Netball: Silver Ferns great Margaret Forsyth dies

  • 04/05/2021

Silver Ferns great and Hamilton City councillor Magaret Forsyth has died, aged 59.

Forsyth passed away after a brief battle with cancer. She had been on sick leave since April 11, serving her third term in the council, after being re-elected in 2019 as chairman of the environmental committee.

Making her debut at just 17 years old, Forysth played 64 netball tests for New Zealand, winning world championships in 1979 and 1987.

She was part of a formidable shooting combination with another rising shooter of the time, Margharet Matenga – the pair dubbed the 'two Margs'.

The two shooters were known for their speed, vision, flair, instinct and calmness under pressure and developed into one of the best shooting combinations of that generation.

Forsyth coaching the Magic back in 2017.
Forsyth coaching the Magic back in 2017. Photo credit: Photosport

At the age of 27, a knee injury forced her into an early retirement and she transitioned in coaching. Forsyth was head coach of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic netball team in 2017 and 2018. 

She was also the assistant coach of the New Zealand Fast 5 team in 2017 and the New Zealand A team in 2016.

Netball New Zealand chief executive Jennie Wyllie says Forsyth will be remembered as a Silver Fern with a strong work ethic and an abundance of natural skill.

"Even when injury forced Marg to hang up her bib, her love of the game spilled over into coaching and there will be many netballers she has guided in both the Waikato and at national level, who will fondly remember the netball coach," says Wyllie.

"Marg has left a significant imprint on New Zealand's netball landscape. She had a fierce loyalty for netball and represented her country with pride."

Last year, Forsyth was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (NZOM) for her services to netball and community, and attended an investiture ceremony in July.

"We were delighted to see her recognised in the New Year’s Honours last year as an acknowledgement for what she has given to both our sport and her community," Wyllie adds.

"We are deeply saddened at her passing and send Marg’s family our love at this time."

She is survived by her three sons Thomas, Jonathan and Lucien. She also recently became a grandmother for the first time to Rosie-Rae.