Ashleigh Garner joins an elite company
Ashleigh Garner has become the youngest two time winner of Papakura Netball Centre’s player of the year.
The 17-year-old Manurewa Rugby Gold goal attack was named the centre’s best at prizegiving last week where she was also acknowledged for playing in the Comets in the new BEKO League.
The win adds to her 2015 win and sets her up as one of only five players who have won the coveted honour twice.
Only Italia Tipelu, 2005, 2007 and 2010 and Nadia Loveday have won it three times.
Loveday, the former Mystic who is Garner’s team mate and mentor, is the only player to win the award three times in a row beginning in 2011.
Garner, who was unavailable to talk to the Manukau Courier, is currently with her St Kentigern College team playing in the Upper North Island secondary school netball championships in Auckland.
Manurewa Rugby Gold coach Delwyn Sanders knows Garner better than most. She and Garner’s mother Kathyrn are sisters and she has been coaching her niece since she was six.
‘‘She takes after her mother Kathryn who played age group for Auckland from 14 to 19 and played premiers in Auckland, Howick Pakuranga and Papakura up until last year.
‘‘Ashleigh has a passion for the game, is athletically gifted and for one so young, has an uncanny ability to read a game. She has been playing premiers since she was 14 and she is tough, both physically and mentally.’’
The 1.82m Garner is shortish for a goal attack but Sanders says it’s the accuracy of her shooting that is her strength. Garner also won the Merv Wellington Bowl for the player achieving the highest representative honour. Manurewa Rugby’s Tegan Amani was named the centre’s most promising player. Aztec 1’s Vicki Morgan was named coach of the year.
Representative players of the year:
Year 8, Elise Kiors (Hui Hui Kotahi); Year 9, Raena Kahika-Smith (Marlins), under15, Tegan Amani (Manurewa Rugby), under-17, Samantha Francis (Manurewa Rugby).
Ashleigh Garner, Netball Northern Zone/Comets (BEKO League); Tessa Scholten (Marvels BEKO League).
Ashleigh Garner is Papakura Netball Centre’s player of the year.