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Top Performers Of 2023 Honoured At New Zealand Netball Awards

Defender Kelly Jackson (nee Jury) has capped another stellar season, both domestically and on the international front, to claim the Dame Lois Muir Supreme Award for 2023.

Jackson backed up a rare achievement after sharing the sport’s top accolade with shooter Grace Nweke in 2022 to be recognised as the best netballer across all competitions and campaigns in her own right in 2023.

The back-to-back acknowledgement for Jackson highlighted a memorable celebration in honouring the sport’s standout players, coaches, umpires, administrators and volunteers at the 2023 New Zealand Netball Awards.

Showing consistent improvement and presence on the court, Jackson has pushed her game to impressive new levels through her general play and leadership skills. She has thrived since assuming the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse co-captaincy duties in 2022.

As the last line of defence, she topped the rebounds and deflection counts while placing second in intercepts across all players in the 2023 ANZ Premiership. At 1.92m, Jackson is one of the tallest defenders in the country, a constant threat with her disruptive lean and rebounding ability while adding another dimension with her ball hunting skills.

Jackson featured in all the Silver Ferns 2023 campaigns, becoming a regular starter and has continued to grow her game and impact at international level.

In a players’ vote and launched for the first time at the 2023 awards, Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel midcourter Kate Heffernan was the inaugural winner of the Sandra Edge Medal as the Silver Ferns Player of the Year.

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Still in the infancy of her international career, it has taken little time for the talented Heffernan to leave her imprint on the netball court. Heffernan’s long reach and athletic ability have proved a disruptive influence for opponents.

She has quickly become an accomplished performer across two midcourt positions, both as an attacker and defender, her impact being recognised when she was named Midcourter of the 2023 Netball World Cup.

Jackson’s team-mate at the Pulse, dynamic young midcourter Maddy Gordon was this year’s winner of the Casey Kopua MVP as the 2023 ANZ Premiership Player of the Year.

Spending a full season at centre along with a growing maturity and improved game structure to compliment her court craft, the midcourt dynamo produced a compelling 2023 domestic season. Accurate and consistent with her ball skills, movement and feeding on attack, Gordon is equally reliable on defence through her relentless disruptive hunting and speed.

Gordon featured consistently in the top 10 for feeds, intercepts and deflections during the 2023 season across all players while showcasing the growing reliability of her athletic abilities in tandem with her overall court craft.

Winner of the Robyn Broughton Trophy as the ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year, Tia Winikerei made a memorable start to her tenure as head coach of the MG Mystics, ushering in a new era while guiding the team to the ANZ Premiership title in her first season.

The only new ANZ Premiership head coach in 2023, the homegrown Winikerei had already been heavily involved with the Mystics in recent seasons, holding the apprentice coach role for the previous two years to leave her well-prepared to step up and into the hot seat.

One of New Zealand’s leading umpires in recent years, Gareth Fowler claimed the ANZ Premiership Umpire of the Year award for his consistency of performance and extensive experience at the top level.

Fowler has fashioned an impressive career in New Zealand’s domestic competitions while also leaving his mark at international level at events around the world, including umpiring at two Netball World Cups, two Commonwealth Games and the Nations Cup.

In new acknowledgements to highlight success in 2023, Ameliaranne Ekenasio took out the Te Tuaka Rau – Silver Ferns Players’ Award which is presented to the player who the players believe best upholds the mana of the Silver Ferns.

Mystics midcourter Peta Toeava clinched the Te Rau Mataaho – ANZ Premiership Players’ Award – presented to the overall best performer in the 2023 ANZ Premiership, as voted by the players.

Leaving an instant impression, promising young Mystics defender Carys Stythe has won the 2023 Aspiring Silver Fern award.

The 2021 Secondary School Player of the Year earned her first full contract with the Mystics in 2023 where she made a seamless transition to top-level play in her first year out of school.

A Silver Ferns Development squad member, the tall and athletic Stythe made numerous appearances for the Mystics in 2023 where her footwork, speed, rebounding and ball-hunting ability shone through.

Presented for the first time, Wellington’s Thomson Matuku took out the Men’s Player of the Year award.

With his unnerving accuracy from range, shooter Matuku was a key figure, and MVP, for the Net Blacks in claiming a second straight men’s FAST5 Netball World Series crown with a stunning win over their great rivals Australia in the 2023 final.

Matuku also played for the New Zealand men’s team in last year’s three-match trans-Tasman Cup series which was played as curtain-raisers during the Constellation Cup.

Making the brightest of starts to her high-performance coaching career when guiding Central Manawa to a fifth title, rookie head coach Ngarama Milner-Olsen was recognised as the 2023 Synergy Hair Netball League Coach of the Year.
A former Pulse player, Milner-Olsen is now extending her pedigree by gaining the appropriate qualifications on Netball New Zealand’s coaching pathway.

Playing for the Comets, rising local talent Lisa Putt took out the Synergy Hair Netball League Player of the Year. The defender has been an influential figure in the Stars feeder team for several years and played a big hand in the Comets strong 2023 season where they finished a close second in the standings.

Named in the 2023 National Umpire Squad for the first time with one season match under his belt, Caleb Binns (Netball Central) continued his progress throughout the year to take out the Synergy Hair Netball League Umpire of the Year award.

Leaving his mark and making rapid strides in an eventful year, Binns went on to umpire the 2023 SHNL Grand Final.

Waitākere were winners of the Sky Sport Moment of the Year after winning the first ever U17 boys division title. In an exciting new element, a male competition was run alongside their female counterparts at the Celebration Box Netball NZ U18 Champs in a dual-gender event, for the first time, in 2023.

More FM Silver Ferns Fan Favourite was awarded to the ever-consistent athletic and dynamic defender Karin Burger.

Versatile St Peters, Cambridge midcourter Shaquaylah Mahakitau-Monschau was awarded the Secondary Schools Player of the Year following an impressive 2023.

A player with huge potential, Mahakitau-Monschau was a member of the New Zealand Secondary Schools team which travelled to Australia last year. Dynamic and elusive on court, Mahakitau-Monschau was a consistent performer for the NZSS team. Playing in the U18 A team, she was the Hamilton City Netball Centre Player of the Year, her striking form during 2023 leading to her inclusion in the NZ U21 squad.

For her strong commitment to the smooth running of matches at a number of levels throughout the year, Belinda Clark (Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty) received the Outstanding Contribution to Netball by a Technical Official award.

At the international level, statistician Clark was involved in Taini Jamison Trophy fixtures as well as the Constellation Cup.

Well-performed and long-serving playing duo, both at domestic and international level, Bailey Mes and Claire Kersten received the New Zealand Netball Players Association (NZNPA) Service Award in recognition of their outstanding contribution and support to enhancing the country’s netball professionals, including the demonstration of leadership and courage.

2023 NZ Netball Awards Winners

Dame Lois Muir Supreme Award: Kelly Jackson (nee Jury)
Silver Ferns Player of the Year: Kate Heffernan
Silver Ferns Fan Favourite: Karin Burger
Aspiring Silver Fern: Carys Stythe
Men's Player of the Year: Thomson Matuku
Moment of the Year: Waitākere win first ever U17 boys division
ANZ Premiership Player of the Year: Maddy Gordon
ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year: Tia Winikerei
ANZ Premiership Umpire of the Year: Gareth Fowler
Synergy Hair Netball League Player of the Year: Lisa Putt
Synergy Hair Netball League Coach of the Year: Ngarama Milner-Olsen
Synergy Hair Netball League Umpire of the Year: Caleb Binns
NZ Secondary Schools Player of the Year: Shaquaylah Mahakitau-Monschau
Outstanding Contribution to Netball by a Technical Official: Belinda Clark
Contribution to the NZ Netball Players Association: Bailey Mes & Claire Kersten
Te Tuaka Rau - Silver Ferns Players’ Award: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
Te Rau Mataaho – ANZ Premiership Players’ Award: Peta Toeava
Volunteer Administrator of the Year: Natasha Lake, Central Otago, South Zone
Volunteer Official of the Year: Sue Robertson, Whangarei, Northern Zone
Volunteer Coach of the Year: Kelly Wieczorek, Auckland, Northern Zone
Youth Volunteer of the Year: Jasmine Cox, Christchurch, Mainland
Volunteer Champion of the Year: Noeline Fisher, Kapi Mana, Central Zone

© Scoop Media

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