24 May 2010– by ANZ Championship

Exciting young Adelaide Thunderbirds defender Sharni Layton has been revealed as the first nominee for the ANZ Championship’s new MARS Red Best Young Player Award.

Introduced to recognise emerging stars in the world’s leading inter-country netball league, it was also announced today that the 2010 winner will receive a $AU5,000 cash prize, courtesy of award sponsor MARS Red. 

22 year old Sharni was thrilled to hear that she had been short-listed for the award, stating “I'm honoured to be the first person nominated for this award. It's fantastic for MARS Red and the ANZ Championship to support the less experienced players trying to emerge in this strong competition”.
Although she was named in the inaugural Melbourne Vixens squad in 2008, Sharni made her debut ANZ Championship court appearance with the Thunderbirds this season.

Originally from Mordialloc, Victoria, Sharni spent a year in Canberra with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) scholarship program in 2007 before joining the Vixens squad. 

With a year’s experience training alongside players of the likes of Sharelle McMahon, Bianca Chatfield and Julie Corletto, the tall defender decided to return to Canberra for another intensive year with the AIS, to give herself the best opportunity to realise her ultimate goal of becoming an Australian Diamond.

This decision paid immediate dividends, as she vice-captained the Australian 21/U team who won the 2009 World Youth Netball Championships in the Cook Islands. 

She was then selected to the Adelaide Thunderbirds for the 2010 season.

Now an established starting-seven player, Layton is the youngest member of the Thunderbirds leadership group.

"It's been exciting for me getting out on the court and playing with such an amazing and talented group of girls, I would be nowhere without their support and guidance."

"The Thunderbirds has definitely been the change I've needed for my netball", she said.

She has certainly impressed her Thunderbirds coach, Jane Woodlands-Thompson, who said “Sharni has shown us she means business from the moment she arrived and leadership is something we didn’t have to teach her.

“She has a real never-say-die attitude that is going to take her a long way in the sport”, said Woodlands-Thompson.

Four other nominees will be announced during each of the four remaining home and away rounds of the 2010 season, with the inaugural winner to be revealed during the ANZ Championship Grand Final presentation ceremony in July.

To be eligible for MARS Red Best Young Player nomination, players must be under 26 years of age as at 1 January of that year, must not have played more than five games in total across any previous ANZ Championship season, and must not have represented their country in more than five test matches. 


Find out more about the MARS Red Best Player Award

2010 ANZ Championship – don’t miss a minute of the hottest game in town!
You can catch every minute of the ANZ Championship action on Network Ten (TEN and ONE) in Australia and SKY Sport in New Zealand. 

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