Kathleen Thornalley, right, with her daughter Lily and mother Judy Totoro at the Saxton Stadium. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Three generations on the netball court


For the past four seasons, the Thornalley family have had three generations represented on the netball court.

The Nelson netball stalwarts boast a trio of a grandmother, daughter and granddaughter.
This includes Judy Totoro, who at 69, is Nelson’s oldest netballer.

Judy is a goal keep for Rival grade four, has been involved in Nelson netball for more than forty years and the club captain for the past twenty.

“I don’t know if it’s because my mother is stubborn and just doesn’t want to give it up, but she just loves it,” daughter Kathleen Thornalley says. She says her mother surrounds herself with younger players so it’s not just a ‘team of old ladies.’

“They compete very well, I have encouraged her to hand over the reins as club captain, so she doesn’t have to do all the organisation at the club, but she is always the first one to put her hand up, she is very giving like that.”

She says her mother’s competitive spirit is a strong as ever.

“She just loves the social aspect and is still fiercely competitive, she certainly won’t give an inch to her opposition.”

Kathleen started playing premier netball at 17 and is still going strong. Now 45, the Richmond goal shoot has also been club captain for the past 15 years.

As she has said for the past several seasons, she is trying to retire, but “it just wasn’t on the cards this year.”

“Everyone says I’ll be just like mum still playing at 70 but I don’t think I will.” Completing the family dynasty is 12-year-old Lily Thornelley.

The Broadgreen Intermediate student started her playing career as an 8-year-old.

“She loves it and has followed on the family pattern.”

Kathleen says there have been lots of cases of three generations being involved in netball but its quite rare to find them all playing at the same time.

“We are incredibly passionate about netball, we love the camaraderie we share with our clubs and teammates, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Kathleen says.