When I was young, when netball was mentioned, the 1st player that arose to mind was Sharelle McMahon. Her strength, her speed, her nimbleness was second to none. Sharelle was the player you could count on, the one who could spot the winning goal in an extra time match, the one who could boost her team; a player who could change the game. Sharelle was the one everybody in my team desired to play like and the one everyone wanted a signature from after the games.
McMahon’s unbelievable netball career backed-up these qualities. McMahon led both the Melbourne Phoenix in the old national league, the Commonwealth Bank Trophy, co-captained the Melbourne Vixens in the ANZ Championship along with Bianca Chatfield, and led the national team, the Australian Diamonds from 2008 to 2011. She earned five Commonwealth Bank Trophy premierships with the Phoenix, an ANZ Championship premiership in 2009 with the Vixens, two Netball World Championships, one second place World Championship and one gold and two silver medals in the Commonwealth Games.
McMahon’s individual accolades are just as inspiring. McMahon is one of only four players to play over hundred test matches for Australia, joining an elite club which includes Vicki Wilson, Liz Ellis and Catherine Cox, four MVPs of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2007, four Melbourne Phoenix MVPs, the Australian netball team MVP in 2002-2003 and two Melbourne Vixens MVPs. McMahon was also named Victorian Female Athlete and Sports person of the Year in 2009, was named in the top 20 of the Top 100 Australian Sportswomen of All Time and had the honor of being flag carrier at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
McMahon was even set to contest her 4th Netball World Championship in 2011 until injury hit. She cracked her Achilles in the 2011 ANZ Championship, ruling her out of World Championship contention.
It is not only McMahon’s on-court attendance that I admire, but also the way she controlled her injury and rejected to let that injury delimit her career. McMahon was never one to give up and it was her ferocious determination that saw her set to return the following season.
McMahon had recuperated from her injury and was completing pre-season training with the Vixens until she had another announcement that she would miss the 2012 season also, as she was expecting with her first child.
McMahon ready again for another comeback, with the netball court tempting her back to the world’s best netball league. McMahon set her vision on the 2013 ANZ Championship season, her willpower seeing her be the first Australian netball player to the ANZ Championship after having a baby.
Another astonishing netball career may be coming to an end, but McMahon will be remembered as a real champion, a true legend of the game and of Australian sport, and an motivation to many young netballers around the world.