St Clair’s Paige Hadley is now a world champion after the Diamonds won the Netball World Cup — a feat made even more sweeter after she came back from a season-ending knee injury in 2014.
ST Clair’s Paige Hadley has been crowned a world champion with the Australian Diamonds after beating New Zealand in the Netball World Cup final on Sunday.
The Diamonds started the game strong with the first quarter score of 16-7, but the Ferns followed up with a strong chase.
However, the late run proved futile as the final buzzer sealed a 58-55 win for the Diamonds. “A win is a win,” Hadley told
“I don’t care if it’s by one point or 50, we won.”
Australian captain Laura Geitz said the first quarter setup was vital for the win.
“World Cup netball, that’s what it comes down to; hard work and just grinding away,” Geitz said. “Our attackers were just sensational.”
After their first World Cup preliminary match against the Ferns ended in a disappointing five-point loss earlier in the week, Hadley said the team was not about to let it happen again.
Hadley’s mum, Sandra, said she was proud of her daughter.
“It’s a celebration of all her hard work especially with what she’s been through in the last 12 months,” Mrs Hadley said.
While Hadley didn’t get any court time for the final match, she and fellow NSW Swift Sharni Layton were jumping up and down, and lost their voices cheering for the on-court team.
For Hadley, Sunday’s result was more than winning the World Cup; it was the culmination of her comeback from her arterial cruciate ligament injury that killed her Commonwealth Games campaign last year.
“Every time someone brings it up, the same feelings will be stirred up. It will remind me of what I came through to get here,” she said.
Her coveted gold medal did not leave her neck all Sunday night but there are still a few people to show before the treasured possession gets placed on its podium in her trophy cabinet.
When the World Cup Celebrations die down (which Hadley said will be no time soon), the Diamonds Constellation Cup 2015 team will be announced.
Main picture: MATT SULLIVAN