Casey wins Magic MVP award

Popular captain Casey Kopua capped an impressive season by clinching Kia Magic's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the team's season finale in Hamilton on Saturday.

Along with Julie Fitzgerald, the first Australian to coach a New Zealand team in the ANZ Championship, Kopua helped transform a new-look Magic into the surprise package of this year's competition. With nine new players and the new coaching staff of Fitzgerald and former Silver Ferns shooter and selector Margaret Forsyth, Magic continued their impressive record in 2014 by making the Finals Series for a seventh consecutive year. Magic remain the only team to have achieved this feat.

Largely written off at the start of the season, Kopua was the driving force on court with her leadership skills and ability to get the best out her team-mates, the Magic roster impressing with their fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude to finish a well-merited third. In the process, Kopua chalked up the significant 100 game milestone, her loyalty a key in the fact it was accomplished with the same club.

Voted on by the public, Kopua was also named in the competition's All Star team at the end of the regular season, Fitzgerald describing her as the best goal defence in the world.

“This award is truly unexpected. I can't do what I do without my team-mates,'' Kopua said.

“Playing for Magic this year has gone deep to my heart and really reinvigorated my reasons for playing Netball. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait for the full potential of this team to be realised.''

Equally popular England import Jo Harten won the Members Player of the Year award, the willowy shooter having a memorable first season with Magic.

A revelation under the Magic hoop this year, it capped a sensational season for Harten who was also the competition's joint overall MVP with NSW Swifts midcourter and captain Kim Green.

Having already returned home to prepare with the England team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, a recorded video message from Harten was played to Saturday night's guests.

“Thank you very much for this award, it means a great deal to me,'' she said. “Have a great night and I'll see you all in 2015.''

Magic's three Silver Ferns -- Kopua, Leana de Bruin and new cap Ellen Halpenny -- were also acknowledged during the evening, the trio conducting an informal question and answer session with the assembled guests.


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