Diamond days for netball star

‘‘THE girl next door who has time for everyone . . .’’

So said a Penrith netball official of Paige Hadley, and when you’ve had a compliment like that anything else is a bonus.

And there have been lots of bonuses for Hadley, the latest being chosen as Penrith’s Senior Sportstar of the Month.

That might seem like pretty small sports drink after her year, and there’s three months to go.

‘‘Definitely not,’’ said Hadley, and it sounded a sincere, rather than diplomatic response. But it has been some year.

‘‘I’m on a high. It’s been pretty special, surreal,’’ she said.

It’s been real enough.

The year has seen her play in the Australian team at the recent World Youth Championships in Glasgow, where Australia lost the final to New Zealand.

She has also played her first ANZ championship season as a contracted player with the Sydney Swifts, won the inaugural Swifts coach’s award and been named in her first Australian Diamonds squad.

‘‘It will my first time, I’m excited,’’ she said of her Diamonds debut against Malawai in October.

The Fast Five competition precedes that and the Swifts pre-season training starts in December.

There’s not much left for Santa Claus to bring.

When not courting more success, Hadley is studying for a business and commerce degree.

And the compliments keep coming.

Sydney Swifts co-captain Kimberlee Green has said of her: ‘‘Not only is she a very talented athlete, but she works hard, wants to learn, and is still growing as a player, so I see Paige being a Diamond for many years’’.

The Senior Sportstar of the Month is sponsored by Panthers with winners receiving $800.

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