Lively NSW Swifts mid-courter Ashleigh Brazill has been announced as the
third nominee for the ANZ Championship's 2011 Best Young Player Award.
Known for her aerial skills and intercepts, this high energy athlete is
rapidly establishing herself as a star of the future. She has already
caught the eye of Australian coach Norma Plummer, who labelled her
performance in the 2010 World Netball Series as "absolutely
After the heartbreak of the Swifts' failed Finals Series campaign last
year, Brazill was thrilled to be selected for the Australian FastNet
Diamonds' tour to Liverpool for the World Netball Series in November.
While the young side just missed out on a medal, the tour was a great
learning experience for 21 year old Brazill, who was named FastNet
Diamond of the Series by Plummer.
Brazill started her netball career at the Wollondilly Netball
Association at the age of eight. She represented NSW at the 17/U, 19/U
and 21/U levels, and spent a year at the Australian Institute of Sport
in 2009, before making her ANZ Championship debut with the NSW Swifts in
Now in her second season with the Swifts, Brazill is seizing the
opportunity to learn from some of the best defenders in the world,
including Mo'onia Gerrard, Rebecca Bulley and Sonia Mkoloma. While the
presence of these three superstars of the game means that Brazill's
court time has been limited, she grabs every chance to contribute to the
team both on and off the court.
"I'm so lucky, I get to train with the best girls out there. But sure,
it's hard to sit on the bench, everyone wants to play. I'm always
really excited when I get court time!
"Ultimately there are twelve of us on the team, and it really is a whole
team thing - especially at training, where everyone is out there 100%.
It's a really great culture, and this year with Mon (Gerrard) and Carla
(Dziwoki), we have two great additions to the team".
With Australia set to host the World Netball Championships in 2015, it's
not surprising that this high energy athlete's sights are firmly set on
the Australian Diamonds. But in the meantime, she is confident that the
Swifts can make it to the 2011 Finals Series, where she expects they
will make amends for last year's disappointing consecutive losses.
"We've got a tough run home, but our away games are improving all the
time", she said.
Brazill joins Chelsea Pitman and Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick on the nominee
list for the 2011 Best Young Player award. The remaining two nominees
will be announced during Rounds 11 and 12, with the winner to be
announced during ANZ Championship Grand Final week in May.
To be eligible for Best Young Player nomination, players must be aged 25
years or under as at 1 January of that year, must have taken the court
at no more than five games in total across any previous ANZ Championship
season/s, and must not have taken the court to represent their country
in more than five test matches.
photos Janos Schmidt