Golden girl

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Danielle Jarvis

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

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