Collingwood co-captain and former Australian Diamond Madi Browne has called time on her Super Netball career.
The club’s inaugural captain will step away from game at the elite level following 15 domestic league seasons, four of which were with the Pies.
Browne had planned to hang up the black and white dress at the conclusion of the 2020 season. A condensed fixture and another injury setback brought this decision forward.
A 15-year career of glittering highs wasn’t without its challenges. Browne was accustomed to ongoing issues with her right knee, following two reconstructions in the years 2015 and 2019.
Scans this week revealed cartilage damage to the same knee which required repair 16 months ago.
The champion midcourter played seven matches of the 2020 season before reporting soreness following Collingwood’s round seven match against the West Coast Fever.
This news has seen Browne play her last game in the Collingwood stripes.
Since her domestic league debut in 2006, the 32-year-old has achieved almost everything there is to achieve in netball.
Browne earned 61 test caps for the Australian Diamonds and was the only two-time winner of domestic netball’s highest individual honour, the Liz Ellis Diamond.
Browne first received this accolade in 2012 and in the same year was awarded International player of the Year. She earned these two distinguished awards again in 2014.
In 2012 Browne swept clean all of Netball Australia’s highest honours, something no other individual netballer is yet to do. She was awarded ANZ Championship Player of the Year, International Player of the Year and the Liz Ellis Diamond. This puts Browne in her own category of Australian Netball history.
Browne won gold and silver honours at the Commonwealth Games for the years 2014 and 2018. 2014 also saw Browne share in the Melbourne Vixens premiership side where she was named in the league’s All-Star team for a second consecutive year.
Following her first ACL return in 2016, Browne’s classy style of game saw her add to her netball achievement resume, earning the Championship Australia Conference Most Valued Player.
In mid-2018 the mid-courter announced her retirement from the national team to focus on her role at Collingwood. Browne played 36 matches for the Pies, after crossing from the Melbourne Vixens at the end of the 2016 season. She has played a total of 175 national league matches.
Browne led Collingwood as captain for four seasons, the two most recent as co-captain with Geva Mentor. The foundation player has played an instrumental role in developing Collingwood netball’s brand and culture to what it is today.
Prior to her time at the Pies, Browne made her national league debut with the Melbourne Kestrels in 2006 before joining the Melbourne Vixens in 2008.
In 2009 Browne made the move to Perth to play with the West Coast Fever for two terms before returning to the Vixens for the years 2011 – 2016. Browne was awarded Most Valued Player at the Fever and Vixens at both clubs on two occasions.
The name Madi Browne will go down in history as one of netball’s most skilful, reputable and decorated athletes.
“I’d like to thank Collingwood, the Australian Diamonds, and my former clubs for presenting me with the opportunity to make a career out of the game I love,” Browne said.
“Season 2020 was always set to be my last and I have cherished every minute I have been able to be out there on court.
“I have pushed my body to its absolute limits to play the game I love. Unfortunately, I have not had the fairy-tale ending to my final Super Netball season, but I wouldn’t change my journey.”
“It is sad to miss out on the best, which is competing at the elite level, but in making this decision I am looking to avoid the worst and take control of my life beyond netball.
“I have been able to achieve a lot in my career, something I have never taken from granted. club captaincy, to win international honours, but the one that tops them all was to play side by side with Kelsey. Although it was only seven games, we both worked so hard to make this dream a reality.
“It has been one hell of a rollercoaster ride and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my three pillars, in mum, dad and Kelsey. They have ridden every moment with me, and I wouldn’t have grown into the person or athlete that I am without them.”
“Netball has enabled me to meet some amazing people - players, coaches, officials and fans. I have been able to establish lifelong friendships and create incredible memories. I am very thankful to the entire Netball community for the support and love they have shown me over the years.”
“This isn’t the end. I will continue to be involved in netball in some capacity. I look forward to what the next chapter will bring.”
Collingwood head coach Rob Wright paid tribute to Browne for a stellar career and her influence in establishing Magpies Netball at the Holden Centre.
“I feel so privileged to have coached Madi, she is a remarkable athlete and individual,” Wright said.
“She departs as one of the all-time great mid-courters of our game.
“The Australian Diamonds is arguably the number one netball team in the world, and to win the Liz Ellis Diamond on two occasions shows the absolute calibre of her. She is a pretty special player.
“Although injury has not allowed her to play out the rest of the season, it’s heartening to see Madi make the decision and go out on her terms, which so few athletes get to do.”
Co-captain Geva Mentor added, “It’s hard to put into words when someone like the calibre of Madi Browne decides it’s time to hang up the dress.
“It’s been an honour to have the opportunity to play with her and more so to call her a good friend. Not everyone will be fortunate enough to have a person like Madi come into their lives.
“What she has managed to achieve on and off the court speaks volumes. Her legacy will live on.
“I have no doubt she will boss whatever is to come post netball and we wish her every success.”