A CHAMPIONSHIP player with Melbourne Vixens in 2009, Bendigo’s Caitlin Thwaites will make a stunning return to the club for the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season.
The signing of Thwaites, who spent the past two seasons with rivals Collingwood Magpies, was announced on Tuesday night.
The 31-year-old goal shooter played 29 games for Magpies and scored 1181 goals.
She will replace Mwai Kumwenda, who faces a lengthy period on the sidelines following a knee reconstruction.
Thwaites, who has more than 200 games to her name after beginning her professional career at the Melbourne Kestrels in 2002, was an inaugural member of the Vixens from 2008-10.
She has also played at ANZ Championship and Super Netball level with Central Pulse, NSW Swifts and most recently cross-town rivals, Magpies Netball.
A regular Australian Diamonds representative over the last seven years, Thwaites has played 41 Tests.
She is again a part of the squad for this and next month’s Quad Series and Constellation Cup.
Thwaites, who was back in home in Bendigo last week to take charge of a special training session for Sandhurst’s junior and senior payers, said she was excited to be back where her career took off.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity to be a part of what the Vixens have created over the last few years,” she said.
“I’ve been able to watch from the outside and see they’re definitely a force to come up against.
“It’s a nice synergy that the Vixens was kind of the start for me so I kind of feel like I’m coming home.”
Head coach Simone McKinnis welcomed Thwaites back to the Vixens family.
It’s a really exciting opportunity to be a part of what the Vixens have created over the last few years.Caitlin Thwaites
“We’re thrilled to have Caitlin join us at the Vixens, and I can’t wait to see her join the team,” said McKinnis.
“Her experience spanning over 15 years in the domestic competition, and seven years with the Diamonds will be integral to where we want to go as a club in 2019.
“She’s obviously played quite a bit with most of our athletes in the Diamonds program, and even Renae and Tegan back in her time at the Vixens, so I have no doubt she’ll fit in without any disruption.”
Meanwhile, general manager of Magpies netball Jennifer McIntyre said Thwaites had been a great contributor to the start-up club, which has a new coach in Rob Wright.
"She is one of only seven players to have played 200 or more games at the highest level and remains a formidable player," McIntyre said.
"We were so fortunate to have 'Caity' share in our early history and we wish her nothing but the best."
Date of birth: 29/12/1986
-Commonwealth Games gold medallist in 2014
-Commonwealth Games silver medallist in 2018
-ANZ Championship winner in 2009 (Vixens)
-Member of the Diamonds’ World Cup winning squad in 2015
-Diamonds debut in 2012
-NSW Swifts MVP 2015
-Central Pulse MVP 2011
-Magpies Netball 2017 best and fairest
-Magpies Netball 2018 Runnerr-up best and fairest