It’s the night of nights for Australian netball; with the 2021 Australian Netball Awards rounding off what was an exciting year for the sport in this country.
Given the incredibly difficult international and domestic situations created by the pandemic, the event is a chance to recognize the hard work and dedication of Australia’s netball community.
The Netball Post was there to cover the occasion.
Liz Ellis Diamond: Courtney Bruce
“It is a privilege to represent my country and my state and I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported me throughout my netball career.”
West Coast Fever’s long time captain and star defender, Courtney Bruce received a well deserved birthday present tonight, taking out the prestigious Liz Ellis Diamond for the first time.
Notching up twenty-six deflections, six intercepts and nine rebounds across the Constellation Cup earlier this year, there’s no question that she is in prime international form right now, and the story back home is no different.
The 28 year old has also established her Suncorp Super Netball dominance with a league-high ninety-seven deflections and ninety-seven gains, as well as tying first for defensive rebounds and ranking second for intercepts.
For Australian netball teams, Bruce really is a Keeper; and this was further reflected in her being named goal keeper in the Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year.
Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year
Selected by vote, the Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year reflect those held in highest regard by their fellow players, coaches and high-performance staff.
This year saw Fever, GIANTS and Firebirds as the dominant presence on the line-up, reflecting strong seasons from all three teams. Thunderbirds and Swifts also had a player each called up to feature in the reserve positions.
• Goal shooter – Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever)
• Goal attack – Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball)
• Wing attack – Maddy Hay (GIANTS Netball)
• Centre – Kim Ravaillion (Queensland Firebirds)
• Wing defence – Gabi Simpson (Queensland Firebirds)
• Goal defence – Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
• Goal keeper – Courtney Bruce (West Coast Fever)
• Attack reserve – Sam Wallace (NSW Swifts)
• Centre reserve – Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS Netball)
• Defence reserve – Shamera Sterling (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Joyce Brown Coach of the Year: Briony Akle
Fresh from her second Premiership title as head coach of the NSW Swifts, Briony Akle claimed another trophy for her cabinet, winning the Joyce Brown Coach of the Year after an incredible season conducted in often difficult circumstances.
Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year: Jhaniele Fowler
With the most goals of any player this season (eight hundred and ninety one) and a stunning one hundred percent accuracy on several occasions, it’s little wonder that West Coast Fever’s Jhaniele Fowler managed to take out a fourth Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year award tonight.
Suncorp Super Netball Rising Star Award: Sophie Dwyer
Netball fans have been spoilt for choice when it comes to breakout stars lately, and this year’s Rising Star recipient, Sophie Dwyer is no different. It’s hard to believe that the young shooter wasn’t supposed to be such a significant presence in the GIANTS shooting circle this season, only stepping up to fill Keira Austin’s shoes after a devastating injury.
She’s quickly established herself as a star of the future in this breakout season.
International Player of the Year: Liz Watson
Diamonds captain and Melbourne Vixens fan favourite, Liz Watson turned heads with a strong performance at the Constellation Cup earlier this year, earning her the coveted International Player of the Year award.
Hall of Fame Legend: Wilma Shakespear AM
Australia’s best and brightest netballers sit in the Hall of Fame, but it’s a rare few amongst even that elite group who can truly call themselves legends.
Having been inducted into the Hall of Fame back in 2010, Wilma Shakespear is just the fourth ever Hall of Fame Legend; a title well earned by the former Australian Diamond, Australian head coach and sports administrator.
Hall of Fame: Dorothy Lavater
Dorothy Lavater was tonight’s Hall of Fame inductee tonight, a moment that only begins to recognise her eighty-odd years of service to the sport and the role she’s played in shaping the lives of young netballers from grassroots to elite level netball.
Service Award: Jacqui Jashari
Spirit of Netball Award: Marjory Kerslake
Lorna McConchie Umpire of the Year: Andrea Booth
Finally, a number of fresh Australian Diamonds debutants were recognised tonight. The sport welcomes four new Diamonds:
#180 Keira Austin
#181 Verity Charles
#182 Cara Koenen
#183 Sophie Garbin