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New elite domestic awards honour two stalwarts

New elite domestic awards honour two stalwarts

Household names Casey Kopua and Robyn Broughton will remain at the forefront of Netball New Zealand’s elite domestic competition with trophies named in their honour to acknowledge the game’s best.

Celebrating five years, the ANZ Premiership Player of the Year will be awarded the Casey Kopua Trophy and the ANZ Premiership Coach of the Year will earn the Robyn Broughton Trophy.

The Broughton and Kopua pedigrees are linked with excellence and epitomise the special characteristics required to reach the pinnacle in their chosen fields of top-line netball through determination, grit, humility, respect and outstanding natural fortitude.

Both have left unparalleled records over the course of New Zealand’s elite domestic competitions and set a shining example for those who follow.

Kopua’s name is indelibly linked with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. In a sporting rarity, it was the one and only team the defensive powerhouse played for during her illustrious 17-year career which spanned from 2003-15 and 2017-19, the only interruptions being for injury and pregnancy.

In the former trans-Tasman competition, Kopua was the 2008 ANZ Championship Player of the Year, in its first edition and in 2012 was part of ANZ Championship-winning Magic team, the only New Zealand team to win the trophy.

Coming out of retirement, Kopua finally became a world champion in 2019 to plug the only gap in her glittering resume after winning back-to-back Commonwealth Games gold medals in 2006 and 2010.

In the abbreviated form of the game, Kopua was a FastNet gold medallist in 2009 and Fast5 gold medallist in 2013.

Her career was kick-started in 2005 when she won the World Youth Cup with the NZ U21 team, going on to collect the winner’s medal in all of netball’s international events.

Kopua brought a strong work ethic to the netball court while being fiercely proud and loyal to the core. Setting the on-court standards with her quality all-round defensive play and single-mindedness, others fed off her sheer determination.

A once in a generation player, Kopua garnered the respect of all through her presence as a player and leader, going on to captain the Silver Ferns for a record 77 times.

Broughton, MNZM and ONZM, tread the side-lines and was revered as a coach who had the ability to get the best out of her teams.

The wily operator became an iconic figure in the Deep South and put Invercargill on the map during her long tenure with the Southern Sting where netball became a top flight sport. It gained wide-spread and almost a cult-like following while dominating the local media.

In a remarkable stint, Broughton was head coach of the Sting from 1998-2007, winning a record seven Coca Cola/National Bank Cup titles during that time while being the only coach to lead a team for all 10 seasons of both those competitions.

In a dominant era, Broughton led the Sting for 100 matches, returning an impressive 82 percent win record which was 14 percent better than any other coach while achieving 47 more wins.

With the introduction of the trans-Tasman league in 2008, Broughton took over as coach of the Southern Steel, remaining at the helm until 2011. She moved north to coach the Central Pulse from 2012-15.

On the international front, Broughton was the Silver Ferns assistant coach in 2000-01. When the shorter form of the game was introduced, Broughton led the FastNet Ferns to the world series title in 2010.

Late in her career, Broughton plied her tried in the Netball UK Superleague where her success and experience was a much sought-after commodity.

Widely admired and respected by all her players over many years, Broughton has fashioned a remarkable coaching legacy in New Zealand which is unlikely to be surpassed.