Four welcomed into Hall of Fame

Vicki Kerr, Edna Pritchard, Helen Mann and Marilyn Mulhuish OAM were inducted into the Netball NSW Hall of Fame on Saturday evening, 1 November at the 2014 Netball NSW State Dinner held in the Grand Ballroom at Allphones Arena, Sydney Olympic Park.

Stay tuned to next week as we place a spotlight on the winners and award recipients from this prestigious evening.

To be considered for the prestigious Netball NSW Hall of Fame, nominees must meet the award criteria which includes, having been retired for at least five years from active involvement. These four deserving recipients are only the 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th Members of the NSW netball community to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“The calibre of this year’s Hall of Fame inductees is extraordinary,” expressed Netball NSW President Wendy Archer AM.

“These women have been outstanding in their respective eras, each bringing their own special skills to the game and all making a lasting contribution to the development of netball throughout New South Wales.”

“As we move into an exciting new period for netball, it’s important we celebrate our past and those who were at the forefront of shaping who we are today. And these four inspiring role models embody everything which is great about our sport and are richly deserving of our highest honour,” concluded Archer.

Hall of Fame Citation: Edna Pritchard (decd.)
Edna Pritchard made a significant contribution to the sport of netball in NSW, being selected in the first NSW State basketball side in 1928. Pritchard captained this team and remained a member of the team and captain for the next four years, before her retirement from representative basketball in 1932.

She will forever be remembered as the first NSW State Captain and a fantastic defensive player. In 1929, Pritchard and Evie Carpenter were voted “the finest defensive combination in Australia” at the Interstate Carnival, and in 1930 she was a NSW Delegate to the All Australia Netball Association.

Pritchard was also a champion cricketer, representing NSW during the years 1928 to 1935; she went on to play baseball and golf, and was Patron of Orange Netball Association from the 1960’s until 1985.

Hall of Fame Citation: Helen Mann (decd.)
Ms Helen Mann was a true pioneer for the sport of Netball, making an outstanding contribution to administration at both the State and National levels.

From the early 1930s, she was involved in what was known as the “playground movement” for over thirty years. Run by the Council of City of Sydney, the movement provided recreational facilities for children living in Sydney’s inner city areas.

Mann introduced an inter-playground netball competition and eventually formed the NSW Junior Association. She became the first Secretary of the NSW Junior Association, which was affiliated with the NSW Association. Mann’s commitment to the cause drew many admirers wishing to assist, and as the movement grew in numbers, many playground teams entered the NSW Association’s Saturday afternoon competitions.

Girls from various playgrounds went on to represent at the State Level, namely Daisy Barlett, Pat Chadwick, Kay Ryan, Pat and Therese McCarthy and Carole Sykes; others became administrators at District Associations. The “Coronation” Playground provided a venue which was one of the few hard courts in Sydney for State training, State selection and badging for umpires.

Mann became secretary of the NSW Association in 1947 and held the position until 1951; during this time she was also NSW Delegate to the All Australia Netball Association (1947-1951), NSW Opens State Team Manager (1950), NSW Liaison Officer All Australia Netball Association (1951), then in 1952 was elected Secretary/Treasurer of All Australia, a position she held until 1957.

For her distinguished service to netball, Mann became the first NSW Member to receive All Australia service award in 1959.

Hall of Fame Citation: Vicki Kerr
(née Poat)
Vicki Kerr embodies what it means to represent the Waratah of New South Wales, having been both a player and coach during an unrivalled period for NSW State Team netball.

The dynamic circle defender began her netball career with the Sutherland Shire Netball Association, and was a Member of the NSW Open Team from 1971-1978; captaining the Team in 1973 and Vice-Captain from 1974-1977.

Her success as a player transferred to the coaching ranks, when Kerr held the position of NSW 21/U Head Coach from 1982-1990. During this time, the NSW 21/U team won six National Netball Championships (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989), which to this day remains an unbeaten benchmark.

Kerr continues to pass on her vast knowledge and experience, coaching Sutherland Shire Netball Association representative teams across all age divisions.

In 1985, Kerr was made a Life Member of Sutherland Shire Netball Association, and in 2000 was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for services to Netball.

Hall of Fame Citation: Marilyn Melhuish OAM
Marilyn Melhuish OAM has made a significant and lasting contribution to netball at a District, State, National, and International level for over fifty years.

She has been a long serving volunteer and has credentials in the technical areas of umpiring, coaching and administration

Hailing from St George District Netball Association, an Association she still remains involved with until this day, Melhuish first held the position of Secretary (1974-75) and later as President (1977-1988).

For sixteen years from 1981, Melhuish was a NSW State Team Manager and also Australian Team Manager from 1985-1996; being awarded the All Australia service award in 1997 and Medal of the Order of Australia in 1992 for services to netball.

She brought her extensive knowledge and experience to the role of Netball NSW President between 1997-2003, while sitting on the National Affairs Committee, and as Convenor, Netball NSW Appointments Panel.  From 1999-2004, Melhuish was also a Director, All Australia Netball Association.

To acknowledge her contribution to Netball NSW, Melhuish was made Life Member in 2004, with the governing body’s National Netball League Player of the Year Award being named in her honour.

Melhuish held the position of President, All Australia Netball Association from 2004-2006, and was the All Australia Delegate to Asian Netball Federation during this period.

Over the past decade, Melhuish has continued to be a proud advocate of netball across all facets of the game, providing support and mentoring where needed.