Browne sweeps Australian netball awards

Last updated 11:05 25/11/2012
Madison Browne
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WINNER: Madison Browne in action for the Vixens.

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A year after Madison Browne failed to make the final cut for Australia's world championship squad, which compounded the disappointment of her narrow Commonwealth Games non-selection the season before, the dynamic Melbourne Vixens midcourter has swept the Australian netball awards, including the Liz Ellis Diamond as the nation's leading player.

Browne, 24, capped an exceptional year with some outstanding form in the recent international series, after helping the Vixens reach the trans-Tasman Championship grand final in July. She was an inaugural Vixens player, and moved to West Coast Fever in 2009-10 in search of more court time. She returned 10kg lighter; and a fitter, stronger and more complete player still known for her pace, vision and classy feeding skills.

As well as the Liz Ellis Diamond, the 168-centimetre daughter of former 87-game Collingwood footballer Murray Browne was on Saturday night named Australian international player of the year and trans-Tasman Championship player of the year at an awards dinner in Melbourne.

A former Australian 21-and-under captain, she had already been included as wing attack in the league's all-star team. ''Madison has been No 1 in terms of consistency this year, she's taken her game to a whole new level and really managed to put her great talent, that she's always had, together with really good performances at both international and domestic levels,'' Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said.

Meanwhile, another big achiever in women's sport has also been honoured, albeit for feats decades before.

On Saturday night, 92-year-old Myrtle Bayliss was inducted into the Netball Australia Hall of Fame, despite a representative career limited by war and circumstances.

When Bayliss paid her own way to New Zealand to make her test debut in 1948, netball was still called women's basketball, body contact was not allowed and defenders stood politely aside to allow dainty one-handed shots at goal.

Bayliss was a shooter, or ''goalie'' as she still calls it, but she was also an Australian cricketer, capped in that same remarkable year.

''It was never heard of, getting into the Australian team in two sports,'' Bayliss (nee Craddock) said last week from her home in Melbourne.

So was she quite famous in her day? ''Oh, I suppose I was - I don't know,'' she laughed. ''It's a lot different now.''

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While she continued to play locally well into her 40s, Bayliss's three tests came during a rare window of opportunity, in what was the only trans-Tasman competition staged between 1938 and 1960. Bayliss joined Annette Simper (nee Foley) and Grace Bryant as the three most recent of 28 inductees.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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