Melbourne Vixens Co-Captain, Kate Moloney, has capped off a dream Premiership-winning season, by taking out the club’s highest individual honour, the Sharelle McMahon Medal.
After finishing as the Runner Up in the Vixens’ Most Valuable Player Award vote count in both 2018 and 2019, Moloney lead from the front and held her position in the 2020 vote count, winning with a total of 50 votes – 10 ahead of joint Runners Up; Jo Weston and Kate Eddy.
Similar to yesterday’s post game victory address, Moloney said she was a little speechless, but the fearless leader kept her focus on the team.
“To be honest, yesterday was just a dream come true," Moloney said in her acceptance speech.
Despite coming so close in previous years, Moloney admitted she was surprised to be awarded the Sharelle McMahon Medal, after the great depth the Vixens had exhibited across the squad all season.
“What’s been so great about this team this year - and what’s made us so successful - is the depth we’ve had across this whole group and that’s what’s made us so successful.
"It’s a credit to every single one of these girls as we didn’t know if we were going to play, we didn’t know if we were going to have a competition, but we kept training over zoom and doing those running sessions by ourselves. You know, we play a team sport because we love training and playing together [so]...that moment when we got to the airport was one of the most special ones for me this year, as it meant that we were going to be able to play.
"To the amazing group of girls who are standing in front of me, I love each and every single one of you. I’m going to miss your bedrooms being just across the hall from mine, and I’m going to miss every single one of you...it's going to be weird going back to Melbourne!"
"[But] to my family and friends back home, I miss you and I can't wait to see you and celebrate this premiership with you all."
Moloney was named Nissan Player of the Match a team-high four times throughout the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball regular season; in Rounds 1, 3, 6 and 12. As well as receiving the most votes from the Vixens’ coaching panel for her on-court performances throughout the regular season, Moloney was also the only Vixens player to score 100+ Nissan Net Points in more than one game.
With the Vixens heralded as having the tightest defence in the League, it is no wonder that defenders once again featured heavily in the Sharelle McMahon Medal votes again this year, as showed by Weston and Eddy amassing 80 votes between them.
Always a stalwart in defence, Weston also played every game of the regular season. Whilst always starting her preferred position of goal defence, we got to see the versatility of Weston throughout the 2020 season, with her and Eddy swinging between the goal and wing defence positions, and Weston even having a spell at goal keeper, in a match where her partner in defence – Emily Mannix – was out with injury.
Weston was awarded Nissan Player of the Match in the Vixens’ crucial Round 8 win over the NSW Swifts – the first time the Vixens had beaten the Swifts since 2018 – and finished the regular season with a total of 15 intercepts, 48 deflections and nine rebounds.
Eddy was impressive in her debut year in a Vixens dress, taking to the court in all 14 matches of the regular season, and slotting into being the team’s starting wing defence seamlessly.
Eddy’s height was often an advantage over her opponents, and she led the Vixens’ almighty defence from a strong position out front. Eddy finished the regular season with 18 intercepts, 29 deflections and eight rebounds.
Sharelle McMahon Medal Leaderboard
Kate Moloney – 50 votes
Jo Weston & Kate Eddy – 40
Caitlin Thwaites – 32
Liz Watson – 31
Mwai Kumwenda - 23
Emily Mannix – 16
Tegan Philip – 15
Kadie-Ann Dehaney – 4
Allie Smith - 1
Five other individual awards were also presented this evening.
Rookie of the Year Award – Allie Smith
Allie made her official debut for the Vixens in their Round 10 clash with the West Coast Fever, seeing her become Melbourne Vixen club member #52. During her debut match she put out an impressive performance with two intercepts, three deflections and 30 Nissan Net Points. After her dominant performance, she was then granted a position in the starting seven in the Round 14 match, where she played out the entire match in the wing defence position. She also took to the court during the tense final term in Sunday’s Grand Final.
Outstanding Service Award – Simone McKinnis OAM
This award is voted on by all the team staff and athletes and is awarded to a person that has significantly contributed to the development of the team. The winner of this award has provided great support to athletes and staff across the year and has represented the team in line with the Vixens values.
In a year with so many upheavals and challenges as 2020 has brought us, there could have been so many recipients of this award. However, this year’s recipient is someone who could have received this award eight times over during her tenure at the club. In a year that could not be more difficult for a Head Coach, Simone kept everyone together and motivated through lockdown, quarantine and hub life. She has been selfless and always puts the team first. She set a vision for the team and has kept on course through a year that threw every obstacle at the Vixens.
Even though Simone has been head coach of the Vixens for eight years now, her dedication and contribution to the team continues to grow on a daily basis. Tough, steely, passionate, funny, resilient, and demanding of excellence – Simone, your leadership has been profound.
Excellence in Sport & Life Award – Jo Weston
Jo continues to demonstrate a great work-life balance on a daily basis. Not only is she a dedicated member of the Vixens team, she is also completing her Master of Communications at Deakin University.
In the last 12 months, Jo has also taken on Vice Presidency of the Australian Netball Players Association (ANPA). In a year which brought us COVID-19 and last-minute rule changes, the ANPA has been integral to looking after the best interests of both the Vixens and the League’s athletes. She also sits on the board of Melbourne University Sports and is the player representative on the Suncorp Super Netball Competitions Committee.
Jo has excelled on the court this year, but also off-court in leadership roles, media appearances, and providing exceptional social media content!
Coaches’ Award – Caitlin Thwaites
Caity is always a true professional when it comes to netball. Even in her 18th season at the top level, she has continued to lead by example both on and off the court, and is always available to provide guidance and assistance to her younger teammates. Her experience and hard work will be missed by all involved in the club, and we wish her well for whatever the next chapter brings.
Player of the Finals – Jo Weston
Jo put out a strong performance for both the Vixens finals appearances. She continues to be a fierce competitor and continually puts her body on the line. Jo played an impressive Major Semi Final against the Sunshine Coast Lightning, collecting two gains, two intercepts, one deflection and 5 pickups. She then backed up this performance in the Grand Final, teaming with Emily Mannix to take on the imposing Jhaniele Fowler. Jo finished the match with two gains, one intercept, three deflections and three pickups.