NSW Swifts defender Mo’onia Gerrard will be switching her netball shoes for rugby boots during the 2014 ANZ Championship season, as the 32 year old looks to achieve her ambition of representing Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Gerrard has made the decision to place her domestic netball career on hold, as she focuses her full attention on establishing herself as a rugby union player, and working towards her dream of competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Having considered this goal for some years, Gerrard confirmed her plans to the Club earlier this month and will take this pause with the full blessing and support of the NSW Swifts.
“It’s no secret that I’ve had an ambition to play Rugby Sevens, hoping to represent Australia at the Olympics,” said Mo’onia Gerrard.
“I’ve never been one to live life with regrets, so I owe it to myself to see if I can achieve this dream”.
“To give myself the best chance of succeeding, I feel it’s important I commit fully to a rugby program and that’s why I’ve decided to take this break from netball,” explained Gerrard.
The veteran of 181* elite domestic netball games and 68 Test Caps, has assured NSW Swifts supporters that she is not retiring, merely taking a small-break from on-court action.
“I’m certainly not retiring and it’s not something I’ve ever considered. I’m simply putting my playing career on hold for a season.”
Gerrard will take this time out with the full support of Netball NSW and NSW Swifts, and while Mo’onia won’t have an on-court role at the organisation over this period, she will be very involved off it.
“You can’t get rid of me that easy!,” joked Gerrard. “I’ll continue my community work with the Netball NSW Sports Development department,” said Gerrard.
Mo’onia was at pains to thank Netball NSW for their support during this decision-making process, singling out Netball NSW Chief Executive Carolyn Campbell for her understanding.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Mo’onia and she has the full backing of Netball NSW,” said Carolyn Campbell.
“Mo’onia is a netballing icon and has contributed so much to our organisation over a long period of time – from her time as a NSW Junior, and still today. We now want to support Mo’onia in whatever way we can, to help her reach that Olympic dream.”
“While she won’t be playing for the Swifts in 2014, we will probably see more of her around the Club as she fills other roles,” expressed Campbell. “All of us at Netball NSW and NSW Swifts, wish Mo’onia all the very best with this inspirational ambition.”
NSW Swifts supporters will be able to wish Mo’onia all the best with this exciting endeavour at the Club’s final ANZ Championship game of the season against Canterbury Tactix on Monday 24 June at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre (7:40pm start).
“Monday’s game will be a special night for NSW Swifts supporters as we celebrate the career of retiring athlete Vanessa Ware and wish Mo’onia the best with her rugby dream,” concluded Carolyn Campbell.
Come and celebrate the career of Vanessa Ware and wish good luck to Mo’onia Gerrard on Monday night, 24 June at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre. Tickets are still available from www.swiftstickets.com.au or by calling 132 849.