Category: WBOP Magic

ANZ/SSN Stats wrap: Round 9/2,3

LAST week’s stats wrap looked a bit different with both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and ANZ Premiership taking the court, and this week is no different with the SSN having an extra round of competition to add to the wrap. The two competitions saw some huge results over the combined 13 games across the last seven days – with at least one game played every night from Friday through Wednesday – and plenty of top talent stepping up to the plate. Like last week, it is important to take into consideration that the two leagues currently have different rules and matchplay times, with differing stats evident. 

ATTACK

Jhaniele Fowler continues to lead the goaling tally three rounds down and is likely to stay there thanks to her prolific volume and accuracy, combining for 111 goals at 90 per cent across Rounds 2 and 3. Next in line is Cara Koenen with the youngster backing up well between matches shooting 38 goals on the weekend and 30 to finish Round 3, while Caitlin Bassett racked up 47 goals in her 200th national appearance on Tuesday evening. Shimona Nelson took the court for the first time in Round 2, shooting 32 goals before going one better and backing up with 42 more to her tally on Tuesday night. Bassett’s partner in crime Jo Harten continues to have a huge influence on the scoreboard – especially when it comes to the super shot – shooting 20 goals in her first outing and 22 in her second, with 12 super shots converted across the two matches. Meanwhile, Lenize Potgieter sits fourth on the goal tally after three rounds, with 96 to her name from 101 attempts, shooting 43 from 45 in Round 2 but rested in her second match this week with 18 from 19. When it comes to the Vixens and Swifts, their respective rotating shooting trios do not lend to a leading stats performance, but given the two teams sit first and second on the ladder they must be doing something right. 

In the ANZ Premiership, Kalifa McCollin starred once more with a huge 32 goal haul in Southern Steel’s surprise victory over Northern Mystics, backed up with a 19 goal effort in her side’s loss the following day. Ameliaranne Ekenasio was also prolific in her single outing for the round with 19 goals at 95 per cent, while Abigail Latu-Meafou put up 15 from 17 in the Magic’s one goal loss to the Northern Stars. Looking to goal shooters, Maia Wilson was huge under the post as per usual with 37 goals at 90 per cent while her direct opposition in Kelsey McPhee was solid with 27 goals to go with Latu-Meafou’s haul. Of the players that took the court for multiple games, Grace Nweke (combined 78 goals), Ellie Bird (62 goals) and Aliyah Dunn (50 goals) led the tally.

MIDCOURT

A huge few rounds of SSN sees a couple of quality names lead the midcourt tally once more, with consistency coming in droves off the likes of Vixens co-captains Liz Watson and Kate Moloney, though it seemed to be goalers who racked up the assists this round with so many prolific wing defenders plying their trade. Watson and Moloney combined for 33 assists in the first outing and 40 in the second. Some impressive goaler-turned-feeders put on a show with their vision into the circle to spot their partner in crime, with Georgie Horjus, Kiera Austin and Alice Teague-Neeld stepping up across their respective performances. Austin led the assists tally for the week with 30 in her second match but just 10 in her first, coming away with a shooting accuracy of under 50 per cent against the Thunderbirds and only playing through the midcourt in her match against the Fever. Horjus managed 27 assists and 19 goals from 25 attempts across her two games, while Teague-Neeld may have only played 39 minutes in her second game she racked up 22 assists, but hit the scoreboard much better in her first with 11 goals and 20 assists. Mahalia Cassidy was a workhorse in both of her outings, combining for 35 goal assists and three pickups, while Amy Parmenter continued her strong start to the season, making up for a slower Round 2 with a huge seven gains (four intercepts) in her Round 3 outing. 

Peta Toeava and Gina Crampton are the repeat offenders over the past rounds through the midcourt, accounting for 45 and 37 assists respectively across their two games – both racking up 26 in their first match and nullifying each other – while Whitney Souness (19 assists, 33 centre pass receives, two intercepts) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (20 assists, four pickups) both put in solid efforts in their single match against the other. Karin Burger had a solid match with four intercepts in the Pulse’s losing effort, while both Kimiora Poi and Charlotte Elley were also impressive on the defensive front with two intercepts apiece against the Pulse. Claire Kersten also collected two intercepts in her first outing, while Kate Heffernan was influential in the Steel’s finals crushing victory over the Mystics, racking up four intercepts.

DEFENCE

Sarah Klau and Shamera Sterling lead the deflections tally three matches down, with the two even on 22 apiece though their teams mirror each other in second and seventh on the ladder. Sterling’s combined 18 gains saw her rocket up the leaderboard this round, while Klau’s partner in crime Lauren Moore has continued to stun with another six intercepts to her name across Rounds 2 and 3. Kim Jenner had an absolute blinder against the Magpies in Round 3, racking up seven gains (five intercepts) though was quiet in her first outing, while her partner in crime Tara Hinchliffe combined for five gains across the two rounds. With two more wins under their belt this round, Vixens defenders Jo Weston and Emily Mannix were consistent as ever with three gains apiece (one and two intercepts) in the first match while Mannix turned on the afterburners in the second game with eight gains (three intercepts), with both players having breaks off the court. Young defensive duo Olivia Lewis and Sunday Aryang proved they were more than capable of holding up defensively, combining for 15 gains across the two matches, mostly down to Lewis’ rebounding ability but also Aryang’s three intercepts against the GIANTS. The Magpies have continued to rack up the highest amount of penalties across the round with a combined 138 across two matches, with Geva Mentor (41 penalties from two games) leading the charge.

Defensively, there is no surprise that Temalisi Fakahokotau was impressive as ever with her work rate continuously paying off for a combined seven gains across the round (two intercepts) while her partner in crime Jane Watson had a quiet second outing but was influential as ever in the side’s win over the Mystics. Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick combined for 11 gains (five intercepts) across the round, with both Courtney Elliott (two gains, one intercept) and Dani Gray (three gains, one intercept) contributing to the tally. Erena Mikaere pulled off six gains in her standalone game as did Kate Burley (three of which were intercepts), while Kelly Jury racked up four intercepts in her second match but was quiet in her first – the complete opposite of her partner in crime Katrina Rore, who collected four gains in the first but just two in the second. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit had another solid week on the court, combining for four gains (two intercepts) across her two matches.

2020 ANZ Premiership: Most developed players

WITH Round 10 of the ANZ Premiership season cancelled due to a change in COVID-19 restrictions, Draft Central casts an eye over each side’s most developed players for 2020 ahead of the finals. It has been an unconventional season to say the least with the ANZ Premiership season brought to a halt back March due to the pandemic and teams forced to fly in and out of Auckland to comply with the restrictions in place. But that did not stop each team from performing on the big stage, with the development of a couple of key youngsters front and centre.

NORTHERN MYSTICS – Grace Nweke

Without Silver Ferns goal attack Bailey Mes, the load landed on Grace Nweke and the teenager did not disappoint. The goal shooter was formidable under the post and constantly double teamed in the goal circle thanks to her prowess and ability to score with such ease. She leads all comers when it comes to goals with a whopping 471 at an impressive 89 per cent showcasing her complete and utter dominance. Nweke was the lynchpin for the Mystics in attack, using her height, read of the play, long arms and physicality to win majority of the passes that came her way. Her ability to work within the confined space and strong connection with Peta Toeava were simply unstoppable with the two able to sync up and score within seconds. Starring last season, there were plenty of questions about whether or not she would be able to back up this season, but it is fair to say that the 18-year-old went above and beyond. Her confidence grew throughout the season and allowed Saviour Tui, Asher Grapes and Filda Vui to ply their trade out the front.

NORTHERN STARS – Mila Reuelu-Buchanan

Northern Stars centre, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan has really come into her own in 2020 earning herself back-to-back appearances in Draft Central’s Team of the Week thanks to her dynamic movement. Her vision has developed tenfold in the latter half of the year, able to sight Maia Wilson with ease under the post and become a commanding figure in attack. Reuelu-Buchanan has been key for the Stars through the centre court, often organising traffic with her well-directed passes and applying strong hands over pressure to try and slow down her opposition. The 22-year-old stepped up in the absence of Temepara Bailey who retired last year, getting down to business each and every time she takes the court. She consistently showcases her high endurance to run out full games in the centre position and not tire while combining well with Grace Kara and Jamie Hume on the front line. Her adaptability to cater for the frequent changes in wing defence with Lisa Mather and Fa’amu Ioane rotating through was also on show.

WAIKATO BAY OF PLENTY MAGIC – Kelsey McPhee

Although it was a challenging season for the Magic, Kelsey McPhee proved to be a shining light for Waikato Bay of Plenty with the goal shooter increasing her accuracy and volume to post. Shaky on the shot at times, McPhee displayed her strength to reel in the rebound and block out defenders to give her side a second chance on the shot. Carrying a knee injury later in the season the shooter rose above highlighting her grit and determination. Her ability to shake up her game play was also crucial for the Magic as she got on the move more frequently to drive out of the circle and allow either Abigail Latu-Meafou or Khiarna Williams to float in while her strong holds also allowed the Magic to score quickly. Her 1-2 connection with Whitney Souness was also solid as the two combined on circle edge and from distance credit to her aerial presence.

CENTRAL PULSE – Maddy Gordon

It became apparent in the Pulse’s Round 9 loss to the Tactix just how influential Maddy Gordon is with the pocket rocket able to set the court alight with her turn of pace and slick hands. Relishing the extra court time in 2020 Gordon has taken everything in her stride, hitting the circle edge with speed and precision to deliver the ball on a silver platter to Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio. She is crafty with ball in hand and at times can fly under the radar given the amount of big names across the court but has made a name for herself this season with her constant give and go. Strong in attack her defensive pressure is also a key asset of her game able to win back through the centre third with her three-foot marking and deceptive leap. Her connection with Claire Kersten has developed at a rate of knots throughout the season allowing the two to swing the ball across the court with ease to create space and keep the defenders head on a swivel.

MAINLAND TACTIX – Kimiora Poi

Kimiora Poi is another centre court player who has been in ripping form throughout 2020 and put her hand up for Silver Ferns contention thanks to her strong drives and endurance. She has been a key cog through the midcourt for the Tactix, using her zippy speed to cut through the defence and claim possession. She is quick off the mark and is patient with ball in hand, not afraid to work the ball to circle edge or deliver from distance into the goalers. Her high release on the pass allows Ellie Bird to grab the ball at its peak and keep defenders at bay while her short and sharp interactions with Te Paea Selby-Rickit is a testament to her ability to read the play and play accordingly. Poi is constantly on the move, rotating around the circle edge and setting up clever triangle plays with the goalers and Erikana Pedersen to keep the defenders guessing.

SOUTHERN STEEL – Kate Heffernan

A relatively unknown quantity heading into the season, Kate Heffernan took the competition by storm in 2020 and all but cemented her spot as the starting wing defence for the Steel. She is electric across the court credit to her impressive closing speed to create doubt in the receivers mind and force turnovers. her long wingspan is a crucial to the Steel in defence able to apply strong hands over pressure to block her oppositions vision into the circle and make life hard for them around circle edge. Heffernan is also strong in transition constantly reoffering on the transverse line to reset play or drive through the centre third to punch through and open up space. Her connection with the experienced Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and youngster Taneisha Fifita in defence and combine with Shannon Saunders through the midcourt allows her to play with confidence and back herself to go out hunting for an intercept.

2020 ANZ Premiership – Team of the Week: Round 9

AFTER not registering a single player last week the Pulse were back amongst the mix having two players featuring in the Draft Central ANZ Premiership Team of the Week. In fact it was an even spread across the board as the Southern Steel, Northern Stars, Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics also registering two players apiece.

GS: Ellie Bird
GA: Kalifa McCollin
WA: Peta Toeava
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Kate Burley
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

BENCH: Grace Nweke, Kate Heffernan , Kelly Jury

The influence of Kalifa McCollin was pivotal for the Steel across the round with the goaler hitting the scoreboard easily. Her timing was second to none able to pop out on the baseline or dance around her opponent to claim front position. McCollin only missed seven goals across her two matches sitting at 88 per cent accuracy highlighting her accuracy to post. Joining her in the goal circle is Ellie Bird after the towering goal shooter once again dominated at the post with her commanding holds, body positioning and cool, calm temperament. Bird made the most of her chances in both outings only missing nine goals while registering 62 goals to highlight her prowess in the goal circle.

Although her side did not win either match, there is no denying that wing attack Peta Toeava had the ball on a string thanks to her her lightning quick hands and fancy footwork around circle edge doing a wealth of damage. Her vision into the circle was impressive able to dish off passes within an inch of a second to rack up 45 goal assists over the two games. Stars centre, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan makes it two weeks in a row thanks to her impressive effort in Round 9 to hit circle edge and penetrate through the defence. She did the heavy lifting in attack for her side weaving her way through the mess and delivering into her shooters as her timing and clever touch kept the defenders guessing. The final position in the midcourt goes to returnee Karin Burger with the wing defence putting on a show in her first outing using her long arms to full advantage to pick up four gains. Burger backed up her performance in her next game going toe-to-toe with her opponent and shutting down any easy avenue to circle edge; her three-foot marking and speed off the mark to amass another

Newcomer to Team of the Week goal defence Kate Burley impressed for the Stars in her sole outing, applying a wealth of pressure through the defensive third. Renowned for her aerial presence, Burley once again delivered making full use of her leap to get hands to ball and disrupt the oppositions attack. Burley pounced on anything that came her way but most importantly left nothing to chance in the final term when the game was on the line racking up two gains to clinch victory. It is no surprise to see Temalisi Fakahokotau join the ranks with the Mainland Tactix goal keeper a real general down back credit to her tenacity and ball winning ways on constant display. Her constant voice on court to direct traffic and terrific leap enabled her to regain possession for her side multiple times across the round collecting two intercepts and five gains.

Despite losing both games Grace Nweke was influential as ever under the post for the Mystics, earning herself a spot on the bench given her proficiency to nail a staggering 78 goals in two games. Steel wing defence Kate Heffernan impressed against the Mystics with her hands over pressure and constant niggle to notch up four intercepts and a gain. The final place on the bench goes to Kelly Jury after the Central Pulse goal keeper continued getting hands to ball and posing a real threat especially when it came to the high balls registering four gains and four intercepts.

2020 ANZ & SSN: Five talking points – Rounds 9/2

WITH the race to finals heating up in the ANZ Premiership and Round 2 of the Suncorp Super Netball done and dusted there were a couple of stellar individual performances that stood out. The Swifts managed a narrow win against the ever improving Fever while across the ditch the Tactix made history securing their first spot in a grand final.

Sophie Garbin’s third quarter blitz
Down by eight goals at half-time, the Swifts found themselves in an unfamiliar position but the switch up of Sophie Garbin into goal shooter seemed to be the answer they were looking for as she single-handedly altered the game. her individual effort of 21 goals left fans and teammates alike in awe as Garbin slotted 13 consecutive goals to draw level and then push her side into the lead for the first time in the match. Garbin showcased her impressive strength under the post and ability to control the tempo of the game to set the tone for her midcourters in Maddy Proud and Pagie Hadley while her connection with Helen Housby was also on song. Her blistering third quarter performance will be sure to put the rest of the competition on high alert.

Tactix set to secure first ever grand final berth
An impressive round of action from the Mainland Tactix gifted them second spot on the ladder registering two wins from two games to book a date with Central Pulse in the grand final. It will be the first time the Tactix have played in a grand final despite it still being two weeks around. They will take plenty of confidence coming out of their Round 9 performance downing reigning premiers Central Pulse and Northern Mystics who were hot on their tail in third. Ellie Bird has come into her own in the past couple of rounds with the goaler finding a wealth of space under the post and sitting at a high accuracy while her ever growing connection with Te Paea Selby-Rickit is one to watch. The speed through the midcourt or Kimiora Poi and Erikana Pedersen is damaging while in defence the consistent effort from Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau is undeniable. The defensive duo repeatedly won ball back across Round 9 and were a key reason for their success, shutting down the oppositions flow in attack as the shooters capitalised on their chances to send a warning shot to fellow grand finalists, Pulse.

Fever should not be underestimated
Coming up against the reigning premiers West Coast Fever burst out of the blocks against the Swifts and were keen to prove they mean business. Without captain Courtney Bruce down the back it was the youngsters in Olivia Lewis, Sunday Aryang and Jess Anstiss that stood up. Tasked with the challenge of quelling Sam Wallace at the post, Lewis stepped up to the plate ultimately forcing the goaler off the court thanks to her smothering style of play and ability to dictate the space. In attack, Jhaniele Fowler was dominant as ever owning the space both underneath the post and perimeter edge to sink four from six super shots. Fowler finished with an incredibly accurate 53 goals from 57 attempts while the improved efforts of Alice Teague-Neeld did not go unnoticed as the goal attack found the net more frequently and delivered the ball with great confidence into Fowler. Although they fell agonisingly short the Fever showcased their skill to score quickly and easily and win ball back in defence despite being undermanned.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Maddy Gordon are key for the Pulse
The Central Pulse suffered their second loss in as many weeks, this time at the hands of the Mainland Tactix. In saying that the top of the table Pulse were without a couple of key playmakers in the attacking third with Maddy Gordon and Ameliaranne Ekenasio both not taking the court. Claire Kersten also played out of position in wing attack gifting Renee Savai’inaea some valuable court time while Tiana Metuarau played out the full game in goal attack. They seemed stagnant in attack without Ekenasio and Gordon with the court, given how much the duo do off the ball and ability to create space to ensure the front end works like a well-oiled machine. The Pulse missed Ekenasio both in the goal circle and out the front credit to the mountain load of work she does to bring the ball down and accuracy to post while the speed and dynamic movement of Gordon was also sorely missed.

Steph Wood the barometer in attack for the Lightning
Flat on their feet in the opening half the introduction of Steph Wood paid dividends for the Lightning who immediately kicked into gear when the goal attack took the court in the final 90 seconds of the second quarter. Originally expected to start the game, a slight niggle saw Wood take a seat on the bench and Lightning throw the bibs around with Cara Koenen getting the nod at goal attack and Peace Proscovia in at goal shooter. Out of sorts in attack, Wood came on and had a profound impact despite not being accurate to post. Her  sheer presence shifted the entire momentum of the game with Laura Langman and Laura Scherian raising the bar in attack and feeding off Wood’s intensity. Her spatial awareness, exceptional delivery into the circle and fancy footwork injected an element of life into the Lightning who rallied in the third to claim their second win of the season.

ANZ Premiership – Round 9: Stars fight back to steal one-goal win over Magic

IN their sole game for the round the contest between the bottom placed Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and fourth placed Northern Stars went right down to the wire with the Stars coming back from three goals down at three quarter time to snatch a one-goal win (45-46). Both sides went toe-to-toe but were forced to a halt with two milliseconds left on the court as Holly Fowler went down clutching her knee in a shattering performance for the Magic.

The quarter started with plenty of intensity as Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Northern Stars tried to claim the early ascendancy. Kelsey McPhee landed the first blow for the evening before the Stars applied some scoreboard pressure to push out to a two goal lead. But the Magic were desperate to get back into the contest working in overdrive to shut down the Stars and cover each option driving to the ball to force held balls and errant passes. With five minutes left on the clock, the Magic levelled the scores thanks to their increased pressure and speed of Whitney Souness in wing attack.

As the Magic finding their feet in attack and winning ball back in defence the Stars kicked it up a notch with Maia Wilson injecting herself into the contest and holding the space well to command the ball and deliver to post. Goal attack Jamie Hume showcased her playmaking abilities thanks to her crafty passes into Wilson and ability to drive into space and while she did not worry the scoreboard too much she drew the attention of Erena Mikaere. Georgia Tong plied her trade in goal keeper getting hands to ball but a couple of wayward passes saw the Magic unable to capitalise on their opportunities and allow the Stars to hold onto their three goal lead. The Magic mounted the pressure in the dying seconds of the game scoring back to back goals to reduce the margin to a goal and take some momentum into the second term.

Down by a couple of goals Abigail Latu-Meafou entered the game in goal attack and was composed from the get go. She showcased her confidence and willingness to go to post whether it be from circle edge or under the post and connected with McPhee easily. Stars wing defence Lisa Mather proved her worth down back after a clever intercept and was rewarded with Wilson goaling up the other end to send the Stars on a goal scoring spree. The influence of Latu-Meafou was unquestionable injecting speed into the Magic attack line driving hard into the goal circle to keep Kate Burley and Storm Purvis on their toes.

Up the other end the long arms of Mikaere paid dividends for the Magic as the goal defence picking up a rebound and displaying her speed to transition the ball down the court. However Wilson continued her merry way having a field day under the post and shaking up her game play to get on the move. Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was electric across the court proving to be a real menace in defence picking up a wealth of loose ball and then flying down court to catch the Magic off-guard and isolate Wilson one-on-one against Tong under the post. After getting out to four goals the Magic fought their way back into the contest in the final couple of minutes with the attacking unit finding space aplenty.

Scores were all tied up at 25 goals apiece as the combination of McPhee and Latu-Meafou worked wonders. Three consecutive goals form the Magic gifted the home side the lead, the first time since the opening term but the Stars were not about to lie down with Wilson reliable as ever under the post. A turnover from the Magic enabled the Stars to reclaim further control and push out to a four goal lead. Relatively quiet by her standards in the opening half Grace Kara worked her way into the match credit to her clever positioning around circle edge and impressive timing to release the ball into Wilson on the hold.

The back-up work on the transverse line from the Stars enabled them to re-set the play time and time again to edge themselves closer to the post. Struggling to force turnover ball Mikaere shuffled back to goal keeper while Jenna O’Sullivan joined the fold in hope to upset the attack. The change seemed to pay dividends as the Magic nailing five goals in a row to snatch the lead in what was a seesawing affair. Captain Sam Winders did not leave any stone unturned throwing her body at every single pass to collect deflections and went flying down the court to deliver the ball on a silver platter to McPhee. The momentum completely shifted as the Magic flipped the tables and established a three goal lead.

As the game was on the line, both sides showed a real hunger and intensity, and the Stars made a host of changes through the midcourt. Fa’amu Ioane entered the game in wing defence and made an immediate impact picking up an intercept credit to her nippy footwork and speed as the Stars looked to cut the margin to two goals. The Magic refused to give in working hard across the court to treasure possession and make the most of their opportunities with ball in hand. Ioane oozed confidence as the wing defence letting ball go with ease into the goal circle as the teams went goal for goal after levelling the scores once more. A missed shot from Latu-Meafou saw Hume deliver the final blow and the Stars runout victors  in what was a tight tussle.

Towering goal shooter Wilson once again led the way under the post nailing 37 goals from 41 attempts. Hume also managed to hit the scoreboard with nine goals and a team high 11 goal assists. McPhee had a commanding influence under the post sinking 27 goals at 84 per cent accuracy, while youngster Williams also made a short cameo, shooting three goals at 100 per cent. Latu-Meafou impressed with 15 goals but was costly at times when it came to turnovers. Defensively Mikaere was key with six gains and two rebounds.

>>> MAGIC TEAM PAGE

>>> STARS TEAM PAGE 

>>> FULL GAME STATS

WBOP Magic 12 | 13 | 10 | 11 (46)
Northern Stars 11 | 12 | 15 | 7 (45)

STARTING SEVEN:

 Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:

GS: Kelsey McPhee
GA: Khiarna Williams
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Sam Winders
WD: Holly Fowler
GD: Erena Mikaere
GK: Georgia Tong

Northern Stars:

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Jamie Hume
WA: Grace Kara
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Lisa Mather
GD: Kate Burley
GK: Storm Purvis

ANZ Premiership – Young gun focus: Round 9

WITH a host of young talent littered throughout the ANZ Premiership competition Draft Central takes a look at one key player each week. This week the player in focus is Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic goaler Khiarna Williams who starred in their victory over the Southern Steel last round.

Age: 17
Height: 183cm
Position: GS/GA

Out of position, 17-year-old Williams burst onto the scene in goal attack with her exquisite timing and impeccable vision into the circle. Although typically playing in goal shooter Williams found her range from the opening minute and showcased her silky movement out the front gliding across the court.

Williams showcased her array of talents holding strong in the circle while also highlighting her aerial ability to sneak out the back and take the ball at full flight. Her deceptive speed and long arms allowed her to reel in a wealth of ball while her composed nature wowed many fans. Although she did not take the court against the Tactix and not play a full 60 minutes against the Steel, Williams proved to be a force to be reckoned with inside the goal circle. She was a key playmaker in the attacking third for the Magic with her drive and second phase play opening up space and allowing her teammates to get to work.

Getting the start paid dividends for the Magic with the Steel caught off guard and taking a while to adjust to William’s presence on court something she made the most of. Her connection with Kelsey McPhee was on song early able to sight the towering goal shooter and delivering the ball with confidence into the circle. The shooter to shooter interplay was solid with the two bouncing off each other, setting screens and rotating through the space to keep the likes of Taneisha Fifita and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit guessing.

It was a physical contest but it did not seem to faze Williams with the teenager absorbing the hits and delivering time and time again to finish with 14 goals from 19 attempts at 74 per cent accuracy. She set the tone early with her desire to go to post and impose herself both in the goal circle and as a key cog through the centre third to bring the ball down the court. Still developing her connection with Sam Winders and Whitney Souness, Williams managed to connect seamlessly with them especially in the goal circle to weave her way into space and command the ball.

Standing at 183cm she is not the tallest shooter but still managed to hold front space thanks to her strength, high netball IQ and fancy footwork to dance around her opponent. Up against Selby-Rickit, the youngster used her tenacity and speed to zip around the court something she will be hoping to replicate this round against the Northern Stars who are renowned for their aerial presence thanks to Storm Purvis and Kate Burley.

Further court time will only allow Williams to continue to flourish and deliver on the big stage given her raw potential and shooting prowess. Her ability to hold her own against quality and experienced defenders is a promising sign for the Magic despite only having a couple of games left in the season.

2020 ANZ Premiership- Preview: Round 9

TWO weeks out from ANZ Premiership finals, it is do or die for the Northern Mystics and Mainland Tactix who are battling for second spot on the ladder while the Central Pulse have first spot all but sewn up. Conversely, up the other end of the ladder the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and Southern Steel are keen to avoid the wooden spoon and progress up the rankings with a strong finish to the season.

Southern Steel v. Northern Mystics
Friday, 7 August

The round starts with a clash between fifth and third on the ladder with the Steel hosting the Mystics. The Steel will take plenty of confidence out of their last outing downing the Mystics by six goals in Round 7 and while they cannot make finals will be eager to influence how the rest of the season pans out.

The injuries for the Steel have come hard and fast especially in the goal circle but with a couple of games under their belts the connection between Ellen Halpenny and Kalifa McCollin is starting to blossom. Halpenny provides that calming element to the goal circle with her precise movements and impeccable timing to pop out right on cue while McCollin has plenty of flair and dynamism to keep the Mystics defenders busy. The two share the shooting load between them meaning the Mystics will have to focus their energy on both goalers if they are to shut down any easy avenue to post. Sulu Fitzpatrick is a seasoned campaigner able to hold her own in the goal circle and win back ball with her long arms and quick feet to get around the body of her opponent. Partner in crime Phoenix Karaka is just as damaging down back able to shut down her opponent with her smothering pressure and three-foot marking. Although the combination with McCollin and Halpenny is developing, Karaka and Fitzpatrick have proven to be a formidable force meaning the Steel will have to be on their a-game.

Wing defence Kate Heffernan has been in ripping form lately with the young midcourter taking everything in her stride and working hard to own that defensive position. She is a constant threat around circle edge with her long arms but will take on speedster Peta Toeava who not only oozes pace but is renowned for her quick release into the circle. The Steel have options if Heffernan is unable to shut down powerhouse wing attack with Kendall Corkery a more physical and niggly style of player, able to get under the skin of Toeava and reduce her efficiency in attack.

With second spot still up for grabs expect the Mystics to throw everything they have at the Steel and exploit their new connections across the court.

 

Southern Steel v. Central Pulse
Saturday, 8 August

Dropping their first game for this season last round expect the Central Pulse to come out with a real fire in the belly and get the job done early against the Southern Steel. Renowned for their full court pressure and ability to treasure ball the Pulse will be keen to rectify last week’s shortcomings but the Steel will take in a sense of belief after pushing the reigning premiers to their limits in their last meeting.

The midcourt battle will be ferocious with a couple of Silver Ferns lining up against each other. After somewhat of a quiet performance last week Karin Burger will be hoping to assert herself against the Steel and shut down Gina Crampton‘s drive to the top of the circle. Burger is recognised for her three foot marking and long arms to block vision into the goal circle, something that she will be hoping to bring against the Steel in order to limit the influence of Crampton in attack. Partner in crime Shannon Saunders is a real workhorse through the midcourt for the Steel able to have an influence both in an attack in attack and in defence. She will have the job on Pulse centre Claire Kersten making for an intriguing battle between the two given their similarities in game style. Kersten is the key for the Pulse through the midcourt able to provide that consistency and link between attack and defence.

Down on their usual accuracy last week the Central Pulse will be hoping that Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn deliver to post. Ekenasio is a real player maker through the attacking third with her impeccable timing and clever touch to deliver ball on a silver platter to Dunn. They have one of the strongest connections in the competition with the two able to light up the court with their flair and clever ability to create space time and time again. Dunn is a strong holding shooter that is able to post up and command the ball no matter the defensive pressure. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit is the most experienced defender in the Steel defensive unit and will have to lead by example if they are to win ball back. Goal keeper Taneisha Fifita has struggled in the past couple of weeks drawing a lot of attention from the umpires, something she will have to address this game if she is to mount pressure on the Pulse and not give them free attempts at goal. The introduction of Abby Erwood could provide that extra element of composure in defence.

Coming off a loss expect the Pulse to bounce back and showcase why they are the reigning premiers with a strong performance across all four quarters against the Steel.

Northern Mystics v. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, 9 August

In their second game of the round the Mystics will want to leave nothing to chance against the second placed Tactix in hope to progress up the ladder and get one step closer to securing a finals berth. In arguably the game of the round both teams will be hoping to prove their worth and showcase why they deserve a spot in the finals. These two teams have a decorated history and are evenly poised heading into the match.

It will all come down to the battle in the goal circle with teenage shooting prodigy Grace Nweke the key to Mystics success given her impressive holds, high volume and accuracy the post. Nweke is a commanding figure under the post and can change the course of a game in an instant given the speed with which she can score and her strength in the air to reel in errant passes time and time again. However their weakness lies within the goal attack position with the likes of Saviour Tui and Filda Vui exciting young prospects but unable to consistently deliver the output required. Tui and Vui are clever with ball in hand but sometimes lack the confidence to go to post piling a wealth of pressure on Nweke to deliver and steer the ship for the Mystics. On the other hand, the Tactix have one of the best defensive units in the competition with Temalisi Fakahokotau and Jane Watson ball magnets down back. Watson is exceptionally clean in defence, able to pick up ball without getting penalised and making her a constant threat for any team, while her drive through the midcourt provides an added boost to the Tactix transition. Impressive individually, the connection between the two defenders is what really puts them ahead of the pack given Fakahokotau can read the play with ease and dictate Watson’s position according to what is unfolding in front of her. It will be up to Vui and Tui to draw the attention of Watson to isolate Fakahokotau and Nweke under the post.

With speed to burn through the midcourt it will be an exciting battle between Tayla Earle and Tactix centre Kimiora Poi as the two possess very similar attributes in the way they hunt the ball and then seamlessly switch into attack. They will match each other for speed and vision into the circle making for a tight tussle. Toeava is another key cog for the Mystics in attack while for the Tactix Erikana Pedersen has proven to be the link into the goalers with her dynamic footwork, quick hands and confidence on the pass to bypass the defenders and look long.

The last time these two sides met the Tactix clinched the narrowest of victories and will be hoping to build on that momentum to edge further ahead on the ladder.

 

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic v. Northern Stars
Sunday, 9 August

In their sole game of the round expect both the Magic and Stars to go toe-to-toe throughout the four quarters. With a renewed sense of confidence and a win under their belt the Magic will be keen to keep the good times rolling and secure their second win in as many days. Plagued by inconsistency this season the Stars will be hoping to rectify their issues and record their fifth win.

There is no denying that Maia Wilson is the lynchpin in attack for the Stars with the goal shooter a commanding target under the post with her strong holds and high scoring nature. Wilson is incredibly accurate shooting at a combined 94 per cent last round, a feat she will be hoping to replicate once again this week to lead her side to victory. Although Wilson is the go to girl the Stars do their most damage when goal attack Jamie Hume goes to post and troubles the scoreboard. If she can draw the attention of Erena Mikaere and Georgia Tong it will alleviate the pressure on Wilson under the post and help split the circle to create more one on ones at the post. While Tong is not the tallest defender in the league she makes up for it with her aerial presence and impressive leap to get hands to ball and disrupt the flow in attack, something the Magic will be relying on throughout the contest.

Khiarna Williams has been a revelation for the Magic in attack proving she can play both goal shooter and goal attack with the 17-year-old taking like a duck to water each time she steps out on court. Her growing connection with Kelsey McPhee under the post and Abigail Latu-Meafou is something to behold as the trio are getting stronger and stronger each week. McPhee is an easy target under the post for the Magic meaning the Stars defensive unit of Storm Purvis, Kate Burley and Daystar Swift will have to put in the hard yards out the front to limit her influence to post. The high ball into the circle is often the go to passage of play for the Magic which plays into the tenacious and ball hungry Stars defence.

With relatively even match ups across the court it will come down to the midcourt battle with captain Sam Winders the barometer for the Magic and Grace Kara the playmaker for the Stars. If Winders can dictate the flow through the middle and win ball back the Magic could register another victory.

 

Central Pulse v. Mainland Tactix
Monday, 10 August

The final game of the round sees a battle of the top two teams with the Central Pulse hoping to make it three straight wins against the Mainland Tactix. Falling agonisingly short in Round 6 the Tactix will be hoping to go one better and upset the Pulse to prove that they are a real finals contender. Playing in their second game of the round it could come down to the depth on the bench and who can withstand the high intensity battle.

Ellie Bird has really hit her strides in the past couple of weeks with the goal shooter dictating the space and using her height to full advantage to reel in passes and shoot truly. Bird is an exciting prospect when she is on song able to nullify the influence of her defender and use her clever footwork to move around the body of her defender and allow the likes of Te Paea Selby-Rickit to come through and have an influence in the goal circle. Selby-Rickit, while she might not put up a wealth of shots, does a plethora of work out the front to deliver the ball into Bird and create attacking forays. In saying that, the Pulse have their own star power down in defence with Kelly Jury having a breakout season, showcasing her exceptional lean over the shot and read of the play to create constant disruption down back. Her ever developing connection with Katrina Rore causes plenty of headaches for opposition teams with the two able to hunt the ball while Elle Temu is a solid option off the bench, able to come on and have an immediate impact with her hands over pressure.

The Pulse have speed to burn through the centre court with Maddy Gordon a real excitement machine and energiser bunny able to hit the circle edge with great speed and tenacity. Impressive in attack it is Gordon’s work through the centre third and defensive pressure to try and win ball back that makes her such a dominant threat. Able to play both goal and wing attack Tiana Metuarau is another player to keep an eye on for the Pulse with her spatial awareness and pinpoint passes into the circle. It will be up to wing defence Charlotte Elley to really shut down the influence of Gordon and Metuarau to ensure that the Pulse have limited opportunity to go forward and score. In recent weeks the inclusion of Samon Nathan into wing defence has provided a different element for the Tactix down back.

Expect this game to go down to the wire with neither side willing to give an inch and fighting not only for the win but momentum heading into finals.

2020 SSN/ANZ: Stats wrap – Rounds 1/8

A NEW look stats wrap is in effect this week, with both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and ANZ Premiership taking the court on the weekend. While the ANZ Premiership is heading into its final rounds with some big performers stepping up towards the end of the season, the SSN had Round 1 over the weekend making for some interesting stats across the two rounds. It is important to take into consideration that the two leagues currently have different rules and matchplay times, with differing stats evident. 

ATTACK 

The introduction of the super shot added a new element to the SSN stage in the opening round, with Steph Wood (10 super shots), Jo Harten (nine) and Sam Gooden (nine) shouldering the super shot load for their respective teams, with Harten the most accurate of the trio missing just four attempts across the board to finish with an overall 86 per cent accuracy. Looking to tall timbers at the post, Jhaniele Fowler was hard to stop with 52 goals from 55 attempts (including two super shots) while Lenize Potgieter and Cara Koenen shot 35 goals apiece. In her new Collingwood colours Emma Ryde  impressed (34 from 38) and Sam Wallace (33 from 40) once again proved to be a solid target. Alice Teague-Neeld proved the nay-sayers she could have an impact with 10 goals at 67 per cent (including four super shots at 100 per cent accuracy) and plying her trade out the front with 19 goal assists and a gain to her name.

Heading across the ditch to the ANZ Premiership, there were a couple huge performers across the five matches, with repeat offenders in Maia Wilson (74 goals from 80 attempts) and Ellie Bird (63 from 72) adding to their goaling tallies off the back of two games apiece, while Grace Nweke racked up 38 goals from 44 attempts in her sole match for the round. The likes of Central Pulse duo Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn once again shared the load with 21 and 20 goals respectively in their first loss for the season, while there is no discounting the work ethic of Te Paea Selby-Rickit with the goal attack combining for 31 goals across her two games as well as her work out the front to finish with 25 goal assists.

MIDCOURT

The opening round of Super Netball saw Liz Watson not skip a beat over the off-season, racking up 28 goal assists from 49 feeds, while Chelsea Pitman picked up 26 centre pass receives credit to her take-off speed and first phase play. Both Watson and Charles also racked up a gain apiece, while Magpies midcourters Madi Browne (12 assists, one intercept) and Molly Jovic (two intercepts from 21 minutes of play) both impressed in their first matches, albeit Browne’s first on return from injury and Jovic on her overall debut. In wing defence there were a couple high performers, with young guns Kate Eddy (four intercepts, two pickups, three penalties) and Amy Parmenter (six intercepts, seven deflections (none to advantage), five turnovers) both plying their trade well in wing defence while Maisie Nankivell stepped up through the Thunderbirds midcourt with 12 goal assists and two intercepts though 14 penalties. Mahalia Cassidy also impressed on her return from injury with 17 assists from 35 feeds and two gains to her name.

Heading to the ANZ Premiership midcourt, the stand-out this round – and our Round 8 ANZ Premiership Player of the Week – was Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic’s Whitney Souness, with the speedster racking up 16 assists in her first match before finishing with 19 in her second, also picking up an intercept in each of her outings. Peta Toeava and Tayla Earle were consistent as ever in their winning outing against the Pulse, sharing the load on circle edge with 19 and 17 assists respectively, also picking up a gain apiece. Meanwhile, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan racked up a round-high 26 assists in her second outing of the round from 35 feeds though was kept quiet in her first match with just 12 assists, an effort matched for the most part by Erikana Pedersen who was explosive in her first outing (23 assists, one gain) but shared the load better in the second with Selby-Rickit. Meanwhile, Kate Heffernan and Sam Winders both racked up four intercepts apiece across their respective matches.

DEFENCE

Lauren Moore and Parmenter led the intercept tally for the round, with the two young guns stepping up with six intercepts apiece. Phumza Maweni put on an impressive final quarter performance to trip up the Firebirds attack and finish with six deflections and three intercepts, while veteran Geva Mentor proved she is still more than capable of pulling out impressive performances with nine deflections, closely followed by Sarah Klau (eight deflections and three rebounds) and Kim Jenner (seven and three). Jenner and partner in crime Tara Hinchliffe will want to clean up their act in the coming rounds, racking up a whopping 35 penalties between them to be first and second in the least preferred statline after Round 1.

On the ANZ Premiership stage, Temalisi Fakahokotau was consistent as ever down back with Jane Watson in their first outing combining for 11 gains (14 across two matches), while Georgia Tong stepped up with nine gains (six intercepts) in her first outing but was overshadowed in her second with just the three gains – still a solid effort. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit showcased her ball winning ability again this round with three and four gains, while Kate Burley continued to impress for the Stars with six gains (four intercepts) and two gains across her two matches, consistently matching up on court to have an impact despite the prowess of her opposition.

2020 ANZ Premiership – Team of the Week: Round 8

Round 8 of the ANZ Premiership brought plenty of surprises with the Northern Mystics toppling the Central Pulse and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic clinching a thrilling one goal win leading to a couple of fresh faces in this rounds Team of the Week. Winning both games for the round, four Mainland Tactix players earned their spot in the squad while for the first time this season the Pulse failed to register a player.

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Te Paea Selby-Rickit
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Holly Fowler
GD: Phoenix Karaka
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

BENCH: Grace Nweke, Erikana Pedersen, Jane Watson

Starting in the goal circle, Maia Wilson led the way for the Stars in both outings across the round with her prolific nature and skill to absorb the pressure. The goal shooter made it look easy under the post sinking 35 goals from 40 attempts up against strong opposition and using footwork to hold space. But it was her second performance that stunned many and was a testament to her true class slotting 39 goals at 100 per cent. Out in goal attack is Tactix playmaker Te Paea Selby-Rickit with the shooter not only plying her trade in the goal circle but so too in the attacking third with her touch on the pass and silky footwork. Selby-Rickit managed 31 goals from 37 attempts across two matches, showcasing her increased accuracy while also amassing 25 goal assists for her efforts across the round.

Through the midcourt it was the last quarter heroics from Whitney Souness that gifted her a start in the Team of the Week – as well as our Draft Central Player of the Week award – with the Magic wing attack snatching an intercept on the transverse line. Although not as prominent in her first game of the round, she well and truly made up for it in her second outing zipping around the court and hitting circle edge with pace and precision.  Her hot hand into the circle saw her collect 35 goal assists for the round while teammate and wing defence Holly Fowler secured her first spot in Team of the Week thanks to her defensive efforts. Her hands over pressure, acceleration off the mark and tenacity enabled her to get hands to ball and disrupt the play in attack amassing three gains and four deflections. Stars centre, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan takes out the final midcourt position thanks to her two way running and ability to impact the play in all facets of the game. Quiet in her first outing with just the 13 goal assists, Reuelu-Buchanan upped the ante in the second seeming to have the ball on a string and hitting the circle edge with precision to rack up a team high 26 goal assists.

There was options aplenty in defence with Phoenix Karaka getting the nod in at goal defence thanks to her stellar performance against the Pulse. Karaka was involved in everything in her sole outing for the round nullifying Ameliaranne Ekenasio and winning back a wealth of ball. It was a stats-stuffing performance from the Mystics goal defence who finished with five gains, two intercepts, four deflections and two rebounds. Finalising the starting seven is Mainland Tactix goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau who once again shone in her sides two victories. Fakahokotau imposed herself from the get-go with her aerial ability and physicality at the contest to throw herself at everything and most importantly regain possession amassing a staggering 18 deflections, 10 gains and four intercepts.

Rounding out the team and unlucky to not get the start is Mystics goal shooter Grace Nweke who displayed her dominance and strength under the post, using her height and fancy footwork along the baseline to reel in passes. Credit to a couple of strong performances over the weekend Tactix teammates Erikana Pedersen and Jane Watson also find themselves on the bench. Pedersen was electric through the midcourt with her speed and vision while Watson proved to be a menace in defence with her rangy arms and quick footwork.

2020 ANZ & SSN: Five talking points – Rounds 1/8

IT was the first round of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) with a host of new rules coming into play and fresh faces gracing the court. Across the ditch things heated up in the ANZ Premiership as the fight for a spot in the top two continued with a couple of surprise results headlining the round.

Return of Suncorp Super Netball
There was plenty of debate around whether or not we would even see an SSN season with COVID-19 restrictions forcing teams to flee their state and seek refuge elsewhere to make the season viable. Queensland become home to the Vixens and Magpies as the Fever and Thunderbirds were set to travel to New South Wales. But only days out from the season opener a scare in COVID-19 numbers saw the SSN shift all teams to a hub in Queensland meaning both the GIANTS and NSW Swifts were now also on the move in hope to keep the season alive. Despite all the last minute changes to accommodation and fixture alterations, Round 1 kicked off with a bang with all eight teams putting on a competitive display and making full use of the new rules.

Super Shot in SSN
The controversial rule provided an element of theatrics throughout the round with youngster and Queensland Firebirds goaler Tippah Dwan the first player in the competition to sink the super shot. Each team approached the two point goal in a different way with Sunshine Coast Lightning the most effective of the eight teams thanks to the hot hand of Diamonds goaler, Steph Wood. The goal attack slotted a whopping 10 goals from 11 attempts at 91 per cent showcasing her rangy shot and accuracy. Her influence from perimeter edge single handedly changed the flow of the game for the Lightning. Newcomer Sam Gooden also took full advantage of the super shot with nine from 10 for the Thunderbirds. The super shot saw teams employ unconventional methods in the final minutes of the quarter with players opting to pass out from under the post in hope to score the maximum and worry the scoreboard.

Mystics put an end to Pulse’s winning streak
After leading for the entire game the Pulse fell off the boil in the final term with the Mystics sensing their lack of intensity and pouncing to claim the biggest upset of the season. it was a season defining game for the Mystics who are just off the Tactix in second on the ladder. The win against the reigning premiers gives them a huge confidence boost heading into the last couple of games. Their never say die attitude and effort on the last line of defence from Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka is what kept them in the game amassing a combined eight gains, four intercepts and 10 deflections. It was a return to form through the midcourt for Peta Toeava and Tayla Earle who after being well held in her previous outings commanded the ball in the attacking third and delivered it with speed.

Plenty of young talent littered throughout the SSN
The introduction of the extended benches and rolling subs has paid dividends for the young up and coming players in Australian netball with a host of exciting prospects debuting across Round 1. Adelaide Thunderbirds goaler Georgie Horjus made a name for herself in her first outing for the club with her inclination to go to post, silky movement out the front and playmaking abilities. Goaler Nyah Allen and midcourter Molly Jovic also debuted for Collingwood Magpies while Jacqui Newton also hit the court for the first time for the Vixens. Dwan impressed for the Firebirds with her attack to post while Lauren Moore took the competition by storm, winning player of the match honours thanks to her defensive prowess for the Swifts. For the Fever Sunday Aryang wowed out in goal defence with her hands over pressure and speed off the mark. There was no shortage of breakout performances with a wealth of developing players pleading their case for more court time given their ability to burst out of the blocks and have an impact on the court.

Magic claim first win since Round 1
In a topsy turvy affair it was the Magic that reigned supreme in the dying seconds to claim a hard-fought and well deserved win over the Steel. Tears of elation graced the face of captain Sam Winders after the game with the centre leaving nothing to chance and contesting every ball that came her way throughout the game. Despite having their chances to put their foot down and run away the Magic’s ball movement and confidence wavered in patches throughout the match gifting the Southern Steel a chance to work their way into the match and hold control. Whitney Souness provided the spark the Magic needed with a game defining intercept on the transverse line as Abigail Latu-Meafou delivered under the post. But it was the defensive efforts from Erena Mikaere, Georgia Tong and Holly Fowler that shone true for the Magic with the trio working in overdrive to cause a ruckus and win ball back. After notching up two draws and being so close in previous weeks their hard work finally paid off and it was evident just how much it meant to every player.

Centre Pass Podcast: Georgie Horjus interview (Round 1 wrap)

Centre Pass Podcast: Molly Jovic interview (Round 1 preview)