Queenslanders stand out at netball awards
QUEENSLAND'S Super Netball captains were the stars of the show at the Australian Netball Awards in Melbourne on Saturday night.
Firebirds skipper Gabi Simpson won the Liz Ellis Diamond for the most outstanding performance by an Australian player across the international and domestic stages.
Sunshine Coast captain Geva Mentor was in the spotlight after winning the Super Netball player of the year gong after leading the Lightning to victory in the inaugural grand final.
Simpson and Mentor were named in the Super Netball team of the year with Lightning midcourter Laura Langman also selected in the side.
Simpson played in all 13 Tests across 2016 and early 2017 with her defence providing numerous game-changing turnovers.
The midcourter also made a significant impact in her first season as Queensland Firebirds captain.
She was the highest-ranked wing defence in several key statistics, including 43 deflections, 21 intercepts, 33 pick-ups and 34 gains.
Mentor also won the Lightning's player of the year award on Friday night.
The English goalkeeper topped the league for deflections and was second for rebounds and intercepts, with the Mentor-inspired Lightning earning the record as the competition's best defensive side.
Australian captain Sharni Layton was named Australian international player of the year, after playing an integral role in the Diamonds' Netball Quad Series and Constellation Cup victories.
Melbourne Vixens coach Simone McKinnis was crowned the Joyce Brown coach of the year.
The Australian squads for the upcoming Quad Series and Constellation Cup will be named on Tuesday.
2017 Australian Netball Awards winners
Liz Ellis Diamond: Gabi Simpson
Australian International Player of the Year: Sharni Layton
Suncorp Super Netball Player of the Year: Geva Mentor, Sunshine Coast Lightning
Joyce Brown Coach of the Year: Simone McKinnis
Lorna McConchie Umpire of the Year: Joshua Bowring
Australian Netball League Player of the Year: Sophie Garbin, Western Sting
Fast5 Player of the Year: Courtney Bruce
Super Netball Team of the Year: Goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda (Vixens), goal attack Tegan Philip (Vixens), wing attack Liz Watson (Vixens), centre Laura Langman (Lightning), wing defence Gabi Simpson (Firebirds), goal defence Jo Weston (Vixens), goal keeper Geva Mentor (Lightning). Reserves: Caitlin Thwaites (Magpies), Serena Guthrie (Giants), Rebecca Bulley (Giants).