A frank and revealing behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be an international netball star, covering everything from drug testing and salaries to motherhood, infertility, team politics, mental stress and pressure.
The Australian Netball Diamonds are the best-known and most successful of Australia’s high profile women’s sports teams. Along with the Matildas and the Southern Stars, they are attracting unprecedented interest from spectators and corporations alike thanks to their enviable reputations and marketability. While netball has always had a large grass roots participation rate, over the last ten years the sport has grown exponentially. The introduction of the ANZ Championship in 2008 was a turning point for the sport. The recent Netball World Cup in Sydney 2015 saw world record crowds over the three competition days. Media coverage was at an unprecedented level for the sport – and for women’s sport more broadly.
Enter Shine: The Making of the Australian Netball Diamonds. Written by Jenny Sinclair and Megan Maurice, two respected journalists who specialise in netball coverage, Shine covers the four-year cycle leading up to the 2015 World Cup. The authors delve behind the scenes to give readers an unprecedented glimpse into the elite training environment and work involved in taking a team to a World Cup win.
Never-before discussed issues revealed in the book include how players deal with drug testing, player salaries, motherhood, infertility, menstruation, mental stress and pressure. Shine includes interviews with players, coaches, physiotherapists and nutritionists. Personal stories reveal just how tough life can be for elite athletes who must juggle family life, work, studies, regular training and travel. For example, for captain Liz Ellis talks about how netballers must supplement their income with jobs outside their sport unlike most other sponsored athletes.
For the first time the authors capture the thoughts and feelings of former and current team members as they come to terms with the ups and downs of team politics, injuries, training commitments and the thrill of victory.
Player profiles include: Caitlin Basset, Natalie Medhurst, Kim Green, Kim Ravailion, Renae Hallinan, Bec Bulley, Liz Ellis, Madison Robinson, Cath Cox, Bianca Chatfield, Sharelle McMahon, Natalie von Bertouch. Support team profiles include: Alanna Antcliff (head physio), Julie Richardson (team manager), Lisa Alexander (head coach), Kerry Leech (performance dietician), Michelle den Deker (assistant coach), Marg Caldow (assistant coach), Angie Bain (wellbeing manager) and Bernd Adolph (massage therapist).
“Shine is an engaging read from start to finish. Even though I know the result, I still found myself willing the Diamonds to victory. Jenny and Megan have done a fantastic job of making the reader feel like a part of the team, like you’re right there with them. The personalities of all the players really ‘shine’ though and there’s plenty here for everyone from the casual reader to the biggest die-hard netball fan.”
Danielle Warby, Editor SBS Zela and board director of the Australian Womensport and Recreation Association (AWRA) and Womensport and Recreation NSW(WRNSW)
‘This is a wonderfully written story of one of world sport’s great teams. All sport lovers – and anyone who covets success - should read this book. Inspirational.’ Paul Kennedy, ABC TV host and author of Storm Cloud
"It's great to see a book highlighting women in sport and the growth of netball in particular - long overdue!" Caitlin Bassett - 2015 Liz Ellis Diamond winner and World Cup Champion Goal Shooter
"Shine is an engaging read from start to finish. The personalities of all the players really 'shine' through....there's plenty here for everyone from the casual reader to the biggest die-hard netball fan."
Danielle Warby, Editor Zela SBS Sport
28 July 2016
"Women’s team sport is frequently overlooked when it comes to mainstream media, so it may come as a surprise then to find out that the Australian Diamonds Netball team are one of the most successful sporting teams Australia has produced. Shine takes us on their spectacular ride to success highlighting the dogged determination of these young women, the setbacks and exceptional hard work it has taken them to get there. From the championing of players’ rights, conditions and pay rates, to the development of a trademark brand, the Diamonds have gone from strength to strength. That’s not to say Shine is all about victory, and major challenges such as injuries, fertility issues and being dropped from the team are covered. Authors Jenny Sinclair and Megan Maurice delve deep in their scope, choosing to profile not just the 12 Diamonds players but also the team’s support staff, including physiotherapists, performance analysts, dieticians and coaches. It’s this ‘behind-the-scenes’ look that sets this book apart, coupled with the fact that it is written by women, about women, and most probably, for women. The camaraderie that exists between the players is beautifully captured and it’s sure to inspire not only burgeoning netballers but anyone who loves sport."
Katie Haydon is a former assistant editor at Books+Publishing, a former soccer captain and is studying for a Graduate Diploma in Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy