Magpies’ defender Jodi-Ann Ward has capped off a brilliant season having been crowned Collingwood Netball’s best and fairest award winner for 2021.
Presented at a virtual event on Tuesday, Ward finished atop of the leaderboard with a total of 37 votes, while Kelsey Browne and Shimona Nelson tied for second with 33 votes.
Rounding out the top-five was goaler Gabrielle Sinclair (20 votes) and midcourter Molly Jovic (18 votes).
Ward played every game in the 14-round season, polling votes in all but three matches.
Known for her aggressive and attacking style of defence, the Jamaican recorded the third most deflections in the Super Netball league this season (83) which also contributed to her selection on the Nissan Net Points Team of the Year (718 points).
While the 26-year-old spent time at wing-defence, it was in the circle as goal-defence where she truly shone with 34 intercepts and 27 turnovers.
Since making her Super Netball debut for the Magpies in round one of the 2020 season, Ward has not missed a game for the Pies.
Collingwood head coach Nicole Richardson commended Ward for her outstanding year.
“Jodi has had an exceptional season and it was wonderful to see her take her game to the next level in 2021,” Richardson said.
“This year, Jodi has increased her work ethic in the training environment which has allowed her to push harder for longer on court. Her ability to apply pressure, win ball and be physical in the contest has made her an intimidating opponent.
“This award is a huge reward for all her hard work and she should be extremely proud of her efforts.”
Returning from a knee injury, Browne was a key contributor in Collingwood’s midcourt this year. The 29-year-old answered for 254 goal assists and 267 centre-pass receives this season.
Nelson ran out for her best season to date with a total of 614 goals at 94 percent efficiency. The 22-year-old goal-shooter also notched up a personal best of 69 goals in the Pies’ round 12 win over the NSW Swifts.
“Kelsey was extremely consistent this season. Her strong connection on court particularly with Gabby and Shim, along with her speed and game smarts allowed her to weave her magic through opposition defensive ends.
“Shimona’s confidence grew immensely this season. Her fantastic aerial abilities and solid hands overhead allowed her to have such a strong presence at the post.”
The effort and leadership of captain Geva Mentor was again recognised by her teammates as the world-class goalkeeper was presented with the Players' Player Award for the third consecutive year.
2021 Best and Fairest Award Winners
1st – Jodi-Ann Ward
2nd – Kelsey Browne and Shimona Nelson
Players’ Player Award – Geva Mentor