Fans farewell Seymour

BY JANE SEWELL
Last updated 05:00 07/07/2009
Julie Seymour
DAVID HALLETT/The Press
CAPTAIN'S TABLE: Julie Seymour leads the Tactix to a 63-56 win over the Northern Mystics in Christchurch last night.

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"It's time to go." The words came directly from Tactix captain Julie Seymour just minutes after she threw her final centre pass on a netball court.

Seymour has uttered them before having stepped away from the court previously to start and then extend her family but one got the feeling last night that when it comes to playing the game, there will be no more.

"The time is right to move on," she said.

"There's young players coming through and obviously I'm having another baby, so that makes four children, and I need to be at home and spend time with them."

She hinted that if an SOS was sent out next season she may struggle to ignore it.

Seymour may still be on the Tactix bench, but possibly in the role of assistant coach if she follows a pathway that interests her.

Not everyone who turned up at the Westpac Arena last night could see the midcourt maestro play her final match because the 7000-capacity stadium was sold out.

Those lucky enough to snare a ticket witnessed a 63-56 win to the Tactix over the visiting Northern Mystics as they helped celebrate the end of an era.

Seymour may not have been firing on full cylinders in recent weeks thanks to her fourth pregnancy and a troublesome Achilles injury but the intercepts came last night and a clean theft of Mystics ball early in the second quarter earned an extra cheer.

Every time the centre touched the ball she was awarded with an "ooh" or an "aah" from an appreciative crowd.

There may have been nothing riding on their last trans-Tasman league match of the season, but that did not stop the supporters from creating an electric atmosphere to farewell one of the region's iconic netballers.

When it comes to Canterbury sport the name Seymour rolls off the lips as easily as McCaw, Hadlee or Deans.

No longer will she grace the courts throughout the country, and for Tactix coach Helen Mahon-Stroud it will take some getting used to seeing a Canterbury side without Seymour.

"She is part of the make-up of netball in this country," said Mahon-Stroud.

"I wouldn't say there will be another athlete probably in New Zealand netball who has played for as long as she has and at the level she has, not only at international level but at this new domestic level."

At 38 she was the oldest player in the ANZ Championship this season but footed it with some of the youngest and best in the game.

Seymour has played over 80 games for the Canterbury franchise, first as a Flame in 1998 in the old domestic league and then as captain of the Tactix when the ANZ Championship was born last year.

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The midcourter leaves the game with 92 test caps. She made her Silver Ferns debut in 1994 and her last test in the black dress was against England last year.

Seymour admits she is looking forward to a break, although with three children at home and a baby on the way, the busy times look set to continue.

- The Press

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