On Wednesday 16 October, NSW Swift young gun Paige Hadley became the 161st Australian international representative when she took the court in the second half against the Malawi Queens in Wollongong.
In front of family, friends and fans, Paige’s appearance on court in the WA bib was met with a large round of applause from those at the WIN Entertainment Centre, with a huge smile beaming from the 21 year old rising star.
Admitting to “running on adrenaline” throughout the game, Paige was on cloud nine after making her Diamonds debut in front of her home crowd.
“It feels so good. Lining up on court during the National Anthem, it made me tingle standing next to the Diamonds girls who I have looked up to for many years and with all my family and friends in the crowd, it was really inspirational,” Paige said.
Paige say she “had too many emotions” when Head Coach Lisa Alexander gave her the nod to take the court, but knew she had a job to do once she took the court.
“All the girls came straight up to me and kept telling me ‘you’ll be fine, just do what you did yesterday at training’ and I didn’t really have time to think. But then I got out there and everyone starting cheering when they announced I was coming on, I just thought ‘oh my goodness’ but it was so good,” Paige said.
One of those teammates was NSW Swifts co-captain Kimberlee Green, who is also the Australian Vice-Captain for the two-test Coles Netball Series against the Malawi Queens.
“I’m so proud of Paigey; she did such a good job, don’t you think?” Kim said.
“Throughout the year she has stepped up each time she took the court. She trains the house down and was a star at the Australian selection camp earlier this year. I’m just so proud of her for making her debut and really happy that I could be here to share in this moment with her.”
While the attention was on Paige making her debut, the statistics show the midcourter did her job, finishing with the highest number of centre pass receives (17) and second highest goal assists (15) – all in one half of netball!
Although Paige won’t remember how many feeds she sent into the goal circle, she will remember the amazing support she had for her first appearance for the Australian Diamonds.
“[My family] all up there sitting together in the stands, I just love them all so much. Everyone is here to support me and it really means a lot to have those close to me here to share in this milestone, to have them support me every step of the way,” Paige said.
The Australian Diamonds arrived on the Gold Coast yesterday to prepare for their second and final international match for 2013, when they take on the Malawi Queens at Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre tomorrow, Saturday 19 October.
Tune into Fox Sports 3 at 8pm AESDT (Viewers’ Choice) to catch all the action LIVE, or Fox Sports 2 at 8.30pm and SBS 2 at 10.30pm for delayed coverage. The game is also available LIVE via Telstra mobile through Sportsfan.com.au.
Membership and Ticketing
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Membership Renewals close at midnight, 31 October 2013.
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