Net­ball called Elsma

Southern Gazette (Victoria Park) - - News - Bryce Luff d478595

ELSMA Mer­illo played sev­eral sports as an un­der­age ath­lete, with a fair amount of suc­cess.

There were state ti­tles in both swim­ming and ten­nis, but in the end there was one path she seemed des­tined to fol­low.

“I think net­ball ac­tu­ally chose me,” she said.

“As an un­der-age sportsper­son in WA I did ev­ery­thing, but when you get cho­sen in the state open net­ball team at age 16 and Aus­tralian team the same year, I think it sort of says ‘pur­sue this’.”

It was 1965 when the sk­il­ful goal shooter earned her first Aus­tralian call-up, although due to her age it was two years be­fore she could pull on the na­tional colours.

It be­gan an in­cred­i­ble play­ing, coach­ing and ad­min­is­tra­tive ca­reer where she starred on the in­ter­na­tional stage, led WA to its last open Na­tional Cham­pi­onship in 1974, made WA Sports Star Awards’ ser­vice to sport nom­i­nees (May Camp­bell Medal) This award recog­nises the con­tri­bu­tion made by an in­di­vid­ual to their sport or sport­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion through their long and out­stand­ing ser­vice: Anne Stinge­more (Floreat), ath­let­ics. John Davies (Trigg), foot­ball. Elsma Mer­illo (Ap­ple­cross), net­ball.

a come­back to cap­tain WA to third at the ’79 cham­pi­onships, was a driv­ing force be­hind the de­vel­op­ment of the State Net­ball League in 1989, and coached

the Aus­tralian B side in 1994.

These days Mrs Mer­illo helps keep the sport’s his­tory and her­itage alive from her po­si­tion on Net­ball WA’s Awards and

Recog­ni­tion Com­mit­tee.

She has been an­nounced as a fi­nal­ist for Fe­bru­ary’s WA Sports Star Awards, in the ser­vice to sport cat­e­gory.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Elsma Mer­illo is a fi­nal­ist in the WA Sports Star Awards, an­nounced at Op­tus Sta­dium on Fe­bru­ary 8.

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