She was the sharp shooter in a golden era for Australian netball.
For more than a decade, Susan Pettitt (nee Pratley) was one of the Diamonds' biggest attacking weapons. Whether she was at goal attack or goal shooter, Pettitt was there for the huge moments, including winning the 2007 World Netball Championships and not to mention THAT epic rivalry with New Zealand.
But, unlike many young Australian boys and girls, Pettitt never dreamed she would one day represent her country in sport. Growing up on the small Far South Coast town of Quaama (population: less than 300 people according to 2016 Census), she didn't even know what professional netball meant.
"On the ABC and the news, it [netball coverage] was very limited," she said.
"I always played for the love it - and I still did when playing for Australia. Growing up, I didn't even know about [professional] leagues. It was more about stepping stones for me. Every time I made a team, I thought 'wow, this is cool' and I just kept making teams. was one of those fortunate people to maybe perform on the right day and people saw me. There were a lot of sacrifices along the way, but I never would have picked my career being how it was."
After retiring from the game in 2018, Pettitt and her husband Brad moved to Albion Park to open a cafe (Three Flamingos Espresso) and enjoy the country lifestyle.
It also has opened up the door for Pettitt to help pave the way to the top for local talent. The 36-year-old is an ambassador for the new Premier League franchise, South Coast Blaze.
"I moved to the Wollongong area and the Illawarra netball people knew that. I had a few connections who asked if I would be happy to put my hand up to help develop this team for the Illawarra," she said.
"I was like 'yeah, for sure' because it's something that his area hasn't ever had and something that's really missing for the area. It's such a strong netball community and it's bizarre that they didn't have a Premier League team.
"When we started putting this team together, it was something that I was so passionate about. For someone growing up on the Far South Coast, to have a team a little bit closer to home would have been amazing, even though it would still involved a bit of travel. It would have opened so many more doors and provided more opportunities for me.
"We were amazed at the interest and turnout for selection trials. It wasn't until we sat down and earmarked players from the area to try get them back, that we realised how much this talent this area has."
Pettitt is happy in retirement and looks back proudly at her career, which spanned close to 15 years.
She was a cornerstone in attack for the NSW Swifts (originally Sydney Swifts) for 11 seasons, where she won several championship title and became the club's highest capped player. Pettitt then left to join ANZ Championship newcomers Giants Netball for her last domestic two seasons.
"I had the opportunity to start with the new team and not many people get to do that," Pettitt said.
"It was good, it was different. I had been with the Swifts for many seasons so it was just a change that I needed. It was refreshing. I knew it was at the end of my career so it was about having some fun out there and establishing things like team culture before I left."
At an international level, Pettitt made her Diamonds debut in 2006. She went on to play more than 70 games for her country, forming a dangerous attacking combination with Catherine Cox.
Highlights included winning silver medals at three Commonwealth Games (2006, 2010 and 2018). However, she said nothing beat that feeling of beating their traditional rivals New Zealand.
"I remember when I first started playing for Australia, that was the game when you wanted to be on the court. Even though they had a few years of rebuilding, they were still the team that you wanted to play against, the team you wanted to shut down," she said.
"In the early days, it was obviously exciting to make my [Diamonds] debut and then teams kept coming for me so it kind of just became the norm, which sounds crazy. Then I didn't make a couple of team, so getting back into the team made me appreciate it a bit more and made me grateful about how lucky I was. The last Commonwealth Games was probably a highlight for me in terms of the hard work and sacrifice I put in to get back there and to realise how special it really was.
"When I first started playing, I played with Liz Ellis, Sharelle McMahon and Catherine Cox. At the time, I probably took that for granted how awesome at netball they were and how lucky I was to actually be in that generation."
Pettitt surprised many fans by announcing her international and domestic retirement in 2018. It proved to be a smooth transition.
"I always knew that my netball career was coming to an end and I wanted to call it on my own terms," she said.
"People were probably a bit shocked when I did call it but I was ready. It was my time to let the kids shine."
Two years later, Pettitt said "netball in the world is quite strong". And while the sport remains suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she is confident netball will survive the setback.
"It's a hard one, everything is so unknown at the moment," she said.
"I think the advantage that netball has is, it sounds crazy, but we've always had to work on a budget, working with minimal resources. As you've seen in other leagues, when the money starts to dry up, they don't know how to handle it because they've got big money involved. Whereas netball has that smaller resource pool. I think netball will come out of it okay as long as we can get a season in this year."
Away from netball, Pettitt is preparing for the next chapter in life. Her first child is due in July.
"I'm really excited. It was always in my plans to retire, to come down and live in the country, live that lifestyle and have a family," she said.
"My world is going to be turned upside down, I'm sure, and I'll probably be busier than I could ever imagine and more tired than I ever was as an athlete."