Category: Compare the Pair

Compare the Pair: Kelsey Browne and Peta Toeava

THE next instalment in the Draft Central’s Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from different competitions, with the next showcasing midcourt attackers, Australia’s Kelsey Browne and New Zealand’s Peta Toeava

With plenty of breakout speed, class and feeding expertise, the likes of dynamic attackers Browne and Toeava are a force to be reckoned with on court. While both on the shorter side, their respective ability to find not only the space but the ball too makes them crucial players on court, able to change a game in a split second. Meanwhile, the pair also provide handy cogs at the transverse line, taking on that first faze of the play and continually backing up their respective efforts with speed and vision. With plenty of strength, consistency and a workrate to match, both Browne and Toeava have plenty of quality attributes any team would want to have on their side.

An energiser bunny with quick thinking on the pass and an ability to serve the ball on a silver platter to her attackers, Browne is one of those players who cannot be left alone for a moment. Her innate ability to find space through the midcourt and attack the play allow her to be a consistent and threatening option across the court, using her game smarts to switch on and provide a quality option on circle edge. Her vision is second to none and gives her plenty of opportunity to propel ball into the goal circle, using her dynamic movement and quick feet to dart around her defender to apply pressure in attack. While Browne was expected to miss much of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury last year, fans will hope the Magpies will benefit off the delayed start to the season with potential for Browne to return earlier than expected.

With little hesitance and plenty of confidence on the assist, there is no doubt Toeava has been a quality midcourter for the Mystics this season, proving crucial with her quick hands and evasive footwork to find the ball with ease. Her ability to open up space for her teammates sees her play a critical role in every match, using her vision well to spot the way the play will head and provide a handy link through the midcourt. With impressive vision in attack, Toeava can ply her trade to feed into the circle from virtually anywhere in the goal third, using her evasive play to zip around her defender and propel ball straight to the post. Toeava is able to hold her ground well and while she is not the most defensively minded player, she is also consistently clean, able to apply pressure on the ball handler and attack the loose ball without finding too much of the whistle.

Kelsey Browne
18 caps, 2018-present

Peta Toeava
1 cap, 2018-present

Compare the Pair: Shelley O’Donnell and Bongi Msomi

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from different eras across the netball world, with the next showcasing wing attacks, Australian Shelley O’Donnell and South African captain, Bongi Msomi.

Both zippy attackers who can change the course of a game in a split second, O’Donnell and Msomi are dominant midcourters with plenty of speed to find circle edge. Though hitting the court with different builds, both players are tough to take on with tenacity and intensity to boot creating an interesting matchup here given their respective strengths. Both able to ply their trade in either centre or wing attack, their versatility and speed makes them threatening fixtures on court.

A three-time world champion, O’Donnell used her clever netball nous to find the ball with ease, consistently able to create something out of nothing with her speed and ability to find space. O’Donnell’s strong build allowed her to body up on her opposition and transition from midcourt attack to defence in a split second, using her read of the play to switch up with ease. Her ability to adapt to the play was second to none, using her vision and cleanliness to serve the ball on a silver player to her goalers. With a stellar drive down court and the speed to back it up, O’Donnell was one to watch on court with her endurance and ability to get the job done. O’Donnell served the Diamonds for just under 10 years, and it was a credit to her ability to ply her trade with ease that saw her collect over 80 international caps.

Speedster Msomi is an energiser bunny who can just go and go, using her speed to take the ball with ease and zip away before her defender is aware she had the ball. With plenty of experience under her belt and the agility to keep going, expect Msomi to continue plying her trade with her quick feet and ability to find circle edge doing wonders for the Spar Proteas. With a smaller build to go with her quick feet, Msomi has an innate ability to find herself exactly where the ball needs to be, using her game awareness to find the netball with ease and evade her opposition. With over 100 caps to her name, Msomi has spurred her nation on time and time again with her consistency and constant drive to go one better, forming a crucial role through the midcourt.

Shelley O’Donnell
84 caps, 1990-1999

Bongi Msomi
~108 caps, 2011-present

Compare the Pair: Laura Geitz and Shamera Sterling

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from different eras across the netball world, with the next showcasing goal keepers, ex-Australian Diamonds captain Laura Geitz and Jamaican superstar, Shamera Sterling.

Two tenacious defenders, that while they have different ways of going about their game still provide plenty of similarities such as their respective ability to turn over the ball with ease and anticipate openings to go for that massive intercept. Another glaring similarity is their ability to turn a game on its head, propelling the ball forward and generating further momentum with their big grabs and stellar footwork to get around the player and deflect the ball.

Up there with Liz Ellis as one of the great goal keepers, Geitz is one of those players who has gone down in history for her ability to not only apply pressure to her player one on one but also use her leadership to control the play to win games off her own back. Geitz also formed a formidable and crucial element in any team she played with thanks to her experience and netball nous, able to be a consistent figure down back and use her cleanliness to disrupt play with ease. She was not afraid to contest the loose ball, using her speed off the mark and clean hands to scoop the ball up to safety. Geitz was a general in goal keeper, always ready and looking for that cross-court ball to intercept and was able to be a huge threat even when her timing was off – if rarely – to stay back on her player and apply pressure over the shot. Her long arms and lean over the shot caused plenty of headaches for goalers while her quick footwork shut down any easy access into the attacking third. 

Sterling may not have anywhere near as much experience as Geitz collected over the years, but in her short time on the international stage she has lit up the court with the immense skill she possesses. While not the cleanest player, Sterling has plenty of time for her development and has ultimately come along in leaps and bounds over the last year, honing her craft to still provide that same constant pressure but stay away from the whistle a fraction. A threatening player with long limbs and go-go gadget arms to cherry pick the ball from midair, Sterling has proved time and time again that she can contest and challenge even the greatest goalers in the world with her ability to confuse the feeder and find the intercept, while she is also able to gather the ball with speed to get it back in the safe hands of her attackers.

Laura Geitz
71 caps, 2008-2015

Shamera Sterling
~40 caps, 2016-present

Compare the Pair: Vicki Wilson and Lenize Potgieter

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from different eras across the netball world, with the next showcasing game-changing goal shooters, ex-Australian captain Vicki Wilson and South African star Lenize Potgieter.

Two quality names and big ones for their respective nations, Wilson and Potgieter are both influential in the way they use the ball and while not the most versatile goalers, staying put generally in goal shooter, their consistency and ability to find the ball is and was second to none. With plenty of adaptability on the court to take on their respective tenacious opposition, their respective footwork and ability to turn a game on its head makes the crafty pair massive threats. Able to form connections with any number of attacking players, both were able to create crucial links to the circle and find the post with ease.

With the uncanny ability to not only apply scoreboard pressure but also do it from any range inside the circle, Wilson was a crucial member of the Diamonds with her clean hands and footwork. Able to evade her opposition with ease thanks to her quick wits and vision of the play, Wilson was the first Australian to hit 100 international caps thanks to her ability to be a constant threat. Her volume to post was what set her apart from other goalers of her time, racking up a constant tally and using her consistency to be a formidable option at the post. While not always the most accurate, she had that never say die attitude which led her and the Diamonds to three straight World Netball Championship titles in the 1990s. 

Unconventional in her goaling action, Potgieter is a clean and efficient goaler with accuracy and plenty of volume. Like Wilson, she is cool, calm and collected under the post, using her netball nous to adapt to the situation and apply constant pressure on her defender thanks to her ability to find the ball right where she wants it under the post. Her atypical, low shooting action sees her use her quickfire motion to evade the long reach of her defenders while her speed and agility to get into the best positioning allows her to receive the ball on a silver platter. Not the tallest goal shooter, Potgieter uses her smooth moving to be a formidable pressure in the goal circle and create a key cog for both the South Africa SPAR Proteas and her new side, Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Vicki Wilson
104 caps, 1985-1999

Lenize Potgieter
68 caps, 2014-present

Compare the Pair: Kathryn Harby-Williams and Karla Pretorius

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from different eras across the netball world, with the next showcasing goal defenders, ex-Australian Diamonds captain Kathryn Harby-Williams and South African superstar, Karla Pretorius.

Two significant names in the netball community, Harby-Williams and Pretorius are formidable defenders with unsuspecting speed, resilience and tenacity with a constant drive to turn over the ball. While neither player is, or was the tallest defender of the bunch, both make up for it with their clean hands and aerial ability, finding the loose ball and creating something out of nothing with unquestionable netball nous. With constant pressing defence and versatility to adapt to the play at hand, both players are well deserving of their accolades.

Tenacious Australian Netball Hall of Famer, Harby-Williams was a threatening defender who was a consistent name for the Diamonds thanks to her ability to create that game-changing turnover and provide a crucial link out of defence. With intensity, speed and an ability to create opportunities down court for her teammates, Harby-Williams was a constant threat in goal defence.

A formidable ex-Diamonds captain, Harby-Williams was unafraid of the whistle, using her bodywork to interfere with clean play to be a constant thorn in the side of any attacker, though that was rivaled by her bounds of experience to exploit holes in game plans and use her leadership to drive home wins. A stellar defender who applied constant and consistent pressure on her opposition, Harby-Williams could never be counted out of a contest thanks to her willingness to enter the fray and propel the ball back up the court.

Arguably the most explosive, dominant and exciting goal defence in the world right now, Pretorius is full to the brim with talent thanks to her impressive elevation, using her aerial ability to pick ball out of the air and turn it over. Pretorius’ skill is such that she makes it look easy, finding the loose ball with ease and picking her battles to stay clean and consistent.

Unafraid of the contest, the threatening defender is a key cog in defence for both the South Africa SPAR Proteas and Sunshine Coast Lightning, plying her trade again and again and shutting down attacking forays. With a strong build and quick feet to be that impact defender intercepting left, right and centre, it is rare that Pretorius is off her game, proving to be a quality defender who can take on almost any opposition and show them up with her dominant approach to the game.

Kathryn Harby-WIlliams

94 caps, 1990-2003

Karla Pretorius

80 caps, 2011-present

Which legendary goal defence of two eras would you pick?
Kathryn Harby-Williams
Karla Pretorius
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Compare the Pair: Grace Kara (Nee Rasmussen) and Gina Crampton

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing New Zealand Silver Ferns attackers, Grace Kara (Nee Rasmussen) and Gina Crampton.

Real speedsters for the Ferns and on a fairly similar playing field are Ferns’ Kara and Crampton with the pair a couple of consistent names with New Zealand thanks to their respective ability to find the ball and hit circle edge with ease. Both players typically stick to wing attack but have the potential to rotate into centre making them crucial names in any team – add in Kara’s ability to also ply her trade inside the goal circle and the two can both be quality names with rotational abilities and a high work rate to bolster any side. 

With tenacity, flair and speed, Kara was a force to reckoned with thanks to her constant drive to go one better and receive the ball. Her feeding ability on circle edge was a huge threat with the wing attack able to be a critical link up the midcourt and drive the ball down with speed and grace. Clean and agile with ball in hand, she had a handy ability to find open space to ply her trade while her evasive skill to leave her opponent in the dust left her a quality name. Also able to play out in goal attack, Kara can adapt to suit the scenario and proved time and time again that she can be a huge threat no matter which position she lines up in. 

For Crampton, collecting 40 caps since her debut in 2016 is a real credit to her consistency and ability to form a crucial cog through the midcourt for the Ferns. With an ability to adapt to the situation and her goalers, Crampton’s speed off the mark allows her to not only be a threatening attacker but also do some real damage when required, able to rotate to centre and use her endurance to find plenty of loose ball. With speed to get to circle edge and apply pressure with her three foot marking, Crampton is a quality all-rounder through the centre and can be a formidable player when she is on song. 

Grace Kara (Nee Rasmussen)

63 caps, 2010-2018

Gina Crampton 

40 caps, 2016-present

Compare the Pair: Joline Johansson (Nee Henry) and Karin Burger

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing New Zealand Silver Ferns defenders, Joline Johansson (Nee Henry) and Karin Burger.

Two more highly versatile names to add to the Compare the Pair fray are Johansson and Burger, who both can step out in any number of defensive positions, even moving up the court into wing defence such is their consistency and ability to perform no matter what. While their respective versatility is crucial, it’s both players’ ability to be consistent threats that proves their strength across all three defensive positions, able to have an impact both inside and outside the circle such is their ability to have an impact.

Johannson had a stellar career, forging her way up through the ranks as a circle defender before proving her pride of place for the Ferns was out in wing defence. Her unselfish style of play was unrivalled with her determination allowing her to constantly win back ball. Her ability to test players and use her innate knowledge of the game and her opposition gave her a leg up much of the time, while her speed to come in and create intercepts saw her rack up the 91 caps, such was her strength through the midcourt and deflections on circle edge. With long arms to pick off passes, Johannson’s height allowed her to provide an extra bit of defensive pressure over smaller attackers and block their vision looking into the circle. 

With such a wealth of defensive talent at the Ferns currently, Burger’s 19 caps since late 2018 are a real testament to her work ethic to not only break into the team but also provide a crucial and trustworthy option to jump on the court and be a real impact player. Like Johannson, her height allows her to be a tough battle in wing defence, giving her a point of difference with the strong three foot marking to block vision. Her strength allows her to hold ground on circle edge to force turnovers from opposition while she does not skip a beat rotating back into the circle thanks to her work rate and consistency. Able to burst out of the blocks and create turnovers, Burger is a real talent with her hands over pressure and constant drive for the ball.

Joline Johansson (Nee Henry)
91 caps, 2004-2014

Karin Burger
19 caps, 2018-present


Compare the Pair: Temepara Bailey and Laura Langman

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing New Zealand Silver Ferns midcourters, Temepara Bailey and Laura Langman

Two players with plenty of versatility and an innate ability to constantly apply pressure, Bailey and Langman have both been constant threats through the midcourt for a number of years. With plenty of talent, both feisty players burst onto the international scene, and while the two players wear the centre bib they both approach the position and the midcourt very differently, making the pair a very interesting combination to look at.

Bailey may be on the shorter side but that never stopped her, overflowing with speed and energy through the midcourt, always a threat with her attacking style of play, always running circles around her opposition with her impressively clean footwork and ability to find open space to drive into. Bailey was not afraid of the whistle, willing to do almost anything for a win and was well and truly called out for it during the 2003 Netball World Cup final – where she was the first player to be sent off in a final – but that just made her an even more exciting and pressurised player to come up against, unpredictable and intense as she was. The speedster was more of an attacking threat, using her quick hands to send ball into the goal circle on a silver platter, but her explosiveness on defence was a credit to her tenacity and constant drive to go one better than her opposition.

Where Bailey was more of an attacking midcourter, Langman is renowned for her defensive pressure and ability to be a constantly smothering defensive midcourter. A wing defence turned centre, Langman is a physical threat thanks to her constant shadowing but can also turn up the heat offensively thanks to her transitional running and game smarts to adapt to the situation. While Langman’s defensive prowess is a given, her offensive take on her defensive game plan is what makes her such a tough opposition, using her vision off the ball and player to poke holes in defence and take intercepts that should not be possible. Her attacking pressure may not be as evident, stepping back to be an aid to her wing attack, but she can still apply plenty of pressure on circle edge with her ability to see patterns and open up passing options for her teammates with her clever read of the play.

Temepara Bailey
89 caps, 2000-2011

Laura Langman
163 caps, 2005-present

Compare the Pair: Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio 

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing New Zealand Silver Ferns goalers, Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio.

Both impressive goalers in their own way, Folau and Ekenasio’s respective journeys to the top level could not have been more different. But where their differences lie is where the Ferns grew with the duo at the post, both able to use their clean hands and strong drive to the circle to create a formidable goal attack role. With impressive skill and strength to withstand any number of intense defenders, Folau and Ekenasio were both crucial cogs in the goal circle for the Ferns, able to apply consistent scoreboard pressure and adapt to the situation in the game. Able to adapt their craft at the post to shoot from long or short range, both goalers plied their trade at the top level with perceived ease.

While long-bomb specialist Folau played back in goal shooter in the latter part of her international career, she started out in goal attack using her quick footwork and vision of space to drive down court. Renowned for her cleanliness with ball in hand and ability to put goals in from anywhere in the circle, Folau was a real threat and force to be reckoned with when she was on the court. While Folau was a shooting sensation all around the circle, it was also her movement which saw her be such a constant issue for defenders, able to rotate the circle with ease and confidently apply pressure on the defensive unit. Folau collected her final Silver Ferns cap in late 2019, hitting the 150-mark and retiring following the Constellation Cup last October.

The current Ferns captain has made massive strides over the past few years, adjusting her craft in the goal circle during the Silver Ferns’ rebuild and flourishing at the post as a real critical link down the court. Having grown up in Australia, Ekenasio was able to learn off plenty of talented Aussie names before joining the Ferns’ ranks as a dual citizen. Ekenasio’s ability to create as much play as she finishes and leadership in attack is something the Australian selectors are surely ruing as a missed opportunity while her ability to post volume and accuracy in the goal ring is a credit to her drive to go one better and improve on past form. While Ekenasio only has the 42 caps to her name, her ability to apply consistent pressure and form a constant threat at the post is sure to see her as a mainstay for the Ferns in the coming years, with her recent captaincy a tick in her favour with plenty of growth still in her sights.

Maria Folau
150 caps, 2005-2019

Ameliaranne Ekenasio
42 caps*, 2014-present

Which Silver Ferns goaler would you choose?
Maria Folau
Ameliaranne Ekenasio
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Compare the Pair: Irene Van Dyk and Maia Wilson

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing New Zealand Silver Ferns goal shooters, Irene van Dyk and Maia Wilson.

Two players with wildly different experience at the international level, van Dyk and Wilson are two multi-faceted goalers with impressive netball nous and skill at the post. Accurate and level headed, both players have that classic and classy goaling ability but are also able to adapt to the game at hand, shaking things up the way that only the Ferns know how. While van Dyk is remembered as the best goaler in the world, Wilson is really only just starting her international journey and is already a solid and composed option at the post.

There is not much to complain about when describing van Dyk, with her silky movement, speed and ability to generate excitement even in the toughest conditions. Able to shake up a match with a single movement towards the post, the 190cm goaling sensation is not known as the best goaler of all time for nothing. While van Dyk began her international journey with South Africa – collecting an acceptable 72 caps with the Proteas – she soared to stardom with the Ferns, using her netball smarts and accuracy to rocket to the highest capped player of all time, paving the way for a plethora of young stars. Her ability to find space in the circle and poke holes in her opposition’s defence was critical to the Ferns’ success, while her consistency allowed her to dominate at the post as a threatening fixture all throughout her international career.

While Wilson does not have the same accolades as one of her predecessors, she is a talented up-and-coming shooter for the Ferns, applying impressive pressure at the post with plenty of time to develop her craft and open up opportunities. Still only 22-years-old, Wilson has proved she has what it takes to compete against the best with her long reach and clean hands opening up options at the post. While she is not the tallest goal shooter lining up at the post, Wilson’s accuracy is testament to her ability to find the ball with ease and use her clean footwork to work her way around her opposition. With the retirement of Maria Folau still fresh for the Ferns, Wilson will be up there as a key mainstay in goal shooter and with more exposure could still improve tenfold, making her a concern for nations across the netball world. 

Irene van Dyk
217 caps (NZL 145, RSA 72), 1994-2014

Maia Wilson
14 caps, 2016-present

Which shooter would you pick?
Irene Van Dyk
Maia Wilson
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