Dural resident, Natalie Eldridge has capped off an outstanding Australian Netball League (ANL) season by taking out the Canberra Darters player of the year award.
Eldridge was called up to play as an import in the team by head coach, Melinda Clarke at the end of April.
She played with the Darters for the eight week season through April, May and June.
On Saturday, October 15 the 20-year-old was awarded with the player of the year award at the annual presentation ceremony.
“When you look at some of the past winners of this award it’s pretty special to have your name added to that list,” Eldridge said.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time with the Darters, the girls are a great bunch to be around and play alongside.”
The Darters unfortunately had a tough season.
“Our one win this season didn’t reflect the effort and commitment that every player put into each game we played,” Eldridge said.
“I want to thank the Canberra fans who came out to our Darters home games.
“They are without doubt the best in the league and provided a great atmosphere.”
Clarke said Eldridge’s consistency in performance this season had been a highlight of her game.
“Natalie performed at a high standard every time she took the court,” she said.
“She proved a real handful for opposition defenders and her goal scoring accuracy was of a high standard.”
The player who received the most votes in the ANL most valuable player award determined the Darter’s player of the year award.
“At the end of each game, our coach and the opposition coach would choose three, two and one points for the game,” Eldridge said.
“I really didn’t expect to get it, there was a lot of talent in our team.”
Eldridge has now be inducted into the Darters Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately the Canberra Darters will cease to exist in 2017 as the ANL will align more closely with the National Netball League (NNL) which will take over the current ANZ Trans Tasmin championship league.
There will be two teams from NSW in the new NNL and ANL competition; the Swifts and Greater Western Sydney.
The ANL competition will mirror the NNL, acting as the B grade national competition.
“I’ll trial for both NSW teams in the ANL and see how I go,” Eldridge said.
“Unfortunately there will be no imports next year as the competition only includes teams from NSW, Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.
“ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania won’t be in the competition.”
Before her Darters selection, Eldridge was a member of the victorious NSW under-21 team who in March won gold at the National Netball Championships defeating Victoria 49-46.