From drivers seat to sideline support
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Australian netball royalty and much loved Melbourne Vixen, Sharelle McMahon will be taking an unfamiliar seat on the sideline for the ANZ Championship Grand Final as she approaches the end of her pregnancy. McMahon, who co-captained the Melbourne Vixens with Bianca Chatfield during their 2009 premiership, said it is a strange feeling to watch from the sidelines after playing at a high level of netball for such a long time.
“Being a spectator rather than a player is weird… really weird! It’s weird for me to be off the court and I miss being out there, but it’s still great to watch and I’m very happy and excited for the girls. They’ve proved many doubters wrong which is great. I’m really impressed with the way that they have believed in themselves and how they have got themselves into the best position possible.” (Finishing the season as minor premiers and hosting the Grand Final.)
Expecting her first child at the end of August, Sharelle says there are a number of challenges that come with being a professional sportswoman and becoming a new mother.
“This year has been really interesting. Being pregnant is extremely exciting and obviously a whole new experience for me. There are lots of new things happening in my life with lots of changes, both with netball and at home.
The biggest challenge for me this year is probably adjusting to not being part of the playing group and moving into a coaching role. I moved to Melbourne when I was 16, which is quite young, and playing netball has been a massive part of my life since then. Adjusting from attending weekly training sessions to being pregnant has been a massive change for me.”
Sharelle said she is confident that the Vixens can repeat their 2009 performance, saying the team has proved they can play well when it really counts and the pressure is on.
“The girls have pushed across the line in some incredibly close games and come from behind on a number of occasions. They know how to perform when it matters. The great thing about the Vixens is that everyone has played an important role in the team this season and everyone has had match-winning performances. The grand final will be intense and nerve racking and all those things that grand finals are! But I know that the girls can do it.”
Sharelle is determined to return to playing professional netball in the future, and says that she will always be involved in netball one way or another.
“I can’t ever see netball not being a huge part of my life. I’m trying to keep my options open, I can’t wait to see what life brings me over the next little while. But I certainly have a very strong desire to return to the court.”