Victorian netball excellence was on show in Sydney last night, with a host of talent – both past and present – recognised at the Australian Netball Awards.
The Melbourne Vixens were dominant when it came to the announcement of the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) Team of the Year, with four Vixens earning a spot on the 10-player list – the most of any team in the league. Melbourne Vixens’ co-vice-captain and Australian Diamonds’ vice-captain, Liz Watson, was named at wing attack, and was joined in the SSN Team of the Year’s midcourt by Vixens’ captain, Kate Moloney at centre, and retired stalwart, Renae Ingles at wing defence. Emily Mannix joined the trio, named as the team’s goal keeper. No other Suncorp Super Netball team had more than one player receiving Team of the Year honours.
Melbourne Vixens’ Specialist Coach and all-round netball legend, Sharelle McMahon, was also recognised with arguably the greatest honour of the evening, being inducted into the Netball Australia Hall of Fame alongside Western Australia’s Elsma Merillo.
Netball Australia created the Hall of Fame in order to recognise individuals for their outstanding contribution to the sport of netball in Australia. With McMahon having achieved almost every accolade the sport has to offer – including being the second-most capped Australian Diamond, pulling on the green and gold dress 118 times, claiming two Commonwealth Games and two Netball World Cup gold medals, and being a member of six national league Premiership-winning teams (five with the Phoenix and one with the Vixens) – her admission to Netball Australia’s Hall of Fame is seemingly a natural addition to the list.
The late Margaret Pewtress OAM was elevated to Legend status in the Netball Hall of Fame, alongside NSW’s Anne Sargeant.
Membership of the Netball Australia Hall of Fame – Legend, represents the highest honour bestowed on an individual for their contribution to the sport of netball. Established in 2015 and presented for the first time to a fellow Victorian, Joyce Brown OAM, the Australian Netball Hall of Fame - Legend recognises outstanding achievement both on and off the court.
The late Margaret Pewtress OAM was inducted into the Netball Australia Hall of Fame in 2010, for her outstanding contributions to the sport as a player, coach, selector, and her most well-known role as a key administrator of the game.
Victorian Fury 2019 Premiership-winning player, Emma Ryde, was also recognised for her 2019 achievements last night. Ryde was announced as the Deakin University Australian Netball League’s (DUANL) Player of the Year following the conclusion of the DUANL season in June.
Finally, retiring Diamond, Melbourne Vixens’ shooter, Caitlin Thwaites, was recognised for an outstanding career in the green and gold dress, whilst Australian Diamonds’ Head Coach, Victoria’s own Lisa Alexander, received further congratulations for her milestone of coaching 100 tests.