NSW takes centre stage at Netball Awards

Marcia-Ella Duncan OAM, Umpire Sharon Kelly, NSW Swift Sharni Layton and administrator Pam Smith were all honoured at the 2015 Australian Netball Awards held on Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

Australia’s first Aboriginal representative Marcia Ella-Duncan OAM, who made 18 international appearances in the green and gold, was formally inducted into the Australian Netball Hall of Fame along with iconic former Diamonds coach Norma Plummer.

Umpire Sharon Kelly was named the Australian Umpire of the Year for the fourteenth time in her career. Sharon, who announced her retirement from international umpiring and the Netball Australia High Performance Program in August, umpired more than 100 ANZ Championship matches and every Grand Final since the competition began in 2008.  Prior to that, Sharon Kelly umpired in the former National League for eight seasons officiating the Grand Final each time.

Netball administrator Pam Smith was awarded the Service Award. The Netball Australia board member and former chief executive has led or been a strong contributor to some of the most significant changes in the sport’s evolution from its amateur status.

NSW Swifts’ star defender Sharni Layton was crowned Australia’s ANZ Championship Player of the Year.  Layton, who was named in the Foxtel ANZ Championship All-Star team for the first time in 2015, finished the 2015 ANZ Championship as the top defender with a league high 49 intercepts, 112 deflections, 85 gains and 36 defensive rebounds.

The West Coast Fever’s Caitlin Bassett has become the first shooter to win the Liz Ellis Diamond.

Bassett was crowned Australian netball’s Player of the Year after spearheading the Fever to their maiden ANZ Championship Finals Series appearance and the Australian Diamonds to a third consecutive Netball World Cup victory and Constellation Cup title.

The 27-year-old, who became the first Western Australian netballer to surpass 50 international Test appearances during the World Cup, has enjoyed a career best season in the circle, finishing the year with 964 goals at 89 per cent accuracy across the domestic and international stages.

Bassett makes history by becoming the first shooter to claim Australian netball’s highest individual honour, the Liz Ellis Diamond, previously won by midcourters and defenders since the award’s inception in 2008. The Western Australian also picked up Australia’s International Player of the Year.

Australian coach Lisa Alexander was crowned the Joyce Brown Coach of the Year after leading the Diamonds to an 11th Netball World Cup title in front of a world record crowd at Allphones Arena in Sydney and a successful Constellation Cup defence.

Queensland Firebirds premiership coach Roselee Jencke won the ANZ Championship Coach of the Year.

South Australian defender Kate Shimmin was awarded the Australian Netball League (ANL) Player of the Year.

2015 Australian Netball Awards winners:
Liz Ellis Diamond: Caitlin Bassett
Australian International Player of the Year: Caitlin Bassett
Australian ANZ Championship Player of the Year: Sharni Layton, NSW Swifts
AIS Australian ANZ Championship Coach of the Year: Roselee Jencke, Queensland Firebirds
Australian ANZ Championship Umpire of the Year: Sharon Kelly
Australian Netball League Player of the Year: Kate Shimmin, Southern Force
Joyce Brown Coach of the Year: Lisa Alexander, Australian Diamonds
Service Award: Pam Smith
Australian Netball Hall of Fame Inductions: Marcia Ella-Duncan (athlete), Norma Plummer (general)