Behind the wheel, Diamond Jo drops the netball niggle
JO Weston has fought hard to earn her description as a mongrel - and she has the bruises to prove it. The Australian Diamonds netballer blocks, baulks and physically intimidates the best players in the business and a "bit of niggle" is part of the package.
Weston helped guide Australia to silver at this month's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. It wasn't the result she, the team or Australia were expecting but the tournament did nothing to tarnish her reputation as a gritty and gutsy defender.
Weston says the defensive nature carries over off the court - in a good way - and she describes herself as a laid-back driver who goes with the flow.
"If it's sport, I am pretty competitive - it's a bit of white line fever," she says.
"I'm a tagger in AFL terms. I think it's the fact I'm the youngest child and grew up with two older brothers. There was always a bit of push and shove, usually good-natured."
Weston returns regularly to visit her family near Bright, in Victoria, clocking up more than 300km each way. A Nissan X-Trail is her chosen chariot and she says, while not a car person, she loves the room and how easy it is to drive.
"The X-Trail's usually got a heap of gear in it: netballs, tennis racquets ... It's a fabulous drive to cruise around Melbourne in and it just rolls up the hills around Bright without a problem.
"I also went to Tokyo with Nissan last year when they launched the new Leaf (electric car) and I loved it - the safety tech and how it's a 'stealth' car because there's no noise."
Her appreciation of cars doesn't extend to manual gearboxes. "I have fond memories of trying to learn to drive a manual, jerking along in a paddock, worried I was going to wreck something. It was short-lived," she says.
Weston got her licence at 18, at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, and ended up in a 2006 Toyota Corolla.
"I think I got it because my parents had one but it was a pretty good car and it did a few trips from Canberra to Melbourne," she recalls.
"As someone who grew up in a regional area
I spent a lot of time in the car with the parents being taken to competitions. I'm forever grateful for them getting me to events early in the morning and sitting in the car waiting for me."
When she's not representing her country or the Melbourne Vixens, Weston works with Deloitte, putting into practice the skills gained from her Bachelor of Commerce degree.
"We do earn enough to live (off netball), depending on your standard of living, but it's been really good to have another skill and apply yourself to something off the court," she says.
As far as dream cars go, Weston is split between a Jaguar F-Type ("for the look") and a Mini Cooper. "I've always wanted a Mini Cooper. I think the irony of someone my height (188cm) getting out of it would make for real comedic value," she says.