Top shot signs with Penrith team

Penrith to get a bounce: Flamin' beauty Rohanee Cox on the way up.
Penrith to get a bounce: Flamin' beauty Rohanee Cox on the way up.

IT'S been called the Penrith sporting coup of the year, and it would go close.

Rohanee Cox hasn't the broader profile of such players as Jamal Idris and Brent Kite who have joined the NRL Panthers.

But she's a revered figure in Australian basketball and a legendary sportswoman in the Aboriginal community.

Now the Sydney Flames star has signed with Penrith to play in the Waratah Championship League.

And thanks should go to Tahlea Tupaea, said Penrith association general manager Leonie Moore.

"It started as a casual conversation and it went from there," Moore said of the invitation from Penrith junior, Australian under-19s player and Cox's fellow Flame, Tupaea.

Penrith's Tupaea lit a flame, as it were.

Cox has certainly long been one of the hottest names in Australian women's basketball.

She's done the lot . . .

The 33-year-old 182cm Cox has played for the Perth Lynx, Townsville Fire, West Coast Waves and now the Flames in the national league.

She played 23 games with the Flames in the 2013/14 season, finishing with 315 points at 13.7 per game.

She was one of the first Aborigines to represent Australia in basketball at the Olympics and the first medallist. Cox won silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Then there are the awards.

She's been NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year; she won the Maher Medal for International Player of the Year in 2007; in 2009 she won a Deadly Award for Female Sportsperson of the Year.

She's been named in the national league's All-Star Five; in 2008/09 was the league's Most Valuable Player and the leading pointscorer.

Then there is the romantic back story. At 20, she was living in the remote West Australian town of One Arm Point, single and pregnant; gave basketball away; inspired to return by seeing Cathy Freeman at the Olympics; later gave it away to have another child; returned to the top.

Cox starts training with Penrith next week and her arrival will compensate for the loss of Claire Pettersen and Emily Potts for the season with ACL injuries, Chantyl Szostak to the police academy and Dominika Offner to high school in the US (back in June).

This story Top shot signs with Penrith team first appeared on St Marys-Mt Druitt Star.