Newcastle-born Australian Opals champion basketballer Jennifer Screen retires

Opals basketballer Jennifer Screen is carried off the court after her last representative game by her teammates.

Opals basketballer Jennifer Screen is carried off the court after her last representative game by her teammates.

NOVOCASTRIAN-GROWN Australian Opals legend Jennifer Screen has announced her retirement from the women’s national basketball team.

Screen ended her national representative career on Tuesday night after the team’s final game of its Japanese tour against Mozambique.

The Newcastle-born dual Olympic medallist has spent the best part of the last decade with the Opals.

She was on the team that won the world championships in 2006 - the only Australian team to have dominated the world stage.

Screen went on to win silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and bronze at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

She said her decision to retire was a tough one, confiding in one of her longest-serving teammates and closest friends, Laura Hodges, in a simple message.

“On Saturday morning I woke up and sent [Laura] a text message saying six words: ‘‘I am done. I love you.’’,’’ Screen said.

‘‘For the past two days we haven’t got much rest, there have been many tears shed.”

Screen said she would cherish her time spent with the Opals forever.

“The defining moments for me that encapsulate the pride I felt being part of the Opals were standing on the dais hand-in-hand with 11 other people on numerous occasions beside me and lining up before every game, looking up to that flag and singing – albeit badly – the national anthem, reminding myself I'm doing something others never get the chance to.’’

“I'm not sad that it's over, I’m grateful and very fortunate that for some reason, it happened to me.”

Screen was in Newcastle a fortnight ago to present an autographed Opals shirt to the Hunter  Academy of Sport and Greater Building Society for their help during her career.

She was a five-time recipient of the scholarship funded by the Greater and managed by the academy.

Each year, a $2000 scholarship is given to 10 athletes from the Hunter who show potential in an Olympic Sport.

During her visit, Screen indicated she had signed with Gorzow's Polish Basketball League for its next season.

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