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Kate Grant, 33, was an integral member of the team which secured the Annie Brown Cup as runner-up, Lady Jane Blundell Silver Salver (highest number of goals scored) and Violet Gilmour Trophy (lowest goals scored against) at the five-day tournament in Dunedin last week.
Both of her children – including three-year-old daughter Madeleine – and her husband Nick were at the tournament to show their support.
Grant said she felt lucky to be able to play at a high level as a young mum, even though the team lost to Auckland 36-30 in the final on Saturday.
“I couldn’t do it without the management and players creating such a supportive environment, as well as my husband for encouraging me to continue to do what I love,” she said.
Stead said he went “pretty much everywhere” with the team, including “on the beach and on our walks”.
She said Grant expressed an interest in returning to play at open level after having Arthur – and everything was done to ensure she could play.
“I said go for it,” Stead said.
“Then it was about what we had to do to make sure she could be there. She’s like a superwoman.”
Stead said Arthur and Madeleine weren’t the only young children on the sideline, which demonstrated the rising number of woman returning to top-grade sport after having children.
“It was very inclusive, there were a lot of mum’s at the tournament,” Stead said.
“There’s a lot more pro sportswomen who return to sport as a mum now.”
But Stead said the team’s connections on and off the court were a large part of why they have been so successful.
“We didn’t have a starting seven – no matter who we put on the court, we knew they would perform,” she said.
“There was no one player who really stood out, and I think that’s the character of our team.”
Christchurch scored a record 338 goals, and conceded just 207 in their seven games a the tournament.
Christchurch Black, the only B team in the competition, finished 14th.
- For all the tournament’s scores, go to: www.netballnz.co.nz/netball-nz/competitions-events/domestic-events/open-...