McMahon as flag bearer boosts Diamonds
There was no shortage of motivation for the Australian netball team ahead of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
But Mo’onia Gerard admitted the appointment of team captain Sharelle McMahon as Australia’s flag bearer for Sunday’s opening ceremony had given the Diamonds an extra spring in their step in India.
Two-time gold medallists Australia were gunning for revenge after falling five goals short of the Kiwis in the Games netball final four years ago, robbing them of a fairytale finish in Melbourne.
And Gerard said McMahon’s historic appointment would only further motivate the Aussies after emerging recent 2-1 series victors over old foe New Zealand.
McMahon will become the first netballer to carry the Australian flag at a Commonwealth Games opening ceremony when she leads the team out onto Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
“She’s a great chick, a great ambassador for netball and I am glad that she has been acknowledged for the effort that she has put in,” Gerard said of McMahon.
“I am really excited for her. I mean who gets asked to hold the flag at the Commonwealth Games?
“It is crazy to think that she is doing it.
“We are all a little bit overwhelmed by it but she is an awesome girl and we will be out to show that she deserved it.”
McMahon, 32, is the only member of the netball side to have played at all three previous Games, winning two gold medals.
She will resume a bitter rivalry with the Kiwis in India.
The trans-Tasman rivals have met in the final of every major netball tournament since the 1995 world championship.
“I wasn’t really buzzing coming here, but now it is starting to sink in,” Gerard said after McMahon was unveiled as flag bearer.
“This is my first year in the Commonwealth Games team.
“But once the comp starts I will start to realise where I am at.”
Australia won’t have it all their own way at the Commonwealth Games.
Before they even meet the Kiwis, Australia must emerge from a pool group boasting the likes of Samoa, India, tournament dark horses Jamaica, Malawi and Trinidad.
Australia kick starts their campaign against Samoa on Monday.© AAP 2013
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