Wendy Laidlaw

PLAYER

Wendy grew up on the South Coast of NSW. She played junior ball with Illawarra before being granted the chance to be selected for NSW at the junior level. Wendy earned the right to play after being one of the most successful players in her age group.

She was called upon to captain her state and when she represented NSW in the juniors, she won an Australian title as captain. Wendy played for the NSW juniors between 1973 and 1976 and won two Australian titles.

Wendy’s representation at the State level was nothing but the highest order. She continued to play for NSW from 1976 until 1983 and played for the Open Women at the National Championships.

She was only at the young age of nineteen in 1978 when she was asked to travel Europe and China with the Opals. She toured the regions and put her talents on show for everyone to see. That wouldn’t be the last time she put on the Opals jersey because from that moment she would see herself wearing the Green and Gold for years to come.

In 1982, Wendy got the call up to compete in Asia against Taipei and China. She put on the Opals jersey for that campaign and then moved to Sutherland to play in the WNBL.
Attending a World Championship and experiencing the highs and lows of the tournament was Wendy’s next move and in 1983, she went to Brazil to represent her country.

The relationship between Australia and China was evident in Australia taking numerous tours to the Asian country. It was no surprise that in 1984 she laced up again to take on China in China. Unfortunately for Wendy, her next big event was the Olympic Qualification Tournament in Cuba which never eventuated into a qualification. Due to a boycott, they went on to play at the LA Olympics where they came fifth. It was the first-ever Olympics for the Opals.

Wendy had enough of playing representative basketball after the LA Olympics, but focuses her attention elsewhere and happened to be a successful stint in coaching. She coached the juniors in the Illawarra area.

It wasn’t long after she started her trade as a coach that she helped lead the way as the woman behind the NSW Under 20 women’s team. In 1985 she coached the girls at the Australian Championships and was the Assistant Coach of the Australian Junior Women’s Team on a tour to China.

Wendy went back to where it all started and wanted to give back to the area which gave her so much. She coached the Illawarra “Kittyhawks” in the ABA and then had an influence as head coach of the Illawarra Academy.

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