Sport

A terrier on the netball court, Kimberlee Green will this month be nipping at the heels of the Silver Ferns and England. By Richard Cooke.
Credit: COURTESY NETBALL AUSTRALIA

Midcourt magic: Kimberlee Green, 28, netballer

Kimberlee Green plays netball for the NSW Swifts and the Australian Diamonds. A multiple MVP and Players’ Player of the Year, she is also a world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist. This month, the Diamonds play Test series against New Zealand and England.  

Richard Cooke Your dad played league for the Rabbitohs, your mum was a champion swimmer, your husband Trent Copeland is a cricketer and you’re a netballer. Is there anyone in your family who doesn’t play sport?

Kimberlee Green No, everyone plays sport. I’ve got an extremely sporty family, even the in-laws are extremely sporty; they’re always at sporting events, and Trent’s younger brother is very good at cricket and AFL and soccer. We keep very busy.

RC It makes you very competitive.

KG Yes, definitely. Trent and I are extremely competitive, making sure that we’re right with things. But once we get in family situations we don’t play sport with each other, we just like to talk about things that are going on, what’s happening in the footy at the moment. It’s been a pretty exciting time for us because Trent goes for the Roosters and our family goes for the Rabbitohs. We gave it to him for sure.

RC What do you mean by “making sure we’re right”?

KG Just everything. Even when we were in Croatia just for a holiday, after Comm Games, we did a stair session together. We don’t often get to do pre-season training together because we’ve completely opposite schedules, but we had a bit of racing up the stairs there.

RC Do you gamble on the outcome?

KG No. We definitely don’t. I think it would become a bit too serious; both of us would be pushing each other over to get to the top.

RC It seems as though the HABs – husbands and boyfriends – of the Australian Diamonds get along well.

KG Yeah, it’s a really nice group. There were quite a few of the boys over in Glasgow [for the Commonwealth Games], and I think they had a really good time. It was interesting because we were in the village and getting messages from all of them when they were all at dinner together. 

RC And were they in the stands wearing big sunglasses?

KG No, no, they weren’t, but I think they all had a piece of Aussie clothing on. We decked them out pretty well. We wanted them to wear a [netball] dress. Maybe next time.

RC There are two unusual changes in the upcoming series. Clare McMeniman has come back from retirement and Queensland-born Ameliaranne Wells has switched nationalities.

KG I don’t know that she’s switched nationalities, but she is playing for New Zealand in the upcoming Test matches. She has a dual citizenship so she has both passports and she’s able to do that. I don’t know Ameliaranne but I know that she’s a very nice player who plays in a similar style to [Silver Ferns goal attack and shooter] Maria Tutaia, who’s out at the moment, so I understand. 

RC And Clare has come back from retirement and is straight back into the team.

KG That’s really exciting for us. Clare retired a couple of years ago and I always thought that was a little bit premature for her. She’s a very hard worker and she’s able to take a player out of the game without being too speccy or anything. She’s a bit of an unsung hero, just does a lot of hard groundwork and allows people around her to do all the speccy stuff. It shows how good a player she is that she can retire, come back and make an Australian team. 

RC So, who is the greater rivalry with at the moment, New Zealand or England?

KG That’s a tough one. I think we’ve played New Zealand so many times, so it’s really nice to play a different country, and after the game against England at the Commonwealth Games [which the Diamonds won by one point], I would say that’s definitely a game we’re looking forward to. 

RC Do you think the Constellation Cup series between Australia and New Zealand is getting more and more attention every year?

KG Yeah, I think so, and I think the exciting thing about this year is that we do have England at the end of the Constellation Cup, so it’s not just watching us play New Zealand. Those will be great games, and everyone knows that it’s going to be really tough. But it’s a little bit different with England coming over here. After the Commonwealth Games clash, we know they’re going to be extremely tough and we won’t be taking them lightly.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Oct 4, 2014 as "Midcourt magic". Subscribe here.

Richard Cooke
is a journalist and writer for television. He is The Saturday Paper's sports editor.