Netball NSW Waratahs’ shooter Kristina Brice has been announced joint recipient of the 2014 Australian Netball League Player of the Year, sharing honours with NSW junior and West Coast Fever’s Ashleigh Brazill.
The announcement followed the conclusion of the ANL season, with Victorian Fury crowned back-to-back Champions after defeating Queensland Fusion, 51-49, in the 2014 Grand Final.
Upon the announcement, Brice said she was excited yet surprised and receiving the personal accolade.
“I’m shocked yet really happy. This year has been a really tough competition, so to be awarded the MVP is quite overwhelming,” Brice said.
“With the calibre of athletes in the NNSW Waratahs I wasn’t expecting a lot of court time, but I’m pretty happy with my form this season. A lot of that is the hard work that’s done in front of me; they provided me with a lot of ball to do my thing – turn and shoot.
“Thanks to Netball Australia for the award and to Netball NSW for all their support. Also to Anita [Keelan, NNSW Waratahs Head Coach] and to my teammates; I’ve had a lot of fun this season, and I share this with them,” Brice concluded.
See more of Brice’s reaction to the honour on NetballNSWTV below, plus see highlights of the NNSW Waratahs’ Finals games:
20-year-old Brice received a total of 30 votes throughout the regular season, the same number as Brazill, to be awarded the honour. The 196cm shooter is no stranger to representative netball; she was a member of the Australian side who took home silver from the 2013 World Youth Netball Championship, and been selected in all three Australian underage squads (17/U, 19/U, 21/U).
Brice has also represented her home state of NSW with pride, having run out for the Waratah at five National Netball Championships, including the Championship winning 21/U side in 2012.
The award isn’t the only accolade Brice takes home from the 2014 season, with the shooter also eclipsing the record of most goals scored by an individual during the ANL season.
Brice finished the season (including Finals) with a total of 468 goals at 93 percent accuracy, just seven goals more goals than the previous record held by 2013 Australian Netball League Player of the Year Mwai Kumwenda.
Netball NSW would like to congratulate both players on their accolade.
Read the full announcement from Netball Australia below:
Western Sting captain Ashleigh Brazill and Netball NSW Waratahs shooter Kristina Brice have created history by sharing the 2014 Australian Netball League Player of the Year award.
The pair tied on 30 votes, finishing 11 votes clear of their nearest rival, Brazill’s Sting teammate Kate Beveridge.
It’s the first time in seven seasons of the ANL that there’s been joint winners of the coveted Player of the Year award.
Brazil also becomes the first Western Sting player to claim the MVP award while Brice is the third Waratahs player, joining Amorette Wild (2010) and Kristy Guthrie (2012), to win the title since the competition began in 2008.
Brice enjoyed a career-best year, highlighted by breaking the record for the most goals scored in an ANL season by an individual.
Her total of 468, scored at an average of 42.5 goals a match, overtook the previous mark of 461 set in 2013 by Mwai Kumwenda. Brice shot 420 goals in the regular season before adding 48 to that tally in the weekend’s Finals action.
Despite her numbers, the 20-year-old said she was surprised to win the award.
“It is a bit of a surprise. I didn’t expect it,” Brice said.
“I went out this season thinking I’d have a good ANL season and hopefully get picked up somewhere (by an ANZ Championship) team and this is just tip of the iceberg I suppose.”
Brazill was one of the key playmakers behind the Sting’s return to Finals action for the first time since 2012 and their third-placed finish.
The former Australian Diamonds squad member will also be a key part of the Australian Fast5 Flyers campaign at November’s Fast5 Netball World Series in New Zealand.
After an injury-interrupted season with West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championship, Brazill said she’s enjoyed the opportunity to play with some of Western Australia’s bright young talent.
“I’m very excited to come back after injury and come into a team of great young players,” Brazill said.
“This (award) isn’t just a credit to me but to our whole team. I’ve loved every minute of the ANL and I think it’s a great stepping stone for players going onto ANZ Championship.”
AUSTRALIAN NETBALL LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR LEADERBOARD
NAME TEAM VOTES
Ashleigh Brazill Western Sting 30
Kristina Brice Netball NSW Waratahs 30
Kate Beveridge Western Sting 19
Gretel Tippett QLD Fusion 18
Dannielle Carstens Tassie Spirit 17
Kelsey Browne Victorian Fury 16
Jo Weston Victorian Fury 16