Category: Memorable matches

Memorable Matches: Central Pulse finally breaks premiership drought

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look back at memorable matches. Next up is Central Pulse’s 2019 premiership victory over Northern Stars.

While this memorable match only happened last year, it makes the cut thanks to it being Central Pulse’s inaugural grand final victory since the club’s inception in 1998. Factor in it was Pulse’s third grand final appearance in a row, and the victory is all the more sweet for the side which sat top of the ladder all season. Despite a solid second and final quarter, the Stars were unable to capitalise on any momentum, falling 52-48 at the final hurdle.

Pulse were threatening from the get-go, with defence holding strong to thwart options in the circle and deny precious goals on the board, propelling the netball down the court to attack and while Silver Ferns goaler Ameliaranne Ekenasio was slow off the ranks with only two goals from six first quarter attempts, youngster Aliyah Dunn stole the show with 10 goals from 12 to ensure a lead at the first break. Whitney Souness was key on circle edge collecting the seven assists from 12 feeds, working well with Ekenasio and Dunn who rotated seamlessly to the post. Souness ran circles around her opposition in Kayla Cullen, finding plenty of space and racking up 20 assists from 38 feeds throughout the match. It was no slow quarter for the Stars however, well and truly in the game thanks to early gains from defenders Leana de Bruin and Storm Purvis, with the duo capitalising off Ekenasio’s slow start and racking up a combined five first quarter gains. 

The second quarter saw neither side able to really capitalise, with Pulse unable to pull away from the Stars who had three more attempts on goal but finished the second with 15 apiece for the quarter, down by two goals at the main change. It was an impressive quarter in attack for Pulse who went 15 from 15 for the quarter, with Dunn shooting up a storm while Tiana Metuarau made her way onto the court to replace Ekenasio, not putting up any shots but teaming up well with Souness and Claire Kersten to serve Dunn the ball on a platter. Defensively, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Katrina Rore may not have been racking up the stats but it was the work they did off the ball that made all the difference, making it tough for Maia Wilson and Charlee Hodges to find clean ball at the post. The pair were far more accurate in the second sitting on 83 per cent thanks to stellar feeds from Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and Temepara Bailey who shared the load on circle edge. 

Where de Bruin and Purvis were in control early, the third quarter saw Pulse lift their game with Rore and Fitzpatrick reducing the Stars goalers to just 11 attempts, seeing Wilson being tagged out and Hodges having to lift her game to hold down the fort. Bailey moved into wing attack on circle edge but had a tough time with Karin Burger who did not necessarily open her bag of tricks but dogged every effort of the wing attack, reducing Bailey to just the four assists. Ekenasio returned to the court and was far more accurate, shooting four from five to take some pressure off Dunn, with the youngster continuing to put on a show.

A brave effort from the Stars saw them win the final quarter but it wasn’t enough, going down by four goals after an impressive fourth term effort. Where Wilson had a quiet third quarter, she came out of the blocks well to shoot 12 from 14 in the final term, with Hodges, Reuelu-Buchanan and Bailey plying their trade to get the ball to her at the post. But Pulse were just too good, with Dunn and Ekenasio sharing the load to take the trophy home in the intense matchup.

PULSE 12 | 15 | 13 | 12 (52)
STARS 10 | 15 | 9 | 14 (48)


Central Pulse
GS: Aliyah Dunn
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Claire Kersten
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick

BENCH: Elle Temu, Tiana Metuarau, Maddy Gordon
COACH: Yvette McCausland-Durie

Northern Stars

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Charlee Hodges
WA: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
C: Temepara Bailey
WD: Kayla Cullen
GD: Leana de Bruin
GK: Storm Purvis

BENCH: Ellen Halpenny, Holly Fowler, Kate Burley
COACH: Kiri Wills


Aliyah Dunn 40/43
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 12/19

Maia Wilson 34/41
Charlee Hodges 14/20

Memorable Matches: Malawi shocks New Zealand at 2018 Commonwealth Games

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is the Malawi Queens’ massive four-goal win over New Zealand Silver Ferns at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

It was a typically strong start from the rebuilding Ferns in their pool match against Malawi on the Gold Coast but it was the Queens’ spirit and determination that came out the true winner with a massive second half – aided by a 17 goals to nine third quarter – that awarded them their biggest win in Commonwealth Games history.

The Ferns came out firing early, shooting 18 goals to 11 in the first quarter and extending a solid lead thanks to the shooting pairing of Maria Folau and Te Paea Selby-Rickit. Folau played her typical moving role out in goal attack, dominating the scoreboard with her ability to turn and shoot while a combination of Sam Sinclair and Grace Kara held ground on circle edge, unfazed by their respective opposition in Takondwa Lwazi and Malawi captain, Joanna Kachilika. But while the first quarter went all in the way of the Ferns, the Queens were not going to back down, holding up better in the second to control ball movement better, seeing both sides score 14 goals apiece to still be down by seven at the main break. 

It seemed that anything Folau could do, superstar shooter Mwai Kumwenda could do better, dominating the scoreboard with speed, consistency and accuracy to boot, with the side not backing down and holding up relatively well against every defender the Ferns threw at them – of which there were many, with the Ferns rotating players constantly. While the defensive unit’s constant changing made it harder for Malawi to keep up with their fresh legs, it also allowed the Queens to gain the upper hand in other areas, such as their consistency, which was well and truly proven in the second half. 

Where New Zealand let go in the second half, Malawi fired up, dominating the quarter to take the lead 42-41 at the final change. Their challenge came at the right time, kicking the Ferns while they were down and poking at every hole in their game plan. While Bridget Kumwenda was kept quiet early, she stood her ground in wing attack to propel the ball into the goal circle, as defensively the work from Loreen Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo was spectacular, with the pair relentless. Ngwira and Vinkhumbo picked up plenty of attention from the umpires but shook the Ferns while they were at it, with the Ferns making uncharacteristic errors around the court, racking up 29 penalties and seven turnovers in the second half compared to Malawi’s 18 and four. 

Malawi were clinical with ball in hand, not wasting any time against the Ferns which have an ability to bounce back when least expecting it, controlling the netball across the court and patiently upholding their lead in the final quarter, not allowing New Zealand to take back momentum. A 15 goals to 12 final quarter effort cemented it for the Malawi Queens, defeating the Ferns 57-53 and going down as a history-making match, with the nation never having beaten New Zealand.

Mwai Kumwenda was the star of the show, shooting 41 goals from 46 attempts at 89 per cent, aided by Jane Chimaliro with 16 from 20. Lwazi was crucial in at centre, racking up 25 goal assists and two intercepts, while Ngwira and Vinkhumbo joined forces to collect three intercepts and two deflections to go with  a combined six rebounds. For the Ferns, Folau and Kara formed a constant threat in attack, with Folau shooting 31 goals at 79 per cent while Kara collected 26 assists on circle edge. Selby-Rickit racked up 15 goals from her two quarters on the court and Bailey Mes seven from 12, but defensively Temalisi Fakahokotau did much the same down the other end, racking up a whopping 18 penalties despite only playing in the first and final quarters. Captain Katrina Rore, Kelly Jury and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson also took their turn in the ring but to no avail, unable to outwit the clever and speedy Queens.

This win saw New Zealand knocked out of the running for a gold medal match for the first time in Commonwealth Games history, placing fourth overall and resulting in the resignation of then-head coach Janine Southby

Memorable Matches: Lightning win inaugural 2017 Suncorp Super Netball premiership

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is Sunshine Coast Lightning’s maiden premiership over GIANTS Netball in 2017.

The inaugural season of Suncorp Super Netball in 2017 was filled with highs and lows, with the ultimate high of expansion side Sunshine Coast Lightning winning the premiership in their first year together. The side boasted key names and combinations across the court which pushed them over the line, leaving the GIANTS in the lurch, 65-48. This was a memorable match for many, with the star-studded Lightning ruthless in their quest against the GIANTS exposing every flaw in their game plan and dominating across the board. The top two teams met twice prior to their grand final battle with both finishing in dramatic fashion – both collecting a one goal win apiece, but this time around the Lightning were relentless in their approach against a GIANTS outfit that had been smashed by injury throughout the season.

GIANTS may have won the first quarter, but it was Lightning that came out from then on and dominated the contest, relentless in their approach in the second quarter and taking an unprecedented five goal lead  into half time. Lightning relegated the GIANTS to less goals every quarter as the home side gained more and more confidence, rendering GIANTS unable to play their game and eventuating in the 17 goal victory.

The GIANTS were left wondering how it went so wrong. Geva Mentor had a starring role down back pairing with Karla Pretorius for one of their best outings for the season for the Lightning, constantly on top of Jo Harten and Kristina Brice. In the absence of Kim Green who was forced to the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in Round 5, goaler Susan Pettitt took the wing attack bib and faced off against champion Laura Langman – who played her usual game, running laps around her opposition and finding plenty of turnover ball with four intercepts and a deflection to her name. While Pettitt did her job well, racking up 18 goal assists, it was the absence of midcourt backup that was exposed once she rotated into the circle that saw the Lightning well and truly take control, with Sarah Wall only managing the one assist in her 21 minutes on court while the Lightning seemed impenetrable.

While the defensive partnership of Bec Bulley and Sam Poolman was solid as ever, the duo was completely at the mercy of Caitlin Bassett and Steph Wood in the circle, who had the ball on a string thanks to speedster Kelsey Browne in wing attack, who took advantage of Jamie-Lee Price’s messiness in wing defence. Price impressed with one intercept and seven deflections – but only gathered gains off two – but it was her 15 penalties that allowed Browne to take full control. Bassett and Wood proved once again why they were one of the most threatening pairings in the circle with their ball use and sharing of the space throwing the GIANTS off at every turn. Lightning’s goalers were vastly more accurate than their GIANTS counterparts, combining for 91 per cent compared to the GIANTS’ 79 per cent, credit to the respective feeders. Brice was unable to compete with Mentor at the post, with Mentor collecting eight gains while Brice turned over the netball eight times and Harten five times. 

While Lightning revelled in the atmosphere, with the home court advantage certainly boosting their confidence, the GIANTS floundered and were unable to bring the same excitement and speed to their game play. While Serena Guthrie was doing a good job defensively to open up opportunities to get forward, it was a lack of offensive pressure that allowed the likes of Laura Scherian and Langman to get on top of the GIANTS while messiness across the court allowed Lightning to take full advantage of errors and penalties – with GIANTS collecting 20 more penalties overall.

A shared effort at the post between the GIANTS goalers was not enough, with the Lightning just far too good on the day for their counterparts and the Lightning going on to win their inaugural premiership by 17 goals.

LIGHTNING 13 | 19 | 16 | 17 (65)
GIANTS 15 | 12 | 11 | 10 (48)


Sunshine Coast Lightning

GS: Caitlin Bassett
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Kelsey Browne
C: Laura Scherian
WD: Laura Langman
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Geva Mentor

BENCH: Erena Mikaere, Maddy McAuliffe, Cara Koenen
COACH: Noeline Taurua

GIANTS Netball

GS: Krissie Brice
GA: Jo Harten
WA: Susan Pettitt
C: Serena Guthrie
WD: Jamie-Lee Price
GD: Bec Bulley
GK: Sam Poolman

BENCH: Sarah Wall, Toni Anderson, Taylah Davies
COACH: Julie Fitzgerald



Caitlin Bassett 49/51
Steph Wood 16/20


Kristina Brice 24/29
Jo Harten 20/25
Susan Pettitt 4/7

Memorable matches: Firebirds end Fever’s unbeaten run – SSN 2018

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look back at memorable matches. Next up is the Queensland Firebirds’ massive 10-goal win over West Coast Fever in Suncorp Super Netball Round 5 2018, ending the Fever’s dominant start to the season.

While perhaps not the highest profile match in recent netball history, the Firebirds outfit of 2018 was a classy unit with an ability to beat any team if the day was right. Fever had proved dominant for the opening four rounds of the season and with the skill and precision passes to target goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler always in position at the post, they had thus far seemed impossible to stop. However a classy outing from the Firebirds ensured the time was right, with a stellar defensive effort from Laura Geitz and Tara Hinchliffe propelling the play back up through the centre of the court.

It was a physical match from the get-go with neither side willing to back down and the Firebirds having the upper hand early. With so many players willing to dive into the contest there were a few injury scares throughout – including a moment where Gretel Tippett seemed in pain with a knee issue but carried on – while the closeness of the scoreboard had the Firebirds home crowd up on their feet. While only up by four goals at the final change, the Firebirds stepped up a gear in the final quarter with Gabi Simpson and Mahalia Cassidy crucial in delivering turnover ball, with their tenacity and  hunt for the netball propelling the side to the stellar 10-goal victory. The two sides combined for a whopping 150 penalties between them and were relatively equal in turnovers, proving the closeness and intensity of the match and making it real testament to the Firebirds for staying ahead of the Fever.

It was the Firebirds’ transition down court that was the kicker for the Fever, with Caitlyn Nevins and Cassidy creating havoc with their crafty passes early while Tippett’s movement and footwork came out to play, with confidence coming in spades. Romelda Aiken was clean and accurate, shooting majority of the goals but creating space for Tippett to work her magic with her split and excitement with ball in hand. The defensive pressure from the Firebirds up the court was impressive with Geitz (three intercepts) and Hinchliffe (six gains) dominating in the back end.

Courtney Bruce had a quiet match with just the two gains and 25 penalties, atypical for the usually dominant defender, allowing Tippett and Aiken to control all the movement in the goal circle and unable to create space of her own to deflect with ease. Bruce still managed five deflections but was not able to take possession credit to the tenacity of the Firebirds’ midcourt pressure, playing out in goal defence for majority of the match while Stacey Francis moved out to wing defence. Young gun midcourter Jess Anstiss had a stellar match limiting the impact of Nevins early and moving into wing attack proving her versatility, collecting a team high three intercepts and just the three penalties. Nat Medhurst proved valuable alongside Fowler with her ability to read and create the play, while her timing allowed her to find space in the circle to open up Fowler at the post or turn and shoot for the long bomb. While she only put up the 11 goals for the match, her 22 goal assists kept the Firebirds on their toes thanks to her ability to switch up her movement and passing. While Fowler provided the target at the post, it was this match where teams were able to find an opening into how to defend the stocky goal shooter. Despite that, her clean footwork and aerial ability allowed her to find plenty of the netball while her accuracy saw the Fever stay in the match even when the Firebirds seemed to take off.

Firebirds collected enough wins to make finals, but a one-goal loss to Sunshine Coast Lightning saw them knocked out at the final hurdle, while Fever went on to lose three more matches during the 2018 season, dropping a second game to the Firebirds in Round 12 and in turn then falling to the Lightning on home turf in the 2018 Grand Final. 


FIREBIRDS 17 | 18 | 16 | 20 (71)
FEVER 16 | 14 | 17 | 14 (61) 


Queensland Firebirds

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Tippett
WA: Caitlyn Nevins
C: Mahalia Cassidy
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Tara Hinchliffe
GK: Laura Geitz

BENCH: Laura Clemesha, Kim Jenner, Jemma Mi Mi
COACH: Rosalee Jencke

West Coast Fever

GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Nat Medhurst
WA: Ingrid Colyer
C: Verity Charles
WD: Jess Anstiss
GD: Stacey Francis
GK: Courtney Bruce

BENCH: Shannon Eagland, Kaylia Stanton, Annika Lee-Jones
COACH: Stacey Marinkovich


Queensland Firebirds:

Romelda Aiken 45/51
Gretel Tippett 26/28

West Coast Fever:

Jhaniele Fowler 48/49
Nat Medhurst 11/14
Kaylia Stanton 2/2


Memorable matches: 1999 World Netball Championships final – Australia clinches third straight title in come-from-behind win

WITH netball taking a back seat to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. First up is Australia’s come-from-behind win over New Zealand at the 1999 World Netball Championships – now known as the Netball World Cup – in Christchurch, New Zealand, which saw Australia overcome a six-goal three quarter time deficit to reign supreme over the competition favourites. It was Australia’s third straight World Netball Championships victory and eighth title overall.


It was a physical match from the get-go, with both teams coming into the final off the back of a tight semi-final. While New Zealand was expected to come up the goods, the Aussies put up a tough fight early with little separating the sides at quarter time. The Kiwis were clinical in the second, with shooting pair Donna Loffhagen and Belinda Colling just about unstoppable under the post, and unfazed by Liz Ellis and Kathryn Harby in defence. Julie Seymour and Anna Rowberry impressed through the midcourt, with the pair moving well through the pressurised goal third to feed crucial lobs to Loffhagen. 

The third quarter saw the heavens open for the New Zealand outfit, with consistency and cleanliness keeping their heads above water and extending to a six goal lead by the final change. Meanwhile, Australian coach Jill McIntosh was unafraid of switching it up, playing a young Sharelle McMahon in goal attack in the second half and rotating stalwart Jacqui Delaney – who had shot 12 of 18 – to the bench. While McMahon took some time warming into the match, thanks to defensive pressure from Belinda Charteris and Bernice Mene, it was this belief in the then 22-year-old that paid off, with captain Vicki Wilson (15 goals from 26 attempts) hitting the bench in the final quarter – in her final national cap – to make way for Jenny Borlase in goal shooter, with Borlase combining effortlessly with McMahon to shoot the lights out.

Australia was clinical in the final term, blowing New Zealand out of the water with an impressive 14 goal to six effort, levelling the scores midway through the term though New Zealand managed to draw back some of the momentum with the match well and truly coming down to the final seconds. A repeat toss-up in the late stages of the match is one of the more memorable moments, with little calling for a toss-up in today’s game and something that ate up precious time right under New Zealand’s goal post with little more than 40 seconds on the clock. But what the home side didn’t factor into the equation was the tenacity of Ellis, with the goal keeper leaping up to the ball and using her game smarts to propel it back down the other end. One thing Australia hasn’t lost over the past 20 years is its speed down the court, with the likes of Carissa Tombs, Shelley O’Donnell and Peta Squire racing down the court with ball in hand with McMahon fortunately on the end of it and unaware of the clock ticking down. 

It was a real combination of youth and experience that brought home the win, with Ellis dominating with her physicality dialling up a notch in the final quarter, sending Loffhagen flying and using her strength to bat the goalers away for the rebound. While McMahon only shot the six goals from eight attempts, her impact out on court far outweighed her volume and quick hands to feed to Borlase, who shot nine from 13 in the final quarter alone. For New Zealand, Loffhagen was impressive holding up for 30 goals but was unable to maintain accuracy in the last quarter, missing crucial chances to level scores or take the lead. 

This was both Wilson’s and Tombs’ last match for Australia, with both players retiring on the ultimate high following the 1999 victory.

NEW ZEALAND 13 | 10 | 11 | 7 (41)
AUSTRALIA 13 | 8 | 7 | 14  (42) 


New Zealand

GS: Donna Loffhagen
GA: Belinda Colling
WA: Anna Rowberry
C: Julie Seymour
WD: Lesley Nicol
GD: Belinda Charteris
GK: Bernice Mene

BENCH: Adine Harper, Teresa Tairi, Sonya Hardcastle, Lorna Suafoa, Linda Vagana
COACH: Yvonne Willering


GS: Vicki Wilson
GA: Jacqui Delaney
WA: Shelley O’Donnell
C: Carissa Tombs
WD: Peta Squire
GD: Kathryn Harby-Williams (Nee Harby)
GK: Liz Ellis

BENCH: Jennifer Borlase, Sharon Finnan, Janine Ilitch, Sharelle McMahon, Rebecca Sanders
COACH: Jill McIntosh


New Zealand:

Donna Loffhagen 30/42
Belinda Colling 11/20


Vicki Wilson 15/26
Jacqui Delaney 12/18
Jenny Borlase 9/13
Sharelle McMahon 6/8