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ANZ Championship All Star Kayla Cullen named 2011 Best Young Player
LG Mystics defender Kayla Cullen's star continues to rise, with the
announcement today that she is the winner of the ANZ Championship's 2011
Best Young Player award.
This follows Cullen's inclusion last week in the official ANZ
Championship All Star Team, in just her second season with the world's
best netball league.
Like 2010 recipient, Sharni Layton, Cullen has been named the
competition's Best Young Player in the build up to her first ever ANZ
Championship Grand Final appearance.
And in a further parallel to last year's Best Young Player announcement,
Cullen was unanimously selected by the judging panel, comprising
national selectors and former international representatives from
Australia and New Zealand.
Cullen was let in on the secret that she had won the award straight
after the Mystics' stunning one-goal Preliminary Final victory on Sunday
night. The elated All Star stated "That is so awesome! I feel really
honoured to be chosen from a group of such talented athletes.
"It's been such an amazing year, I just love being a part of this team.
Now I can't wait to take on the Firebirds next Sunday".
Cullen received the maximum possible 20 votes, ahead of Chelsea Pitman
(Mission Queensland Firebirds, 15 votes) and Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick
(First Windows Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic, 12 votes).
This is the second consecutive year in which Cullen was nominated for
the Best Young Player award. After only making five appearances for the
Mystics last season, the 19 year-old has played every game of the 2011
ANZ Championship, slotting in to her defence position beautifully
alongside fellow All Star Anna Scarlett, a veteran of 51 test caps.
Accumulating season highs of four intercepts in last week's Preliminary
Final, and six rebounds and seven gains in the Minor Semi-Final, Cullen
has already shown that she relishes the pressure of finals netball. She
will need to produce another stand-out performance if the Mystics are to
overcome the as-yet undefeated Firebirds in the Grand Final this Sunday.