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Never before has a book about netball unearthed so much. Never before have the Australian Netball Diamonds been so candid about what makes them tick, or revealed just what they do in order to be successful.

‘Shine’ focuses specifically on the past four years, a great golden period in Australian netball history. What we’ve seen on court, as a netball fan, is the finished product – the polished Diamond if you will, though I’ve no doubt that head coach Lisa Alexander will tell you she is never truly satisfied. Behind the scenes, however, are the soul-searching journeys, tears and sweat that ultimately defines one’s career. ‘Shine’ gets to the heart of the athletes, support and coaching staff and documents their individual paths with great sincerity.

What should be remembered is that the profiled players, who graciously opened their lives to be part of this story, are athletes first and foremost, netballers second. They are humans with their sporting lives playing out in front of our eyes. They are dedicated, educated professionals and the Diamonds’ positions they fight their friends for are held in high regard. Each opportunity to don the green and gold is never taken for granted.

‘Shine’ doesn’t sugarcoat the journey it takes to become an elite athlete. The many stories within the book don’t shy away from relaying the elation and heartache associated with being involved in sport at the highest level. It describes the colour and excitement of the lead up to major world tournaments and the Constellation Cup. It tells of player selection rejection and what players do in order to embrace and overcome it; how it is digested and processed and what steps they took to become part of the team again.

There are secrets, surprises and stories of injuries; what it took for some players to be fit enough to get through the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney. The book delves into concerns around fertility and the genuine fight players had on their hands, not too long ago, in trying to garner contractual remuneration for their input into the sport both on and off the court.

The book documents how the Sisters in Arms ethos came about, which is now synonymous with the Diamonds, and the important role of the Diamonds support staff. They are humble workers, but so integral to the health, wellbeing and ultimately the success of the team.

Whether it be the support staff, players or head coach, the sacrifices made in order to be part of this Diamonds success story are nothing short of extraordinary. ‘Shine’ is the book to read and certainly appreciate if you’ve ever wanted to know just what goes on in the miriad of lives that are the dreamers and the doers behind the Australian Netball Diamonds.

Shine: The Official Launch

A fine spring morning in Sydney was the perfect backdrop to launch Shine: The Making of the Australian Netball Diamonds.

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Many thanks to the Abbatoir Blues Café at Sydney Olympic Park precinct for hosting the event, to the Australian Netball Diamonds, support staff and administrators who were able to attend, to Lisa Alexander for officially launching the book, to Rex Finch from Finch Publishing and to friends and family of Jenny Sinclair and Megan Maurice who were there to support and celebrate this achievement.

Special thanks to David Callow for the brilliant photos from the morning.