Neball: Dehn on brink of making netball history

By Suzanne McFadden

Australian Megan Dehn is on course to create history by winning the national league titles on both sides of the Tasman simultaneously.

Shooter Dehn has been in sterling form for the Force in the National Bank Cup and will play a key role in tomorrow night's grand final against the Sting.

During the break in the New Zealand competition last month, Dehn travelled back to Australia to play for her team of nine seasons, the Sydney Swift, in Australia's equivalent, the Commonwealth Bank Trophy.

Once the NBC is over, Dehn and her husband Greg will pack up their Ponsonby home of 15 months and return to Sydney to play out the end of the Australian competition.

The Swift, led by Australian captain Liz Ellis, are in second place, four points adrift of the Melbourne Phoenix, and have a shot at the title.

Dehn, who has 20 caps for Australia, is the first player to feature in both competitions at the same time. Sting shooter Daneka Wipiiti played the final three round-robin games for the Hunter Jaegers after the NBC finished in 2005.

Dehn played two games for the Swift when the Silver Ferns and Australia were touring England in May.

"It was good to keep my match fitness up during the break. But there were a lot of girls in the team I didn't know - I was a bit of a grandma," said Dehn, 33.

"I'm sad to be leaving Auckland, but I'm looking forward to going back to the Swift, because it's the last year of their competition too and it will be good to finish that era with them."

In her nine seasons with the Swift, Dehn has played in five finals and won three premierships.

But it means just as much to her to help the Force win their first title in the NBC.

Dehn came to Auckland to play for the Force last year for a change of scene after being cut from Norma Plummer's Australian team. She won her way back into the national side and played at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, but wrenched her knee during the Force's first semifinal against the Flames soon after.

She needed six months of rehabilitation after a knee reconstruction, and decided to stay in New Zealand to recover.

Dehn has yet to decide where she will aim to play in next year's inaugural Tasman Trophy, or whether she will retire from the sport to start a family.

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