The opportunity to win a national gold medal for her state isn't lost on Warrnambool's Sky-Ann Grace.
Grace was among Victoria's gold medal-winning team at the 2023 Marie Little Shield, defeating NSW in the grand final by eight goals in front of a home crowd at the Waverley Netball Centre.
The 23-year-old said she was thrilled at the opportunity to play for her state with the team feeling the emotion of winning a gold medal after finishing runner-up to NSW last year.
"To come home with the gold medal was a pretty big honour," the defender said. "We worked really well as a team on-and-off court.
"Our last game was the gold medal match and we went out there and played patient netball, went steady and slow and worked the ball down the court."
The Marie Little Shield sees female athletes over 16 with an intellectual disability represent their state at the national level with Grace joined in the Victorian side by two former Warrnambool netballers in Emma Daffy and Ehlanna Wilkinson.
Teams played seven games across three days with Victoria starting their campaign unbeaten after five games before NSW ended their streak with a nine-goal loss.
But with the two states facing off again in the gold medal match later that day, Grace and her teammates turned the tables on their rivals to hoist the Marie Little Shield.
The defender, who has played the tournament since 2018, said it was a great feeling to finally win gold after coming away with a bronze in her first year and silver medals in 2019 and 2022. COVID-19 scrapped the 2020 and 2021 editions.
Grace, who took up the sport at 16, said she would continue to focus on her state netball and would look to retrial for Victoria ahead of next year's competition.
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