April 10 - 23 2016: Issue 259

Anne Sargeant OAM

Anne Sargeant is one very grounded lady – you have to be to get done what she gets done each year and still be able to stand upright.

Anne represented Australian Netball from 1978 to 1988, captaining the Australian Netball Team for six years. She has participated in three World Netball Championships (held every four years), winning twice in 1979 and 1983.

Anne Coached the Sydney Tigers in the 1989 ESSO Super League (Winners), and coached Sydney Pulsar Panthers in the 1990 ESSO Super League, and played for Manly Warringah in ESSO Super League 1985-1987. 

One of the greatest ambassadors netball has ever had, Anne continues to channel her many talents into sport and the media. Past representations have included the Australian Sports Commission, the NSW Australia Day Council, Children's Week, Board Member - McDonald's, School Sport 2000 Committee and Patron of the 1994 Year of the Coach. 

Sargent_Anne04As a public speaker Anne is inspirational and eloquent, talents that resulted in Anne being awarded the 1992 Communicator of the Year Award by the Public Relations Institute of Australia.

In 1998 Anne was awarded an Order of Australia Medal ‘for service to netball’. In 2004, Anne was named Sydney's Greatest Ever Netballer; in 2006, was listed in Australia's 101 Best Sports Stars of our Time; and in 2008 she was named the first inductee into the Netball Australia Hall of Fame, having already been inducted into the NSW, Netball NSW and Sports Australia Halls of Fame. In 2015 the 1st netballer in the history of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame was elevated to “Legend“.

In October, 2010 Anne called the netball at the Delhi Commonwealth games for Foxtel. In 2011 she worked on ABC Grandstand Sport's live ANZ Netball coverage and most recently called the World Netball Championships for ESPN, seeing the Australian Diamonds to their 10th ever World Title victory.

Anne continues as a current National Selector for the Australian Diamonds, runs the Anne Sargeant Netball Clinics, a community based program directed at coaching junior netballers, and the JETS program, a before school program. Anne is also patron of Manly Warringah Netball, remaining highly involved in many voluntary aspects of the game.

Blending passion with ability to further Netball is still her primary aim; the sport has been great to her and when you have that experience you want to share this with others, for that sport to continue, to grow, and you create opportunities to share knowledge and experience.
Known for being a graceful player, her accuracy was well served in playing Goal Attack and Goal Scorer. Add to this someone renowned for reading the game well, and you have one of Australia’s best ever Netball Captains.

Working with children through the Anne Sargeant Netball Clinics and JETS continues to be one way of passing on the passion. More recently Anne has been one member of the small team of equally passionate people who worked to make sure the Sapphires became a reality to give the next generations of Netball players in this area a chance to go far and further.

Of the Sapphires, on a personal note, Anne said ‘this is an exciting time for the district – for me it’s not about the Sapphires winning this year – what I would like to see is that the experience and the model is one that works moving forward in terms of longevity, making this a place where our juniors do aspire to be, and talented players anywhere would aspire to be. If this can be built across time to keep a really strong tradition going – if this can build a model and an ethic where people can aspire to be, this will be its success.”

This week a small insight into one of our local living legends:

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born on the south side of Sydney, in the St, George area but was raised from 18 months in Forestville.
I grew up there, playing for Forestville Netball Club, one of the many clubs under the Manly-Warringah umbrella, and grew up playing my sport in the Manly Warringah area – you can’t be more blessed than that.

How old were you when you began playing netball?

I first stepped on to a court as an 8 year old, with Forestville Netball Club, my mum was coaching the little team for a couple of years, as all mums do. In those days, and I think this was only for one year, there was a Manly-Warringah Under 10’s Representative Team – this then changed later and we had a 11 years Development and then 12’s became the first year for Representative teams. During my time there was an Under 10’s group though, I was fortunate to make that team and my experience in Junior Representative teams stems from age 9. I have wonderful memories from then; loved my Forestville team, the girls I played with, loved my green uniform and tassel.
I’m an only child and my mum and dad exposed me to as much as they could manage, we were not a wealthy family by any stretch, but they were both interested in sport and of the mind that if they could get me there and manage that then they would. So as a child I did Bjekle Peterson Physical Culture, Tennis, Athletics and my Netball and tried other things along the way. 
I was always most passionate about Netball though; I loved the team environment, the skills involved, the people.

Were you playing every weekend?
Yes, through Winter, as a seasonal sport. I would play for my club, Forestville, every Saturday. Through the Rep. Season,(these carnivals were played on the Sunday, and these could be at Newcastle or the Western suburbs, anywhere), my mum and dad would get myself and a couple of other kids that may need a lift and we might go up that afternoon, straight from the courts, stay in a really cheap little Motel so we’d be fresh and ready to play the next day. We’d come back, often in the dark, of a Sunday night, probably with grazes on our knees and falling asleep on the way back, and get up and go to school on the Monday. It was amazing fun.
Forestville Public School Netball Team (Annie top row, second left)

I have to say that the woman we had as a Representative Coach we had then, Jeanelle Melville, a Mona Vale woman, was just brilliant, a wonderful coach to have as your first Representative Coach – she had a lovely manner, taught us to respect the opposition and each other, made it fun and everything that you’d want in a first time experience and this was a talented little team that just won, and won. We were just a lucky group of kids that won; so our starting point was very lucky and very special, and this of course infected me with the enjoyment of Netball.

What came after this?

Going through school I started to make the School representative sides and State schoolgirls sides and this gave me a feel for that. What happens or happened then, is when you get to the age of 15 or 16, if you have some talent you start to get tracked into a State Development Team.
Met. North Schoolgirl Rep. Team (Anne far left bottom row)

What stands out, from these early instances, and to now, is the longevity of your Netball career..

To be honest, everyone has their pivotal points – mine may sound like a dream run uninterrupted, Manly has a history of winning and being successful – NSW, when I went on to play for NSW, in that era they were very successful – Australia also has a history of winning, so yes, if you look at it in that way I had an ideal dream run. 
For some people they hit a major injury.

For me, the turning point, that people may not know about unless they’ve heard me speak, was what happened as an 18 year old trying to crack the Under 18’s NSW Team. I was obviously a good player and playing in a Manly team that were successful, but so were a lot of other players. I knew I was up around these players but couldn’t quite crack the team. The year I was selected I was actually put out of the team after a couple of training sessions.

At that time there was a ruling that a State player had to have a current Umpiring Theory Badge, in other words, to make players aware of the rules. So when you nominate you would go to trails which were checked through paperwork; ‘is their Umpiring Theory current?’. We checked at that time through the club, was it current, yes it was, it was a 99% accurate test – went off, trialed, made the team, turned up to training and found that it was a month out of date. So when the NSW Administrator had to consider it they found there was an older player who hadn’t done theirs for five years. This lady was new in the role and diligent, brought it to everyone’s attention and they decided it’s either both or none and decided this didn’t satisfy the rules and put us both out of the team, her out of the Open, me out of the Under 18.  
So I had done nothing wrong. This was the most shattering experience, as a kid, I cried for weeks. My parents said, ‘if you want it this much, get back out into the backyard, get back to the goalpost, get back on the horse and give it another shot’.

I had to wait a couple of years to crack the State Team. Ironically, the first time I made a NSW Open Team, albeit one of the babies of the team, I ended up ultimately making the Australian Team in the same year. 

Right:Annie - early days for NSW

What is a further irony is that as Netball juniors we’re taught, by about age 12, you need to commit to umpiring; that’s how the game works – kids playing and then older kids having umpiring duties where they’re rostered on by their team, it’s a way of keeping the sport rolling, keeping players aware of the rules and contributing. 
Well, I was a reasonable little umpire and took it really seriously and had my Practical Badge at that time. What nobody thought to check was that I had a Practical Badge that would have made a Theory pass that would have made that ‘month out of date’ irrelevant. It should never have happened (laughs).

And caused you to miss out on that experience at that State level at that age as a result?

Hmm, it’s a ridiculously intricate story that can make you go ‘no, I’m out’ or ‘no, this is important, keep going’, but knowing you’d done nothing wrong in the first place, it was hugely disappointing. I was in State Schoolgirl teams, and then it took a couple of years to cross over into the whole bells and whistles of being part of a Waratah team.

During my first year as a big time Opens Waratah player I was one of the babies, I wasn’t first on court, coached alongside of the tournament, this was a ten day National Tournament to tweak the line - I got on court, we didn’t win, we went well though. 

At the end of this they had a dinner where they announced the Australian squad team and reserves and I was announced in the Reserves grouping. Somebody had to explain to me who these people were, what that meant. Within a week one of the players announced told the coach she was pregnant and instead of going to the next player the coach went to me and pulled me in as she saw something in me, raw talent or whatever it may have been. So, I went from being desperately unlucky in one instance, and which seemed to a kid the end of the world, was met with another little twist of fate that ended up in my being one that made the Australian Team and the State side team for 11 years on in consecutive years. 

So even though this may sound like a dream run it had a little glitch early on that really sorted me out, strengthened my resolve.
In general I’ve been blessed by having the support of two parents, the most idyllic group of friends at different stages, lovely coaches who were ideal at the different points in my career and some inner resolve to see how far I could go and what I could do and beyond that, how could I use these skills and tools to put something back into the sport and to see if I can be creative in constructing some new things in the sport. 

When the idea of doing Coaching Clinics was first raised, these weren’t happening at that time elsewhere. I have a Teaching background, have a Bachelor in Education through Sydney University, and a big part of my career was being a Teacher.

So the development of Anne Sargeant Netball Clinics (ASNC) was a natural for you?

Yes. My career was in Teaching, my sporting background is playing at elite level, being Captain of Australia and State side presented me to politicians and sponsors, gave that kind of experience of being a spokesperson. I sat down with a friend and we went through it, thought we could construct a little vehicle that would really be great for the kids, would give us a challenge, so let’s see what we could do. To begin with there were three of my girlfriends who were Rep. players, my dad on the end with a barbecue cooking sausages for the kids who participated, and a great first sponsor who believed in what we were trying to do. We had 60 kids down at the local courts running a skill based program with a sausage sizzle at the end – since then, and we now have over 25 years of running these, this has just grown and grown and expanded. 

Each year we sit down and work out how to make it better, what can we add, to ensure we’re evolving these to meet what those attending may want, so it grows, remains dynamic. 

The Anne Sargeant Netball Clinics (ASNC) are used as a way to develop young players of all abilities, they’re for those who are passionate and aspiring to better their skills. They’re also a way for our Waratah Cup players, our Sapphires, to have access to an income means for them – some of these are going through university, some are teachers just coming out of getting their degree, this is a way of them having another source of income and also to help them craft their skills. I love watching them, they become like they’re part owners in their attitude and approach, they’re that passionate and are so in sync as a team. We have different coaches at different clinics and watching them operate as Leaders in that environment is immensely rewarding. 

As a result, the ones that are run locally at the Curl Curl Court, our Manly home court, sell out 2 to 3 weeks before we get to these events, as they have for these school holidays. We now run them all over Sydney as well and hope to go further afield if time permits.
There will be two more in this area, two day events, coming up in July 2016. 

Another of these training clinics is one Karan Smith, another former International, and I run. This is a before school Academy two mornings a week which is called 
‘JETS’ – Junior Elite Talent Squad. This is aimed at the junior higher grade players, the 10 to 12 years of age groups, and as opposed to the Anne Sargeant Netball Clinics (ASNC) which are for everybody and where we sort them into age groups, JETS is for the kids who just love the skills of the game and have a natural predisposition for this in terms of their athleticism. JETS is for those who want to work on their skill development, and that is available twice a week at the courts at Narrabeen in the Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre from 7 until 8.15. At present 40 attend this, in their bright pink shirts, working on their skills development, and then they head off to school. This is the most vibrant energised start to my day, these players are so passionate and this provides just a little more opportunity for those who would like to take their game further.

Instead of doing dance, or drama, this is for those who want to do something in the sport they love. They can then take this knowledge back to their clubs. 

For many teams they’re coached by mum, who’s giving up her time to do the best she can for these young players, and mum is welcome to come along and watch too, and this provides both with another little arm to take back to their team and was yet another way to make something more available to the kids.
Jets girls are great!

You do quite a large amount of work beside these clinics Anne too?

I go all over the place as a National Selector. Aside form that I can also be helping a local person who may ask for help of an afternoon, or be at a school for some coaching sessions, or I can be doing a Specialist session with the Sapphires, or I can be away, such as at Launceston watching the National 21’s Tournament. Whatever I can fit in I will fit in plus you need some sanity time.  

Could you share what was the most memorable moment of being part of the Waratahs Team?

Well, from 1978 to 1988, 11 consecutive years, that’s a hard one to answer because there are games where everything was in sync and just floated beautifully.

Which team challenged you most then?

Across that period it would have been Victoria and South Australia. It changes form year to year depending on configurations and players in or out.

A game I still remember clearly was when the NSW Sports Centre had just opened out at Homebush. We were playing against Victoria in the final of Nationals – we were trailing by 14 or 16 goals at the end of the first quarter. That, normally, can write you off in a game. We just didn’t start, we weren’t in sync, and spent the game clawing our way back and ended up wining it. This was just a momentum building tenacious game for us where we ended up, to our great relief, and that was the only emotion – the relief of winning it.

Equally I’ve played games with the Manly Warringah girls where we’ve come from behind. My last game for Manly Warringah as Captain-Coach was one of those games at that same venue, against Randwick who were the hotshot team, they were on the rise. We’d been dominant for years and they were after us.

Right: Anne - Manly-Warringah days

This was a goal for goal tussle, there was not much in it, and I think they were 4 or 5 out. We were clawing our way at them but not getting much ascendency. I swear it swung with only minutes to go. I can still see it, still feel that game (laughs) – one of my teammates actually infringed the footwork ruling; her face was terror, but we just kept going and ended up wining my two points. After that game that Randwick coach, along with all the girls on that Randwick team, had such a great respect for each other and an ongoing friendship that has lasted for years, despite that situation.

She actually said to me at the end of that game ‘oh, you bugger, we’re going to get you next time.’ And I replied, ‘oh, …, there’s not going to be a next time’.
I better not share what she replied to that. I hadn’t told the girls that I’d decided to retire after that game, so there was something more in that game for me.

That is one of the joys of sport though, the friendships that grow from such games. We were friends for years, this is what you gain from playing this sport, from getting to be part of those matches. When she passed away last year I spoke at her funeral, I was there with everyone else, this is actually one big family – and that was evident that day. 

On Captaining the Australian Team – could you nominate any memorable moments from that 11 years?

Memorable, for the wrong reason, was the 1987 World Championships in Glasgow. We left Australia exhausted from pre-embarkation training in Canberra, we lost a player before we even left from a stress fracture, when we got to Glasgow we lost another player from a knee injury, then we lost me with a partial Achilles rupture, and a few other things went wrong. So we were shattered with injury, despite it being a really young and talented group, whom I was Captaining.  It was one of those regret campaigns; we finished second which, to an Australian player, can be soul destroying (laughs).

An amazing result really with such challenges preceding it?

To be honest, the way everything was managed could have been done better and this was sorted out across time afterwards. So it was regret for me as it was a campaign. Not taking anything away from New Zealand who were just wonderful at that tournament, I think we could have been so much better – so great lessons learnt from that which we took forward. So that is memorable as it taught me a lot about how to do things differently.

It was the first time we took 12 players away, not 10, it was the first time we took an Assistant Coach, not just a Coach, we didn’t use Leadership in the players as much as we have before – it was innovative on one hand and didn’t work on other levels.

Right Anne: Australia Team

The one that I remember for all the right reasons was four years previously, 1983 in Singapore. Joyce Brown was the Coach. We had 10 players, had lost a lot of senior players as they’d retired from the previous World Championships, which are held every four years in our sport, so there is always this big turnover in the rise and fall of eras. So we were a band of 10 players, young and inexperienced; we had a sense of people wishing us well but perhaps not believing it could be done.  Ne Zealand, in contrast, were still holding their experienced players, they had a gun lineup and were the lineup to beat. 

We were like a little band of soldiers, we were arm in arm that group. We went through that campaign beautifully and in the final, which once again was us and New Zealand, whilst there wasn’t a very big margin ever, it felt from the first whistle like there was some kind of electricity connecting us.

I remember playing the whole game with a real feeling, without cockiness, of ‘we’re going to do this – we are going to do this together’. 
I remember playing the four quarters, which is a long time to play, and the last quarter – we ended up winning by 5, which is a good margin at that level.

So that, for all the right reasons, was a wonderful experience and something I draw from still; how we were managed, how we were coached, how we regarded each other, as a really good positive lesson in life as much as in sport.

As we touched on earlier, you do an amazing amount of work, have been known for decades as one of the great ambassadors for Netball, have been named  Sydney’s Greatest Ever Netballer in 2004, were elevated to Legend status in the sport Australia Hall of Fame last year  – Hall of Champions in 2014, the list of accolades and acknowledgments just grows but you remain incredibly down to earth. How do you cope with such adulation or keep your feet on the ground?

I come home and clean the house, or do the washing up – and I’ll tell you why I do this. The awards and recognition are nice, and let’s not pretend I don’t have an ego, but I would like to think my ego or pride in what I do are best used on court, are best used when needed for a campaign to fight for something that’s right or just. I would prefer to think I can channel it that way.

But yes, I have an ego, anybody who has to play at that level and stand up, isolated on a court, can benefit the sport from having their hard work acknowledged.

I like the work of being an ambassador for the sport, of being asked to speak at schools to inspire those who are coming up in the sport now, or may need inspiration in simply how positive striving for anything may be – I enjoy the challenge of communicating this. 

There is always a bit of luck, in the timing in this – fortunately at the time I became Captain I was well aware that this was a pivotal time for our sport; we needed to engage the media, to let the public know ‘here we are’ – here is this national sport with a huge population base who are part of it, with teams that are winning World Championships after World Championships, you need to know who these women are and the women who have gone before them. 

Right: Annie saluting the crowd

During the time I was Captain that was what I worked really really hard at – promoting the sport, communicating who our people were, taking every opportunity to let people know what Netball is because the sport needed this to happen. 
If this has helped the sport then I’ll be really proud – if, as I was retiring, creating the clinics for the kids has helped, then I’d be really proud of that too. 

In terms of remaining level headed I approach that through yes, I do a lot for the sport, and receive recognition of that, but others do just as much. You just need to visit say, Avalon Community Centre or the courts at Newport or Curl Curl and watch women who, for generations, are down there doing it for no recognition and no sponsorships or endorsements.

I was lucky I was at that time when these, through the sport, were becoming available – so I have been well rewarded, not like some are now, but certainly was a front runner in that area. So I remain incredibly appreciative and very aware of this massive group of volunteers - people who have done it for so long because, like myself, that have this absolute passion for Netball; this remains in the forefront of my mind. Adulation is nice but you keep it in perspective by seeing these wonderful volunteers doing so much year in, year out.

The Manly Warringah Sapphires, which everyone is so excited about – could you tell us a little about what your role is in helping this new team?

My role won’t be major going forward. And I would like to emphasise that I was just one of the small group of very passionate team of people who worked for this to happen here.
The process is that Netball NSW decided to implement this new elite level tier above every other competition they have, this used to be the Waratah Cup, above that now sits this Premier League Competition. 
District Association had to pitch to be part of this and the cost there was 20 thousand dollars. The job of the District Associations is to service all the local kids and clubs and to give an avenue for Rep. players. You may be able to imagine that this was met with mixed emotions across the state. Most people, rightly, in these District Associations, their concerns are with providing juniors with the opportunity to play and giving general membership to play netball down at the local court in A to F grade and that’s it. There is only a few that rise into Rep. teams, so, whilst we’re passionate about that and it’s important, the massive base of our pyramid are just playing Saturday Netball and it’s them we have to look after.
So the Premier League is something people may aspire to but may not be part of the day in day out vision.

The President of Manly Warringah Netball Association asked me to come in as part of their discussion and we knew this would go ahead – as it was going to the question then was, as Manly Warringah is historically and traditionally one of the best associations of teams, who have provided so many players for State etc. – why wouldn’t we want to be part of a Premier League and be able to offer that opportunity to our kids?

When you look at the teams that have received franchises, and their players, people from Ryde may cross and play for us, others may play for other teams – they’re all playing all over the place, wherever they can get court time – that is the nature of the sport now, its has come into line with other sports where this occurs.

One of our main priorities was, if we were going to pitch, that our clubs would support this, would want it to happen and view it as a definite pathway for their players to access this elite level of the sport – we wanted this to be available for our players, first and foremost. We didn’t debar other players coming to us, but wanted to ensure this would be available for those clubs in the MWNA, for our players.
We had to go out and find sponsors, we had to put together a presentation for the team to go in and pitch. My part was being a member of a small working group that established the game plan, what needed to be in the Presentation, how we would show our forward plan, how we would attract sponsors and, for me, the biggest thing was how we would have our Opens team and our 20’s working in sync and not as separate entities. What I helped construct was a Franchise and Coaching structure where they trained together at the same venue at the same time., to have access to the same specialists. They have a former Australian player who is available on occasions to mentor. This gives a broad group of players the franchise feel moving forward.

We sent a junior in in a mock-up of a Sapphires uniform to say ‘this is what I want to be’ to underline this was the basis of our Presentation. I think one of the questions they were asked was what would they do if they didn’t get a franchise, to which they answered, they will continue business as usual, to develop what is needed for our membership, to develop our Reps., they would continue business as usual but without a traditionally successful Association being part of that new event.

They got the franchise though, have become part of these matches and event. It then became a matter of advertising for coaches and appointing coaching staff, sourcing players, letting our membership know.

All I’ve done is contribute in the formulation in how the Sapphires would look in terms of a model, helping as part of a panel on appointment, helping as part of a panel on selection – but I have been part of a small group of us – it may have been time consuming and I’m very involved, but only as one member of this team who are devoted to this.

Moving forward, other than vastly interested, I’ll be working as one of the Specialist Coaches, Mo’onia Gerard will go in as well, we’ve been able to retain a lot of our Rep. players and that all those players have access to that Coaching team. 

So this is a team setup of personnel rather than one of doing one thing and another off doing something else so that the 15’s, whom you saw serving refreshments at the launch, clearly see this opportunity of what they can move forward to down the track. 

After over five decades in this sport, what would you say to a five year old who hasn’t played, is not sure what it’s about, but might go along and try because her little friends are – should she go?

Absolutely. There is so much to be said for the sport of it being really fun to be playing with teammates – this is a compact and easily accessible sport. There is so much fun in working that ball in concert with other kids on the court.
Every time we run an event I watch them and see kids absolutely sparkling. The ones who love it love its speed, the fast hands, the movement around the court. It’s a wonderful game, a safe sport, and something all kids can enjoy playing.

How do maintain such a positive mental attitude, and level of fitness, and do so much all year every year – you’re a mum, coach, you do speaking engagements, commentary, the list is endless – how do you do it, yoga, some kind of meditation?

I really like to fit in a 20 minute walk, this allows me the space and time to exhale, to think. I have two maniac dogs that need the exercise and although I don’t have a rigorous training regime, I’m very energetic in terms of a busy workload and activity load. Ensuring I get this 20 minute gentle walk in allows me to clear my mind, although I’m often making lists as I walk.

I also have a really beautiful balcony which I’ll sit on, and although this may only be a 10 minute ‘refresh’ this helps too. At present I’m doing 7 days a week, it’s pre-season and it’s busy, I may have to fly somewhere for a match to do with Nationals – but even that, the change from one thing to another works as a kind of reset button and once again refreshes you for the next thing.

There are opportunities that come though – across January for instance, there will be pockets of time where I make myself go sit on the beach. During the Christmas period, Warwick and I will get a glass, go down to the water and just sit and rest for half an hour – we have to do that.

Warwick has Avalon Physiotherapy, so he too has a very demanding on his feet physical job, and this is a very busy vibrant dynamic practice, he’s very good at what he does, he’s a people person and very popular – he’s also the most selfless person I know. To have gentleman like that for your husband, who has allowed me to pursue things way past the point where I perhaps should have stopped, who has just supported my every endeavour, to recognise when I’m at point where I am exhausted and know how to get me to rest is just invaluable.

There are also close friends who are in Netball too and have a similar insight, they can see when you’re tired and it just takes one of them to say ‘can I do something?’ and this too is a trigger, you take a moment and realise you need to take a moment!

Although there is a lot on your plate at present – is there anything else you’d like to try out should you be able to in the future?

If anybody offered me a little radio slot or talk show,  'Annie’s Afternoon Session’ – that would be great, to have fun and be more than just netball, to have that opportunity to communicate with others on a wide range of subjects.
What I really really love and have backed out of so far due to a lack of time is doing Interior Design. 
I’m always walking through our home and thinking, much to Warwick’s horror, what’s a really cost effective way to change the way that looks or make that space open up or adapt to some other criteria. I never walk through any space without considering those kinds of possibilities. So in my ideal world I’ve done a few courses in this and am able to put to use these ideas.
At present there’s a minor renovation going on here so during the past two weeks, I’m out to a coaching session, back here to the office to do some paperwork, outside to talk to the guys and say ‘now hang on, have we thought about the aesthetics of this..’ I’m not saying I have a talent but I do love it.

You always look very good though, always well presented, and you’re articulate – once more you may be underplaying hidden talents?

I would attribute that to my mum – we had no money but my mum always had a grace and dignity and even on no budget made sure she always looked presentable. You don’t realise until you are mature that you have taken some of that on board. For me it’s about enjoyment whether it’s the way I dress or in styling a corner of the house – this has nothing to do with money or that it’s important to dress that way, it’s about the aesthetics for me. Another instance would be in the middle of preparing details for five upcoming events I’m looking at the ball designed for this year’s ASNC; we have a ball that’s designed each year for this, a flagship shirt and ball, which changes year to year. In looking at this year’s ball, which I love, I also begin thinking about what can be done with it to make it so exciting for the kids next year.

What are your favourite places on the Northern Beaches and why?

I really love the Palm Beach area – the peninsula, and the Pittwater waterway up to the Boat House. I have never been for a walk along Station Beach or looked out someone’s window and not been stopped in my tracks and thought ‘that is so beautiful’. I’ve never taken that beauty for granted and never could.

When I was younger I would play in the bush – I went to Killarney school and would walk home from there through the bush. I grew up in Duke Street Forestville which then was all natural bush. Behind us was Roseville Chase and as child I would explore caves and rock shelves take matchboxes to build little fairy matchbox houses, I have really great memories of this place.

As I frequently drive from Palmy down to the Curly courts I really love the beauty of going through the Bilgola bends into Newport; the transformation of the two quite vastly different beaches there. This is something you find throughout the area, the contrast between Freshwater and Manly beaches for instance.

The other place I love is the Manly Wharf area – this brings back to you that you’re so close to a city area and still part of a beachside environment. When you stand and look across that expanse of water at a city and have ocean breezes at your back this is indicative of what living in Sydney is like in so many ways.

What is your ‘motto for life’ or a favourite phrase you try to live by?

This may make me sound competitive, but for many of us, from Joyce Brown, the Australian coach, there was an experience with her where, before we went away on a campaign, she brought us down a peg through ‘if you think you’ve achieved it by making this team, go back and give your position  to somebody else’ – because she didn’t want people in that team who thought ‘great, I’ve made it’ and sat back.

What I drew from this is ‘there is no endpoint to success’. This is an ongoing extension and extending of yourself – this doesn’t always mean in terms of competing – that expression came from a very elite sport context but I love it as you can take it out of context. When you do that there is no end point to trying things, to taking on new things – to extending your self.

So this can easily be, in life, there is no endpoint to learning, to growth, or happiness or a relationship.
By recognising evolution and change and challenging yourself there is no endpoint.

Anne Sargeant OAM