Category: Northern Stars

2022 ANZ Premiership squads confirmed

THE ANZ Premiership signing period has come to an end with all six teams finalised and a number of huge names changing clubs. A couple of players have crossed the Tasman to join the ANZ Premiership from the Suncorp Super Netball while a couple of club heroes are set to join forces with arch rivals. With that in mind we cast an eye over each team list heading into the 2022 season.

Central Pulse:

The Pulse have a very different looking squad heading into the upcoming season with a plethora of familiar faces missing including this year’s captain in Claire Kersten. However, they will welcome back a couple of exciting prospect with Yvette McCausland-Durie returning as head coach and Tiana Metuarau returning to her roots. They have also poached a couple of SSN players with inaugural GIANTS defender Kristiana Manu’a joining the fray alongside Sunshine Coast Lightning youngster Binninan Hunt. Goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau has found herself at her third club in three years and will be a welcomed addition to the side as they look to climb up the ladder after a less than desirable season.

Amelia Walmsley
Binnian Hunt
Kristiana Manu’a
Aliyah Dunn
Kelly Jury
Maddy Gordon
Paris Lokotui
Temalisi Fakahokotau
Tiana Metuarau
Whitney Souness

Mainland Tactix:

It is no surprise that the Tactix have remained relatively unchanged minus one or two alterations to the squad with Erikana Pedersen no longer with the team. Kelera Nawai-Caucau has joined forces with the side after crossing from the Pulse further bolstering the Tactix’s defensive stocks. The key pillars have stuck around with Jane Watson and Karin Burger building a dominant force down back while the combination up forward between Ellie Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit is developing at a rate of knots.

Kelera Nawai-Caucau
Charlotte Elley
Ellie Bird
Hannah Glen
Jane Watson
Karin Burger
Kate Lloyd
Kimiora Poi
Samon Nathan
Te Paea Selby-Rickit

Northern Mystics:

The premiership-winning side have welcomed back a couple of big names with both Phoenix Karaka and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson set to pull on the dress next season. Karaka made a couple of cameo appearances towards the back-end of the season while Sokolich-Beatson will be chomping at the bit after being sidelined with injury this yeear. Australian Claire O’Brien has been awarded with a full time contract with the midcourter proving she is more than capable of standing up under the pressure for the Mystics. One of the biggest signings though was the acquisition of Monica Falkner with the former Northern Stars goal attack switching things up and looking to have an impact with the Mystics next season alongside powerhouse Grace Nweke.

Claire O’Brien
Fa’amu Ioane
Filda Vui
Grace Nweke
Michaela Sokolich-Beatson
Monica Falkner
Peta Toeava
Phoenix Karaka
Sulu Fitzpatrick
Tayla Earle

Northern Stars:

The Stars have gone back to their roots with Kayla Johnson (Nee Cullen) and Holly Fowler signing on for the 2022 season. It has been a while between drinks for Johnson with the defender last playing with the NSW Swifts before sitting out with pregnancy while Fowler has made the switch from the Magic to the Stars. Everything else remains the same for the stars with the midcourt unchanged and the shooting circle seeing Amorangi Malesala, Jamie Hume and Maia Wilson all retain their spots.

Amorangi Malesala
Anna Harrison
Elle Temu
Gina Crampton
Holly Fowler
Jamie Hume
Kayla Johnson
Lisa Mather
Maia Wilson
Mila Reuelu-Buchanan

Southern Steel:

After enjoying a rapid rise up the ladder the Steel have added further defensive depth to their squad and a couple more options under the post. Georgia Heffernan is set to return after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in 2020 and will join George Fisher in the circle while Saviour Tui has made the switch from the Mystics to Steel in hope of achieving more court time. Defensively, the Steel have picked up premiership winning defender Kate Burley who is also heading to her third club in three years.

Ali Wilshier
George Fisher
Georgia Heffernan
Kate Burley
Kate Heffernan
Renee Savai’inaea
Sarapheinna Woulf
Saviour Tui
Shannon Saunders
Te Huinga Selby-RIckit

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:

There has been no shortage of changes in the Magic side with a couple of big names farewelled as Caitlin Bassett returns to Australia and Grace Kara not returning. But those changes paved the way for some very exciting gets with Ameliaranne Ekenasio set to pull on the Magic dress alongside a couple of her former Pulse teammates in Katrina Rore and Kersten. Both Rore and Ekenasio will be coming in off the back of pregnancy but that will not stop them from dominating out on court. The names do not stop there with Bailey Mes also joining the club from the Mystics making for an exceptionally well-rounded and dynamic squad. Oceane Maihi rounds out the alterations with the defender swapping from the Stars.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio
Bailey Mes
Claire Kersten
Erena Mikaere
Georgia Tong
Georgie Edgecombe
Katrina Rore
Khiarna Williams
Oceane Maihi
Sam Winders

2021 ANZ Premiership: Top 10 quiet achievers – #1 Elle Temu

NOW that the ANZ Premiership season has come to a close Draft Central takes a look back at some of the quiet achievers that effectively plied their trade throughout the year. The number one spot on the countdown goes to exciting Northern Stars defender Elle Temu.

After making the switch at the end of the 2020 season from the Central Pulse to the Northern Stars, Temu relished in her extra court time with the defender upping the ante every game. With a plethora of big name performers around her in captain Maia Wilson down one end of the court and fan favourite Anna Harrison coming out of retirement this season, Temu well and truly flew under the radar.  A relatively unknown prospect heading into the season, Temu blossomed as the year went on with her confidence growing and competitive edge coming to the fore. She made use her of her unknown stature to become an imposing force on the opposition and effectively ply her trade to continuously win ball back.

The goal defence proved that she is more than capable of stepping up to the plate with her court craft and read of the play developing at a rate of knots. Temu did not shy away from the big contests often putting her body on the line to create turnovers for the Stars and made herself a real general down back. With fancy footwork to boot and smarts to go with it, Temu impressed for the Stars. She showcased her ability to cleverly and cleanly manoeuvre around the body of her opposition while her hands over pressure was another clear asset of her game play.

Although she is not the tallest defender going around, Temu did not lack any form of aerial presence with her smarts and ability to contest in the air coming to the fore as the season went on. She positioned exceptionally well against the taller goal shooters to push them up nice and high in the goal circle while she also protected the backspace with her deceptive turn of speed. Temu was not content with just sitting back and waiting for the ball to come to her, instead she went out hunting to create doubt in the feeders minds and cherry pick any high loping passes that came her way.

Temu showcased her ability to play both goal keeper and goal defence without skipping a beat such is her netball IQ. She had no issues seamlessly transitioning between either position, highlighting her ability to play a shutdown defender or a moving one. Temu utilised her strength to be an imposing threat while her shadowing movements enabled her to nullify the space and pick off intercepts. The up and coming defender impressed with her turn of speed and ability to turn herself inside out to swat ball away. Her ever-growing connection with Harrison, Oceane Maihi and Lisa Mather enabled Temu to play her own game and build pressure with her constant niggle and pressure.

Temu finished with an impressive stats sheet including 45 centre pass receives credit to her attacking mindset and willingness to propel the ball forward. She also amassed 18 rebounds, 45 deflections, 27 pickups and 35 intercepts. She was relatively clean with ball in hand treasuring possession as shown through her 17 turnovers but will want to tidy up her penalty count recording 176 for the season.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Top 10 quiet achievers – #3 Jamie Hume

NOW that the ANZ Premiership season has come to a close Draft Central takes a look back at some of the quiet achievers that effectively plied their trade throughout the year. Getting the nod at number three on the countdown is goaler Jamie Hume.

In a team littered with big names, Hume left her mark on the competition in season 2021. The goal attack elevated her game this season with her increased accuracy to post and confidence to back herself time and time again as the year went on. Joining Maia Wilson under the post the pair posed a damaging threat for opposition teams with their shooter to shooter connection, allowing them to slice through the defence and generate some real momentum in attack.

Towards the backend of the season, Hume showcased some real leadership and composure to lead the charge in the circle and post handy totals for the Northern Stars. With Wilson falling somewhat off the boil it was up to Hume to steady the ship and provide that steady stream of goals which she proved she was more than capable of doing. Hume displayed her netball smarts to continuously get into damaging positions and started to really command the ball with her well-timed drives and fancy footwork in the circle. Most importantly though, Hume showcased that she was more than willing to shoot from range and had the skillset to execute it.

The shooter impressed with her ability to switch between goal attack and goal shooter and also highlighted her adaptability and flexibility to work with the constantly changing attack line. Although Wilson was the main port of call, Hume proved that she was able to shoulder the load and work seamlessly with both Amorangi Maelsala and Monica Falkner inside the circle to rotate the strike and keep the scoreboard ticking over. Her crafty court movement and netball smarts only dazzled as the Stars’ campaign went on.

Connecting seamlessly with her teammates inside the circle, Hume also managed to build strong connections with the likes of newcomer Gina Crampton with the pair often engaging in a clever 1-2 play around circle edge to inch closer to the post. Hume was not afraid to take the game on and used her turn of speed to catch the opposition off-guard each and every time. Her aerial skills also shone throughout the season as did her balance to dance along the goal-line. Hume’s work rate was undeniable bursting out at the centre pass and then sprinting back to help out in the second phase play. Her defensive tendencies also took centre stage, utilising her hands over pressure to slow down the transition of her opposition.

The Northern Stars goaler finished with 244 goals to her name from 328 attempts at 74 per cent. She also racked up 204 centre pass receives and 137 feeds while reeling in 10 rebounds, highlighting her capacity to challenge for the ball in the air. Defensively Hume collected 12 deflections, 19 pickups and six intercepts but coughed up the ball 69 times, an area she will be hoping to improve on.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Season Review – Northern Stars

NOW that the ANZ Premiership season is done and dusted Draft Central casts an eye over each team and how they fared throughout their 2021 campaign. Shaping up to be title favourites before a turbulent end to the season were the Northern Stars, who finished their season in fourth spot on the ladder.

Season overview:

2021 will be one of missed opportunities for the Stars after sitting atop the table for majority of the season before an almighty decline in form saw them sink to fourth by season’s end. After a hot start to their 2021 campaign the Stars hit a roadblock and simply could not do enough to get their season back on track, missing out on finals by the skin of their teeth. The Stars finished with nine wins to their name – the same as the Mainland Tactix – but a couple of big losses cost them a spot in the finals and a chance to contest for the premiership.

Quote:

“An area of weakness from earlier years is getting any gains, so getting turnovers, and that’s what we really want to try and lift this year,” Crampton said. “You know, it’s not just down to the defensive end, it’s up to the whole team to be able to get ball so I think with the likes of Anna Harrison you know, she provides so much experience. She actually is such a good ball winner as well. She and Elle Temu as well are just playing such good netball.”

Talking to Draft Central pre-season, Gina Crampton highlighted the necessity of the Stars outfit to capitalise and score on their turnovers, a feat they had down-pat in the first half of the season but fell away from towards the pointy end of the competition.

Shining light:

Jamie Hume well and truly staked her claim not only on the competition but so too Silver Ferns contention with the goal attack elevating her game to a whole new level this season. The goal attack showcased her capacity to do just about everything in attack with her desire to go to post and create attacking forays out the front. Her smarts and clever ball use allowed her to bring Maia Wilson into the game while she also proved more than capable of doing the heavy lifting herself with her well-timed drives and turn of speed. Previously criticised for her lack of accuracy to post, Hume showcased plenty of improvement this season to keep the Stars in with a fighting chance.

Team breakdown:

A continual reliance on Wilson was the Stars’ ultimate downfall with the goal shooter suffering from an uncharacteristic cold patch, with her accuracy and volume well and truly down towards the backend of the season. However, there were a number of other shooters that plied their trade with Amorangi Malesala making a lasting impact with her versatility, strength and accuracy while Monica Falkner made her long awaited return from injury at the end of the season after another setback. The midcourt craft of the Stars was impressive with the acquisition of Gina Crampton paying dividends thanks to the wing attack’s nous and spatial awareness. She complemented Mila Reuelu-Buchanan’s style of play as the two combined nicely to create a two-pronged attack.

Defensively there was no shortage of star power with the return of Harrison well and truly bolstering the Stars unit. Harrison led from the back with her long limbs and closing speed allowing her to regain possession time and time again while her experience also rubbed off on the likes of Temu who relished the extra court time this season. The pair built one of the most damaging combinations going around with their tenacity and cleanliness front and centre. Lisa Mather was somewhat of an unsung hero out in wing defence while Oceane Maihi proved to be the super sub the Stars needed in defence with her hops playing an integral role.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Post-season stats wrap

THE 2021 ANZ Premiership season is officially done and dusted, which means it is time for our post-season reviews and team compilations. Next up is our end-of-season stats wrap, discussing the leading stats-getters for the season across a variety of areas and the top performers on the stats sheet.

>>>GRAND FINAL WRAP

GOALS

  1.  Grace Nweke (852)
  2.  Ellie Bird (647)
  3.  George Fisher (585)
  4.  Aliyah Dunn (539)
  5.  Maia Wilson (483)

ATTEMPTS

  1.  Grace Nweke (951)
  2.  Ellie Bird (726)
  3.  George Fisher (640)
  4.  Aliyah Dunn (601)
  5.  Maia Wilson (594)

ACCURACY

  1. Caitlin Bassett (92%)
  2. George Fisher (91%)
  3. Grace Nweke (90%)
    Aliyah Dunn (90%)
  4. Ellie Bird (89%)
  5. Maia Wilson (81%)
    Tiana Metuarau (81%)
    Te Amo Amaru-Tibble (81%)

When it came to goalers this season, there was no shortage of volume, accuracy or talent across the six teams. It is no surprise that Grace Nweke topped the tally for both goals and attempts in a huge season which saw her side clinch the premiership, with the tall timber undeniable under the post. With over 200 more goals scored than any other goaler in the competition and fellow grand finalist Ellie Bird her closest competitor with 647 goals for the season, Nweke was a remarkable target and had little issue finding ball in her grasps to finish with 852 goals at 90 per cent. Bird was in second with Steel’s George Fisher and Pulse’s Aliyah Dunn close third and fourth with 585 and 539 goals respectively, while Maia Wilson rounded out the top five on 483 goals credit to an excellent start to the season. Despite petering off in the latter stage of the season, Wilson’s dominance early on was key to the Stars’ winning streak at the beginning of the season.

Accuracy is where things get interesting, with Australian goal shooter Caitlin Bassett leading the pack on 92 per cent for the season, more lacking possession than intent to finish with 474 goals from 518 attempts. While her team finished on the bottom of the ladder with just one win to their name, it was not for a lack of accuracy on Bassett’s part, holding strong to post. In second was Fisher, with the English talent starring in her debut season and realistically could have added further goals and potentially greater accuracy if it were not for a concussion midway through the season. Nevertheless, Fisher finished with a 91 per cent accuracy to her name, missing an average of 3.6 goals per match in an incredible debut effort. Nweke, Dunn, Bird and Wilson are all predictable names in the top five for accuracy given their volume, while goal attacks Tiana Metuarau and Te Amo Amaru-Tibble sneak into the top five finishing with an 81 per cent accuracy for their respective seasons, finishing with 221 and 219 goals, respectively.

FEEDS

  1. Peta Toeava (662)
  2. Gina Crampton (642)
  3. Shannon Saunders (583)
  4. Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (551)
  5. Kimiora Poi (469)

CENTRE PASS RECIEVES

  1. Whitney Souness (476)
  2. Gina Crampton (359)
  3. Bailey Mes (324)
  4. Tiana Metuarau (321)
  5. Shannon Saunders (318)

The midcourt stats feature a number of repeat offenders, purely down to the dominance of a couple of the premier midcourters in the competition. Peta Toeava is the clear leader for circle feeds with 662 to her name, and while she does not feature on the centre pass tally her attacking counterpart in golaer Bailey Mes takes out third position on that list with 324 receives, clearly allowing the attacking third to open up for Toeava and, in turn, Nweke. It is a credit to the workrate of Stars duo Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, both fitting onto the top five for feeds given their impressive ability to turn and feed into the circle from anywhere within the goal third, with Crampton also finding herself second on the centre pass tally. Whitney Souness leads all-comers for the amount centre pass receives for the season with 476, with her side’s feeding clearly shared across the board given they did not register amongst the top five, while despite typically being known as a more defensive-minded centre, Kimiora Poi slots into fifth on the feeds list. Like Crampton, Shannon Saunders also found her way onto both lists, taking the court in wing attack more often than not as she registered 583 feeds and 318 centre pass receives throughout the season.

INTERCEPTS

  1. Karin Burger (48)
  2. Anna Harrison (39)
  3. Elle Temu (35)
  4. Taneisha Fifita (25)
    Kelera Nawai (25)
    Kate Heffernan (25)
  5. Sulu Fitzpatrick (21)
    Kelly Jury (21)

DEFLECTIONS

  1. Jane Watson (78)
  2. Karin Burger (69)
  3. Anna Harrison (66)
  4. Taneisha Fifita (63)
    Erena Mikaere (63)
  5. Sulu Fitzpatrick (58)

REBOUNDS 

  1. Sulu Fitzpatrick (30)
  2. Karin Burger (27)
  3. Kelera Nawai (22)
  4. Taneisha Fifita (19)
  5. Elle Temu (18)

TOTAL PENALTIES

  1.  Anna Harrison (226)
  2.  Taneisha Fifita (221)
  3.  Kelera Nawai (196)
  4.  Karin Burger (189)
  5.  Erena Mikaere (177)

We have grouped the four remaining major statistical areas together given they are significantly skewed by defensive players. Looking first at repeat offenders, there is no denying the impact of Karin Burger with the Tactix goal defence arguably in the form of her career with no doubt that she will continue rising with more time in the position. Leading intercepts with 48 to her name, ranking second both deflections (69) and rebounds (27) and fourth in penalties (189, averaging about 11 per game), Burger has become a really well-rounded defender with her ability to not only impact on the contest, but also do so cleanly, with partner in crime Jane Watson leading the deflection tally on 78 (4.6 per match) and just over six penalties per game credit to her ability to stay away from the whistle. Taneisha Fifita is the only other player to rank across all four categories, finishing her season with an equal fourth-ranked 25 intercepts (with Kelera Nawai and Kate Heffernan – the only midcourter on any defensive stats list), equal fourth-ranked 63 deflections (with Erena Mikaere) and 19 rebounds to her name, and also tidying up her act this season with 221 penalties across her 16 games (13.8 per game). Mikaere also finished fifth for penalties (177).

When it comes to players ranking outside the top five for penalties, there is no denying the impact or scintillating form of Mystics’ Sulu Fitzpatrick, whose cleanliness and ability to contest saw her rank equal fifth for intercepts (21, as did Kelly Jury) and deflections (58), while topping the table for rebounds with 30 to her name. In fact, Fitzpatrick averaged just 7.25 penalties per game, going above and beyond to lead her side to a grand final victory. On the other end of the penalty scale, Anna Harrison came out of retirement and was a force to be reckoned with throughout the season, topping the penalty tally with 226 to her name (averaging 15 per game), but ranked second for intercepts (39) and third for deflections (66), as Elle Temu also came from nowhere to find plenty of turnover ball, registering 35 intercepts and 18 rebounds for the season.

2021 ANZ Premiership – Team of the Year

WITH the grand final around the corner Draft Central has compiled its 2021 ANZ Premiership Team of the Year based on the number of times players have made it into the Team of the Week. It is no surprise that a number of players from both the Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics have made their way into the side given their impressive campaigns so far while the Northern Stars are also heavily represented.

GS: Grace Nweke (Northern Mystics)
GA: Jamie Hume (Northern Stars)
WA: Peta Toeava (Northern Mystics)
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (Northern Stars)
WD: Charlotte Elley (Mainland Tactix)
GD: Karin Burger (Mainland Tactix)
GK: Anna Harrison (Northern Stars)

BENCH: George Fisher (Southern Steel), Maddy Gordon (Central Pulse), Jane Watson (Mainland Tactix)

There are not enough superlatives for 19-year-old goal shooter Grace Nweke who only continued to thrive under the limelight. A lynchpin in the circle for the Northern Mystics, Nweke was just about unstoppable throughout the season and with one game to go will be eager to keep that trajectory going. Her strength and aerial ability is second to none, with the goal shooter able to post up 60-plus goals per game without a problem while her accuracy hardly ever wavers making her an easy selection for our Team of the Year. The goal attack decision was a little bit trickier but in the end it was Jamie Hume that got the nod with the Northern Stars goaler really elevating her game this season. Hume came into her own, taking the game on with her crafty movement and confidence to go to post, and proved more than once that she can withstand the pressure and prevail with her clever footwork and vision into the circle.

Through the midcourt it is hard to go past wing attack and Northern Mystics livewire, Peta Toeava. She is one of, if not the most creative attacking players in the league with her ability to make something out of nothing one of her key characteristics. Toeava has speed to burn around circle edge and is not afraid to deliver ball into the shooters from just about anywhere in the attacking third such is her confidence and skill. Northern Stars midcourter Mila Reuelu-Buchanan takes out the centre bib after being a consistent figure through the middle. Her two-way running and ability to help out at both ends of the court was imperative for the Stars as she could get a hand in down in defence and then impact up the other end in attack. One of the unsung heroes in the Mainland Tactix outfit, Charlotte Elley did not get the accolades she deserved but was influential down back. Able to dig in and do her job, Elley was cool, calm and collected out in wing defence using her wingspan to employ some strong hands over pressure to block the vision of her opposition. She is deceptively quick off the mark and that came in handy when trying to combat a host of nimble wing attacks.

It is no surprise that both Karin Burger and Anna Harrison take out the defensive end in our Team of the Year given the stellar campaigns the two have had this season – even though Burger’s is not over yet. The goal defence well and truly found her feet in her new role and new club, proving to be a real thorn in everyone’s side with her defensive craft and smarts. Burger leads the competition in intercepts such is her spatial awareness and capacity to close down space within a blink of an eye. Making her way out of retirement this season, Harrison had a point to prove and did just that each and every time she stepped out on court. The long-limbed defender did not leave a single ball uncontested, taking advantage of her closing speed to create deflections and turnovers aplenty. Her aerial ability was impressive while her timing over the shot was also outstanding.

In her first season in the ANZ Premiership George Fisher well and truly made a name for herself with the England international imposing herself under the post for the Steel, displaying her accuracy to post and all-round composure. Joining her on the bench is Maddy Gordon with the Pulse midcourter thrown around this season often switching between wing defence, centre and wing attack. The final bench spot goes to Mainland Tactix defender Jane Watson who switched back to goal keeper this season and utilised her physicality and cleanliness to reel in ball and rack up the deflections.

Notable mentions go to Sulu Fitzpatrick and Taneisha Fifita down back while through the midcourt Gina Crampton and Kate Heffernan were also up there. Inside the goal circle Khiarna Williams made an impact while Te Amo Amaru-Tibble also just fell short.

2021 ANZ Player of the Week: Round 15 – Anna Harrison

IN a new series, Draft Central casts an eye over the top performer from the round taking into account not only their individual stats, but their overall impact on the game. Round 15 of the ANZ Premiership saw a number of key players lead the way for their respective teams and put their best foot forward. Anna Harrison gets the nod for her second time this season with the goal defence proving age is just a number.

Despite her side falling out of the race for finals, Harrison rallied down in defence for the Stars with the goal keeper well and truly asserting her dominance and stature from the opening whistle. The oldest player in the competition imposed her years of experience and wisdom up against youngster Khiarna Williams who struggled to make an impact in her 15 minutes of action. Harrison was simply in everything and left nothing to chance with her constant hustle and niggle allowing her to win ball back time and time again. Not only did she nullify the influence of Williams but she forced a change with Chiara Semple entering the fray in hope to negate the pressure of Harrison.

The goal defence was not afraid to go out hunting whenever she felt like it credit to her closing speed and read of the play to hedge her bets and then double-back when needed. She was a real pest down back with her timing second to none and long arms allowing her to disrupt any flow inside the goal circle. Most impressively though was her lean over the shot with the defender timing her leap to perfection to create a couple of rejections. Not only did Harrison put doubt into the mind of the shooters but so too the Magic feeders as she closed down the space within the blink of an eye to place pressure on the likes of Grace Kara and Sam Winders.

The teamwork between Harrison and Elle Temu was second to none as the pair double-teamed Caitlin Bassett under the post. The goal shooter was unable to have things all her own way credit to the Stars’ positional switch inside the circle. Harrison was on a war path in defence as she grabbed anything that came her way and contested every pass inside the attacking third. Not only was she influential down back but so too through the midcourt with her clever drives and acceleration allowing her to punch through the Magic’s defence and create an opening for the Stars to power through.

She racked up a whopping eight intercepts highlighting just how cleanly she was throughout the contest and her overall spatial awareness to come charging through and cherry pick the cross-court ball. If Harrison was not cleanly picking up ball she was creating an opportunity for her teammates around her to reel in the loose pass with her four deflections while her ability to contest for the rebound was also imperative in the win as she denied opportunities for the opposition to score.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Team of the Week – Round 15

THE final round of the home and away season in the ANZ Premiership brought some close shaves and one big blowout. But even in that, there were a number of key standout performances with the winners from Round 15 in the Northern Mystics, Southern Steel and Northern Stars dominating the Team of the Week.

GS: Grace Nweke (Northern Mystics)
GA: Te Amo Amaru-Tibble (Central Pulse)
WA: Shannon Saunders (Southern Steel)
C: Tayla Earle (Northern Mystics)
WD: Charlotte Elley (Mainland Tactix)
GD: Anna Harrison (Northern Stars)
GK: Elle Temu (Northern Stars)

BENCH: George Fisher (Southern Steel), Gina Crampton (Northern Stars), Sulu Fitzpatrick (Northern Mystics)

Starting inside the goal circle it was hard to go past Grace Nweke with the goal shooter once again dominating to post. The 19-year-old only continues to get better with time and this performance was no different as she commanded the ball inside the circle and held off two Silver Ferns defenders to control proceedings. Her footwork paired with her aerial ability had the defence in all sorts of trouble as she slotted a whopping 49 goals from 51 attempts at 96 per cent. Central Pulse shooter, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble gets the nod in at goal attack in this Team of the Week with her cool, calm and composed nature keeping her side within striking distance. Her spatial awareness allowed her to drive into the space and be an option inside the ring while her accuracy was on point draining 21 goals straight.

Through the midcourt, Southern Steel wing attack Shannon Saunders gets the nod. She was nothing but consistent and crafty with ball in hand throughout the match as she patiently directed traffic. Her netball nous and experience was on full show as she carefully crafted the attacking forays racking up 22 goal assists along with a whopping 31 centre pass receives. The centre bib fell to Tayla Earle with the Northern Mystics midcourter using her change of pace and dynamic movement to have an impact up both ends of the court. She stepped up to the plate when changes were made for the Mystics using her read of the play and strong hands to snatch ball out of the air and hit circle edge with precision. Although it was not a stats stuffing performance by Charlotte Elley the wing defence starred with her work off the ball to keep her opponent away from the play and nullify her influence. Her constant hustle and niggle around circle edge combined with her three-foot marking allowed her to mount pressure and force errors aplenty.

Just like a fine wine, Anna Harrison only continues to get better with the goal defence putting on a masterclass in her last outing for the season. Harrison was involved in just about everything from the get-go with her long limbs causing a ruckus in defence. Her timing was second to none while her elevation also enabled her to reel in ball after ball. The goal defence ended up with a ridiculous eight intercepts and five gains to her name highlighting her overall dominance. Speaking of overall dominance, partner in crime Elle Temu takes out the goal keeper spot after putting together a stellar performance. Her ability to use her outside arm and cleanly contest ball was front and centre throughout the game as she consistently won ball back racking up five intercepts and three gains.

George Fisher has once again made her way onto the bench with the England international proving to be a stalwart with her composure and accuracy to post. she is joined by the likes of Northern Stars wing attack Gina Crampton who provided a steady head in a constantly changing attack unit while Sulu Fitzpatrick also impressed for the Mystics in their win.

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 12 and ANZ Premiership Round 15

ROUND 15 marked the final home and away round in the ANZ Premiership with a number of players upping the ante while Round 12 of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) rolled around after a COVID-19 enforced break with a couple of players breaking individual records.

Goals:

The goal shooters once again dominated in Round 15 of the ANZ Premiership, with Grace Nweke pouring on the pressure inside the ring nailing 49 goals from 51 attempts. She was not the only one firing on all cylinders as Ellie Bird managed 42 goals from 44 attempts at 96 per cent accuracy, while George Fisher was up and running with her 42 goals from 45 attempts at 93 per cent. Aliyah Dunn was a commanding presence for the Pulse with her 36 goals at 92 per cent but the most accurate shooter of the lot was Te Amo Amaru-Tibble with the goal attack converting at 100 per cent and finishing with 21 goals to her name. Caitlin Bassett sat in the 90s with her 32 goals from 35 attempts as both Jamie Hume and Monica Falkner were strong for the Stars recording 26 and 20 goals apiece but at a lower percentage. Maia Wilson’s shooting woes continued sitting at a lowly 59 per cent with 17 from 29.

It was a good week to be a Jamaican goal shooter in the SSN, with Shimona Nelson starring under the post for the Magpies slotting a whopping 69 goals from 71 attempts at 97 per cent. Jhaniele Fowler was also damaging with her 64 from 66 at 97 per cent as Romelda Aiken finished with 41 from 49. In terms of accuracy though Lenize Potgieter continued her merry way with her first miss not coming until the dying seconds of the game to finish with 40 from 41, while partner in crime Georgie Horjus was accurate to post sitting at 95 per cent. Cara Koenen was confident to post with her 27 goals from 29 attempts, while Peace Proscovia had an impact in her 15 minutes of court time slotting seven from seven while Steph Wood nailed 22 from 28 including four super shots. Jo Harten led the way with her 30 goals albeit at 79 per cent as Mwai Kumwenda was down on her accuracy and volume recording 34 goals from 43 attempts at 79 per cent. Gretel Bueta was impressive for the Firebirds with her 25 from 29 as Sophie Garbin dominated for the Swifts recording 34 goals from 36 attempts.

Midcourt:

Gina Crampton was a real workhorse through the midcourt for the Stars racking up 24 goal assists along with 27 centre pass receives. Teammate Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was in commanding form through the centre recording 20 goal assists the highest of any centre this round with the next closest Tayla Earle with 15 goal assists and two gains. Shannon Saunders was her ever-reliable self in attack for the Steel with her 25 goal assists, while Whitney Souness showcased her speed and dynamism for the Pulse finishing with 22 goal assists and 31 centre pass receives. Kate Heffernan was down on her feeding load with just six goal assists but made up for it in defence with three intercepts. Erikana Pedersen and Kimiora Poi shared the load in attack for the Tactix with 15 goal assists each while Charlotte Elley was imperative in wing defence collecting a gain and two deflections. Sam Winders did the heavy lifting for the Magic with her 10 goal assists and three gains as Tori Kolose found her groove with 11 goal assists.

Maisie Nankivell had a game to remember amassing a whopping 32 goal assists with the next best Verity Charles with 26 and 23 centre pass receives. Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion was in fine form racking up 24 goal assists and an intercept as teammate Lara Dunkley also found her groove with 16 goal assists. Maddy Proud was a lynchpin through the midcourt for the Swifts collecting 23 goal assists and one deflection as Kelsey Browne dazzled for the Pies amassing 21 goal assists, 31 centre pass receives and an  intercept. Ash Brazill was also up and about for Collingwood registering two intercepts and three deflections in the win as Lauren Moore got busy with her three intercepts. Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price shared the workload for the GIANTS with 12 and 10 goal assists respectively while in a half of netball Amy Parmenter racked up two intercepts and four deflections. for the Lightning it was Laura Scherian that led the charge with her 20 goal assists.

Defence:

Northern Stars goal defence Anna Harrison seemed to have the ball on a string as she racked up a whopping eight intercepts along with five gains. It did not stop there as she also accumulated six deflections. Elle Temu was a force to be reckoned with for the Stars amassing five intercepts and three gains. Jane Watson plied her trade for the Tactix recording two gains while Karin Burger continued her merry way picking up another two intercepts and three deflections. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit was in fine form for the Steel producing four deflections and four gains as Kelly Jury also asserted herself on the contest for the Pulse with three intercepts.

Shamera Sterling’s defensive beast mode was activated as the Thunderbirds goal keeper managed three intercepts, two deflections and a couple of rebounds. Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni combined for nine gains including four intercepts from Pretorius. Sam Poolman was solid for the GIANTS with her six gains while in her 15 minutes of court time, Matilda McDonell proved to be a nuisance picking up two intercepts and two deflections. April Brandley had a hand in just about everything with her eight deflections as both Emily Mannix and Jo Weston registered a combined 12 gains. It was a quieter performance by Courtney Bruce who finished with seven deflections while Kim Jenner notched up three intercepts. It was the Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward show as the duo registered 11 gains and 13 deflections.

Photo credit: SSN

Stars end season on a high with scintillating 19-goal win

IN both teams’ final game of the home and away season, it was the Northern Stars that claimed the win over Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by 19 goals (65-46). It was a one-sided affair as the Stars came out with a point to prove after dropping all the way down the ladder and missing finals.

Caitlin Bassett picked up where she left off hitting the scoreboard within the first 20 seconds of the game for the Magic meanwhile up the other end of the court it was Jamie Hume that carried her hot form into the round with a beautiful long bomb. An early deflection from Lisa Mather around circle edge gifted possession to the Stars as the home side opened up an early lead. The first few minutes of the term was riddled with ball handling errors and uncharacteristic turnovers. Anna Harrison was proving to be a nuisance in the goal circle for the Magic with the long limbed defender picking up intercepts and deflections aplenty. Maia Wilson started with a point to prove with the goal shooter finding some good space inside the ring making the Magic pay for their turnovers. Six goals in a row from the Stars allowed them to open up a five-goal lead with the momentum well and truly favouring them.

Sam Winders’ never-say-die attitude well and truly came to the fore, with the centre streaming through for an intercept and rewarded for her efforts up the other end of the court thanks to Khiarna Wiliams scoring the first goal of the game. If it was not Harrison competing in the air, it was Elle Temu that came up big with the goal keeper using her outside arm to sway ball away. The Stars defence was up and about early forcing Bassett high and out of her comfort zone. Hume was running riot against Erena Mikaere using her speed and drive to receive ball in the circle and most importantly score as the lead ballooned out to six goals. The Magic managed to stem the bleeding momentarily with Bassett upping the ante inside the circle but the Stars still had control of the match heading into quarter time up by seven goals.

Looking for something new in attack, Chiara Semple made her way onto the court for the Magic, and while it did not immediately go to plan with Harrison blocking the shot, she followed up and got the job done. Gina Crampton was providing a real spark around circle edge for the Stars with her quick hands and dynamic movement while Wilson seemed to go off the boil after her strong start. Temalisi Fakahoktau was injected into the game to replace Georgia Tong as the lead extended out to nine goals. The Stars went back to basics in attack utilising the the angles around circle edge. Every time the Magic looked like pushing forward the Stars found a way to win ball back with Mather using her acceleration to full effect.

The Stars pushed out to a 10-goal lead and with that the Magic made a host of changes with Winders swinging back to wing defence as Tori Kolose came on in centre. Monica Falkner came entered the game in goal shooter for the Stars and did not skip a beat instantly in on the action. She was put under all sorts of pressure but managed to stay composed and add to the Stars 11-goal lead. Grace Kara was struggling to find her rhythm in attack for the Magic with the wing attack well covered every step of the way by Mather while Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was also imposing herself in defence and attack with her ability to scrap for the loose ball.

The Stars made a change in the goal shooter role once again as Wilson re-entered the contest while defensively Harrison continued to be a menace coming up for a huge intercept. Things were falling apart for the Magic as the Stars steadily picked away at their structures with their silky ball movement and constant pressure enabling them to capitalise. The Stars were humming in all aspects of the court creating a 16-goal lead with Hume dominating to post meaning the Magic needed to find something to spark them back into action with the midcourt bibs thrown around once again. The messiness of the game started to get a bit out of control with missed shots aplenty and turnovers left, right and centre stopping any type of fluidity across the court.

The Magic started to rally with the changes starting to come together as they reduced the deficit from 14 goals to 10 within a blink of an eye. Semple was finding some nice space as Georgie Edgecombe was proving to be a key contributor in wing defence. Fakahokotau and Mikaere were putting some real pressure on the shot but the Stars goalers held their nerve to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Up by 17 goals the Stars were eager to apply more scoreboard pain with Harrison impressing with her go-go gadget like arms to regain possession for her side. The Stars were working like a well-oiled machine in attack with the Magic unable to quell the influence of the home side as they run away with a convincing win. It was a disappointing final game for Magic coach Amigene Metcalfe as her side simply had no answers for a rampaging Stars outfit.

Bassett finished with 32 goals from 35 attempts while Semple relished her court time nailing 12 goals at 80 per cent. Wilson had a slightly better day at the office for the Stars converting 17 goals from 29 attempts. Hume continued her hot form with her 26 goals while Falkner found her groove finishing with 20 from 28 at 71 per cent. Crampton was crafty around circle edge amassing 24 goal assists as Winders continued her charge for the Magic with 10 goal assists. Defensively Harrison was an imposing force collecting a whopping eight  intercepts and five gains. Temu was also in fine form down back racking up  five intercepts and three gains. Meanwhile Fakahokotau and Mikaere combined for six deflections and five gains.