PICS: Dyball calls time on an amazing netball career
NETBALL: She's one of the most well-respected athletes in Gladstone for three decades.
Melanie Dyball's decorated representative netball has come to a close and she has no regrets.
But the way she played against Rockhampton in the final Queensland Premier League game last Sunday, one could argue there's more years left in who she described as 'an old girl'.
Ironically the umpire in that game, Jacki Graham, was Dyball's school friend and team-mate in her first representative team.
Dyball, a multiple premiership player with her beloved Yaralla Falcons, was a teenager when it all began.
"My first representative netball carnival was playing with the Gladstone under-15 team in 1989," she said.
"From there I continued to play many rep carnivals travelling from as far north as Cairns to down south on the Gold Coast."
She started giving back to the game in her early 20s.
"I started coaching the younger rep teams as well as playing," Dyball said.
"Coaching representative teams has also had many great memories taking out a few titles with my U15 and U16 teams.
"Over the years of playing we have had quite a few successful competitions.
"I remember winning our division at the State Carnival in Townsville and also taking out our division in the Country Carnival in Gladstone one year."
Dyball named some of the women who had influenced her when she first started out at representative level.
"I had the privilege of playing with some older ladies that I always learned from and admired," she said.
"Debbie Zammit, Donna Lawrie, Joan Mann and Gayle Wothersoon were part of my earlier senior rep days."
Dyball said representative coaches Pam Moore, Tracey Davis and Glenda Hammond also had a positive impact.
She also said it was important to play with in the same team with her club opponents.
"Representing Gladstone allowed players from different clubs to come together and play as one and I think it's crucial to have diversity and be able to play with different players on a higher level," Dyball said.
"I think its really special to bond and learn from different players and I've made lifelong friendships with many of those girls."
Dyball admired players from arch-enemy Rockhampton and they were Tanya Attard and Sam Hayden who eventually moved to Gladstone and was Dyball's team-mate at the Falcons.
"It just just goes to show even playing against players you still build a lifelong bond," she said.
Dyball lauded her representative team-mates who played with her in the then State League (now Queensland Premier league).
"I played many many years with amazing team-mates Angela Mills, Michelle Jones, Tanya Smallcombe and Tracey Calis," Dyball said.
BACK IN 2008:
"These girls were a memorable part of my rep years and have been privileged to play alongside many great players.
"I hope that over these years I have inspired and made a positive impact on their lives as they have done for me.
"It means so much to be part of a team and it's been a great time representing the teams, association and community."
Dyball had lived by the words of American endurance racer, adventure racer, author and motivational speaker Robyn Benincasa.
"You don't inspire your team-mates by showing them how great you are, you inspire them by showing them how amazing they are."