Ellis recalls rough and tumble
FORMER Australian netball captain Liz Ellis loves the physicality of the game.
And she believes the Trans-Tasman rivalry against the New Zealand Silver Ferns has become stronger since she retired in 2008.
"You look at the Australian and New Zealand team and they haven't been separated by any more than three goals in the past four years," Ellis said.
"It's a phenomenal rivalry and every time we play them it's great.
"The game has changed and it looks a lot faster and more physical.
"I love the physicality and it's good to see the game constantly evolving."
Ellis now lives in Ballina and has purchased a property at Pearces Creek.
She was at Bonalbo Central School yesterday to officially unveil a brand new multi-purpose netball court.
She also ran a coaching clinic for kids from Woodenbong, Drake and Tabulam.
"Opening the court was exciting because it's a fantastic facility for the school," Ellis said.
"I ran the girls through a similar warm-up and training drills that the Australian team does.
"We covered a few things by the end of it and everyone got a good workout."
Despite suffering career-threatening knee injuries in 2006, Ellis recovered to have one of her best seasons and led the Sydney Swifts through an undefeated season.
She believes the hysteria surrounding knee injuries in netball is unwarranted.
"Everyone always goes on about it, but if you look at the stats across the board, netball is no worse than any other sport," Ellis said.
"You think there are a lot of injuries in netball but you have to look at how many people play.
"It's a reflection of the high participation rates more than anything else."
Ellis said she was disappointed with the circumstances that led to former Swifts teammate and close friend Catherine Cox leaving the club last season.
The world championship-winning Australian goal shooter left the club after a falling out with incoming coach Lisa Beehag.
"I was sad that she had to leave because she's been such a great servant," Ellis said.
"She is happy in Perth and they beat the Swifts in a preseason tournament and she was pleased to be able to do that.
"I was sad at the process of how it happened and it's a shame that they have lost someone like her."
Although Ellis was busy on the court yesterday, she is on maternity leave after having her first child in September last year.
"You go from being an athlete where it's all about you and now I'm a mother it has nothing to do with me at all," she said.
"It's been a whole new challenge and it's great."
Bonalbo Central School principal Keith Larsson said she was thrilled to finally have the new facilities at the school up and running.
"We originally got the grant two years ago and because of rain it's taken all this time," he said.
"It's 50 minutes to the closest netball competition so we wouldn't mind getting something set up here after school or on the weekends."