Malpass: Tigers will always be a part of me
After 10 years and 234 games with the Willetton Tigers, including several years as captain, Kate Malpass is ready to retire from her successful career in the WSBL.
Malpass has enjoyed a long relationship with the Tigers that has seen her awarded with the Willetton WSBL MVP 6 times as well as being selected as a WSBL all-star representative 4 times.
Head down to Willetton Basketball Stadium this Thursday to see the Tigers WSBL pay tribute to Kate Malpass in their home game clash against the South West Slammers at 6.30pm. Men’s SBL tip off is at 8.30pm.
However, Malpass says the time is right for her to leave the game.
“I really enjoyed my time playing but last year I suffered a few injuries, and there’s some other things in my life that are probably taking priority over basketball,” Malpass said.
“I’ve been playing for Willetton for as long as I can remember so it will always be a big part of me and who I am.
“I just need to step away for a little bit and focus on some other things in my life.”
Throughout Malpass’ career she has moved over east to play for different clubs - giving a total of 5 championships to her name.
But she says the Tigers have always been home to her, and she wants to thank the club and its supporters for always welcoming her back.
“I want to thank Willetton and the fans for letting me play over east and for always welcoming me back with open arms and allowing me to slot straight back in to where I left off
“It’s been nice to have a home to come back to after all those years.”
While the Tigers will no longer be home to Malpass as a player, she hopes to eventually return to the club as a coach as a way of giving back to the community that supported her career
“Hopefully moving forward I can give back to the club what it’s given to me over all these years,”
“One day I’d love to get back into some coaching down there in particular.”
Coaching is a position that Malpass has experienced before, and the Tigers WSBL head coach Simon Parker can vouch for her strong leadership qualities.
Parker coached Malpass during her time as captain with the Tigers and says she played a vital role in building club culture and guiding the younger players.
“Her leadership and teaching the young kids, you’ve got to have people like that in your club if you want the club to keep being successful,” Parker said.
“You need those sorts of players who can pass on their knowledge and talents and try get the next generation of players groomed up and ready to go.
“We were really fortunate to have such a good leader on court and off court.”
Malpass says she was lucky to be a captain to a group of close friends, and it’s an experience she cherishes with the Tigers.
“I’ve been really fortunate that at Willetton I’ve been playing alongside some of my best friends,” Malpass said.
“To be able to be their captain has always been a real privilege and something I’ve really enjoyed.
“It’s been easy to help some of the young girls come through over the years while being in that leadership position… being able to have an influence on them was great.”
While Malpass says she is grateful for the opportunities the Tigers gave her, Parker knew that his team were lucky to have such a rare talent play for them.
“I think she was just an all-round talent, I was very fortunate to have a player like her play for me,” Parker said.
“She was a very smart, talented, highly skilled player and it’s very rare these days to have that sort of calibre play in your team.”
Even though Malpass will be missed by Parker, her teammates, and fans of the Tigers, there should be no doubt over the strength of the current playing group in her eyes.
“I fully believe that they’ve got a team that can win the next championship for Willetton.” Malpass said.
“I’ve always thought we’ve had some promising juniors come through and I’m really looking forward to watching some of the girls that have been there for a while step up,
“Some of those young girls I think are really ready to take the league by storm.