The Australian Netball Awards celebrated the past year of netball in Australia at the Melbourne Town Hall on Saturday night.
Netball Australia congratulates all recipients of these awards, particularly Gabi Simpson, crowned the Liz Ellis Diamond.
Lorna McConchie Umpire of the Year
The Lorna McConchie Umpire of the Year was awarded to Joshua Bowring, after an outstanding on-court performance, including umpiring the 2017 Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final. Bowring was also appointed as an Assistant Umpire Coach for the Netball Australia Emerging Talent Umpire Program, which included coaching at the National Netball Championships.
Joyce Brown Coach of the Year
Melbourne Vixens coach Simone McKinnis was crowned the Joyce Brown Coach of the Year after leading the Vixens to the Minor Premiership. In 2017 the impact of McKinnis has been profound. The team of young talent with potential quickly grew into competition heavyweights during the season, recognised for their cohesion, never say die attitude and selfless contribution to improvement and on court success. Across 2017 the team recorded 11 wins, 1 draw, 2 losses as a success rate just under 80%.
Fast5 Player of the Year
West Australian Courtney Bruce was named Fast5 Player of the Year, with a stand-out performance at the 2016 Fast5 World Series. Bruce was instrumental in defence, with countless key intercepts. It was Bruce’s first inclusion in the Fast5 World Series Team, after also being named in the Diamonds Squad.
Australian Netball League (ANL) Player of the Year
West Australian rising star Sophie Garbin was awarded the Australian Netball League (ANL) Player of the Year. It was a record-breaking year for the 20-year-old Western Sting shooter, surpassing the previous ANL record of 468 goals in week six of the competition. At season’s end, she finished with 607 goals, with 96 during finals. Garbin was named the ANL Grand Final’s Most Valuable Player, capping off a remarkable 2017 season, and helped her side secure the title.
Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year
Defender Geva Mentor was named Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year, after leading expansion team Sunshine Coast Lightning to the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball title. The former England-captain topped the league for deflections, with 90 registered across the home and away season in addition to 106 gains and 39 defensive rebounds. She was ranked second for intercepts, with 41. Mentor has played 145 national league games since her debut in 2008.
Australian International Player of the Year
Australian captain Sharni Layton was named Australian International Player of the Year, after playing an integral role in the Diamonds’ Netball Quad Series and Constellation Cup victories. The tenacious defender also played in all 13 international tests across 2016 and early 2017, standing tall under pressure.
Liz Ellis Diamond Award
Australian Diamonds and Queensland Firebirds midcourter Gabi Simpson played in all 13 international tests across 2016 and early 2017. She has 15 test caps, after her Diamonds debut on 20 October 2015 against New Zealand, in the Constellation Cup. Her defensive prowess provided numerous game-changing turnovers across the international season.
The midcourter made a great impact on her Queensland Firebirds in the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball season, captaining the side and leading a new defensive line-up. She was the highest-ranked wing defence across several key statistics, including; 43 deflections, 21 intercepts, 33 pickups and 34 gains. Simpson played wing defence for every minute across every quarter of every game for the Firebirds.
Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year:
Goal Shooter – Mwai Kumwenda
Goal Attack – Tegan Philip
Wing Attack – Liz Watson
Centre – Laura Langman
Wing Defence – Gabi Simpson
Goal Defence – Jo Weston
Goal Keeper – Geva Mentor
Attack Reserve – Caitlin Thwaites
Mid Court Reserve – Serena Guthrie
Defender Reserve – Rebecca Bulley