Netball legend McMahon honoured with statue on IWD

YESTERDAY, as the world was celebrating International Women’s Day, Victorian netball legend Sharelle McMahon was honoured with the unveiling of a statue in honour of her outside Melbourne’s John Cain Arena.

McMahon became just the fifth sportswoman to have an honorary statue erected in Victoria, and the first of whom to hail from the state. The previous four are Olympic runners Betty Cuthbert and Shirley Strickland (whose statues are at the MCG), hockey star Nova Peris (whose statue is in Melbourne’s Federation Square), and AFLW star Tayla Harris (whose statue is in Docklands).

The monument is part of a Victorian government initiative to correct the imbalance in gender and racial representation in public statues, and McMahon is one of two statues set to be unveiled this year.

Anne Henderson, who among other achievements represented Victoria as a player in 1933 and 1934 and was the coach of the Australian team on their inaugural tour of New Zealand in 1948, will be the second netball legend to be honoured with a statue later this year. Hers is set to be unveiled outside the newly redeveloped State Netball Hockey Centre in Parkville.

McMahon said it was an honour to be immortalised outside of John Cain Arena, where many key moments of her career took place.

“I have spent many times out on court here, amazing memories of playing netball and representing not only our state but Australia too. John Cain Arena will always be a venue that’s really close to my heart,” she said.

“Two years ago this idea was brought to life by Rosie [King OAM] and her team at Netball Victoria, and with passion and absolute drive here we are two years later, standing here with the statue behind us.”

Netball Victoria President Carol Cathcart praised McMahon’s contributions to netball as her statue was unveiled.

“Sharelle McMahon is an icon of our great game and an inspirational advocate for women’s sport – it’s wonderful to see her legacy immortalised with this well-deserved honour, standing proudly outside Melbourne’s home of elite netball,” she said.

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