England netball star Chelsea Pitman ‘heartbroken’ after not being offered 2021 contract at Adelaide Thunderbirds

Chelsea Pitman to leave the Adelaide Thunderbirds
Chelsea Pitman to leave the Adelaide Thunderbirds - (Copyright AAP/PA Images)
13:02pm, Mon 21 Sep 2020
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England star Chelsea Pitman has announced her departure from Suncorp Super Netball side Adelaide Thunderbirds after not being offered a contract for the 2021 season.

The 32 year-old said she was ‘heartbroken’ by the news after signing in 2017 and co-captaining the side for the past two years. 

Pitman said on Instagram: "It is with mixed emotions I announce to my friends, family, our amazing Pink Army and my followers that my time at the Adelaide Thunderbirds has come to the end. 

"I am disappointed to not be offered a 2021 contract from the club because I truly felt we were building towards something great in 2021 and beyond. 

"I am heartbroken that I will not continue my netball career with the team I have worked so hard with over the last 4 years and co-captained for the last 2, but that is sport. It is sometimes brutal and cut throat, always rewarding and sometimes lifechanging.

"I am thankful to have been able to see growth and change with the beginning of some success, and I hope to see that continue into 2021 and beyond. For more than half my life all I've wanted to be was a netballer. 

"The beauty of my sport, is that it has allowed me to fulfil being a person away from it but as all athletes know is that no matter what level your sport is tagged at, amateur or professional and everything in-between. You sacrifice so much to give it your all and it does become your life."

The midcourter added that it is not a ‘retirement’ post and remains ‘hopeful’ that she will continue to play in the top flight. 

Former Australian Diamond star Kimberlee Green was ‘baffled’ by the news, saying: “This has me baffled. Chels has been a standout in the WA position this season. A huge pick up for any team @ChelseaPitman.”

Vitality Netball Superleague’s Leeds Rhinos head coach Dan Ryan added: “Gutted for @ChelseaPitman. Thought the future finally looked bright for the club. 

"So influential in the wins this season & more importantly the development & rise of Horjus/Nankivell. Pro sport is brutal. Stay the course, mate, you’ve stood by the club & you’re not done with yet!.”

Fellow teammate Kate Shimmin said: “THANKYOU our amazing captain for everything you have done for the the Adelaide Thunderbirds I can’t wait to see what is in store for you next year!”

Thunderbirds star Sasha Glasgow wrote: “So lucky to have played 4 years along side someone who gives so much to her teammates and to this club. 

"Not only have I been lucky enough to have played with you, but most importantly gained a friend for life. Your next journey is ready for you with open arms but for one more week, we still got you.”

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