Date of Birth:
2 October 1961
Place of Birth:
1 November 2001
Janet Rayner is described by experts in world water polo circles as the best centre forward in the game during the 1980's.
Rayner was respected in that role known as play maker, or hole forward, for her ability to stabilise her team's attack by being able to control the ball under extreme defensive pressure.
She was for that reason, an integral member of the Australian team for most of the 1980's after one of the sport's most unorthodox beginnings.
Rayner got off to a relatively late start in the sport when at 17 years of age she began playing in the men's competition on the Gold Coast. There was no women's competition here at that stage but the initiation to the game gave her the experience of playing tough, physical water polo - which later came in handy on the World stage particularly against teams like Holland.
During the period 1981 to 1987 Rayner made an enormous contribution to Australia winning two world titles. During those years her team also placed second in 1982 and third in 1983 and 1987 in the FINA world cups.
In 1984, women's water polo was a demonstration sport at the Los Angeles Olympics. Australia won that competition which doubled as the FINA World Cup. Rayner's contribution earned her the Most Valuable Player award for the tournament. If only it could have been an Olympic sport back then!
The individual accolades continued for Rayner. With her team's victory in the 1987 World Cup came the honour of M.V.P.
Rayner played a major role in the success of the Queensland women's team from 1981 - 1988 where she achieved 64 caps. She was named M.V.P when her state won the Australian Championships in 1982 and 1984.
Rayner also dedicated herself to the development of water polo, coaching the Gold Coast women's team from 1981 - 1990, the Queensland schoolgirls' team from 1982 - 1989s and the Queensland schoolboys in 1990.
The demands of balancing a hectic playing schedule, coaching and a career as a physical education teacher took its toll. Rayner retired from the sport in 1988, after being selected in the national team for the 7th consecutive year.