A bronze statue of inaugural Melbourne Vixens captain Sharelle McMahon has been unveiled today, standing tall outside Victoria’s home of elite netball and the Vixens’ home court, John Cain Arena.
McMahon is just the fifth sportswoman – and the first Victorian-born, hailing from Bamawm in the state’s north – to receive the honour in Victoria, joining Olympians Betty Cuthbert, Shirley Strickland and Nova Peris and AFLW star Tayla Harris.
Produced by renowned sculpture artists Gillie and Marc, the statue’s creation was supported by the Victorian Government’s Celebrating Female Sporting Icons initiative and the Statues for Equality project, a global movement working to balance gender and racial representation in public statues.
McMahon’s highly decorated career spanned close to 15 years, featuring over 200 games and six premierships for the Melbourne Phoenix and Vixens and 118 games for the Australian Diamonds following her international debut in 1998.
The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist and two-time World Cup champion captained her country on 12 occasions, and was the first athlete from a team sport to carry the Australian flag at a Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Delhi, 2010.
McMahon was an integral member of the Vixens and its predecessor Melbourne Phoenix from 1997 to 2013 and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2016.
Following her 2013 retirement McMahon moved into coaching, taking on a specialist coach role for the Melbourne Vixens in 2014 and elevated to assistant coach in 2019. McMahon has since joined Cricket Victoria as Head of Female Cricket.
“I have spent many times out on court here, amazing memories of playing netball and representing not only our state but Australia too. John Cain Arena will always be a venue that’s really close to my heart.” said Sharelle.
“Two years ago this idea was brought to life by Rosie [King OAM] and her team at Netball Victoria, and with passion and absolute drive here we are two years later, standing here with the statue behind us.”
“Sharelle McMahon is an icon of our great game and an inspirational advocate for women’s sport – it’s wonderful to see her legacy immortalised with this well-deserved honour, standing proudly outside Melbourne’s home of elite netball,” said Netball Victoria President Carol Cathcart.
“This statue will encourage our community to celebrate the often under-recognised contribution of women to our state’s proud sporting history, and offers an important opportunity to ensure that Australia’s cultural landscape reflects the impact of female participation and excellence in sport for future generations.”
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