Australian Diamond and Collingwood Magpies defender Sharni Layton will retire from all forms of professional netball at the conclusion of the 2018 SSN season.
One of the game’s most loved and revered players, the three-time netball World Cup and Commonwealth Games gold medallist and dual premiership player said the time was right for her to bow out of both domestic and international competition.
“After 14 years of learning, travelling and competing in the game I love most, I’ve made the decision to take off the bib and call time on my netball career,” Layton said.
“I’ve been on this incredible ride since 2004. I’ve moved 12 times over 10 years to pursue this dream of mine, and I owe everything to this sport and all that it’s given me over the journey.
“I’ve given absolutely everything I have to this game, to my teammates and to myself as an athlete, and it’s time to hand the baton over to the next generation of stars.”
A universally-renowned player, Layton’s magnetic personality and fierce match-play has seen her inherit and successfully take on the mantle of the face of Australian netball over the past few years.
Throughout that remarkable period, the 30-year-old has captained the Australian Diamonds, capped 46 appearances with the national team, won two league premierships with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, two World Cup championships, a gold medal in Glasgow and will now finish off her illustrious career having played two seasons with her beloved Collingwood Magpies in the SSN.
After a gruelling international and domestic campaign in 2016-17, Layton said she had first begun to have inklings of a pending retirement.
“About a year ago, I sat down with my family and my circle of close friends and started to think about what the future would hold for me both professionally and personally.”
“I made the decision to take a break from the game for about six months at the end of 2017, and that’s when it started to become clear to me that this season would be my last.
“It’s never an easy decision to make, but I have been so lucky to have represented my country; to play in over 100 domestic games, to be a foundation member of the Collingwood netball program, to travel the world and to build and cherish relationships with all of my teammates, coaches, staff and the amazing supporters all around the world.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me along the way. I will miss the game; I will miss the competition, but I will miss the netball community and comradery the most.”
Collingwood head coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell said Layton had been a keystone in the foundation and growth of the club’s netball program.
“Sharni’s passion for the game, for the club and for the netball fans have been instrumental in the first few years of us establishing our program and our brand here at Collingwood.”
“She has played a crucial role in helping to create an environment where players can develop and thrive, and we’ve seen that this year with her mentoring of Matilda Garrett.
“I’ve personally known Sharni for 16 years, right from the time where she was a gangly teenager all the way to now, and one thing has remained unchanged – that’s her enjoyment of the game, her love of her team and her desire to improve as a player and further our game.”
Layton will remain with the Collingwood Magpies until the end of the 2018 SSN season, before closing the chapter on one of the great Australian netball careers.
State of origin: Victoria
Suncorp Super Netball team: Collingwood Magpies
Positions: GK, GD, WD
Australian Diamond #155
Australian Diamond debut (Singapore, 2011)
46 test caps for the Diamonds
Netball World Cup Gold (2011 Singapore, 2015 Australia)
Commonwealth Games Gold (2014 Glasgow)
International Player of the Year (2016, 2017)
Australian Diamonds captain (2017)
World Youth Netball Champion with Australian 21/U Team (2009)
Teams: Melbourne Kestrels, AIS Canberra Darters, Melbourne Vixens, Adelaide Thunderbirds, NSW Swifts, Collingwood Magpies
Games played: 141* (as of round 11 in SSN)
Premierships: 2010, 2013 with the Thunderbirds
Australian ANZ Championship Player of the Year (2016)
ANZ Championship – Grand Final MVP (2015)
ANZ Championship Best Young Player Award (2010)
Collingwood Magpies vice-captain (2017)