Team of the Century is a Netball Victoria initiative that celebrated the year 2000, recognising the outstanding performances of Victorian athletes since the inception of the game of netball.
A short list of twenty five players, five coaches and five umpires were selected by a judging panel of nine representatives. The Team of the Century was announced at the State Dinner on Sunday 26 August 2000.
Myrtle Baylis (nee Craddock)
Baylis was a pioneer in women’s sport, representing Australia in what was known as women’s basketball, later to be known as netball in 1970. A notable goal attack for Victoria between 1937-1954, Baylis made her international netball debut in August 1946 against New Zealand. Selected in the Australian Netball Team between 1946-49; 1952-54, and captain in 1953, Baylis played in the only three international Tests between 1939-1955. She was also a member of Australia’s first ever Australian international netball tour in 1948, as well as the preceding international Tasman Test match on Debut in Dunedin. Baylis was inducted in Netballs ‘Legends of the Game’, followed by her induction into Australia’s Netball Hall of Fame in 2012. Myrtle passed away in late 2014.
SHARELLE MCMAHON CONTINUED
A four-time Commonwealth Games medallist, winning gold in 1998 and 2002, and silver in 2006 and 2010, McMahon is also a five-time Commonwealth Bank Trophy winner. She not only captained the Australian Netball team in her fifth Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010 but was the Australian flag bearer as well. McMahon played for the Melbourne Phoenix for 11 seasons (four as captain), and captained the Melbourne Vixens in their inaugural season in 2008. McMahon led the Vixens to their first ever ANZ Championship title over the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2009, named Grand Final MVP, and won the Vixens Best and Fairest Award at the season end, an accolade she also received in 2010. McMahon was a part of the Australian World Championship winning side in 1999 and 2007, as well as the runner up side in 2003. At either Goal Attack or Goal Shooter, McMahon was ruthless on the court and an exciting player that never ceased to amaze. Since retiring in 2013, the Melbourne Vixens Most Valuable Player of the season is now known as the Sharelle McMahon Medal.
SHELLEY O'DONNELL CONTINUED
O’Donnell was also the inaugural captain of the Melbourne Kestrels in the national Commonwealth Bank Trophy from 1997-2000. After two years out of the game between 2001 and 2002, she made a comeback in 2003, but retired at the end of the season when she fell pregnant. She was subsequently lured out of retirement by the Kestrels, and played a number of games in 2005. O’Donnell was inducted as a member in the Australian Netball Hall of Fame in 2010.
MARGARET CALDOW CONTINUED
Caldow represented Australia for 10 years starting in 1962 where she captained the team for eight of these years. She competed in three winning World Championship teams, in England in 1963, New Zealand in 1975 (captain) and Trinidad in 1979 (captain). At the conclusion of the New Zealand championship she was named captain of the World Team. Caldow retired in 1979, however has gone on to coach some of Australia’s elite junior and senior players, as well as becoming a national selector. In acknowledgement to her contribution to netball, Caldow was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of fame in 1985, and inducted into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame in 2008. The Most Valuable Player in the Championship Division of the Victorian Netball League is awarded the Margaret Caldow Trophy.
DOROTHY CLOSE CONTINUED
She was a Victorian Open Team member from 1951-1956 and captain from 1959-1960. Close was named Australian player in all those years, including being named Vice-Captain of Australia in 1956, to play in the games ‘Australia vs. The Rest’. In 1959, Close was selected in a ‘Touring Australian Team’ – Australia winning the series. Close ceased active participation in the 1960’s but still was very much involved at a club level. During these years she coached and umpired at school and district basketball, bringing many girls and umpires into the Victorian Women’s Basketball Association/Victorian Netball Association. Many of the girls Dorothy coached were successful in being selected in Open and Under Age Victorian Teams.
From 1931 to 1940, McConchie played for the Victorian and the Australian netball teams, taking on the role of vice-captain for the 1939 Australian team. After 9 years playing for both Victorian and Australian netball teams, McConchie retired from playing, however still remained highly involved with the sport. In 1956 she had become Australian coach and manager of the first women’s touring netball team to visit England. In 1963, once again in England, she coached the undefeated Australian team at the first netball World Tournament. A member of the International Federation of Netball Associations for twenty-five years, McConchie was added to the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2004. Lorna McConchie was nominated as a member of the Netball Victoria Team of the Century in 2000, and in 2001 was inducted into the Netball Hall of Fame. She died the same year. Netball Victoria has named the State League Umpire Award in her honour.
SIMONE MCKINNIS CONTINUED
During this period she was widely regarded as the best wing defence in the world. She was a member of Australia’s World Championship winning teams of 1991 and 1995 and captained Melbourne Phoenix when it won the inaugural National Netball League competition in 1997. She was named National Netball League Player of the Year in 1997. McKinnis recorded 63 Test caps for Australia between 1986 and 1998. She capped her outstanding international career by winning a gold medal at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in her final game as a player. McKinnis received a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to sport. She became Head Netball Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport in 2006. Simone was inducted as an athlete member of the Australian netball hall of fame in 2010.