It takes grit, hard work and perseverance to make it in the uber competitive world of pro sport. And netballer Sharni Layton has them in spades. Her ferociously competitive and energetic playing style has proven both compelling – and effective.
Hailing from Melbourne’s Bonbeach in Victoria, the NSW Swifts player has built a reputation for her intense competitive nature on court – and legendary candour off court.
The defender earned her first international selection on the Australian Diamonds team for the 2011 Netball World Cup following a breakout year with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, winning a premiership and the ANZ Championship’s Best Young Player honour.
“I missed out on some teams when I was young, and that toughens you up. I've always said it was my attitude and mindset, which got me to where I was, rather than my skill level. And my skill level has gradually got better over time,” Layton told ESPN.
Fast and furious
Her aggressive on-court approach hasn’t come without injury though, chalking up a dislocated elbow, ruptured ankle ligaments, a slipped disc in her back alongside shoulder surgery. After a knee injury Layton was forced to miss the Diamonds’ 2012 international series. In true form she made a triumphant return in 2013 playing a key role in her second premiership with the Thunderbirds.
“I've always had more experienced defenders around me. So, I'm really just learning as much as they are in building a new combination with them. I'm just encouraging them to go out and do their thing because they're both so talented and I want them to know that I've got their backs,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald.
After a move to join the NSW Swifts in 2014, Layton won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Glasgow before claiming her second World Cup gold medal in 2015.
With the 2016 International Netball Series in August, she’s showing no signs of slowing down.