ONE for the history books.

Morwell coach, Courtney Garth became the first netballer in Morwell Football Netball Club history to reach 250 A Grade games recently.

The Tigers gave Garth a milestone to remember, winning by nine goals against Wonthaggi in Round 3 of the Gippsland League.

A three time premiership winner (2014, 2019 and 2022), life member and league best-and-fairest winner, Garth is no stranger to monumental milestones.

Memories: Courtney Garth has won three premierships with the Tigers. Here, she celebrates the 2019 triumph with good friends Claire Marks, Rachel Patterson and Rachel Tatterson. Photograph supplied

The gun defender has cemented her home within the bounds of Morwell FNC for the past 17 years.

“Morwell FNC is more than just a sports club – it’s a place where community, history, and support converge,” she said.

“The family-friendly atmosphere and the interconnectedness between football and netball creates a strong sense of belonging. It’s been such a significant part of my life and my family’s history.”

For Garth, Morwell FNC is like an extended family.

“Morwell Football-Netball Club loyalty holds significance for me because it represents a deep connection to my roots, community, and the values instilled in me over the years,” she said.

“It’s about honouring the club’s history, supporting its future, and being part of something larger than myself. Plus, the bonds formed with teammates and supporters make it feel like a second family.”

With such an extensive career at the Tigers, breaking the club record for A Grade games carries a great deal of meaning for Garth.

“I’m honoured and grateful to have reached the milestone. It’s been 17 years, and my journey reflects not only personal accomplishments, premierships but also the bonds forged with teammates who have become lifelong friends. It’s hard to fully comprehend but I’m sure over time it will really sink in,” she said.

No doubt that among Garth’s most cherished memories in her lustrous career would be the three Grand Final wins but, as a people-person at heart, Garth said what was most important to her was the bonds and friendships she created.

“Such moments are rare, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have experienced them, knowing that many never do (winning premierships),” she said.

“My teammates have played a crucial role in my journey, providing unwavering support throughout my career.”

While Garth’s first Grand Final appearance was a special moment, it would be hard to top 2019.

In that season, the young teacher captained her side to league dominance and all the way into a Grand Final, winning the league MVP along the way.

Then, in the Grand Final, the Tigers came out roaring and secured a 46-41 win against Traralgon, and Garth was named best-on-court.

After the next two seasons were cut short, the Tiger train was back up and running again in 2022. Garth once again played a best-on-court performance and captained her side to Grand Final victory.

With Morwell a modern netball powerhouse, Garth has had the opportunity to learn off some of the best local netball brains.

“The guidance and inspiration from coaches like Vicki Stevens, Rachel Paterson, and teammates Rachel Tatterson, Claire Marks and Tanya Budge, have been instrumental in pushing me to strive for excellence,” she said.

“Their influence has undoubtedly contributed to my growth and success in my sporting endeavours.”

Garth started her athletic pursuits with basketball, learning fundamental skills and loving the aspect of team sport.

“As a young athlete, I had the privilege of participating in basketball as a junior, where I was fortunate to be part of numerous exceptional teams. This experience instilled in me the understanding that teamwork brings numerous rewards,” she said.

With many Gippslanders trying their hand at Victorian Netball League level and some even in the Suncorp Super Netball, Garth certainly had the talent to take that avenue but chose not to. Though she thought about taking her talents as far as she could, she said she knew she only wanted to be at one club, and that one club was Morwell.

“It’s true that a career at the highest level would have been appealing, however I was very content in playing alongside my best friends Rachel (Tatterson) and Claire (Marks) and creating some history for this great club we call home,” she said.

Still owning that defensive circle, Garth is showing no signs of slowing down.

Now coaching the Morwell A Grade side, Garth has another avenue to break records in.

“Coaching was the last thing that I wanted to tick off this year and I’m so glad I took on this challenge,” she said.

Celebrate: The Morwell A Grade side get around Courtney Garth after her record-making 250th A Grade game. Photograph supplied

Though Morwell has had a slower start to the season than previous years, Garth is keen to build upon the club’s strong history.

“We have such a good group of girls amongst our senior list and can’t wait to build on that this year,” she said.

“My affection for the club and its community runs deep, and I’m committed to being involved for as long as I can. The emergence of talented young players keeps me motivated, and I have confidence that the club will thrive for years to come. No matter what I’ll be happy and fulfilled as long as I’m able to be leave the club in the best possible place to keep moving forward.”

Coming to the club a young, flushed cheeked, 14-year-old girl to now leading the senior A Grade side, Garth has certainly grown.

The Morwell netball royalty hasn’t always had it easy. Garth has experienced her fair share of defeat and hardships, but found resilience being well supported by a club that felt like home.

“I joined the club at the age of 14 and played all my junior years here. At 17, I earned a spot on the A Grade team, and that same year, my B Grade team clinched the Grand Final victory. Though I was disappointed, this moment fuelled my ambition to set high goals for myself,” she said.

The competition hasn’t seen the last of Courtney Garth, with aspirations to reach the magical 300 game mark, she’ll be sticking around.