WITH the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season edging ever closer, Draft Central casts an eye over potential new inclusions to the Australian Diamonds Development Squad based on their performances throughout the 2020 season. The Development Squad focuses on up and coming players that would benefit from the opportunity to train in an elite environment but are not yet ready for the call-up to the international stage. Players that were named in the 2019 Australian Development Squad such as Tayla Fraser, Olivia Lewis and Hannah Petty have not been included. These notes are purely based on the individual opinions of each writer.
Typically renowned for holding shooters, the next generation of Australian goalers coming through the ranks could be more focused on movement and versatility with some smaller goalers in development, particularly in goal attack. Versatility and an ability to put up goals from range is abundant in the up-and-coming pool of goalers, although the lack of height among the group we have selected could be an issue.
Georgie Horjus – Adelaide Thunderbirds (Sophie Taylor)
One of the most exciting young prospects to take the court in season 2020 is Georgie Horjus. A breakout season for the young South Australian goaler has seen her provide a crucial link throughout the Thunderbirds attack, using her burst of speed and excellent vision to weave around her opposition and find purchase both in and around the goal circle. An impressive long range shooter, Horjus has proved this season that the young talent coming up through the pathways is more than capable of holding down a starting spot, using her flair and technique to wow her more experienced opposition time and time again.
Tippah Dwan – Queensland Firebirds (Taylah Melki)
Youngster Tippah Dwan has taken the competition by storm in 2020 with her smooth movement and long bomb shooting a couple of key elements in her game play. The goal attack is an exciting prospect for the future of Australian netball, able to glide across the court while also taking the hard drive into the circle to draw the attention of her defender. Her work rate is unquestionable, constantly popping up in the Firebirds attacking third to bring the ball down the court while her defensive efforts are also commendable, getting hands to ball and picking off intercepts.
Emma Cosh – West Coast Fever (Sophie Taylor)
A player who has had a real opportunity to ply her trade this season is Emma Cosh, with the smooth-moving goaler inadvertently handed the wing attack bib due to Ingrid Colyer’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Cosh has proved to be a highly versatile option in attack, and while she has not played in goals since she pulled on the wing attack bibs a few weeks ago, she is a great evasive attacker who can put up shots from anywhere in the goal circle. Her feeding ability has stood out, with excellent ball placement on or off circle edge and the clean hands and quick release to pull it off.
Through the midcourt, defensive capability is what stands out amongst our three picks. With the ability to adapt and transition well between positions through the centre third, the potential Diamonds of the future could be a bit more versatile. All three of the players we have listed boast both offensive and defensive traits, much like many of the young up-and-comers through the Australian pathways.
Maisie Nankivell – Adelaide Thunderbirds (Taylah Melki)
There is no denying that Maisie Nankivell has taken her game to a whole new level in 2020, often using her defensive attributes in attack and vice versa. Accustomed to the wing defence position, Nankivell has not looked out of place in centre for the Thunderbirds with her strength and high endurance paving the way for the Adelaide side. She is never out of the contest thanks to her impressive footwork, read of the play and deceptively rangy arms. Nankivell works in overdrive around circle edge to pick up clean ball or create opportunities for turnovers while her transition down court is another impressive trait. Her cleanliness with ball in hand, spatial awareness and confidence to deliver bullet-like passes has quickly become a focal point in the Thunderbirds line-up.
Molly Jovic – Collingwood Magpies (Sophie Taylor)
A talented midcourter who has burst onto the SSN scene in 2020, Molly Jovic has proved a critical member of the Magpies lineup this season in the absence of Collingwood experience. Jovic has rarely looked out of place or out of her depth on the SSN stage, consistently stepping up to the plate with her quickfire passes and adaptability on court. A hugely versatile midcourter, Jovic can rotate through all three centre court positions which allows her to continuously impact on the play, with her transition between attack and defensive excellent especially given her relative inexperience when it comes to this level.
Maddie Hay – GIANTS Netball (Taylah Melki)
Still finding her feet at SSN level, Maddie Hay has proven that she has a relatively big bag of tricks and is not overawed by the physicality of the game. Slotting into that wing attack position seamlessly for the GIANTS, Hay has become a key cog through the attacking third with her strong second phase play and clever ball placement. She is a strong option around circle edge, tussling for prime position and using her netball smarts to ward off her opponent. Although still adjusting to the high intensity of SSN, the midcourter has proven that she is cool, calm and collected under pressure and can deliver pinpoint precision passes into the likes of Kiera Austin, Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett.
The tenacious defensive unit we have selected very much follows the footsteps of its predecessors with a heap of ball-winning tendencies and the ability to consistently wreak havoc down back. Learning behind some impressive defenders at SSN level, these defenders have showcased the ability to lift when required and deliver under pressure.
Sunday Aryang – West Coast Fever (Sophie Taylor)
Ethiopian-born Sunday Aryang may be young but she has shown in season 2020 that she is more than capable of filling a position on court with her versatility, flair and take-off speed. While she showed glimpses of her exciting potential in the late stages of 2019 and early in 2020, she has been an excellent impact player for the West Coast Fever especially in the latter stages of this season, able to jump on court and create turnover ball. She has continued to grow not only in confidence but also skill with Courtney Bruce behind her, and her ability to not skip a beat regardless of her opposition will make her a huge defensive prospect.
Lauren Moore – NSW Swifts (Taylah Melki)
Defender Lauren Moore burst onto the scene this season with her ability to impact the contest and take big intercepts. Out with injury last season, Moore has relished the opportunity to get a run out on the court for the Swifts in 2020 and has showcased her versatility to swing between goal defence and goal keeper with great ease. The defender has impressive closing speed, reads the play well and is a real energiser bunny down back with her constant movement and hunt for the ball to keep the attackers guessing. She attacks any high or cross court ball and most importantly does it cleanly to win back possession for her side.
Matilda McDonell – GIANTS Netball (Sophie Taylor)
Matilda McDonell may not have had a heap of consistent court time, but has proven her worth on the court when she has made SSN appearances this season. A tall timber who can use her long arms and elevation to fly for intercepts, McDonell has taken her opportunities and shown plenty of exciting traits in goal keeper, able to come off the body or be a niggling defender blocking drives. Her clever timing allows her to bat the ball away while her hands over pressure is excellent with long limbs blocking vision both in and around the goal circle.
There are a number of other players that would value the opportunity to develop in the elite environment, but currently do not have the SSN exposure to warrant a call-up. In saying that, there are a few players who have showed glimpses of potential and deserve a mention, with midcourters Macy Gardner and Lara Dunkley developing their midcourt craft well at the Firebirds this season, while South Australian Nyah Allen has proved she is capable of having an impact where required, despite not managing a heap of court time. Gardner and Allen have both been selected for the Australian Under 21s squad, proving their capacity to impress.