Top ANZ Premiership performers acknowledged
Dynamic defender Karin Burger, title-winning coach Helene Wilson and top whistler Kristie Simpson have highlighted the individual standout performances of the 2021 ANZ Premiership to win the respective Player, Coach and Umpire of the Year awards.
Moving to the Mainland Tactix for the 2021 season, the impressive Burger has continued a stellar rise up the ranks since making the bold decision to move from her home in South Africa as a teenager to pursue her netball dream in New Zealand.
Able to play all three defensive positions with effective ease, it did not take long for the rangy back-courter to leave her mark when she was anointed Player of the Year in the inaugural National Netball League in 2016, quickly becoming a Silver Ferns trialist the same year.
An inspiring athlete, Burger has continued her upward trajectory over the past four years where her consistently high standards of play and dogged determination have been constant features. That was exemplified in 2021 where her quality shone brightly as the standout individual player across the competition.
Week-in week-out Burger’s presence was felt as she went on to complete the season with 48 intercepts (ranked first), 69 deflections (ranked second) and 27 rebounds (ranked second). An influential figure throughout, Burger was voted MVP in six matches and was a key cog in helping the Tactix reach the Grand Final.
In her fifth season as head coach of the Mystics, 2021 was the icing on the cake for Wilson who guided her side to a much-prized first title after finishing fourth, third, sixth and third in her previous four years at the helm.
During 2021, Wilson oversaw an 11-win, four-loss regular season record which resulted in Grand Final hosting rights.
Spark Arena, in Auckland, provided the largest crowd ever for an ANZ Premiership Finals Series as the Mystics faithful turned out in droves to watch their side create history when going on to claim the first silverware of their 14-year history in the 61-59 Grand Final win over the Tactix.
The Mystics 2021 Grand Final win was the first victory for an Auckland team since the introduction of franchise netball in 1998.
From a farming background in Southland, Simpson has reached the pinnacle of the umpiring world with Netball World Cup and Commonwealth Games officiating being among her list of achievements.
Continuing to set the highest of standards throughout the 2021 ANZ Premiership, Simpson once again delivered through her consistency of performance, culminating with her appointment to the Grand Final.
An experienced and highly respected member of Netball New Zealand’s National Umpire Squad, Simpson has umpired 113 games in elite domestic competitions while contributing immensely to the positive culture across the entire umpire community.