Netball's Diamond winner promises more

Adrian Warren
Gretel Tippett collected Australian netball's highest individual award, the Liz Ellis Diamond

Liz Ellis Diamond winner Gretel Tippett plans to add still more dimensions to her sometimes-unorthodox netball game.

Athletic goal attack Tippett took her game, and especially her shooting, to new levels in a breakout 2019 season, when she became an increasingly influential member of the national team.

The 26-year-old Queenslander's receipt of Australian netball's highest individual award on Saturday night was greeted with widespread acclaim.

It came seven years after she switching from basketball, where she played in three Australian junior world championship teams and was a WNBL rookie of the year, following a bout of glandular fever.

Tippett recalls there was little to suggest she could ever achieve that after she played her first game in her new code.

"I was so raw I got 13 air balls in my first game and stepped five times and that was in only a half," said Tippett.

"I don't know what brought me back but I just loved it.

"My mum and dad always told me to love the challenge and welcome it and not shy away."

Tippett's biggest weakness in the first few years was unreliable shooting, but in 2019 she scored 267 goals for the Diamonds at 95 per cent and 394 goals at 96 per cent for the Queensland Firebirds.

"I knew I definitely had to pick up that part of my game and I worked quite hard at it," Tippett said.

"The one thing that I did do was bring my enjoyment back through to the game, it relaxed me a little bit more instead of getting all uptight and trying to force it.

'It was more my mindset, stop putting pressure on myself because I wanted it so badly."

Tippett has wowed netball audiences with her basketball-type layup moves, but admits not all her early coaches were impressed with that.

'They had to rein me in and teach me the basics of netball and not let me do any basketball," she said.

"By the time I went to the Queensland Firebirds I was better at picking and choosing my basketball (moves) and Rose (coach Roselee Jencke) really embraced that and I'm very thankful for that."

Among those congratulating Tippett on social media on Sunday was formerOpals basketball coach Brendan Joyce who said she was a great basketball player who would definitely have played for Australia as an Opal if she stayed in that sport.

Tippett certainly won't be resting on her netball laurels after her 2019 success.

"I still know I've got a lot of new things I want to bring to my game and to work on," she said.

"So I'll continue trying to develop my game in in the next couple of years."