Sisters Leigh, Claudia, Sophie and Anna after Torquay Tigers won both the A Grade and B Grade premierships in 2013.

Carty helps Tigers claw their way to the top

April 30, 2020 BY

AMID dramatically changing fortunes for both herself and her team, Anna Carty’s dedication to Torquay Tigers Netball Club has never faltered.

About a decade ago, the Tigers’ A Grade team were languishing near the bottom of the table.

The club appointed Anna Carty as coach, despite her still playing in Under 19 netball at the time.

Netball club president Meagan Mifsud was on the committee when Carty was made coach. She said Carty handled the role exceptionally.

“It was a tough gig for such a young kid, but she did us proud with what she did.”

Carty would only coach the team for the one season, but would help create the foundations that have allowed Torquay to become one of the most successful teams in the Bellarine Netball League.

Club life member and then-A Grade player Robin Austin said Carty had a positive influence on the team as coach, improving the players’ fitness and bringing them closer together as a group.

“She had a really big impact on us,” said Austin

“It was good for an inexperienced team, because she was working really hard to give us some sort of structure and made sure we worked really hard for each other.”

Carty said one of her most memorable moments in the black and yellow was a talk she gave to the players during their years near the bottom.

“Probably the biggest memory, I looked back at one of my speeches and said ‘We won one game last year, this year we won two games,’ and I said ‘by 2014 we will win the premiership.'”

Carty’s prediction may have seemed optimistic at the time, but it was actually conservative as Torquay claimed the 2013 premiership.

Carty was named one of the best on court in a grand final made even more special because she played alongside her sister Sophie. Her other two sisters, Claudia and Leigh, added to the occasion as they helped Torquay to the B Grade premiership.

Similarly enjoying the success was Carty’s mother, Jo Masek, who has also been very involved with the club in different capacities for many years.

Mifsud said Carty and her family’s contribution to the club has been invaluable.

“She’s loved by everyone and the Maseks are a great community family and a great asset to the club.”

The 2013 final would be the first of four consecutive years that Torquay would make the grand final.

The team would narrowly be defeated by Geelong Amateur in 2014 and 2015, before taking a thrilling one-point victory over their familiar adversaries in 2016.

However, despite featuring in the two unsuccessful attempts, some terrible luck would deny Carty the chance to participate in the 2016 final, as in the preliminary final she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament with just minutes remaining.

While the disappointment was unavoidable, Carty said she still revelled in the team claiming the premiership.

“I thought my knee was fine, but I had the scan on the Monday and they said ‘No, it’s ruptured’.

“But I was still part of the team, on the sidelines, and it’s still so good to be there for the other girls because you know the feeling of how good it is.”

Despite the serious injury Carty remained heavily involved in the club, spending her recovery helping Austin coach the B Grade team.

Austin described Carty as a “nose to the grindstone” type player, but said it was during this period she was unable to play that her work ethic really shone.

“Because we’ve worked together so long I knew we’d sort of be a dynamic team where I could coach on the court and she could give that off-court experience to see what was happening on the court.

“She’d always be helping out the other teams. She’d often be the first aid person on the A Grade court and would always put her hand up to score. Even when she went back to work and was doing night shift, she’d still come up that following afternoon.”

The next three years followed a similar pattern as before.

Torquay made the elimination final in 2017 and 2018, but were unable to reach the grand final on either occasion.

Last season they then became premiers once more, although Carty’s season was again curtailed, albeit this time for a more uplifting reason as she would give birth to her first child in November.

Despite only playing in one of the three successful grand finals, Austin said Carty’s positive influence on the club was profound regardless of whether she is playing or helping from the sidelines.

“It’s fabulous someone as dedicated as Anna is on and off the court. Torquay are lucky to have her.”