Liz Ellis Diamond Winners: Mo’onia Gerrard, 2008

JAKA7534The Liz Ellis Diamond was an exciting new initiative introduced to the Australian Netball Awards in 2008 to recognise the best netballer across the newly-created ANZ Championship and the Australian Diamonds campaign each year.

The award is named after Liz Ellis, the most capped Australian player, and is regarded as the highest individual accolade an Australian netballer can achieve.

Defender Mo’onia Gerrard holds a place in history as the inaugural Liz Ellis Diamond winner in 2008 and recalled it being a special moment when her name was read out.

“It was a great honour. 2008 was a big year for me so to be recognised as a good season came as a surprise,” Gerrard said.

A Sydney stalwart in the former national league, Gerrard actually began her ANZ Championship career as an Adelaide Thunderbird.

“I was probably one of the first to move interstate playing in another team,” Gerrard said.

“For my name to be called out (as the winner of the Diamond), I was pretty chuffed knowing that maybe my year was meant to be.

“There were a few milestones for me in that year so that topping it off was a good one for the end of the year.”

2442522_NET_5338_webGerrard was honoured to win an award named after the former Diamonds’ captain, who she holds in high regard.

“Liz Ellis in herself was a bit of a perfectionist in the way that she played and the way that she conducted herself on the court and also off the court. She led that way in 2007 when I sort of made my mark,” Gerrard said.

“I think that that (Liz Ellis Diamond) in itself represents that hard work that you give not just to your teammates and the team in itself, but knowing that you worked so hard.”

After playing in the Thunderbirds 2010 ANZ Championship premiership side, Gerrard returned to Sydney to play for the Swifts.

She won a World Championship gold medal in 2011 and finished with 68 Test caps for the Diamonds.

“(The Diamond) is one of those awards that you look back on and realise how fortunate you were in that time and in that year,” Gerrard said.