The Netball WA Court of Champions was established by the Netball WA Board in 2020 to recognise and celebrate WA developed players who have reached the ultimate in the sport by representing Australia at the highest International level of competition available at the time, and who have made a significant contribution to the sport in Western Australia.
(Right side image depicts Jill's niece Katie Fairhall accepting the award on her behalf due to Jill being in Covid lock-down in Canberra) Jill was a skilful, smart and determined centre court player, making her playing debut for Australia in a 1981 and was adjudged the Australian Netballer of the Year. She was Captain of Australia in 1982 and 1983, playing mostly in the Centre to help Australia win the 6th World Championship in Singapore. After retiring as a player her unmatched success as National Coach and ongoing coaching work saw her earn countless accolades including two Netball World Championships and two Commonwealth Games Gold Medals. Her journey with Netball and her contribution to the game is reflected by the GIG WANL Medal being named in her honour. She was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2020, Netball Australia Hall of Fame in 2009, awarded Netball WA Life Membership in 1986 and is now a member of Netball WA’s Court of Champions.
Dot was selected in the All Australian Carnival Team in her first year playing for WA in 1956, which led to selection in the Australian Team to play New Zealand in three tests in 1960. She was also selected in the 1963 Australian team for the 1st World Tournament but withdrew from the team. After a short lay-off period she returned to interstate competition and as Vice-Captain of WA gained selection at the National Championships for the 2nd World Tournament in Perth in 1967, but again had to withdraw from the team due to personal reasons. Since retiring from playing, Dot has played a continuous, very active and significant role as a volunteer coach and administrator and is a Life Member of Netball WA, Perth Netball Association and Classics Netball Club.
Annette debuted for Australia against New Zealand in 1960 after very strong performances as a Defender at the National Championships. She was part of Australia’s 1963 Championship Winning Team at the 1st World Tournament in England, which was inducted into the Australian Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. She was also a member of the 3rd World Tournament Winning Team in 1971. During her career, she played in almost every position according to the team requirements, such was her athletic ability, skill and knowledge of the game. After retiring from playing she commenced a coaching career which included the Australian Under 21 Team and premierships with the Perth Superdrome Bullets in the WA State League, now known as the Gold Industry Group WA Netball League. Annette was also awarded Netball WA Life Membership in 2003 and was inducted into the Netball Australia Hall of Fame in 2012.
Val was part of Australia’s Winning Team at the First World Tournament in England in 1963. She started her career as a Goal Keeper before moving to Wing Defence and was a tenacious player who could read the play with a sense of timing that resulted in numerous interceptions. After retiring from playing Val transferred her knowledge to coaching, which included success at National Championships with WA State Under-Age teams. She was also the Head Coach of the Hong Kong National Team for a period of time. Val was also a Netball WA Board Member and her contribution to the sport cannot be over-estimated. She is a Life Member of Netball WA and Royals Netball Club.
(Right image depicts award being accepted by Dianne's son Beau and daughter Bree) Dianne’s enthusiastic, supportive and inclusive manner made her a much-valued team member at both state and national level. She was an outstanding Wing and Goal Defender with a “never say die attitude” and was often described as the “totally coachable player.” She was a member of the World Championship winning Australian Team at the 6th World Championship in Singapore in 1983 and also played in the 1985 Tri-Test Series in Australia. Dianne started her Coaching journey with Rangers in the then WA State League in 1989, coached the WA State Under 21 Team for three years, and was the Inaugural Coach of the Perth Orioles in the National League from 1997-1998.
Sally began her international career as a Goal Keeper in a tour to England in 1986 and was a member of the Australian Team that won a silver medal at the 1987 World Championships in Scotland. She was Vice Captain of Australia’s winning World Youth Cup Team in 1988 and also a member of the Open National Team, taking Silver at the World Games in 1989. Although selected to play at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, Sally was forced to withdraw due to injury – cutting short her international netball career at the age of 24. Sally continued to play at both Interstate and State League level and was awarded the MVP for the inaugural season of the Perth Orioles. After retiring from playing Sally continued her involvement as a coach and enjoyed success with Coastal Sharks in the State League winning premierships in 1995 (player) & 2011 Coach (coach). Sally attained Netball WA Life Membership in 2013.
Elsma is one of four WA developed players to have earnt the honour of representing Australia at 2 of the 10 World Championships held during the 20th Century and is one of a small group who have both Captained and Coached WA’s elite Netball Team. She made her debut at the 2nd World Tournament in Perth in 1967 and was also selected for the 3rd World Championships in 1971 in Kingston, Jamaica. Elsma remains the youngest player to debut for Australia at a World Tournament. Playing in both the Goal Attack and Goal Shooter positions in 1971, Elsma played a significant role in Australia regaining the World Championship Title. After being the inaugural administrator of the State League, Elsma coached WA Teams in a range of National Competitions and also led Coastal Pumas to a State League Premiership in 1995. Elsma was awarded Netball WA Life Membership in 2016 and is a member of the Netball Australia Hall of Fame.
Gaye holds the distinction of being Western Australia’s only Triple World Championship player to date. She was a team member at the 2nd World Tournament in Perth in 1967, Captain of the 3rd World Championship Winning Team in Jamaica in 1971 and Vice-Captain at the 5th World Championship in Trinidad and Tobago in 1979. A highly decorated player with speed, skill and flair Gaye made an immediate impact playing in the Centre and Wing Attack positions. She remains the only WA developed player to Captain a winning Australian Team to a World Championship. Gaye was also an Australian Institute of Sport Netball Program’s Coach for 17 years, the last 8 years as Head Coach. In 1990, she became the second National Coach originally from WA, and the Perth Orioles coach from 1999 to 2002. She is also a member of the Netball Australia Hall of Fame.
As a tall, strong, agile and imposing Goal Keeper Cheryl made her debut for Australia as a 19 year old at the third World Championships in Jamaica 1970/71 playing against the tall goal shooters from opposition teams such as England, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. With the interception for goal being fully explored and applied as a real skill, Cheryl’s ability to time her jump and intercept the shot became a real strength and weapon of her game. Cheryl gained every one of her Australian Caps at World Championships as these were the only international competition opportunities available during her playing period. Currently, Cheryl is one of two WA developed players to be a member of two outright winning World Championship Australian teams during the 20th Century, the third World Championship 1971 and the fourth in 1975.
Corrin was blessed with an athletic rangy body with lean, lengthy arms and legs which she used to her advantage throughout the court so much so that she earned herself the nickname “Flair”. It was how she played. Corrin gained her opportunity to travel to Eastbourne in England for the first World Championships after the withdrawal of fellow West Australian Dot Lavater (nee Hanson.) She earned eight Caps during the World Championships and the Tour of England under Coach Lorna McConchie. Along with three other WA developed players Annette Foley, Ingrid Huisken and Val Eaton, Corrin was inducted into the Australian Sport Hall of Fame in 2005 as a member of the first World Championship winning team in Eastbourne England.
Gail is one of only two WA players to have been a member of all five WA State Open National Championship outright winning teams of the 20th century, 1969,70,71(as Vice Captain),72 and 74. She also captained WA to a three-way tie in the round robin format in the 1976 National Championships. Gail made her debut for Australia under Coach Joyce Brown in 1975 at the fourth World Championship in New Zealand, at which Australia defeated New Zealand to win. In 1978 under WA Coach and National Coach Bette Allison, she played as Vice Captain in Australia’s Golden Jubilee Five-Test Series against Trinidad and Tobago on home soil. Along with two other WA players, Gail was selected to play at the fifth World Championship in Trinidad, where Australia was involved in a three-way tie with New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago.
Glenys' first international competition opportunity came after being selected in the All Australian Carnival Team at the 1965 Nationals. In 1966, she travelled to New Zealand as a member of the Australian Touring Team under Coach Lorna McConchie. The team played nine matches against County Teams, winning all. She gained much experience playing against the New Zealand style but unfortunately she did not play any International Test Matches. Opportunity to gain her three Australian Caps came Glenys’ way in 1967 when she played as a member of the Australian Team at the second World Championship in Perth.
When attacking or defending, Maryanne displayed strong aerial ability and combined with her flexibility to play across all centre court positions, she was a much valued team member. After being selected in a number of under-age State teams, Maryanne earnt her first Open Team selection in 1972. She played a role in WA winning a third consecutive National Open Title in Hobart. Subsequently, she was inducted into the WAIS Hall of Champions Team Category in 2018. From 1972 until 1979, Maryanne enjoyed a continuous elite playing career. During this time, WA again won the National Championships outright in 1974 and in 1975, Maryanne was selected and played as a member of the winning Australian Team at the fourth World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Ricky is one of two players to be a member of all five National Championships WA has won outright prior to the National Netball League being introduced in 1997, those years being 1969,70,71,72 and 1974. Slightly built, Ricky moved smoothly on the court playing in either the Goal Shooter or Goal Attack positions. Never afraid to face the post and shoot from any position in the circle, Ricky gave her team members great confidence through her ability to land the long shot. She was selected in the Australian Carnival Team in 1969 along with five other WA players after WA won the National Championships outright for the first time. In 1970 when WA were again successful, Ricky was selected along with four other WA players for the Australian Team for the third World Championship in Jamaica. Ricky earned her three Caps during this tournament.
Yvonne is a member of a very select group of female athletes to have represented Australia at the Open International level in both women’s basketball and netball. Yvonne was admired by her teammates and often feared by her opponents. An astute and fiercely competitive defender who loved the big stage and worked defensively to create turnover situations and take the crucial interception to change a game. Her rebounding positioning and skill and the long strong release pass deep into the centre third of the court were great strengths. After deciding to play seriously again in 1978, she suffered a major injury snapping her achilles tendon. Her determination and commitment saw her reap the reward, finally making her debut for Australia in 1979 at the fifth World Championships in Trinidad & Tobago.
The youngest of eight children and growing up in the country town of Trayning, WA, Aileen had many opportunities to play outside with her siblings and develop her all-round athletic abilities. Aileen was selected in the WA State Open Team from 1952 through to 1955 when she was made Vice Captain in addition to her selection in the Australian Team for the Tour to England early in 1956. On return to WA from the Tour of England, Aileen re-located to Melbourne to undertake rehabilitation of a knee injury sustained on tour. This decision proved to be the right one for her playing career. In 1958, she returned to the top club competition in Victoria and was selected in the Victorian State Open Team from 1958 to 1960. In 1958 and 1959, Aileen was selected in the All Australian Carnival Teams. In 1960, Aileen finally made her Test Match debut for Australia against New Zealand in Adelaide and became Diamond #25. She then played in the following two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney. Aileen’s older sister Pat had been selected as Vice Captain of the WA State Open Team in 1951 and in 1952, both Aileen and Pat were selected to play for WA at the National Championships in Brisbane, becoming the first sisters to do so. They played together again in 1953 and 1954 with Pat as Vice Captain. In 1955, Aileen was selected as Vice Captain, when Pat did not play. Both were selected in the All Australian Carnival Team in 1959 when Aileen played for Victoria and Pat Captained WA at the National Championships in Brisbane. During Aileen’s playing days in WA, all players selected in the WA Open State Team were obligated to take on roles within the organisation including umpiring, coaching club teams, organising competitions and in return, the Association assisted players with uniforms and some travel funds. Aileen retired from competition netball in Victoria and returned to WA in the 1970’s.
A superb track athlete and gymnast, Ingrid was a natural sportswoman who played predominantly at the Number 6 position, now known as Goal Defence. Strong, fast and athletic, she displayed wonderful body control and grace when moving to intercept or driving through the centre court. She was a delight for spectators to watch. An instinctive player with exceptional closing speed, she surprised many a player and umpire with her clean interceptions. Like so many naturally talented athletes of this time, Ingrid developed her Netball specific skills under the close watch of Coach Bette Allison playing with Kent Street High School Teams, a group which later evolved into the Royals Netball Club. In 1963, Ingrid travelled with three other West Australian players as a member of the Australian Team to the First World Championships in England. Following the World Championships, she stayed for a period of time living in Wimbledon with husband, Alan. In 1965, they returned to WA but Ingrid did not play at Open level again, instead turning her interest into gaining professional qualifications and enjoying a different lifestyle. In 1966, she gained her Bachelor of Arts Degree having commenced it in 1959. As with all Open State Team players of this era, Ingrid was expected to, and did, spend considerable time coaching groups of players assigned to her by the Association and assisted in the running of competitions such as Country Weekend. In her later years, Ingrid reflected on her life and stated to her family that her Netball days were some of the best times in her life.
As a schoolgirl attending Albany Senior High School, Diane was selected in the underage WA State School Sports Athletics Team as she showed potential as a powerful young sprinter and thrower. Like most children growing up in the country, Diane played a range of sports, but on moving to Perth she turned her attention to Netball, immediately playing for Bedford Districts Youth Club in A1 Grade. Diane was considered by all her coaches to be extremely receptive and coachable, and an athlete who was gifted with the “X” factor. A rugged, tenacious defender with a natural spring enabling excellent explosive elevation, Diane possessed a vice-like grip on the ball whether intercepting or receiving. Her mild manner was comforting to teammates in tight competitive situations and this, along with her athleticism, earned Diane the respect of both teammates and coaches. Outstanding performances at National Championships in 1979 and 1980 earned Diane the R&I Bank Medal for WA’s Fairest & Best Player in 1979 and a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport as part of the inaugural intake in 1981. The following year, she made her debut for Australia on the Tour to New Zealand in the Tri-Test Series. On returning to WA, Diane played club Netball with her original Club Royals Saints at Albany, where she contributed as a coach and player at all levels, from juniors to seniors. She also made a significant contribution with regional teams, influencing many young netballers who developed their skills under her guidance. The trophy awarded to the Premiership Team in A1 Grade at Albany Netball Association is named in Diane’s honour.
A dynamic athlete who displayed exceptional game sense, Jessica showcased all of the physical and mental attributes required of a dominant and versatile mid-courter for both the Perth Orioles and Australian Diamonds. Jessica started her netball at Wanneroo Districts Netball Association playing for the Sorrento Saints Club and represented the Association regularly in underage representative teams. She caught the eye of talent identification selectors at a young age with her powerful pass and strong court presence. Progressing through the Netball WA pathway, Jessica also represented WA in underage State Teams competing at the National Netball Championships, followed by selection as a member of the Perth Orioles in 1999, where she earned MVP in 2002 and 2003. In 2004, she earned her first Australian Cap in Durban, South Africa and during the following two years was a constant figure in the Australian team for all Test Series. Jessica was a member of Australia’s Silver Medal Team at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and in that same year was named the Australian Player of the Year. After playing 87 games for the Perth Orioles, her standing was recognised when she was named Centre in the Orioles “Magnificent 7”, chosen from all players who represented the Club over its 11-year history. Jessica’s dominance and contribution to Western Australia’s State League competition was significant, where she played both before and after her Diamonds and Perth Orioles career.
Susan became an intimidating opponent for shooters, both domestically and around the world, displaying incredible defensive prowess, stature and agile foot speed for the Perth Orioles, West Coast Fever and Australian Diamonds. Susan started playing Netball in the South West of WA, and although travel can be a barrier for regional athletes aspiring to be in the pathway, Susan had the support of her family and coaches ensuring she had access to the same opportunities as metropolitan athletes. Quiet and unassuming off the court, Susan first represented WA in the 17/U State Team at the National Netball Championships in 2002, whereafter she continued through the pathway to grow and represent WA nationally. While a member of the AIS Canberra Darters, Susan made her international debut in Melbourne at the 2006 Commonwealth Games as part of Australia’s Silver Medal winning team. In 2007, Susan debuted with the Perth Orioles as part of the Commonwealth Bank Trophy, and then became a player of the West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championships from 2008-2012. Between 2009 and 2011, Susan became a stalwart of the Australian defensive line up during which she played part in the Diamonds historic Gold Medal win at the 2011 World Championship in Singapore. An inaugural player for the 2008 West Coast Fever, Susan’s glittering career spanned nearly a decade, playing 67 National League Games. The SouWest Jets continues to run their annual carnival, which was named the Susan Fuhrmann Cup in 2013.
Kate was an agile goal shooter who consistently showcased her long-range high arcing shots and exceptional shooting accuracy for the Perth Orioles, Adelaide Thunderbirds, West Coast Fever, Melbourne Vixens and Australian Diamonds. Growing up in WA, Kate began playing for the Leschenault Netball Association. She first represented WA in the 15/U School Sport WA team, which gave her a taste of the next level of competition which she relished. Her talent was quickly recognised, and she was selected in further WA underage teams. She received a WA Institute of Sport scholarship in 2001-2003, which was recognition of her work ethic and desire to continually improve and achieve the next level of success. Kate made her National League Debut for the Perth Orioles in the Commonwealth Bank Trophy in 2003. Her career was diverse, playing for the Canberra Darters, Adelaide Thunderbirds and Melbourne Vixens, before returning to WA to play as part of the West Coast Fever from 2013 – 2017. In 2008, Kate earnt her first Australian Cap in Christchurch, New Zealand and was part of the Diamonds Squad from 2006 to 2012. In 2010, Kate was appointed captain of the Diamonds FastNet team that won the Bronze Medal in Liverpool, England. Kate’s incredible Netball career spanned a decade and a half, amassing 150 National League Games and achieving premiership glory in 2010 with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. Not only was Kate a constant figure within the Australian domestic league, she also played within New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership competition for the Canterbury Tactix in 2018 and 2019. During her playing days, Kate also took on part-time roles within Netball. Since her retirement, she continues to contribute her knowledge and experience to the sporting community.