Category: Compare the Pair

Compare the Pair: Anna Harrison and Katrina Rore

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, Anna Harrison and Katrina Rore.

Both talented defenders in their own right, Harrison and Rore have a couple of things in common – namely their consistency and versatility. Both have an innate ability to have an impact in virtually any defensive position, able to fall back to goal keeper when required thanks to their respective wing span and read of the play, but also able to work up the court in goal defence and wing defence. This ability to impact both inside and outside the circle made the two players virtually unstoppable once they got going, both putting their body on the line for the game more times than not.

The creator of what many call the ‘Harrison Hoist’, Harrison was as innovative as they come when she took the court, using her crafty speed and deflection ability to in turn be a threatening option when faced with a challenge. Willing to bend the rules to switch up momentum at the drop of a hat, Harrison was a triple threat out in defence, applying constant pressure with the impressive three foot marking and hands over pressure, able to shadow her opposition with ease or leap for the intercept. Harrison was a threatening figure until the very end, retiring with plenty left in the tank thanks to her ability to command the game.

Rore plays with a similar energy to which Harrison did, making her a crucial defensive option on court thanks to her ability to come out firing consistently and with great excitement and speed. With impeccable netball nous and read of the play, Rore is a deceptively quick and clean player, able to have an impact in a short space of time credit to her constant vision both on and off the ball.

Her reliability allows her to have an impact in any position, with her long arms blocking vision and denying easy ball into the circle whether she is a circle defender or defending the feeder. An ex-captain of the Ferns, Rore’s leadership both on and off the court is impressive with her winning attitude and ability to drive the ball and game forward impeccable. Rore collected three trophies in 2019, winning the Netball World Cup title with New Zealand, along with domestic premierships in the ANZ Premiership with Central Pulse and Suncorp Super Netball with NSW Swifts.

Anna Harrison
88 caps, 2002-2017

Katrina Rore
137 caps*, 2008-present

Which Silver Ferns defender would you pick?
Anna Harrison
Katrina Rore
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Compare the Pair: Casey Kopua and Jane Watson

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, Casey Kopua and Jane Watson.

With respective tenacity and a game-winning ability to match, the impressive force of Kopua and Rore saw a clean transition between the two players. Their intensity is astounding along with the constant pressing defence on the opposition, able to anticipate play down the court with ease. Both star performers in their own right, Kopua and Watson step up every time with flair and excitement to match, able to influence the play with ease and intensity. Both players have the undeniable versatility to be an influence in both defensive circle positions, a trait that makes both players the formidable defenders they are and have been on the international stage.

Debuting in 2005, Kopua impressed from the get-go with her constant pressure on both the ball and feeder, while her long arms spoke – and drew in – volumes, able to cherry pick crucial ball out of the air.  With an impressive work ethic and constant drive to succeed, the ex-captain was a key cog in defence collecting over 100 caps and coming out of retirement to play in the 2019 Netball World Cup, winning her first World Cup medal while she was at it. Renowned for her game-winning anticipation and impressive aerial ability.

Watson’s hunt in and around the circle allows her to be a constant threat out on court, able to be that threatening and influential goal keeper impacting off the body but also able to flip the switch and hang back, forcing errors from feeders with her ability to shadow her opposition. With stellar vision up the court, Watson has a great read of the play and falls in with her goal defender seamlessly, able to rotate the circle and apply hands over pressure on the shot with her aerial leap and impressive timing to deflect the ball. An explosive defender with a winning attitude, Watson is a crucial cog for the Ferns with her ability to turn over ball while her dynamic footwork and speed off the mark allow her to beat her opposition to the post and influence the play with ease.

Casey Kopua
112 caps, 2005-2019

Jane Watson
45 caps*, 2016-present

Which Silver Ferns defender would you pick?
Casey Kopua
Jane Watson

Compare the Pair: Liz Ellis and Courtney Bruce

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from different Australian Diamonds eras, with the next showcasing Australian goal keepers, Liz Ellis and Courtney Bruce.

With tenacity, constant pressure and an ability to do the impossible, Ellis and Bruce are two threats on the international stage with plenty of hunt for the ball and creativity to get it. Their respective excitement-generating play has helped turn the tides of their teams over and over, while their anticipation to leap for the intercept or make that game-changing deflection has them both as household names for netball fans. While the two players have entirely different game styles, it’s their respective commitment to the game at hand that sets them apart, able to adjust depending on their opposition to continue to maintain control game after game.

Ellis is one of the best defenders the world has seen, and as a constant threatening force to be reckoned with in defence there is no surprise why that is. Her read of the play was impeccable while her rotation in the circle to drop back or go on the hunt is testament to her trust in her teammates to fall back and form a wall in defence. Her speed to turn over the ball was crucial for the Diamonds while her captaincy proved her strength on court as not just a player but leader as the most capped player in Australian netball history.

The ex-captain was a force to be reckoned with, always ready to take possession with her impressive closing speed and reach over the netball. Her ability to anticipate patterns and turn the game on its head allowed her to make the game her own, and with three world titles and two Commonwealth Games gold just at international level – not counting domestic achievements – Ellis will go down in history as one of the greatest players of all time.  

Courtney Bruce may not have the same number of caps but has well and truly proved herself in recent years with the Diamonds, forming a critical pairing with Jo Weston on the international stage where she can play that exciting intercepting role. With pressure and constant intensity to match, Bruce’s ability to anticipate the ball speeding down the court is crucial and paired with her speed off the mark she can create that defensive breathing room to propel the ball back up the court.

While Bruce does not have the Diamonds captaincy, her consistency and ability to turn over the ball sees her lead the West Coast Fever. Still only 26-years-old, Bruce has plenty left in the tank with her creativity sure to spark many a turnover for the Diamonds in the coming years. While her past year has been plagued by injury, Bruce will intend to be right as rain for the next year of international competition.

Liz Ellis
122 caps, 1993-2007

Courtney Bruce
33 caps*, 2017-present

Which goal keeper would you pick in their prime?
Liz Ellis
Courtney Bruce
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Compare the Pair: Rachel Dunn and Eleanor Cardwell

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 England Roses goal shooters, Rachel Dunn and Ellie Cardwell.

With so many talented goalers at the Roses’ disposal, two of the more under-recognised goalers are Dunn and Cardwell who have been consistent to a tee but not necessarily received the game time in recent years. While the pair have entirely different play styles – Cardwell typically playing a holding role while Dunn takes a moving circle approach – they can both have that immediate impact with a shared ability to turn and shoot with ease. Both are crucial goalers for their respective teams in the Vitality Netball Superleague, with Cardwell’s Manchester Thunder reigning supreme over Dunn’s Wasps Netball in the 2019 grand final.

A veteran of the Roses, 37-year-old Dunn debuted in 2004 and despite only being part of the Roses camp part-time, she is one of those players who can make a big difference in a short amount of time with her silky movement and clean hands. Despite her smaller frame, Dunn can line up against the best of them, able to use her quick footwork to evade her defenders and edge closer to the goals. Dunn was a key part of the Roses outfit which defeated Australia in the Quad Series match, cementing the goaler as a threatening option to come in and turn a game on its head with ease, and proving that the Roses have much more depth through their squad than many initially expected.

Cardwell’s clean hands and ability to rebound are what make her such a threat in the circle, and while she is relatively unassuming to post her cleanliness and speed put her at a real advantage. Her ability to share the goaling load and switch up her game depending on her fellow goaler is testament to her vision of the play while her clean footwork allows her to work her way around defenders with ease to find the goals with ease and post a hefty total. Cardwell’s can-do attitude and willingness to do whatever is required for her team has proven critical over the years, always up for a challenge and at 25-years-old has plenty left in the tank to continue with the Roses and gain precious court time.

Rachel Dunn
92 caps, 2004-present

Eleanor Cardwell
27 caps, 2016-present

Which England Roses shooter would you pick?
Rachel Dunn
Eleanor Cardwell
Created with Quiz Maker

Compare the Pair: Serena Guthrie and Imogen Allison

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 England Roses midcourters, Serena Guthrie and Imogen Allison.

The two Team Bath athletes – though Guthrie is taking a season away from the sport – have a plethora of experience together on the court and a similar gamestyle thanks to their midcourt defensive capabilities. Guthrie has been the perfect player for Allison to learn off with the pair sharing crucial attributes like their ability to create turnovers with their unselfish play.

Both are able to switch between being the playmaker holding their opposition at bay and zoning them out, while also being able to create intercepts of their own volition with respective impressive timing and ability to stay away from the whistle. With ability to provide hands over pressure and ply their trade under pressure, the two defenders are real playmakers who can dominate on both a defensive and attacking stage.

Guthrie is one of the leading midcourters in the world thanks to her athleticism and defensive-minded approach to the game. With an outstanding aerial ability and speed to run her opposition off their feet, Guthrie can impact anywhere across the court but still allows her teammates to shine. Her take-off and intensity allow her to fly in and take daring intercepts and deflect crucial ball, while her ability to create turnovers with ease allows her to utilise her athleticism and strength to propel the ball up the court and be ready for any pass through the midcourt.Her anticipation of the play is second to none and can make something out of nothing nine times out of ten, making her a highly exciting player to watch. A player who really builds off the crowd, Guthrie is a real excitement generator thanks to her constant drive and ability to apply pressure.

A highly touted midcourter with an ability to switch between wing defence and centre, Allison is a classy youngster who has a wealth of talent and experience despite her youth. Her ability to use the space to control ball-flow and create intercept opportunities for teammates is terrific while her versatility to switch between positions has allowed her to step up into centre this season in Guthrie’s absence.

Her ability to gather loose ball allows her to provide crucial ball to her teammates and with an ability to transition well down court and provide that extra cog through the centre, Allison is one to watch in the future. Her leadership potential is also impressive, having captained Team Bath while Guthrie and co-captain Eboni Usoro-Brown were away on international duties for the 2019 Netball World Cup, and is part of the 2019/20 England Futures squad.

Which Team Bath and England Roses midcourter is your favourite?
Serena Guthrie
Imogen Allison
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Compare the Pair: Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin

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 England Roses, Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin.

Two vastly different players with different playing styles and backgrounds, Guscoth and Shimmin have plenty of experience on court together. While Guscoth has been a prominent Roses player, Shimmin has only really played domestically in Australia prior to her selection. Guscoth plays a primarily wear-down role while Shimmin uses her footwork to expose her opposition. The pair do have one major thing in common – their wingspan and ability to deflect and gather crucial loose ball.

Both 28-years-old and consistent to a tee, the defensive pair have plenty left in the tank in the coming years. The pair typically share the defensive bibs for the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball alongside fellow defender Shamera Sterling, though Guscoth’s 2019 Achilles injury threw a spanner in the works throughout the latter stages of the season.

Layla Guscoth

Guscoth may not have many international caps to her name – just the 26 thanks to injury and time away from the sport – but she is one of the most reliable players in the Roses camp thanks to her cool, calm and collected approach to the game.

Her ability to find the ball is second to none, and her versatility is superb. Guscoth’s ability to rotate through goal defence, wing defence and goal keeper is testament to her work ethic. Her lean over the shot is impeccable with balance and long limbs to boot. She forces errors from her opposition to cleanly collect the ball under the post, and runs out for that unexpected intercept to propel the ball back up the court. Her tenacity, strength and drive is crucial for any team. Her cleanliness proves that defenders do not need to be on top of their players to get the job done.

Kate Shimmin

With dual-citizenship and targeted by current England Roses coach, Jess Thirby in 2019, South Australia born Shimmin has finally had an opportunity to collect some international caps and put her extraordinary aerial leap and defensive capabilities to the test for the Roses.

Her anticipation of the ball coming down the court is a crucial part of her game. Shimmin’s quick feet allow her to out-run opposition, and turn something into nothing at the drop of a hat. Her cleanliness to deflect the ball in the air is credit to her timing. Shimmin’s vertical leap and ability to evade her opposition on the landing allows her to defy her goaler an attempt. With an ability to play out in wing defence and goal defence as well as her preferred goal keeper, Shimmin is a real talent with plenty of experience playing against high calibre opposition.

Layla Guscoth
26 caps, 2012-present

Kate Shimmin
5 caps, 2019-present

Which Rose would you take up the defensive end?
Layla Guscoth
Kate Shimmin
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Compare the Pair: Nat Haythornthwaite and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis

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 England Roses, Nat Haythornthwaite and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis.

Two highly versatile players, Haythornthwaite and Drakeford-Lewis don’t entirely match up – with Haythornthwaite predominantly a wing attack and Drakeford-Lewis typically a goal attack – but both can rotate into the other’s position with ease to create an extra option in and around the circle. With speed and netball nous driving down the court, the pair can both have a big impact on circle edge and have an ability to apply pressure on the scoreboard, throwing an extra spanner in the works for their opposition. The pair were both in the Roses squad for the three-match test series against South Africa in late 2019 and again for the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in January, with Haythornthwaite heading the team.

Haythornthwaite’s eye for the ball and ability to find open space is testament to her work off the body, using her quick feet to evade her opposition and create chaos through attack. Her clean hands and ability to land on circle edge make her a crucial option in attack for the NSW Swifts in the Suncorp Super Netball, working in tandem with fellow England international Helen Housby and crafting a solid partnership in and around the circle. Haythornthwaite does not find herself inside the circle all that often for the Swifts but is a solid option at the post if need be, able to control the ball well and slot in seamlessly. Her ability to get out at the centre is credit to her speed off the mark, quickly gaining ground and propelling the ball down the court.

21-year-old Drakeford-Lewis is still a relatively unknown quantity on the international stage with just the two caps under her belt, but has crafted an impressive pairing at the post with Australian Kim Commane at Team Bath over the past season. She sat at a shooting accuracy of 87 per cent for the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season, winning the VNSL Young Player of the Season Award for her effort. With clean hands, quick footwork and an uncanny ability to evade her defender, Drakeford-Lewis continues to ply her trade in the goal circle with accuracy and volume alike. She is not afraid to shoot from distance or play more of a feeder role, able to provide that versatility that the Roses tend to have in the side. Drakeford-Lewis is one of 25 young players we put in our International Young Guns countdown, coming in at number 23.

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Nat Haythornthwaite
50 caps, 2015-present

Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
2 caps, 2017-present

Do you opt experience or youth of the England Roses in the attacking third?
Nat Haythornthwaite
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
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Compare the Pair: Jade Clarke and Laura Malcolm

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 England Roses midcourters, Jade Clarke and Laura Malcolm.

Clarke and Malcolm have a similar build and height, making them both that perfect shut-down midcourt defender who can rotate forward when required to body up and provide that defensive pressure. With clean hands and plenty of winning experience, the two midcourters form a handy combination on court with endurance, speed and consistency credit to their respective work ethics. Their respective intensity and constant pressure on their opposition allows both Clarke and Malcolm to dominate when given their time on court. They both provide key cogs for their respective Vitality Netball Superleague teams in Wasps Netball and Manchester Thunder, taking the court against the other in the 2019 VNSL grand final.

The most capped England netballer in Clarke is one of the most influential midcourters the Roses have seen, with an ability to make something out of nothing nine times out of 10. With a defensive approach on the court, Clarke uses her speed off the mark to find loose ball and force turnovers with her hands-over pressure. She is a constant threat whether she is in wing defence or centre, and uses her experience to shut down her opposition cleanly thanks to her no-nonsense approach to the game. Her ability to block the vision on circle edge and cut off her opposition’s drive is credit to her awareness, always two passes ahead of the ball, ready to cut off the attacking options and deny easy ball into the circle. Her defensive approach to centre shows her versatility, able to outrun her opposition to get pride of place on circle edge.

Malcolm is a real shut-down player in the way she uses her bodywork to block the drive and stop any ease of access to her opposition. But while she is a quality defensive minded player, it is her conversion to an attacking mindset that really makes her one to watch, able to be a threat on circle edge in both centre and wing attack, forming a crucial and versatile option through the centre third and around the goal circle. Her cleanliness with ball in hand allows her to be a threat when on song, able to propel the ball out of defence while her footwork to get around her opposition cleanly proves her class on the court. While Malcolm has not had the greatest opportunity to prove herself on the international stage with Clarke holding down the starting spot among other key midcourters, her value on the bench sees her as a crucial player to rotate on wherever required through the middle third, with plenty of commitment on her drive to take a timely intercept or deflect the oncoming pass.

Jade Clarke
176 caps, 2002-present

Laura Malcolm
28 caps, 2012-present

Which England Roses fan favourite would you take?
Jade Clarke
Laura Malcolm
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Compare the Pair: Jo Harten and Ella Clark

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 England netball goalers, Jo Harten and Ella Clark.

With height and versatility to match, Harten and Clark may play a similar position and role but are completely different in the way they take on the court. Both goalers have had significant time with Loughborough Lightning in the Vitality Netball Superleague, albeit at different stages of their respective careers. As impressive shooters with high accuracy and spectacular long-range capabilities, they are both a real threat in and around the circle. Despite their height both goalers can match it with anyone down the court with their respective speed and ability to apply pressure. 

Harten has been a key cog for the England Roses for a number of years now credit to her dominance in the goal circle. Able to play both a volume and feeder role, Harten’s consistency and ability to play under pressure is what enables her to continue her dominance for so many years. Harten has played much of her international career at home in the goal circle but can switch it up when required to apply further pressure up the court, creating a formidable figure to come up against at the post. Her accuracy from a distance and impressive split allows her to be a force to be reckoned with from anywhere in the circle while her continued consistency and ability to change up her game could see her continue this form and dominance for a few more years on the international stage. She is a real barometer for any side able to turn a game on its head with her composure and netball smarts to organise the attacking end and have a profound impact. 

A dual athlete for both netball and basketball, Clark is no stranger to being in the spotlight and has really formed herself as an exciting goaler to watch on court. With a strong drive down court and long-bomb ability similar to Harten’s, Clark is another who can work her way into a game with ease thanks to her versatility down the court and long arms to apply pressure. At 190cm Clark is an imposing figure and difficult to defend, especially when combined with her impressive speed off the mark and willingness to contest for the ball. While Clark has only the five international caps to her name, she has a drive to improve with her classy ball movement and clean hands, creating a name for herself as a difficult goaler to take on when she is on her game.

Jo Harten
107 caps, 2007-present

Ella Clark
5 caps, 2016-present

Who would you pick in goals?
Jo Harten
Ella Clark
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Compare the Pair: Ama Agbeze and Razia Quashie

THE next instalment of Draft Central‘s Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the first showcasing English defenders, Ama Agbeze and Razia Quashie.

Both defenders play in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) with Abgeze donning the goal keeper bib for the Severn Stars and Quashie pulling on the dress for the Saracens Mavericks. While they share the same position on the court their styles in defence are vastly different with a plethora of tactics and attributes separating them and ultimately helping to mould their respective game styles. Although Agbeze is in the latter stages of her netball journey at age 37, Quashie is at the other end of the spectrum. At 22-years-old Quashie has her entire career ahead of her and is making a strong case to be the next in line for a permanent position in the Roses line-up. While the duo are different in the way they approach the game, there are still a multitude of things they have in common, namely the constant drive to go one better than before and consistency – not to mention, they both stand at six foot tall and are able to challenge over the shot.

Former captain of the England Roses, Agbeze may not be part of the playing group anymore but has not entirely retired from international duties, leaving a small chance for the tenacious defender to return to the fray. With a decorated career behind her, Agbeze has collected more than 100 caps for the Roses and played in competitions across the world, making her name known across the world for her ability to impact the play and create something out of nothing. With impressive timing and footwork to boot, Agbeze has been a key cog as a shut-down defender throughout her career, always one step ahead of her opposition and able to find plenty of the loose ball. She uses her experience well to guide teammates on the court, while her knowledge of the game enables her to take back valuable ball.

Where Agbeze is at the tail end of her career, Quashie is still a newbie to the international scene at 22 but has herself in the right place for a future in netball, having collected the 11 caps since her international debut in 2018. She has an innate ability to create turnover opportunities and has a real drive to continue her improvement to hit her strides on the international scene. With intensity, timing and a constant work rate, Quashie can burst out of the goal circle for a critical intercept but also has the game smarts to hold back if need be, able to play that shutdown role when required making her a difficult player to anticipate in the heat of the game. Her timing to find the netball is impressive for her age, while her physicality on court sets her in good stead for future international campaigns given the constant push and shove to claim prime position in the goal circle.
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Ama Agbeze
100+ caps, 2001-2019

Razia Quashie
11 caps, 2018-present

Which goalkeeper would you pick?
Ama Agbeze
Razia Quashie
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