Kim Green to play 200th elite level netball game

Long journey: Miranda's Kim Green will play her 200th elite level netball game in round two of the Super Netball season for Giants Netball. Picture: Narelle Spangher
Long journey: Miranda's Kim Green will play her 200th elite level netball game in round two of the Super Netball season for Giants Netball. Picture: Narelle Spangher

Kim Green remembers when she was thrust into her first elite netball game.

She was just 16-years-old, still at high school, when she made her debut for the NSW Swifts.

The Gymea Netball Club junior has come a long way since then.

Green, from Miranda, will play her 200th elite level game in round two of the new Super Netball season when Giants Netball take on the Melbourne Vixens on May 5.

"I came into it the back end of that season and even just sitting on the bench it was so cool to be amongst it," Green told the Leader.

"They were paying me $500 a year. At that stage if you were named in the 12 you got $50 on top of your $500. And each quarter you played you got $25. I thought all my dreams had come at once.

"It was just the best thing ever. I'd look ahead in the calendar to what might be easier games and I might get a quarter. Then I'm thinking about what I can spend my $75 on. These are the things I was thinking of as a girl in year 11. I did really well at school but for me sport always came first.

Kim Green. Picture: Narelle Spangher

Kim Green. Picture: Narelle Spangher

"It's the best job. I say it to kids all the time. Kids will ask me for one bit of advice. And it's always if you ever get this opportunity [to play professionally] take it with both hands and run with it. Honestly, it's the best job in the world."

It has been an incredible career for the 33-year-old. Green rose to become vice-captain of Australia and played 74 times for the Diamonds before retiring from international netball in 2015.

She went out on the highest note, winning her second World Cup with Australia to add to her 2011 triumph and Commonwealth Games gold and silver medals.

Now with the Giants, Green will take on her old club the Swifts in the opening round of the new Super Netball season at Qudos Bank Arena on April 29.

"I look back now and don't even know what [then Swifts, now Giants coach] Julie Fitzgerald was thinking bringing me into the squad at that age," Green said.

"I wasn't a great player. There were players in the same age group who were so much better than me. I don't know what she saw in me. But I was given the opportunity and the one thing I've always learned to do is step up to the next level, like it was a natural progression.

"I was so fortunate. I was a 15-year-old playing against 30-year-old women. I'd say to myself you've just got to get through one quarter and hope for the best. I look back and think I was so fortunate to have the opportunities I've had. 

"Lisa Alexander and Norma Plummer as well played big parts in my Aussie career. They were both coaches who pushed me in a different way and made me a better leader because they challenged me. Jules was also very supportive and knew exactly what I needed, the others I think challenged me in a different way."

Green's 200-game milestone is a testament, not just to her incredible ability as one of Australia's premier mid-courters, but to her longevity and durability to compete at the highest level for such a long period of time.

"I hadn't really thought about [the milestone]. When I first got picked for the Swifts all those years ago, to get one cap next to my name was such an honour. It was a huge thing to me. I could actually say I was a Swifts player and no one could ever take that away from me," she said.

"It was such an exciting time. So much has been lost in between. Now thinking back about it I'm stoked. I've got to make it to 200 first. I know I've put a lot of hard work in and I'll pat myself on the back for that. But I was so lucky that people believed in me and kept me there so long. Not every player has that opportunity. I had people in my corner who believed in my skill and what I could bring to a game. I worked so, so hard as well. But I've been fortunate too."

But Green also had a light-hearted word of warning for her Giants teammates ahead of her milestone game.

"They'd better get me a good present," she says with a laugh. 

"A nice bottle of wine or something."

If the gift is to adequately honour Green and her magnificent contribution to the sport, it would want to be a very nice bottle of wine.