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.
Doyle debuted for the Australian Open team in 1945 in New Zealand. A fierce goal defence she went on to play in the Australian team in 1947, 1948, 1951, and 1954. Doyle was also a member of the Victorian Open Team in 1947-1948 and 1951-1954.
Having played only four Tests for Australia, McCarthy revolutionised the game style of centre court players for generations to follow. McCarthy’s speed and ingenuity has her credited with introducing passing on the run in netball. McCarthy was first chosen in the 1952 Australian team as part of a non-touring side. The highlight of McCarthy’s career was being chosen to lead her country on its maiden tour of England in 1956. In the first ever Test played between the two countries in London, Australia won 14-11. In recognition of her netball, McCarthy was inducted in the Australian Netball Hall of Fame in 2014.
Shakespear has been a key figure in elite netball programs for over 20 years, having represented Australia as both a player and a coach. Shakespear was part of the Australian team for four years notching up seven Test caps, including the 1963 maiden World Tournament and she took on the role of vice-captain for the 1964 team. She was a member of the Victorian Open Team for five years. After a successful career as a player, Shakespear went on to become a coach of the Australian Team for eight years.
McMahon debuted in the Australian 21/Under team in 1996 against Jamaica following a run of spectacular performances in the Victorian 21/Under team. She went on to play for Australia 118 times in a distinguished career in which she also captained her country.
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.
A triple world Champion, Commonwealth games gold medallist and ten-year veteran of the Australian National team, there was little in netball that O’Donnell hasn’t achieved. Playing 80 Tests for her country, O’Donnell epitomised the tough attacking player and dominated the centre court through the 1990’s. 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.
Born in Tasmania, Caldow moved to Melbourne in 1957. She went on to represent Victoria for 11 years, 1961-1962, 1964-1965, 1971-1975 and 1978-1979, captaining the team for eight years. A goal attack, she played for and captained the top club team, Melbourne Blue, and quickly became one of Australia’s finest netball goalers.
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.
Joyce Brown OAM
Brown played netball with Victoria from 1958-1963, steering the Melbourne Vixens to dual national league titles. Brown then went on to captain the winning Australian team in the first World Netball Championships in 1963. Brown went on to become one of Australia’s most successful coaches. She was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of fame in 1989 for her work with netball administration. In 1992 Brown was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her services to sport.
In 1950 at the age of 14 years, Close joined the Melbourne Club and became a member of the Victorian Women’s Basketball Association. She was selected in the ‘Junior’ Victorian Basketball Touring Team and in 1951 became the youngest player ever to be selected in the Victorian Open Team. 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 OAM
Simone McKinnis began her playing career with Herne Hill Netball Club before being selected for the Victorian U/19 team. In 1986 she made her first appearance with the senior Australian team. McKinnis represented Australia 67 times between 1986 and 1998. 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.
Jan Cross was awarded ‘A.A’ Umpires Badge in 1976 and has had a successful career at both the grass-roots and high performance levels. Cross became an Australian Umpire in 1982 and officiated the England and Fiji South Pacific Tour in 1983 as an Australian Institute of Sport Umpire. Cross was awarded Netball Victoria Life Membership in 1996. She currently works with umpires, umpire testers and umpire coaches at Waverley Night Netball Association, Nunawading/Slater Reserve Netball Association and at Melbourne East Netball Association.