Author: Peter Williams

ANZ Premiership: Round 3 – Tactix defence stands up to conquer Magic win

MAINLAND Tactix have temporarily bounced back into third after putting their stomach bug loss to Northern Stars last week behind them to defeat Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by nine goals last night (45-36). In what was a remarkable defensive performance – the three defenders picked up a combined seven intercepts and four rebounds – the Tactix were able to restrict their opposition to just 36 goals, the equal lowest of the season thus far.

The Tactix were not their regular selves in the Round 2 loss to the Stars, and having played an extra game than the Magic heading into last night’s match, were keen to bounce back with a strong win. It was promising start from the side as Ellie Bird burst out of the blocks with 10 goals from 15 attempts in the opening term, outscoring the Magic side, whilst Te Paea Selby-Rickit played the role of facilitator with four goal assists from five feeds.

Erikana Pedersen had a team-high five goal assists, the same as her opposition wing attack, Whitney Souness. The Magic still managed the nine goals, making the most of their 12 opportunities, but the Tactix attempts were stacking up with a massive 17 in the first term.

The second term was the complete reverse of fortunes for the sides, with Ariana Cable-Dixon taking control of the midcourt alongside Souness as the pair combined for eight goals assists from 14 feeds. Young gun Kimiora Poi was overshadowed in the centre, but Pedersen was doing all she could to feed through to the goalers. Bird put up a more accurate six goals from eight attempts for the quarter, but it was the shared load between Magic goalers Kelsey McPhee and Abigail Latu-Meafou that got their side back on top.

The Magic looked like a different team to the first term with just four general play turnovers – half of their total from the first term – and having 11 goal assists to five. The change in play turned the result around with the Magic heading into the break with a three-goal lead. The inconsistency of the midcourt feeding through to the goalers for the Tactix was one noticeable area to still improve on for next match.

Neither team opted to make a change to its starting line-up heading into the third term, and surprisingly, momentum flowed with the Tactix again as Bird found her range and could hardly miss, sinking nine of 10 chances and even setting up a couple of goals for Selby-Rickit. But it was Selby-Rickit who proved to be a huge influence on the term, nailing all five of her chances, and getting more active with six centre pass receives – almost as many as the entire first half – as well as three goal assists. Pedersen continued her terrific form with another five goals assists, while Poi got back on level terms with Cable-Dixon again.

Holly Fowler had been able to restrict Selby-Rickit up to that point from causing too much damage, but with 19 feeds into the circle, it was coming in fast and furious causing headaches for Fowler and Erena Mikaere. Needless to say, the Magic managed just seven goals with Latu-Meafou shooting the four and McPhee the three as Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau were able to get more active on defence thanks to the pressure up the court.

The final term saw the good times rolling on for the Tactix who then picked up where they left off in the third, thanks to a 12-7 term. The Tactix had tried to make a few changes with Cable-Dixon coming off after Poi’s big third term, as captain Sam Winders slid into centre. Fowler moved up to wing defence and Jenna O’Sullivan went on into goal defence. Unfortunately, it did not help with O’Sullivan giving up three penalties and one turnover in seven minutes of action to be replaced by Georgia Tong in the final few minutes.

The Tactix did not need to make a change, and it was easy to see why with Watson continuing her attacking approach, whilst Fakahokotau’s work with reading the ball in flight was impressive. Bird sank another eight goals from 11 attempts, with Selby-Rickit having four from eight and four goal assists. Pedersen and Poi continued their good form aiding the transition down the court, whilst for the Magic, McPhee was a lone hand close to the post with six goals from eight attempts.

Bird ended the match with an impressive 33 goals from 44 attempts, but it was the work of Pedersen (17 goal assists from 34 feeds) and Selby-Rickit (12 from 19 on both goals and assists) who worked actively to keep the ball moving. In defence, Fakahokotau and Watson combined for five intercepts and two rebounds. In true Watson style, she only conceded one penalty for the entire match, while Fakahokotau won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for her work.

For the Magic, it was Souness who was the main source of transition ball with 17 assists from 31 feeds, and getting active off the centre pass with 19 receives. McPhee shot 21 goals from 26 assists, while her partner-in-crime Latu-Meafou sank 15 from 21. Aside from a terrific second quarter, the Magic faded away and it cost them in the end.




MAINLAND TACTIX 11 | 8 | 14 | 12 (45)
WBOP MAGIC 9 | 13 | 7 | 7 (36)



GS: Ellie Bird
GA: Te Paea Selby-Rickit
WA: Erikana Pedersen
C: Kimiora Poi
WD: Charlotte Elley
GD: Jane Watson
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau


GS: Kelsey McPhee
GA: Abigail Latu-Meafou
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Ariana Cable-Dixon
WD: Sam Winders
GD: Holly Fowler
GK: Erena Mikaere

ANZ Premiership Round 2 midpoint update: Mystics and Tactix secure seven-goal wins

AT the midpoint of the ANZ Premiership’s Round 2, the Northern Mystics and Mainland Tactix have secured early wins to kick-start their seasons again, whilst Northern Stars prepare to go back-to-back over the next two days, including a grand final rematch tonight.


Northern Mystics (47) defeated Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (40)

THE first match back of the ANZ Premiership since the COVID-19 lockdown did not disappoint, as the Northern Mystics came out with a point to prove and blew the Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP) Magic out of the water as they did so. While Magic may have had a more expansive and experienced midcourt, it was Mystics’ young attack line and experienced defence that held down the fort, battering the Magic with their accuracy and impressing with the wealth of talent they possessed on their way to a 47-40 win. [ … CONTINUE READING … ]


Mainland Tactix (43) defeated Southern Steel (36)

AS the rest of the netball world looked on in envy, the ANZ Premiership once again displayed why their domestic league has produced some of the best talent on the planet. Much like the first game back after the break, the matchup between Mainland Tactix and Southern Steel lived up to the hype. It was a smothering defensive display from the Tactix and they certainly laid out their intentions for the season ahead thanks to a 43-36 triumph. [ … CONTINUE READING … ]



Northern Stars vs. Central Pulse
Sunday, 7pm

Sunday marks the grand final rematch between the Northern Stars and Central Pulse with the latter hoping to repeat their earlier triumphs. With a win already under their belt for season 2020 the Pulse will be out replicate their hot form of 2019 while the Stars on the other hand will be keen to put a stop to it and notch up their first victory for the season.

Northern Stars v. Mainland Tactix
Monday, 7pm

In the final game of the round both the Stars and Tactix play out their second game of the round. With the changed fixture fatigue could be a huge factor for both teams especially the Stars who played the night before. Heading into the round both teams entered with no wins but will hoping to change that story and claim some early ascendancy and bragging rights.


Suncorp Super Netball returns to court on August 1

AUSTRALIA’S top netball competition returns August 1.

In a massive announcement by the Suncorp Super Netball today, fans of the world’s top ranked league will have to wait just two months until they see their favourite stars out on court again. The other two major leagues in the world – the ANZ Premiership and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) – had both made decisions on their returns in the past two weeks. While the VNSL opted to cancel the season citing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, the ANZ Premiership will return on Friday, June 19.

The 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season will be a full 60-game season – which means 14 rounds where teams face off against the other seven teams twice – as well as the four-game finals series for the top four sides. The fixture is yet to be announced, but the timing of the announcement today – May 31 – is for clubs to train together from tomorrow – June 1 – whilst sticking to social distancing guidelines.

Suncorp Super Netball CEO Chris Symington said in the release on the Suncorp Super Netball website that the season start represents a significant step forward on the road to getting back on court.

“We’re thrilled that a season start date has been locked away, now all our stakeholders have a date to work towards and fans can start to get excited for the start of the season,” he said. “We are planning to play out a full home and away season, and we are confident that our start date gives us the best opportunity to achieve that.

“Our guiding principles throughout this process have never changed, those being the health and wellbeing of the community alongside the financial viability of our sport. “There has been a collective commitment to those principles from the whole system including players, teams, partners and broadcasters and we will continue to take that approach as we look to get our season underway.

“I would like to thank our dedicated members and fans who have stuck by their teams and the sport through an incredibly challenging period. We look forward to showcasing our world class athletes once again from August 1.”

For full player profiles on each Suncorp Super Netball team, check out our team pages:

Adelaide Thunderbirds | Collingwood Magpies | GIANTS Netball | Melbourne Vixens | NSW Swifts | Queensland Firebirds | Sunshine Coast Lightning | West Coast Fever

Furthermore, the 2020 Constellation Cup between the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns will take place later this year, whilst the 2020 Quad Series that was meant to take place between the world’s top two nations, as well as England and South Africa, has been cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19 on international travel.

Three leagues, one website – the new era of netball news from across the globe



Netball Draft Central is excited to bring you the most comprehensive coverage from across the world when it comes to netball news. Now in its second year, Netball Draft Central has already grown exponentially to have news, reviews, features, profiles and statistics from the Suncorp Super Netball, ANZ Premiership and Vitality Netball Superleague.

While the three main leagues might be the main focus when it comes to netball coverage, the national and state leagues will not be forgotten. The team already covered the Australian Netball League (ANL) and Victorian Netball League (VNL) last year, as well as the Victorian Men’s and Mixed Netball Association (VMMNA) competition.

In 2020 and beyond, we will continue to expand and build on this coverage to include other states within Australia, and indeed overseas. In the past few weeks, we have chatted to an array of international stars including Australia’s Liz Watson, New Zealand’s Karin Burger, Sam Winders and Shannon Saunders, as well as heard from England’s George Fisher.

While the world of sport might have slowed down in the past couple of months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Netball Draft Central has posted more than 100 articles in this time from our Compare the Pairs, Memorable Matches to our Features, and much, much more.




Here’s what you can expect from Netball Draft Central in 2020 and beyond:

  • Full coverage of the Suncorp Super Netball, ANZ Premiership and (when it returns in 2021) Vitality Netball Superleague
  • Player profiles with full statistics for all the three major leagues
  • Individual team pages for every club in the major leagues, as well as the international sides
  • Up-to-date statistics and ladders
  • Regular features on netballers across the world, hearing from them on both a personal and professional level
  • Expansion into national and state levels where possible across the world
  • A focus on men’s and mixed netball



Every team page with dedicated content to that team, as well as team lists, can be found in the drop down menu of each page from the home page.


Of course, Netball Draft Central is always open to fresh ideas, new content and passionate writers. If you’re interested in writing for us, contact our Senior Editor, Sophie Taylor on her email at

If you’re interested in potential partnership opportunities with Netball Draft Central, contact our Managing Editor, Taylah Melki on her email at

Netball Bushfire Relief teams announced in all-star clash

THE teams every netball fan in Australia has been waiting for were announced early today, with the Australian Diamonds taking on a Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) All-Stars side to raise money for bushfire relief across the nation. The Diamonds side is largely the same as its Constellation Cup outfit, with recently retired Caitlin Thwaites named, and Caitlin Bassett and Liz Watson chosen as captain and vice-captain respectively. The only difference is the inclusion of GIANTS Netball’s Kiera Austin who provides the versatility in the front half of the court. Steph Wood was unavailable for selection.

The SSN All-Stars side, coached by the two New South Wales leaders – where the match will be held (Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney) – is a stacked team with the likes of Jamaican Jhaniele Fowler, and English goalers, Jo Harten and Helen Housby in the circle. In defence, Geva Mentor and Karla Pretorius will undoubtedly provide great leadership for Shamera Sterling, while Laura Langman and Kate Moloney will headline a strong midcourt. Draft Central will provide in a detailed analysis on the teams, as well as a preview for the match ahead of the March 1 date.

The match will be played at 1pm on March 1,  with tickets starting at $10 on sale from midday tomorrow, Thursday January 30.



Coach: Lisa Alexander

Caitlin Bassett (c) (GIANTS Netball)
Liz Watson (vc) (Melbourne Vixens)
Kiera Austin (GIANTS Netball)
Ash Brazill (Collingwood Magpies)
Courtney Bruce (West Coast Fever)
Paige Hadley (NSW Swifts)
Sarah Klau (NSW Swifts)
Tegan Philip (Melbourne Vixens)
Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS Netball)
Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
Caitlin Thwaites (Melbourne Vixens)
Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds)
Maddy Turner (NSW Swifts)
Jo Weston (Melbourne Vixens)


Coaches: Briony Akle (NSW Swifts) & Julie Fitzgerald (GIANTS Netball)

Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever)
Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball)
Nat Haythornthwaite (NSW Swifts)
Helen Housby (NSW Swifts)
Laura Langman (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
Emily Mannix (Melbourne Vixens)
Kristiana Manu’a (GIANTS Netball)
Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies)
Kate Moloney (Melbourne Vixens)
Chelsea Pitman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
Gabi Simpson (Queensland Firebirds)
Shamera Sterling (West Coast Fever)
Sam Wallace (NSW Swifts)

2020 Nations Cup preview: Finals

AN entertaining 2020 Netball Nations Cup has almost come to an end with the final day of action taking place less than 24 hours after the round robin competition concluded. Following three rounds, New Zealand has remained undefeated, while Jamaica picked up two wins against the other two nations to book a spot in the final against the Silver Ferns.

New Zealand vs. Jamaica

These sides faced off in Round 2 of the competition with the Silver Ferns producing a crushing 26-goal defeat over the Sunshine Girls. In that match, New Zealand dominated from start to finish, winning 71-45 in a one-sided affair. Across the four quarters, the Silver Ferns scored 18 or more goals in three quarters, whilst restricting the Sunshine Girls to 11 or less in three of those terms. Both teams are capable of scoring when in form, with a 34-goal final quarter (20-14 New Zealand’s way) a testament to that. It was Maia Wilson who shone brightest with 42 goals from 45 attempts and was too strong for Jamaica’s defensive unit. Shamera Sterling‘s athleticism and X-factor is best used moving around the goal circle, hunting for cross-court balls or influencing play but will have to try and body up on Wilson to throw her off her game. Wilson is far from the only dangerous shooter, with captain Ameliarnne Ekenasio the most damaging shooter in the side. She has been able to continue her role in goal attack with the retirement of Maria Folau, and has not missed a beat so far, able to set up scoring opportunities and go to post when she sees fitting. In the clash between these nations, Ekenasio scored 18 goals from 22 attempts and had 13 goal assists from 16 feeds. Up the other end of the court, Jane Watson will have a massive job trying to quell the influence of super shooter Jhaniele Fowler. The towering goal shooter was at her best in Jamaica’s last round win over England, but will have a greater challenge against Watson and Karin Burger, with Phoenix Karaka likely to spend time on Fowler as well. In the last clash, Fowler scored 38 goals from 40 attempts, but will also likely be double teamed again given her high-volume production. Through the midcourt, Nicole Dixon and Kimiora Poi could have some great battles with Poi earning a start in the Silver Ferns’ win over South Africa and not putting a foot wrong. Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton will aide her in the midcourt, while Shanice Beckford‘s versatility between wing attack and goal attack is important for the Sunshine Girls. Collingwood Magpies fans will be keen to see how Jodi Ann Ward copes in the final with the Jamaican excitement machine to be a top inclusion for the Magpies this year in the Suncorp Super Netball. Overall, the depth of New Zealand should be too much, with star players both on the court and on the bench. Goalers Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Bailey Mes are impact players for the Ferns while Saunders and Karaka are equally important. Although the Sunshine Girls have some good young talents, they rely heavily on their top stars to get the win meaning New Zealand should take home the inaugural Nations Cup crown.

England vs. South Africa

The clash between two the two bottom sides from the tournament will be a fascinating one, with England getting up by five goals, 58-53, in the last clash between the teams in Round 2 of the competition. They were evenly matched for the most part, with only the Roses’ ability to stand up in crunch moments, particularly late in the contest being the key difference. Both sides have shown some strong signs this tournament, with the SPAR Proteas forcing the Silver Ferns onto the back foot in the Round 3 clash at times, but just not being able to produce it for long enough. England is in a similar situation, missing stars like Geva Mentor, Serena Guthrie and Jo Harten in each third of the court, they have had to rely on a lot of fresh faces getting increased roles against more experienced international players. South Africa on the other hand have gone through a little bit of a change, but ultimately have a close to full-strength outfit, and would be a bit disappointed not to pick up a win at this carnival after their World Cup showing by taking it up to the other nations. This game will likely come down to which nation will be able to hold up for long enough and play consistently through the midcourt to give their shooters the best chance of winning. Ine-Mari Venter was terrific in the mid two quarters against New Zealand and should be utilised well on court with Lenize Potgieter, making them a dual threat close to the post. While both prefer the goal shooter bib, their relationship inside the circle is crucial to South Africa putting up a big total here. Lefébre Rademan is another one to watch out for in the goal circle for the Proteas with the goal attack able to inject speed and dynamism to shake the opposition up. England might be missing a few names, but Jade Clarke and Nat Haythornthwaite provide a calming influence through the midcourt, with Haythornthwaite even spending time in goal attack in the absence of Helen Housby. Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin provide an Adelaide Thunderbirds feel to the line-up, while you can never discount the excitement of George Fisher and Amy Carter. The Spar Proteas rely a lot on their attacking end’s flow, and Bongi Msomi is a crucial part of that line-up with her ability to feed through to the circle and provide goal assist opportunities with great leadership on-court. The defensive pairing of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni is one that is always difficult to stop, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning duo consistently imposing themselves on the game and looking for opportunities to get involved. Shadine van der Merwe is the cog between those two and Msomi in the attacking end, and how they all operate on the day will determine their team’s fate. South Africa is a huge chance to win its first game of the tournament given the names on paper, but everything has to go right, and you can never discount England on home soil.

Silver Ferns head into Nations Cup undefeated following win over Spar Proteas

NEW Zealand Silver Ferns have triumphed over South Africa SPAR Proteas to book a spot in the 2020 Netball Nations Cup in Birmingham. The Silver Ferns went into the clash undefeated against a South African side yet to register a win, but the match proved that either side can stand up at different moments with the SPAR Proteas making a comeback at one stage, only for the Silver Ferns to settle and record a seven-goal win.

New Zealand started the stronger of the two sides, racing out to a three-goal advantage at quarter time with Maia Wilson shooting 11 of a possible 12 goals, while Gina Crampton had eight goal assists from 13 feeds. For the South Africans, the combination of Lenize Potgieter and Lefebre Rademan was working well with the experienced goal shooter scoring five goals from seven attempts, while her teammate had six from eight. Bongiwe Msomi was the key playmaker in the attacking end with seven goal assists from 10 feeds.

New Zealand continued its defensive stronghold in the second term, adding 13 goals to nine. The Silver Ferns headed into the half-time break with a seven-goal advantage as once again the defensive combination of Karin Burger (one intercept) and Jane Watson was doing well. Ine-Mari Venter came onto the court to carry the bulk of the scoring with seven goals from eight attempts, while Potgieter capitalised on both her attempts. Msomi’s work through the midcourt (six assists from seven feeds) was admirable to keep her side in it, while Zanele Vimbela timed her hands to perfection with two key rebounds.

South Africa made its move in the third term as Venter’s high-volume scoring ability helped the Spar Proteas cut the deficit back to three thanks to a 14-10 quarter. Venter shot 12 of her 13 attempts successfully with a 92.3 per cent efficiency. Potgieter managed the two from three, while Msomi had eight goal assists from 11 feeds. Karla Pretorius was managing the side superbly from the back half, now teaming up with fellow Suncorp Super Netball star, Phumza Maweni who immediately had an impact with a rebound in the term. For the Silver Ferns, Te Paea Selby-Rickit came on for Wilson and scored from all five of her chances, while Ameliaranne Ekenasio capitalised on a near-perfect five from six. Whitney Souness helped out with four goal assists from six feeds, but it was clear the side was thrown off a bit with Crampton and Watson both on the bench.

The Silver Ferns held firm though, backing in the side out there with Wilson coming on for Ekenasio, shooting seven goals from eight at 87.5 per cent and Selby-Rickit had four from six as the favourites scored 11-7 to run out 48-41 winners. Burger had two rebounds and an intercept in the final term, while Karaka had one of each, working well with Kimiora Poi (five goal assists from 10 feeds) in the centre. Venter’s goal scoring accuracy faded a little in the last term with just five goals from eight attempts as the Spar Proteas struggled to continue their flow down the court. Shadine van der Merwe had been consistent throughout and picked up another intercept, but the connection between the midcourt and shooters, and the shooters’ accuracy was not as effective as the quarter before and they faded away.

Wilson finished the match with 24 goals from 30 attempts at 80 per cent efficiency, teaming well with both Ekenasio (15 from 18) and Selby-Rickit (nine from 11) in the goal circle. Up the other end, Burger had two rebounds and two intercepts, while Karaka had one of each but also 12 penalties. The strength of the duo allowed them to rest Watson for a half, while Poi finished with 13 assists from 25 feeds in a strong performance. For the Proteas, Venter shone particularly through the middle quarters, finishing with 24 goals from 29 attempts, working best with Potgieter (11 from 15). Msomi was influential for the most part thanks to 23 assists from 31 feeds and an intercept, while van der Merwe had two intercepts and a goal assist too. Pretorius and Maweni combined for three rebounds but 24 intercepts as the pressure was constantly on the defence.

Now the Silver Ferns head into the final in less than 24 hours to take on Jamaica, while the Proteas go head-to-head against the home side, South Africa in the Bronze Medal playoff.

Sunshine Girls survive Roses fourth quarter comeback to book Nations Cup final spot

JAMAICA Sunshine Girls have turned around the disappointment of missing out on the 2019 Netball World Cup by reaching the 2020 Netball Nations Cup final yesterday. Defeating England Roses on their home court 70-66, the Sunshine Girls now advance through to the final to try and find a way to take down the undefeated New Zealand Silver Ferns.

The match started out on fairly even terms with England going all-out to try and gain the win and book a spot in the final on January 26. The winner of the game would advance through and both sides knew it with the Sunshine Girls making a move late in the first quarter to lead by three goals at the first change. The Roses got a huge roar when Kadeen Corbin drew the side within a goal and a minute on the clock, but it was Jhaniele Fowler who scored immediately and then a Roses rushed pass saw an intercept and Fowler double up, then capitalise on three attempts in the dying seconds to push it out to an 19-15 advantage.

The Roses were looking the less sharp of the sides with some errors in attack and the extra experience of Chelsea Pitman came onto the court in the second, while Natalie Haythornthwaite moved from the wing into goal attack. Fowler was prepared for the double-team against Stacey Francis and Kate Shimmin, and adjusted accordingly, having to allow Shanice Beckford to carry some of the load in the goal circle. The huge amount of pressure being applied by the Sunshine Girls’ defence of Shamera Sterling and Kadie-Ann Dehaney was telling as they extended the lead out to seven goals at the main break, 39-31.

The Roses made some more changes in the third as the crowd tried to get them up and about as Amy Carter came on for a chance in center having played a small portion at wing attack in the first half. The experienced Jade Clarke was sent to wing defence, while Pitman – who had made way for Carter late in the term – returned to wing attack. With Haythornthwaite at goal attack she was solid alongside Eleanor Cardwell, but they were not able to match it with super scoring machine, Fowler up the other end and the visiting side posted 18 goals to 13 to lead by what looked to be an unbeatable 13-goal lead.

Despite the clear deficit, the undermanned Roses side was not going to throw in the towel, ready for one last effort in the last term with the huge sold out crowd behind them. The last 15 minutes of the match gave fans a glimpse of what an England side missing the likes of Geva Mentor, Jo Harten and Serena Guthrie was capable of, roaring to life to score a massive 22 goals – half of what they had scored in the first three quarters – to Jamaica’s 13 – only just falling short of a huge comeback, going down 66-70. In the term, George Fisher got a shot at goal shooter, while Cardwell moved to goal attack and it was Fisher who managed to dig into the lead with some neat shooting under pressure.

The game was not without some aggression as Sterling and Cardwell clashed in the third term, but the high pressure stakes made it for entertaining netball with the full-strength Jamaican side doing what it had to do against an England side giving valuable court minutes to a lot of its future stars. Now the Sunshine Girls head to the Nations Cup final to face the Silver Ferns, while the Roses look to repeat their effort against the Spar Proteas from earlier in the week with a victory in the Bronze Medal final.

New Zealand Super Club: Magpies claim crown over Mystics

COLLINGWOOD Magpies have become the first non New Zealand-based side to take out the Super Club competition title, defeating Northern Mystics by seven goals yesterday. It was a tight affair throughout the contest, with the Magpies increasing the lead by a goal each term, before enjoying a bit more freedom in the last to secure the 49-42 victory. Nat Medhurst was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) after a mammoth effort of 17 goals from 18 attempts at 94.4 per cent accuracy, as well as 18 goal assists from 22 feeds.

The game started with Medhurst playing more than just an assisting role, nailing all five goals and assisting with four to partner-in-crime, Shimona Nelson. The Jamaican was strong under the post, grabbing a rebound and converting eight of her 10 attempts, while Ash Brazill and Gabrielle Sinclair combined for seven goal assists from eight feeds. Up the other end, Geva Mentor was using her experience to try and counter the talented Grace Nweke, taking a crucial intercept, but also giving away four penalties. Nweke scored 10 goals from 12 attempts and picked off two rebounds in the first term, while her fellow goaler, Bailey Mes had two goals from three attempts, as well as three goal assists from four feeds. Elisabeth Toeava was strong with six goal assists from eight feeds, while Phoenix Karaka continued her great form at goal defence with a couple of clever intercepts.

Leading by a goal at the first break, it was much of the same in the second term with the sides remaining the same throughout the first half. Three of the four shooters did not miss a shot in the quarter, with Nelson (nine) and Medhurst (three) combining for 12 goals, as Nweke (eight and a rebound continued to do everything asked of her). Medhurst had three turnovers, but also assisted with eight goals, making the most of her eight feeds thanks to her carefully crafted passes. Through the midcourt, Toeava was creating plenty of opportunities for the Mystics, racking up a team-high five goal assists from six feeds, while centre Tayla Earle had three from four and grabbed an intercept. Karaka and new defensive partner, Sulu Fitzpatrick also managed to intercept a Medhurst pass, with Matilda Garrett doing the same up the opposite end as both teams recorded five general turnovers for the quarter. Heading into the main break, the Magpies led by just two goals and the final was shaping up as a thriller.

Northern Mystics pulled the trigger on the first change of the match, bringing on goal attack Saviour Tui for Mes, joining Nweke in the goal circle. Tui shot five of a possible seven in the quarter, while her teenage goal-shooting partner did not miss from her limited five opportunities. Toeava continued her strong work aiding the goalers with six assists from seven feeds, while Brazill picked up the bid in midcourt with four from six herself. In the goal circle, Nelson (five goals) and Medhurst (six) were spreading the load perfectly and not missing a shot, while Mentor added another intercept to her name up the other end as her and Garrett were working on limiting the flow to Nweke. Melissa Bragg even picked up a goal assist – from wing defence – in the third term with a bullet pass into the circle. The Magpies had an extra turnover, but two less penalties in the quarter, and again increased their lead by a solitary goal to lead by three at the final break.

Nelson became an incredibly imposing figure under the post in the final quarter, shooting 10 of a possible 13 goals, and picking up three rebounds, though also giving away three penalties and a turnover. Medhurst shot three from four but had three assists, while Brazill was the key playmaker through centre with six assists from seven feeds and one of her memorable intercepts. Mentor had yet another intercept in the defensive goal circle as the Mystics forward half started to falter and make a few more errors because of the raised pressure stakes. Mes returned to the court in the only other change, nailing two goals from three attempts along with three goal assists, but also four had turnovers to her name. Nweke managed another seven goals from eight attempts and a rebound in the quarter despite the pressure, while Toeava had nine feeds, five of which were goal assists and two were turnovers. She had three penalties, one less than Karaka, though the Mystics recorded three less for the entire term compared to their opponents. It was the nine to six turnovers that cost them in the end, with the Magpies piling on 13 goals to nine and winning, 49-42.

Nelson played a crucial role beside Medhurst in the goal circle during the final, shooting 32 of a possible 37 goals at 86.5 per cent accuracy, but collecting four rebounds. Up the other end, Nweke had 30 from 33 at 90.9 per cent, and also had four rebounds, but an equal game-high seven turnovers. Her goaling partner had seven turnovers too, with Mes finishing the game with seven goals from 10 attempts, and eight goal assists from nine feeds. Toeava was arguably the Mystics best, assisting with 22 goals from 30 feeds, while Karaka picked up five intercepts and 12 penalties. The other Mystics player to hold up the defensive end in an honest, hard-working game was Michaela Sokolich-Beatson who had one intercept and just four penalties opposed to Sinclair, who played out of her traditional goal attack position to give off seven assists from 12 feeds. Brazill won the centre battle convincingly against Earle, helping herself to 17 goal assists and one intercept, while Earle had seven and one. Garrett picked up a rebound and an intercept for the Magpies, while Mentor was at her clever best, picking off three balls up the defensive end. The Magpies were slightly a class ahead which resulted in the win during a game that showed the best ANZ Premiership sides can compete with the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) teams for large portions of the game – granted the Magpies were missing a couple of Diamonds in April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion from last season.


Central Pulse (47) defeated Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (45)

The Central Pulse bounced back from their loss to the Magpies to post a come-from-behind two-goal win over the Magic to claim third spot for the tournament. Leading by a goal at quarter time, the Pulse slipped up in the second term as the Magic slammed home 15 goals to nine to lead by five at half-time. The Pulse stole back the momentum with a 16-10 quarter themselves to lead by a goal heading into the final term, then extending that out to two by the final whistle in a 47-45 victory. Aliyah Dunn scored 32 goals from 35 attempts, while Tiana Metuarau had four from four, and a team-high 16 goal assists from 20 feeds. Katrina Rore was at her absolute best up the other end with three rebounds and an intercept, working well with Elle Temu who had one rebound and two intercepts as the Pulse rested Karin Burger. The Magic goal circle partnership of Kelsey McPhee (31 gals from 40 attempts) and Georgia Marshall (10 from 11) was strong despite McPhee’s inaccuracy, as Whitney Souness was the key in midcourt with a game-high 18 gaol assists from 26 feeds, and a key intercept.

Mainland Tactix (45) defeated by Southern Steel (50)

Southern Steel grabbed fifth spot with a terrific last quarter to overrun Mainland Tactix in a huge contest. The Steel burst out the blocks in the opening term to score 15-12 and take an early lead. The teams broke even in the second quarter before the Tactix took control, and the lead thanks to a 14-10 third stanza. The Steel decided to have none of that, blowing their opponents away in the final quarter with 14 goals to eight on the way to a 50-45 triumph. Jennifer O’Connell was massive at goal shooter, despite being inaccurate, posting up 38 goals from 51 attempts, as Kalifa McCollin managed nine from 11. Gina Crampton was busy through midcourt with 19 goal assists, but a game-high six turnovers, while Shannon Saunders had 14 goal assists from just the one turnover. In defence, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit had three intercepts and one rebound. For the Tactix, up the same end as her sister, Te Paea Selby-Rickit shot 10 goals from 15 attempts at just 66.7 per cent, while picking up two rebounds and handing out eight goal assists. Ellie Bird was the key goal shooter with 31 from 36, while having a game-high five rebounds in the contest.

Wasps Netball (41) defeated by Northern Stars (52)

In the battle of the two bottom sides, it was Northern Stars who handed the Wasps the last place honours thanks to a convincing 11-goal win. The Stars led by two goals at the first break then dominated the second to hold an eight-goal advantage by half-time. The Wasps hit back to make it a more manageable six-goal deficit by the final break, before Northern took control once again, piling on 15-10 in the final term to claim the 52-41 victory. Stars’ shooter, Maia Wilson poured on 34 goals from 44 attempts, had five rebounds and seven goal assists from eight feeds, while Jamie Hume had 14 goals from 17 attempts, as well as seven goal assists and an assist. Kate Burley was reading plays like a picture book up the other end with four of her team’s nine intercepts, while Mila Reuelu-Buchanan had a game-high 18 goal assists from 37 feeds. For the Wasps, veteran shooter Rachel Dunn scored 28 goals from 32 attempts, as well as three rebounds close to the post. Katie Harris helped out with 12 from 14, and five goal assists, as Beth Dix worked hard in wing attack thanks to 11 goal assists from 21 feeds. Up the other end, Josie Huckle managed three rebounds.

2020 Pre-season Manchester Invitational preview: Mike Greenwood Trophy

FOUR Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) teams will battle it out for the Mike Greenwood Trophy as part of the Pre-season Manchester Invitational. Following Team Bath hosting its BiG Showdown earlier in the week, reigning VNSL premiers, Manchester Thunder will host this pre-season tournament which plays out over one day. Each team will play three round-robin matches against the other teams competing, with the top two sides at the end of the day facing off for the overall title.

The teams that are competing are of course hosts, Manchester Thunder, as well as Loughborough Lightning, Team Bath and Saracens Mavericks. The Mavericks and Bath come into the tournament with some hitouts under their belt following the BiG Showdown, where the sides faced off in the final there. The Mavericks won both those clashes, so it will be fascinating to see how Bath responds when the two teams meet at 3pm on Saturday. The day opens with the Mavericks taking on the Thunder, before Loughborough Lightning have back-to-back games against Team Bath and the Thunder. Bath will then take a turn at back-to-back matches against the Mavericks and Thunder, with the Mavericks playing the Lightning in the final match of the day prior to the final.

Manchester Thunder are the reigning premiers in the VNSL with their defensive unit one of their strengths on the court. The Thunder will need to overcome the retirement of defensive post, Kerry Almond, and departure of important wing attack, Liana Leota heading into the 2020 season. They have a towering presence in goal shooter, with experienced Malawi talent, Joyce Mvula having an impressive reach and high volume to post. The Thunder will undoubtedly test out a number of combinations to fill the holes left by the departures, but it will be interesting to see how they perform. With Northern Ireland veteran, Caroline O’Hanlon staying on, the Thunder still have experience in the front court. Add in Eleanor Cardwell who stepped up in crunch moments last season such as the VNSL Grand Final, and the Thunder could be a high scoring side.

Saracens Mavericks are coming off a successful BiG Showdown tournament where they would love to add some more silverware to their cabinet in this one-day event. Up front, George Fisher is a player who can make a difference, while Kadeen and Sasha Corbin – members of the England Roses development pathway – are other names to keep an eye out for. Razia Quashie in goal keeper is one of the best in the competition and someone who will hope to counter the likes of Mvula in the circle. Jodie Gibson is a huge addition to the Mavericks’ squad this season, crossing from Wasps over the off-season and will line-up in a defensive post and provide some great experience and strength.

Team Bath showed they will be another key title contender in the VNSL for 2020, following their performances at the BiG Showdown. With the experienced and now Bath Hall of Famer Serena Guthrie on the list – though now moving onto a non-playing role – she has helped develop the future of England netball, with Ebony Usoro-Brown already having an impact at international level, while Imogen Allison and Summer Artman are others who have shown great improvement throughout the 2019 VNSL season since Guthrie returned. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis up front is a real young talent and while raw, could be one to keep in mind for the future. She will learn plenty off Australian shooter, Kim Commane who has been a terrific force across multiple leagues, with the former Melbourne Vixens’ shooter a great mentor for any young shooter.

Loughborough Lightning have an almost unstoppable force in Mary Cholhok who on her day can put up a ridiculous amount of goals. Still only 22-years-old and standing at 201cm (6 ft 7 in), Cholhok has a reach that very few can match, and the Ugandan talent is one who will continue to standout on the world stage. The other major player in the Lightning’s side is Natalie Panagarry, who has captained Loughborough and also represented England at international level. The Lightning will also look to a young defensive duo this season in Annabel Roddy who has returned to the club, joined by former London Pulse defender, Jaz Odeogberin. Both have played international netball at junior level and are still only teenagers themselves. Add in the likes of Roses’ juniors Suzie Liverseidge, Alice Harvey and Beth Gabriel, and the Lightning have plenty of youth prospects coming through.

Pre-season Manchester Invitational Fixture:

12pm – Manchester Thunder vs. Saracens Mavericks
1pm – Team Bath vs. Loughborough Lightning
2pm – Manchester Thunder vs. Loughborough Lightning
3pm – Saracens Mavericks vs. Team Bath
4pm – Manchester Thunder vs. Team Bath
5pm – Saracens Mavericks vs. Loughborough Lightning
6pm – Final

*All local times