Elsma Merillo has taken out the Service to Sport Award at the RAC 2017 Sport Star Awards after dedicating more than 50 years as a player, coach and administrator.
On the court, she represented Western Australia at a junior level three times between 1962 to 1964, at an open level from 1965 to 1970 and again in 1974 and 1979, captaining the side on two occasions.
On the global stage Merillo represented Australia from 1966 to 1971, including the 1967 World Tournament in Perth and the 1971 World Tournament in Jamaica.
Netball WA Chief Executive Officer Simon Taylor said Merillo had always been a passionate and dedicated member of the West Australian netball community.
“We are very pleased to see Elsma recognised and appreciated for the decades of service she has given to Netball,” Taylor said.
“Elsma has, and always will be, a strong advocate for netball and her passion and love of the game is second to none.”
“Elsma’s service to netball is something we are indebted to as a sport.”
In the coaching realm, Merillo was the Head Coach at the West Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) from 1989 to 1992, including leading the WAIS Gold in the national Mobil Super League in 1992.
Elsma was also the Head Coach of the Open State Team between 1990 to 1992 and the 19U State Team in 1994.
She also coached the Coastal Sharks in the West Australian Netball League from 1990 to 1996, with the team making regular appearances in the Grand Final, which included one premiership.
Internationally, she was the Australian Institute of Sport Satellite Coach from 1987 to 1989, and again in 1991.
Merillo was also a National Apprentice Coach to Joyce Brown in 1992 and 1993, as well as the Australian B Coach for the Tour of New Zealand the following year.
Her resume also displays numerous achievements as an administrator: a WAIS Board Member from 1993 to 2004, she also served as a Netball WA Board Member and is currently on the Netball WA Awards and Recognition Committee.
One of her most significant achievements has been the development and implementation of the West Australian Netball League in 1989, which, in 2018, will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
The West Australian Netball League is the preeminent netball competition in our State, and has grown in stature since its pilot season, with eight Regional clubs from across WA competing in three divisions.