Following a series of stellar performances in recent years, South African goal defence Karla Pretorius has come to be regarded quite rightly as one of the world’s best netballers. This was confirmed again just recently, when she was named Player of the Tournament at the World Cup in Liverpool. And now she has another accolade. Thanks to an outstanding year for Sunshine Coast Lightning, Pretorius is the winner of Netball Scoop’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season.

During the year, Netball Scoop’s match report writers award votes on a 3,2,1 basis for all 56 matches of the home and away season, and Pretorius has proved to be a consistently brilliant performer throughout. She finished on 20 votes, thanks to being voted best on court in four matches and second best in another four. She did all this, despite the fact her well credentialed teammates were all playing well themselves and therefore possibly taking some votes off her.

There can surely be no doubt now that Pretorius is the world’s premier goal defence. Along with all the regular things that good defenders do, the facets of her game that really set her apart from the rest are her anticipation, ability to read the game, and especially her reflexes. Attacking players are taking a big risk any time they decide to pass the ball anywhere in her general vicinity. She finished the regular season with 63 intercepts, a huge number for a goal defence in a statistical category usually dominated by goal keepers.

As great as Pretorius was this season though, she still only finished just two votes ahead of another star defender, Jamaican goal keeper Shamera Sterling who plays for the Adelaide Thunderbirds. Sterling was just simply a phenomenon in her debut Super Netball season. In a team which only managed to win three games, her achievement in polling 18 votes is quite extraordinary. Her impact was such that she ended the year topping the lists for most intercepts, deflections and defensive rebounds.

In equal third place overall on 14 votes were Giants midcourter Jamie-Lee Price and another defender, Sarah Klau from the Swifts. In fact, there were four defenders in the top six as Emily Mannix from the Vixens shared fifth place alongside Swifts’ goal shooter Sam Wallace. But while defence may have dominated the top of the list, it was a different story overall. The breakdown in total votes across all matches of the regular season was: Shooters 116, Midcourters 119, Defenders 101.

In all, there were a total of 56 players who polled votes this year. Looking down the leaderboard, you can see it’s certainly star-studded; full of great players who all had great seasons. But nobody had a better season than Karla Pretorius, so she is a very worthy winner. She joins elite company in Laura Geitz (twice), Geva Mentor and Nat Medhurst, who have been previous winners of our MVP award. I wonder what name will be added to the list in 2020.


18 . Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds)
14 . Sarah Klau (Swifts)
14 . Jamie-Lee Price (Giants)
12 . Emily Mannix (Vixens)
12 . Sam Wallace (Swifts)
11 . Ash Brazill (Magpies)
11 . Amy Parmenter (Giants)
11 . Laura Scherian (Lightning)
10 . Laura Langman (Lightning)
10 . Geva Mentor (Magpies)
10 . Gretel Tippett (Firebirds)
9 . Nat Medhurst (Magpies)
9 . Caitlin Thwaites (Vixens)
9 . Liz Watson (Vixens)
8 . Jhaniele Fowler (Fever)
8 . Sasha Glasgow (Thunderbirds)
8 . Helen Housby (Swifts)
7 . Caitlin Bassett (Giants)
7 . Paige Hadley (Swifts)
7 . Jo Harten (Giants)
7 . Kate Moloney (Vixens)
7 . Peace Proscovia (Lightning)
6 . Renae Ingles (Vixens)
6 . Caitlyn Nevins (Firebirds)
6 . Tegan Philip (Vixens)
6 . Steph Wood (Lightning)
5 . Courtney Bruce (Fever)
5 . Shimona Nelson (Magpies)
5 . Maddy Proud (Swifts)
4 . Sophie Garbin (Swifts)
4 . Kim Jenner (Firebirds)
4 . Cara Koenen (Lightning)
4 . Chelsea Pitman (Thunderbirds)
4 . Kim Ravaillion (Magpies)
4 . Gabi Simpson (Firebirds)
3 . April Brandley (Magpies)
3 . Phumza Maweni (Lightning)
3 . Alice Teague-Neeld (Fever)
3 . Maddy Turner (Swifts)
2 . Erin Burger (Firebirds)
2 . Shannon Eagland (Fever)
2 . Kate Eddy (Swifts)
2 . Kim Green (Giants)
2 . Kristiana Manu’a (Giants)
2 . Sam Poolman (Giants)
1 . Verity Charles (Fever)
1 . Maria Folau (Thunderbirds)
1 . Stacey Francis (Fever)
1 . Sophie Halpin (Swifts)
1 . Tara Hinchliffe (Firebirds)
1 . Maddie McAuliffe (Lightning)
1 . Jemma Mi Mi (Firebirds)
1 . Gabi Sinclair (Magpies)
1 . Kaylia Stanton (Fever)
1 . Jo Weston (Vixens)


FEVER – Jhaniele Fowler (8 votes)
FIREBIRDS – Gretel Tippett (10 votes)
GIANTS – Jamie-Lee Price (14 votes)
LIGHTNING – Karla Pretorius (20 votes)
MAGPIES – Ash Brazill (11 votes)
SWIFTS – Sarah Klau (14 votes)
THUNDERBIRDS – Shamera Sterling (18 votes)
VIXENS – Emily Mannix (12 votes)


GOAL SHOOTER – Sam Wallace (12 votes)
GOAL ATTACK – Gretel Tippett (10 votes)
WING ATTACK – Laura Scherian (11 votes)
CENTRE – Jamie-Lee Price (14 votes)
WING DEFENCE – Amy Parmenter (11 votes)
GOAL DEFENCE – Karla Pretorius (20 votes)
GOAL KEEPER – Shamera Sterling (18 votes)


Karla Pretorius is Netball Scoop’s 2019 MVP. Photo: Simon Leonard

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