 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2006.
                                – On boards of State Sports Centre Trust (1998- ), NSW Institute of Sport (2001-), Australian Sports Drug Agency (2001-2004), Institute of Sport Management (2000- 2001), Greater West Sports Foundation (1999- 2000), NSW Ministerial Women in Sport & Recreation Task Force Member (1996- 2000).

                                Avatar photoIan Harkin
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