Old and new Diamonds rewarded
Tuesday July 31, 2012
Australian Diamonds shooters Natalie Medhurst and Susan Pratley were both recognised for outstanding seasons by being crowned their respective ANZ Championship team’s best player.
The Queensland Firebirds and their premiership defence didn’t pan out as they would have liked this year, but Medhurst’s flame still shone brightly.
“It was a bit of a shock, I certainly don’t going into those expecting anything, so it was a nice surprise “she said.
Medhurst made it a quinella of awards when the Firebirds members voted her as their player of the year for the second consecutive season.
Reflecting on the Firebirds season that was not aided by a poor start, Medhurst identified the second half of season 2012 as a positive.
“We had a pretty ordinary start, I think that’s where it all started” she said. “Our second half (of the season) was a lot better, we won seven out of our last nine (games). I think it’s down to a lot of factors that we’ve discussed as a team and will no doubt address heading into 2013.
“For us as players we have very high expectations of what we want to achieve and you’re not happy unless you win (through to finals).”
Midcourter Keira Trompf missed the final two games of the ANZ Championship season due to a knee injury, but her love of netball and dedication to her teammates saw her awarded the Firebirds Spirit award.
Jamaican shooting machine Romelda Aiken was voted as the Player’s Player, an award that was voted on by her teammates and team support staff.
For the NSW Swifts, Pratley relished an opportunity to be her team’s main shooter after Catherine Cox was lured West by Fever coach Norma Plummer.
Her strong combinations with both Carla Dziwoki and Amy Wild were highlights of a season where the Swifts just missed out on a finals berth.
With a number of strong individual performers in the team, including several internationals it was hard to pinpoint a Most Valued Player award winner.
“It’s a bit of a shock, I think everyone has played fantastic this year so it could have been anyone,” Pratley said.
“I’m happy with how I performed, there’s things I want to improve on but in all I think 2012 was a happy year.”
New recruit April Letton was voted by the Swifts playing group as Player’s Player in a ringing endorsement for her decision to return to her home state.
“We had such a good vibe in the team. Getting into the Swifts to start with was a highlight… it was my dream when I was a little girl. I love being out there, I love the feeling of the crowd,” Letton said.
Co-captain Kimberlee Green was judged by the members as the Member’s Player of The Year.
“I was really shocked; I thought there were many players that stood up... I’m really honoured. I absolutely love our members and I like signing autographs at the end of the game and spending time there,” she said.
“Everyone’s cheering for you and that really lifts the teams,”
West Coast Fever midcourter Ashleigh Brazill’s moved to Perth to play under former Australian Diamonds coach Norma Plummer paid off when she was voted Player of The Year.
“To be honest, I can’t believe it!” Brazill said, “I am surrounded by some of the best netballers in the world, so it is an honour to get this award.
“I wouldn’t be able to play netball like I do without my team mates around me, and Plum’s coaching has taken me to a new level.”
The Adelaide Thunderbirds will announce their award winners at a gala dinner on Saturday night.
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