Laura Malcolm announces her retirement from netball

05.08.2023 Silver Ferns in action during the Netball World Cup match between Silver Ferns and England in Cape Town, South Africa. Mandatory Photo Credit ©Michael Bradley.

Laura Malcolm has announced her retirement from playing netball at both an elite domestic and international level. 

A popular player in the game, the 33-year-old won 61 caps and a historic Netball World Cup silver medal with the Vitality Roses as well as an impressive four Netball Super League (NSL) titles with Manchester Thunder. 

Laura will now focus on the role of Technical Support Coach at Thunder where her technical expertise has already helped the team top the NSL table and reach the semi-finals, which will be held at Belle Vue on 22 June. 

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Announcing her news, Laura said: “It’s been a bit of a wild season, but one thing I know for sure is that the opportunity I’ve had at Manchester Thunder on the coaching bench has been something that I’ve really loved. So I guess it’s quite an easy decision to step away from the playing and get going under the coaching. 

“I just want to say a massive thanks to all the coaches that have helped me on my journey. So many people have gone into getting me to where I want to go in order to achieve my dreams. That includes all the coaches and the fans for the support that you’ve given me. 

It’s been one heck of a ride, but I’m certainly excited to get going on the next one. 

“And this way, I get to still be a part of netball, and still be a part of the team without all of the fitness tests, the court sprints, the training and the sore knees. So yeah, it’s goodbye for the playing, I’m hanging the playing trainers up and getting the coach’s hat on. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me over these years. Over and out.” 

After a number of international appearances at youth level, Laura made her debut for the Vitality Roses against Barbados in 2012. 

A strong leader on and beyond the court, she co-captained the side across several series in 2019 and 2020, and then achieved something she’d ‘been dreaming about for pretty much [her] whole life’: a Commonwealth Games debut at Birmingham 2022.  

Renowned for her positional flexibility, her final appearance wearing the famous red dress came in the historic 2023 Netball World Cup final as England won silver. 

Speaking after that historic moment, Laura shared: “The experience has been a whirlwind. I think we knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t realise how physically demanding a World Cup is. 

“It’s just been really nice to keep getting directed to enjoy the journey and enjoy what we’ve been doing together and I’m so glad we kept that mentality up because we’ve come out of it with a lovely medal and a lot of really happy memories. 

“As a Vitality Rose, we always feel the support from everybody at home and it’s always a privilege to know that so many people are backing us and supporting us. It means a lot.” 

Paying tribute to Laura on her retirement, Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby commented: “Laura Malcolm is the epitome of the dedicated athlete.  

Having enjoyed two stints in the Vitality Roses programme and overcoming challenges throughout her incredible netball journey, Laura’s driven attitude and intrinsic motivation earned her a place in history as a member of the Netball World Cup 2023 silver medal winning team.  

“Often referring to herself as a ‘netball geek’, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Laura the last four years in what has been arguably her most successful period within the game.  

“I know I’m not alone when l say I have both admired and been inspired by Laura’s work ethic, resilience and desire to get the best out of herself and all those around her.  

“She takes nothing for granted and her pride to represent her country and the red dress was obvious to all. 

“I want to thank Laura for not only her service to the Vitality Roses but also in making me a better coach and wish her all the best for her future endeavours.” 

At club level, the Wolverhampton-born player retires as one of the most decorated players in Netball Super League history having lifted the trophy four times with Manchester Thunder in 2012, 2014, 2019 and 2022, captaining the team to an undefeated campaign in their most recent title win.  

In between her two spells with the North West side, Laura captained Severn Stars in their inaugural Netball Super League campaign. 

She also enjoyed a move to New Zealand where she represented Mainland Tactix in 2023 before returning to Manchester Thunder as Technical Support Coach for the Super League squad and Head of Pathways for the 2024 season. 

Karen Greig, Manchester Thunder Head Coach and Franchise Director, said: “As Laura steps into retirement, I want to express how amazing she has been for us and for the incredible journey and service she has given to Manchester Thunder over the past 14 years (with a couple of detours).  

Laura’s dedication, passion, and remarkable talent have inspired countless fans and aspiring netballers near and far. 

“I’m so happy that I get to continue to work with a massive netballing geek who brings so much now off court at Manchester Thunder and is each week becoming more impressive as a coach and leader.  

“We keep it fun along the way and I’m excited to see how this next chapter plays out for Laura.” 

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