ONE of the ANZ Championships’s most decorated players, Melbourne Vixens captain Bianca Chatfield, has announced she will retire at the end of the season.
The 33-year-old will bow out of the competition having played more than 100 matches and a two-time premiership winning captain, leading the Vixens to titles in 2009 and 2014.
Chatfield, who announced her international retirement after being part of Australia’s Commonwealth Games Gold Medal-winning side in 2014, said she had discussed her future with coach Simone McKinnis over the summer and knew the time was right to finish up.
“After finishing my international career last year, I knew I wanted to enjoy one more season with the Vixens,” Chatfield, a foundation player of the Vixens, said.
“I am one of the few fortunate athletes that is lucky enough to be able to retire on my terms, when I’m ready.
“I discussed with Simone at the start of the year my intentions and we both knew that to give us the best chance of defending the title and ensuring I leave the club in the best possible position, it was important to manage my load and to give our young defenders an opportunity to develop other combinations out there on court.”
Chatfield has been part of the national league in Australia since 1999 and said she will hang up her Vixens dress with no regrets and plenty of memories.
“I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities that Netball Victoria and Netball Australia have provided for me over my entire career - and more importantly the person I’ve become from being a part of this special club for such a long time,” Chatfield said.
“I am lucky to have been surrounded by great people, from all the amazing girls I’ve played with to the coaches who have constantly challenged and supported me and the support staff who have always looked after me.”
Vixens and Netball Victoria CEO Michelle Plane believes Chatfield has an exciting future ahead after contributing so much to the sport of netball.
“Bianca embodies all the skills and values we love about netball and she has been a great leader during her time,” Plane said.
“Having watched her up close has been a privilege to see how much work she does off the court. Bianca is a highly respected role model and works tirelessly to teach and lead her team in understanding and living those same values.”
With the Vixens sitting third on the Australian Conference table, Chatfield remains focused on helping them defend their title and become the first side to win the ANZ Championship back-to-back before she heads off into retirement.
photos Janos Schmidt