Samsung Australian Diamond and Melbourne Vixens best and fairest Liz Watson has been awarded the Liz Ellis Diamond for her outstanding performances both domestically and on the international stage over the past 18 months.
Watson, who was also named International Player of the Year, accepted her accolades at the Australian Netball Awards which were held in Melbourne on Saturday evening.
The 24-year-old has had a stellar year on the netball court, winning her second consecutive Sharelle McMahon Medal as the Melbourne Vixens’ best and fairest player, and playing a key role in the Samsung Australian Diamonds team throughout the Commonwealth Games and international test series campaigns.
Liz, Liz and the Liz Ellis Diamond. Congratulations Liz Watson - A very deserved winner! pic.twitter.com/2eujysUz1n— Netball Australia (@NetballAust) December 1, 2018
Samsung Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander had nothing but praise for Watson in claiming the two major award categories.
"Over the past 18 months Liz's game has reached another level with consistent performances for the Melbourne Vixens and strong performances with the Samsung Australian Diamonds in tests and the Commonwealth Games – Liz has shown her leadership and determination both on and off the court", she said.
"Liz's efforts at international level were recognised by her teammates earlier this year when she was elevated to the Samsung Diamonds Leadership Group, and she is an athlete who is highly coachable, humble and with an unparalleled work ethic."
The ceremony also saw the Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year Award go to West Coast Fever goal shooter Jhaneile Fowler. Recruited from Jamaica, Fowler joined the Fever at the beginning of 2018 and had a tremendous debut season in the Suncorp Super Netball league, shooting a competition record 783 goals with an accuracy of 92.5% and proving to be consistent pillar of strength for the team week in, week out.
West Coast Fever added another award to the team’s trophy cabinet with head coach Stacey Marinkovich being named the Joyce Brown Coach of the Year for her efforts in bringing the Fever from second bottom of the Suncorp Super Netball ladder to the 2018 Grand Final.
Also honoured throughout the evening for their incredible contribution to netball playing, coaching and administration over the years were Noeleen Dix, Sharon Kelly and Jan Sutherland who were given the 2018 Netball Australia Service Awards.
Courtney Bruce, Kate Moloney, Emily Mannix, Kelsey Browne and Jamie-Lee Price were all given their Australian Diamond pendant for making their Samsung Australian Diamond debuts over the past 18 months and Erin Bell, Laura Geitz, Sharni Layton, Madi Robinson and Susan Pettitt were all honoured for their incredible international careers, after announcing their retirements earlier this year.
Queensland Firebirds young defender Tara Hinchliffe was named the World Youth Cup Player of the Year Award for her outstanding performance for the Australian team at the World Youth Cup in Botswana in July 2017.
Umpires Tim Marshall and Andrea Booth were recognised for receiving their All Australian Umpire badges within the past 18 months, the highest honour within the Netball Australia pathway.
Previously announced accolades were acknowledged throughout the evening with Jess Anstiss taking out the Rebel Suncorp Super Netball Young Star and Rahni Samason claiming the Deakin University Australian Netball League Player of the Year Award.
The 2018 Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year was also acknowledged after being announced earlier this year:
Goal Shooter: Jhaneile Fowler (West Coast Fever)
Goal Attack: Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds)
Wing Attack: Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens)
Centre: Serena Guthrie (GIANTS Netball)
Wing Defence: Jess Anstiss (West Coast Fever)
Goal Defence: Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
Goal Keeper: Geva Mentor (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
Attack Reserve: Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball)
Mid-court Reserve: Kim Green (GIANTS Netball)
Defence Reserve: Laura Geitz (Queensland Firebirds)
Netball Australia congratulates all award winners and looks forward to another incredible year of Australian netball in 2019.
Vision and audio of Liz Watson's winner press conference will be available on this link by 10pm this evening.
Click here to access a list of past winners.