Southern Force defender Kate Shimmin has created history by becoming the first South Australian athlete to take out the Australian Netball League Most Valuable Player Award.
The 22-year-old polled 20 votes to take out the 2015 title by a single vote from three players; Western Sting shooter Kaylia Stanton and Victorian Fury pair Kelsey Browne and Emma Ryde.
The experienced Shimmin said the MVP award was a satisfying way to finish her year after enduring an up-and-down ANZ Championship season with the Adelaide Thunderbirds where she was limited to just four appearances.
“This year was a very disappointing year for the Thunderbirds team and on a personal level as well,” Shimmin said.
“So just to be able to go back and be with a great bunch of girls involved with Force and be coached by Tania (Obst) and Dan (Ryan) has been fantastic and really regained my confidence.
“I’m really excited about next year (with the Thunderbirds). I’ve just got positive thoughts.”
However, a knee injury suffered in Saturday night’s semi-final win over Sting meant she watched the Grand Final from the sidelines as Force lost to Fury 58-46.
Shimmin, who has represented Australia at 21/U level and at the FAST5 Netball World Series, said she was disappointed to be sidelined for the biggest game of the season.
“The last thing I wanted to do was not play today and I’m just going to take this as a learning experience and be very lucky that I haven’t had any other injuries before,” Shimmin said.
It’s the second consecutive season that Browne has finished among the leading placegetters in the MVP. Last season she was equal fifth.
Stanton enjoyed a productive season, setting a new record for the most goals scored in a season by a Sting player. Her 340 goals at 85 per cent accuracy eclipsed her 2014 total of 258 goals at 76 per cent accuracy.
Votes for the MVP are awarded by both coaches at the end of each game on a 3-2-1 basis. They are allowed to vote for their own players.
|AUSTRALIAN NETBALL LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR LEADERBOARD|
|Kate Shimmin||Southern Force||20|
|Kelsey Browne||Victorian Fury||19|
|Emma Ryde||Victorian Fury||19|
|Kaylia Stanton||Western Sting||19|
|Andrea Gilmore||Western Sting||17|
|Kaitlyn Bryce||Netball NSW Waratahs||17|