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Netball - 20. June 2014.

Kumwenda named ANZ Championship's Best New Talent


EasiYo Tactix shooter Mwai Kumwenda has been rewarded for her outstanding debut season, being named as the ANZ Championship’s Best New Talent for the 2014 season.

The 24-year-old Malawian international has made a significant impact on the ANZ Championship in her first year, finishing the regular season as the competition’s most prolific shooter.

“Mwai’s debut season will long be remembered, not just as the first Malawian to play in the ANZ Championship but her unique style made her an immediate fan favourite across the league,” ANZ Championship General Manager Andy Crook said.

Kumwenda’s 540 goals, at 91.4 per cent accuracy, saw her finish the regular season as the ANZ Championship’s leading shooter, nine goals ahead of last year’s Best New Talent winner Jhaniele Fowler-Reid.

The impressive tally makes her the second most successful shooter on debut in the league’s history, only behind Fowler-Reid’s record breaking 666 goals in 2013.

Kumwenda has shown she’s no pushover in the goal circle, twice scoring more than 50 goals from her 13 ANZ Championship games, against the Northern Mystics (Round 9) and Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel (Round 13).

Kumwenda, who returned home to Malawi following the conclusion of the season, said playing the ANZ Championship exceeded her expectations.

“I’m really excited, I need to thank the coaches, team management and all the girls because without them I couldn’t win this award,” Kumwenda said prior to her departure.

“Stepping up to the ANZ Championship was a hard challenge for me, I was nervous and excited every week, but I really wanted to play good netball.

“I enjoyed playing with the Tactix this year, it was good fun, the girls loved teasing me and I’ve got good memories from this year, playing against the best defenders in the world and shooting good.”

Kumwenda follows previous winners Fowler-Reid (2013), Julianna Naoupu (2012), Kayla Cullen (2011) and Sharni Layton (2010).  

The 2014 ANZ Championship will conclude this weekend when the Melbourne Vixens host the Mission Queensland Firebirds in the Grand Final at Hisense Arena, Melbourne, on Sunday from 2.00pm.

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photos Janos Schmidt 

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