High performance athletes honoured at Firebirds Gala

Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson won three out of four awards at the club’s annual Gala Dinner at Sofitel Brisbane Central last night to cap a remarkable season of individual honours.

Fresh of winning the Liz Ellis Diamond at the Australian Netball awards last weekend, the 24-year-old was awarded Firebirds Player of the Year, Firebirds Fans’ Player of the Year and Firebirds Players’ Player of the Year.

Laura Clemesha won the Firebirds’ Spirit award for her contribution to club culture on and off the court.

The awards were expanded this year to include recognition for the State’s up and coming elite netballers – the Firebirds of the future – with new club signing Tara Hinchliffe topping the awards tally with two wins.

The 19-year-old defender won Most Valuable Player (MVP) for Firebirds feeder team Queensland Fusion and Queensland 19/U, for whom she was also crowned overall tournament MVP at the National Netball Championships.

Toowoomba product Mia Stower won Queensland 17/U MVP, while Tara’s twin Maddie Hinchliffe won the Judy Sampson Memorial Award for her contributions on and off court at for Queensland 19/U.

Netball Queensland product Ashlee Unie won Samsung QSNL Division 1 MVP for her performances for Brisbane West Lions and Fusion coach Tracey Jeanes-Fraser was awarded High Performance Coach of the Year.