2015 Liz Ellis Diamond contenders – Midcourters

This Saturday night will see the 2015 `queen’ of Australian netball crowned as the winner of the Liz Ellis Diamond – the most prestigious individual honor in the sport.

As we continue to build up to Saturday night’s Australian Netball Awards, we move into the midcourt to take a look at the contenders for the Liz Ellis Diamond.

Since its inception in 2008, three mid-courters have claimed the accolade: Natalie von Bertouch (2010), Madi Robinson (2012 and 2014) and Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan, 2013).

Here are the midcourt stars from 2015.

KIMBERLEE GREEN

The script couldn’t have been written any better for Green’s retirement from international netball.

The Diamonds vice-captain played an instrumental role in helping Australia defend its Netball World Cup crown in her home town of Sydney, putting the exclamation point on her international career.

She was Australia’s leading player for goal assists (71) during the tournament and was a crucial part of the Diamonds’ attacking end.

While the experienced midcourter has bowed out of international netball, she will continue to play for the NSW Swifts in the ANZ Championship.

Green captained the Swifts to their second Grand Final appearance in 2015 and was ranked No.3 in the competition for goal assists (184) to earn selection in the Foxtel All-Star Team for the second straight year.

PAIGE HADLEY

Her triumphant return from a season-ending knee injury 18 months ago was one of the highlights of 2015.

Hadley’s consistent form for the NSW Swifts in the ANZ Championship earned her a call-up for Australia’s Netball World Cup campaign, where she showed why she’s an emerging talent at that level.

The 23-year-old started in two matches at wing attack and once at centre, highlighting her versatility to play different roles.

Hadley continued to gain valuable experience during Australia’s Constellation Cup campaign, starting in three of the four Tests at wing attack.

She was ranked fifth for goal assists (165) in the ANZ Championship.

RENAE INGLES

It was another big year for Ingles (nee Hallinan) – on and off the court.

She claimed her first Netball World Cup gold medal in Sydney and then weeks later married Australian basketball star Joe Ingles.

Ingles played every match of the Diamonds’ World Cup campaign and enhanced her reputation as one of the world’s top wing defenders – also playing a half at centre against South Africa.

Unfortunately a calf injury sidelined her for most of the recent Constellation Cup series.

A winner of the Liz Ellis Diamond in 2013, Ingles continued to highlight her leadership skills as captain of the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the ANZ Championship – where she was their leading player for deflections (33) – and then taking over as vice-captain of the Diamonds following the retirement of Green.

KIM RAVAILLION

It’s hard to know of any athlete around the world that played the minutes Ravaillion did in 2015.

In fact, since she made her international and ANZ Championship debut three years ago, the hard-running centre has hardly missed a game for both Australia and the Queensland Firebirds.

Ravaillion was a crucial part of the Diamonds’ Netball World Cup winning team and played every quarter of the recent Constellation Cup series against New Zealand.

Ravaillion’s form was one of the major factors behind the Firebirds winning a second ANZ Championship title.

She was named centre in the Foxtel All-Star Team, leading her team for goal assists (161) and was also ranked equal third in the competition overall for pick-ups (32).