Category: News

Can the Magpies make finals?

COLLINGWOOD made an almighty swoop last round with a romping win over NSW Swifts, something many did not think was possible given the form the Sydney based-side had been in. The Magpies then backed it up, delivering the Queensland Firebirds the same fate just a day later – a loss. In fact, the win marked their sixth for the season and now they sit just outside the top four with just one game left in their season.

With plenty of twists and turns throughout this season mainly revolving around location of games, quarantine hubs and state lockdowns, Collingwood have been on the road for a long time, but one main takeaway from this season is anything is possible. The Magpies will be up against it in their final game of the season and will need everything to fall their way if they are any chance to slot into the top four which currently consists of the GIANTS, West Coast Fever, Swifts and Sunshine Coast Lightning. First, they need to beat the Fever; and second, they need the Sunshine Coast Lightning to lose both their games to the GIANTS and Swifts to pull off an almighty upset and sneak into the finals.

Coming up against West Coast Fever on Tuesday night, the entire side will need to be on their A-game if they are to shut down the power house that is Jhaniele Fowler. It is a make or break game for Collingwood, as their future this season relies on whether they are able to collect the win. But lucky for the Pies, both Jodi-Ann Ward and Geva Mentor are in ripping form down in defence with the pair proving to be a force to be reckoned with both inside and outside the circle credit their ball-winning capabilities.

Although it has taken a while for all of the pieces to fall into place for the Pies, Nicole Richardson’s defensive coaching method is well and truly coming to the fore. With each and every player out on court able to drop into an off-line defence and apply strong hands over pressure, Collingwood have proved hard to transition against in recent weeks with their smothering style of pressure. The defensive mindset does not only come from down back but so too in the frontend with the likes of Shimona Nelson employing her impressive wingspan to block her opposition’s vision. Their best work is through the midcourt, with Collingwood able to slow down and limit both the Firebirds and Swifts in their past couple of outings to force them into uncharacteristic errors.

Collingwood are currently on a three-game winning streak and have the momentum well and truly behind them. One player that has taken a step up this season is Nelson with the Jamaican goal shooter really hitting her straps in the past couple of games. She broke her own individual scoring record in Round 12 against the Swifts with a whopping 69 goals from 71 attempts with her ability to absorb the physicality and rip the ball out of the air coming to the fore. But as a whole, Collingwood have started to create some great fluidity in the attack end with Kelsey Browne returning to her scintillating form and simply carving up the court, especially when she is able to hit circle edge. Her increased output has allowed the likes of Molly Jovic to work on her transitional defence while Gabby Sinclair is able to go about her business under the post to keep the scoreboard ticking over for the Pies.

With the attack end humming and the defence firing on all cylinders thanks to Mentor and Ward, one other player that has proven to be a key cog and a real barometer for the side is Ash Brazill. Not taking the court last year given she was sidelined with an anterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL), Brazill has returned to the fold with great ease. Her drive through the midcourt adds another string to Collingwood’s bow in attack with her athleticism often paying dividends when stuck in transition. While the Pies will rely on plenty of “ifs” and “buts” to make it to the finals, there is no denying that this season has been a step in the right direction with their cross-court connections and improved game plan allowing them to generate some real momentum and confidence out on court. If they are able to limit the amount of ball Fowler receives under the post and if the midcourt of Jovic and Brazill are able to nullify Verity Charles and Jess Anstiss then that could go a long way in getting the Magpies over the line and keeping their slim finals chances alive.

 

Photo credit: Suncorp Super Netball

Blistering second quarter gifts Mainland Tactix a grand final berth

A BLISTERING second quarter from Mainland Tactix all but gifted them a win against the Southern Steel running out five goal victors 54-49 in the ANZ Premiership elimination final. After an even start the Tactix managed to put the foot down in the second and withstood the pressure that was thrown at them in the second half to claim the win and make it back-to-back grand final appearances.

It was an error-ridden start to the game with both sides proving a bit shaky as the Tactix coughed up possession on their centre pass credit to the hustle of Tiana Metuarau who came steaming through for a deflection. With a grand final spot on the line, the young and inexperienced Steel side were eager to have a good start. Metuarau missed her first shot of the game with George Fisher there to mop things up and post the first score of the elimination final. It did not take long for the Tactix to answer as Te Paea Selby-Rickit injected herself into the thick of things to level the margin. Moments later Ellie Bird found herself under the post and the Tactix were up by a goal, signalling the tit-for-tat style of game that would ensue. The Steel got a run on, nailing three goals in a row, converting off the Tactix centre pass and swinging momentum back in their favour as Fisher imposed herself under the post and Metuarau’s playmaking came to the fore. This goal for goal rhythm continued for much of the quarter with neither side able to break away and assert themselves on the contest given the high level of intensity.

With the Steel up by two goals it was time for the Tactix to pull something out of the hat and hit back as Samon Nathan impressed with her class around circle edge. The wing attack dug into her bag of tricks to evade Renee Savai’inaea and feed into Bird. It was quite laboured in attack for the Tactix with only one player leading towards the ball and allowing the Steel to monopolise play with their physical nature under the post. A couple of missed shots from Selby-Rickit saw possession switch hands but neither side was able to capitalise on their opportunities. Bird was proving to be the go-to shooter for the Tactix as she continued to hold strong and keep Taneisha Fifita at bay as the visitors stole the lead back. There was no easy pass across the court with everything contested but it was the Tactix that went into quarter time up by two goals.

The second quarter started with a bang as Selby-Rickit pushed out the margin to three goals. Kimiora Poi and Charlotte Elley combined nicely around circle edge to employ some strong hands over pressure and create turnovers aplenty. The ball ping ponged up and down the court with neither side able to settle and convert on their turnover chances. Both goal defenders in Karin Burger and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit were proving to be thorns in their opposition’s side with huge rebounds. Youngster Kate Heffernan was in fine form for the Steel with the centre bobbing up at the right place at the right time. The Steel managed their first goal of the term with a tick over five minutes played. Back to back goals got the home side within just two goals before Burger once again whipped out the party tricks to reel in an intercept. The Steel smothered every single attacking move of the Tactix but they still managed to find a way forward and extend their lead back out to five goals.

The Tactix really started to put their foot down as Jane Watson and Burger combined down back to clog up the space and force the Steel to pass the ball around, with Shannon Saunders struggling to find circle edge credit to the workrate of Elley. The blistering speed of the Tactix was catching the Steel off guard as they opened up a whopping 10-goal lead. Sarahpheinna Woulf was injected into the action with less than four minutes left to play but that did not seem to faze the Tactix as they slotted eight goals in a row to really stamp their authority on the game.

After a disappointing second term the Steel came out with a head full of steam. Fifita upped the ante down in defence contesting the hands of Bird while Heffernan found her groove in attack to release the ball with confidence into Fisher. The combination of Watson and Burger was in full swing as the pair made life hard for Metuarau and Fisher inside the ring. Things started to fall the way of the Steel as they went on a four-goal run and the Tactix struggled to play with their usual level of composure and speed. But every time the Steel got any form of momentum it was Burger that found a way to win ball back and provide a chance for her side to keep their noses in front.

There were errors aplenty midway through the quarter with tired bodies out on court starting to come to the fore. The Steel rallied and had a real aura of confidence around them as they reduced the margin to seven goals. With the crowd behind them the Steel contested every pass and making the Tactix work in overdrive in attack as Fifita’s athleticism started to become a problem.

With the game on the line, Woulf re-entered the contest out in goal defence while Te Huinga Selby-Rickit pushed back into goal keeper. Both sides looked settle in attack and defence as they went goal for goal before the Steel slotted three goals in a row to inch back within six goals. This never-say-die attitude was infectious as the Steel mounted a wealth of pressure in defence and remained, cool, calm and collected in attack to reduce the deficit to just four goals. But the Tactix were not about give up the lead and a chance for back-to-back grand finals as they rode the wave and secured the win.

Both goal shooters had identical shooting performances as Fisher and Bird finished with 39 goals from 41 attempts at 95 per cent. The main difference came down to the workload of the goal attack with Selby-Rickit slotting 15 from 20 along with 10 goal assists for the Tactix while Metuarau managed 10 from 13 and 19 goal assists. The workrate out the front from Nathan was impressive racking up 24 goal assists and an intercept as Saunders led the charge for the Steel with 13. Defensively Burger had a field day amassing four intercepts, five deflections and two gains as Fifita recorded two gains in the loss.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Elimination final preview

IT has all come down to this elimination final as the Southern Steel host Mainland Tactix in what is a do-or-die clash with the winner set to go into the ANZ Premiership grand final and face off against Northern Mystics.

Southern Steel vs. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, August 1 @4:20pm

Heading into the match the two sides have played three times with the Steel holding the upper hand having won two of the games meaning it will take a mammoth effort from the Tactix if they are to upset their opponents. If the Tactix are able to pull the win off they will appear in back-to-back grand finals and will be hoping to draw on that critical 2020 experience in this clash.

Boasting an incredibly young line up with limited finals experience the Steel will be relying on their wiser heads to lead the way with Te Huinga Selby-Rickit down one end of the court and Shannon Saunders up the other. Selby-Rickit will likely be opposed to younger sister Te Paea Selby-Rickit who is a real barometer for the Mainland Tactix with her clever movement and spatial awareness enabling her to dish off pinpoint passes in attack or shoot them herself. Even if Te Paea is not having an overwhelmingly huge influence on the scoreboard her overall court craft is what sets her apart meaning the Steel defence will have to knuckle down on her influence. Expect the likes of Taneisha Fifita to come out with a real fire in her belly with the goal keeper renowned for her ability to go out hunting and cause a ruckus with her physicality under the post to upset the likes of Ellie Bird. If Fifita is able to get in the head of Bird early and contest the high ball coming in it will go a long way in setting the Steel up for a win. Conversely if Bird is able to keep Fifita at bay and exploit her height it will create a strong launching pad for the Tactix to apply some serious scoreboard pressure.

Looking through the midcourt, there is no denying that Saunders will have to lead from the front for the Steel. The wing attack is incredibly crafty around circle edge with her positioning and timing allowing her to impose herself time and time again. Saunders’ influence will all come down to the workrate of Charlotte Elley with the wing defence often flying under the radar but a key cog in the Tactix’s defensive setup. But even if Saunders is not firing on all cylinders there is no denying the impact of Kate Heffernan who has developed at a rate of knots throughout the season with her repeated efforts both in attack and defence. The Tactix have a bit of versatility in wing attack with Erikana Pedersen and Samon Nathan able to play the role but offering vastly different options in the position. Pedersen provides more of a steady head and is stronger around circle edge to combat the physicality of Renee Savai’inaea while Nathan offers a bit of zip in attack. The other livewire for the Tactix through the midcourt is Kimiora Poi with the centre renowned for her energiser bunny type of mentality and constant movement to keep things ticking over in both the front half and down back.

The tussle in the goal circle will draw plenty of attention with George Fisher arguably having the upper hand over Jane Watson in their past couple of encounters. Fisher is a huge target inside the circle with her split and ball control second to none while her partnership with Tiana Metuarau is almost impossible to stop. Metuarau does not need a wealth of space or time to have an impact with her netball smarts well and truly front and centre every time she takes the court. It will be up to Karin Burger who is in career-best form to nullify the influence of her former teammate both inside and outside the ring. If both Burger and Watson are able to stop the speed of the ball coming into the circle and combine that with their presence over the shot they could force the Steel to become unstuck in attack.

This game will come down to a battle of nerves, which team will be able to stick together and ride the wave of momentum. With so many young players in their squad it will be a big ask for the Steel to topple the Tactix who have a number of Silver Ferns representatives and will be eager for some grand final redemption.

2021 ANZ Player of the Week: Round 15 – Anna Harrison

IN a new series, Draft Central casts an eye over the top performer from the round taking into account not only their individual stats, but their overall impact on the game. Round 15 of the ANZ Premiership saw a number of key players lead the way for their respective teams and put their best foot forward. Anna Harrison gets the nod for her second time this season with the goal defence proving age is just a number.

Despite her side falling out of the race for finals, Harrison rallied down in defence for the Stars with the goal keeper well and truly asserting her dominance and stature from the opening whistle. The oldest player in the competition imposed her years of experience and wisdom up against youngster Khiarna Williams who struggled to make an impact in her 15 minutes of action. Harrison was simply in everything and left nothing to chance with her constant hustle and niggle allowing her to win ball back time and time again. Not only did she nullify the influence of Williams but she forced a change with Chiara Semple entering the fray in hope to negate the pressure of Harrison.

The goal defence was not afraid to go out hunting whenever she felt like it credit to her closing speed and read of the play to hedge her bets and then double-back when needed. She was a real pest down back with her timing second to none and long arms allowing her to disrupt any flow inside the goal circle. Most impressively though was her lean over the shot with the defender timing her leap to perfection to create a couple of rejections. Not only did Harrison put doubt into the mind of the shooters but so too the Magic feeders as she closed down the space within the blink of an eye to place pressure on the likes of Grace Kara and Sam Winders.

The teamwork between Harrison and Elle Temu was second to none as the pair double-teamed Caitlin Bassett under the post. The goal shooter was unable to have things all her own way credit to the Stars’ positional switch inside the circle. Harrison was on a war path in defence as she grabbed anything that came her way and contested every pass inside the attacking third. Not only was she influential down back but so too through the midcourt with her clever drives and acceleration allowing her to punch through the Magic’s defence and create an opening for the Stars to power through.

She racked up a whopping eight intercepts highlighting just how cleanly she was throughout the contest and her overall spatial awareness to come charging through and cherry pick the cross-court ball. If Harrison was not cleanly picking up ball she was creating an opportunity for her teammates around her to reel in the loose pass with her four deflections while her ability to contest for the rebound was also imperative in the win as she denied opportunities for the opposition to score.

Magpies’ excellent form continues as they close in on top sides

THE Collingwood Magpies have swooped on the Suncorp Super Netball competition, clinching two huge wins in as many days to give themselves a fighting chance of making the finals, downing the Queensland Firebirds in a competition-first Pride Match at Nissan Arena on Thursday night. The Firebirds suffered some key losses over the past week and it showed on the court, as the renewed Magpies came out blazing, holding on in a tight final quarter to claim the 66-59 victory.

It was a tight start between the two sides, as both teams came out firing and not giving an inch throughout the contest. Whilst it was the Romelda Aiken show out the front for the Firebirds, with the Jamaican finding plenty of space early on despite the tight marking from Geva Mentor, a shared effort from Shimona Nelson and Gabby Sinclair seemed to do the trick as the Magpies’ goalers worked seamlessly to create chances out the front, with Sinclair’s long range shooting ability on full show with a couple of early super shots on the board allowing the Magpies to get the upper hand. Kim Ravaillion worked in overdrive to find entry into the goal circle as Gretel Bueta was kept quiet by an in-form Jodi-Ann Ward, with the goal defence relentless from the opening whistle and showing no signs of stopping. While Ravaillion fired out the front, her direct opposition in livewire Molly Jovic was no slouch and wreaked havoc of her own out the front, teaming well with Kelsey Browne to find Nelson and Sinclair with ease. A Sinclair super shot put a nail in the coffin of the first quarter, as the Magpies came away with a 19-13 lead at the first break.

The Magpies had a couple early chances to pile on the pressure in the second, missing a couple opportunities with three shots within the opening minute and sinking just one as the Firebirds made them pay with three straight off the hand of Aiken. An unprecedented change was made as Sinclair was forced off the court momentarily with a dislocated finger – but fortunately was back later in the quarter – but the Magpies took hold of every opportunity that came their way as Kalifa McCollin was injected into the fray. Nelson continued to rule the roost though, working around Rudi Ellis seamlessly to find and slot into the back space, as the Firebirds made the switch in the front-end with Tippah Dwan entering the contest to create a moving circle. But every time the Firebirds looked like they were getting going, it was the Magpies that found a way, as Ward continued to be a threat in the back-line, while Ruby Bakewell-Doran tried her hand on Browne and picked up an intercept for her troubles as aa tight second quarter saw the Magpies add a goal to their lead with a 34-27 scoreline at the main break.

A goal for goal start to the second half did not last long, as Nelson continued to assert herself on the contest and wreak havoc under the post with her great reach and accuracy. Ellis worked hard to limit Nelson’s impact while Sinclair did not put up a wealth of shots but ensured she kept Kim Jenner busy and away from the action, as the goal attack fired pass after pass into the circle. A couple of Magpies runs kept the Firebirds at an arm’s length, and the Firebirds were laboured in attack as Lara Dunkley and Ravaillion continued to work in overdrive but to no avail as Ash Brazill, Mentor and Ward asserted their dominance in the backline. While the Magpies pulled away in patches, putting up two goals for each Firebirds shot, two late super shots from Dwan pulled back the margin to eight goals, and another could have chipped back the margin even further as a miss allowed the Magpies to finish off on a high with a 10-goal lead heading into the final change.

Inaccuracy was an issue for the Firebirds as the final quarter began, with Aiken returning to the fray and putting up three goals from five attempts in the opening minutes to pin back the margin slightly, as the Magpies made them pay for it with five straight to show how it was done, with Nelson’s three book-ended by Sinclair’s goals. Another miss from Aiken proved how much of an impact Mentor and Ward were having down back, as Bueta cleaned up the scraps to continue her solid outing. But while the Magpies had all the momentum early, the Firebirds clicked into gear as the quarter went on, lacking the hunt of Gabi Simpson but with Jenner and Ellis imposing themselves well. But it was too little, too late, as the Firebirds looked to the super shot to get them over the line, with a couple of chances going missing as Aiken looked to post from all around the circle, but missed six of her last 10 attempts of the match as the Magpies outlasted the Firebirds comeback to claim a seven-goal victory, 66-59.

For the in-form Magpies, Nelson impressed once more firing with 49 goals from 51attempts, as Sinclair’s hot start was hampered by her finger injury but still finished with 14 goals from 19 attempts and 18 goal assists. Browne (22 assists) and Jovic (16 assists and one intercept) were also hard to stop, while Ward was fired up finishing with five gains (two intercepts), as Mentor picked up two gains and four pickups. For the Firebirds, it was an inaccurate showing from Aiken who seemed shaky with 29 goals from 42 attempts, including two super shots, as Bueta (18 from 21) and Dwan (seven from 10) held up well. Ravaillion finished with 17 assists to lead all comers with Dunkley next in line with 12 and two gains, while Ellis held up well to record five gains (one intercept). Jenner, Dwan and Bakewell-Doran all collection one intercept apiece.

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS | 13 | 14 | 14 | 18 (59)
COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES | 19 | 15 | 17 | 15 (66)

STARTING SEVENS

Firebirds

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Bueta
WA: Lara Dunkley
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Kim Jenner
GK: Rudi Ellis

Magpies

GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Gabby Sinclair
WA: Kelsey Browne
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Ash Brazill
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor

 

Picture credit: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

2021 ANZ Premiership: Team of the Week – Round 15

THE final round of the home and away season in the ANZ Premiership brought some close shaves and one big blowout. But even in that, there were a number of key standout performances with the winners from Round 15 in the Northern Mystics, Southern Steel and Northern Stars dominating the Team of the Week.

GS: Grace Nweke (Northern Mystics)
GA: Te Amo Amaru-Tibble (Central Pulse)
WA: Shannon Saunders (Southern Steel)
C: Tayla Earle (Northern Mystics)
WD: Charlotte Elley (Mainland Tactix)
GD: Anna Harrison (Northern Stars)
GK: Elle Temu (Northern Stars)

BENCH: George Fisher (Southern Steel), Gina Crampton (Northern Stars), Sulu Fitzpatrick (Northern Mystics)

Starting inside the goal circle it was hard to go past Grace Nweke with the goal shooter once again dominating to post. The 19-year-old only continues to get better with time and this performance was no different as she commanded the ball inside the circle and held off two Silver Ferns defenders to control proceedings. Her footwork paired with her aerial ability had the defence in all sorts of trouble as she slotted a whopping 49 goals from 51 attempts at 96 per cent. Central Pulse shooter, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble gets the nod in at goal attack in this Team of the Week with her cool, calm and composed nature keeping her side within striking distance. Her spatial awareness allowed her to drive into the space and be an option inside the ring while her accuracy was on point draining 21 goals straight.

Through the midcourt, Southern Steel wing attack Shannon Saunders gets the nod. She was nothing but consistent and crafty with ball in hand throughout the match as she patiently directed traffic. Her netball nous and experience was on full show as she carefully crafted the attacking forays racking up 22 goal assists along with a whopping 31 centre pass receives. The centre bib fell to Tayla Earle with the Northern Mystics midcourter using her change of pace and dynamic movement to have an impact up both ends of the court. She stepped up to the plate when changes were made for the Mystics using her read of the play and strong hands to snatch ball out of the air and hit circle edge with precision. Although it was not a stats stuffing performance by Charlotte Elley the wing defence starred with her work off the ball to keep her opponent away from the play and nullify her influence. Her constant hustle and niggle around circle edge combined with her three-foot marking allowed her to mount pressure and force errors aplenty.

Just like a fine wine, Anna Harrison only continues to get better with the goal defence putting on a masterclass in her last outing for the season. Harrison was involved in just about everything from the get-go with her long limbs causing a ruckus in defence. Her timing was second to none while her elevation also enabled her to reel in ball after ball. The goal defence ended up with a ridiculous eight intercepts and five gains to her name highlighting her overall dominance. Speaking of overall dominance, partner in crime Elle Temu takes out the goal keeper spot after putting together a stellar performance. Her ability to use her outside arm and cleanly contest ball was front and centre throughout the game as she consistently won ball back racking up five intercepts and three gains.

George Fisher has once again made her way onto the bench with the England international proving to be a stalwart with her composure and accuracy to post. she is joined by the likes of Northern Stars wing attack Gina Crampton who provided a steady head in a constantly changing attack unit while Sulu Fitzpatrick also impressed for the Mystics in their win.

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 12 and ANZ Premiership Round 15

ROUND 15 marked the final home and away round in the ANZ Premiership with a number of players upping the ante while Round 12 of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) rolled around after a COVID-19 enforced break with a couple of players breaking individual records.

Goals:

The goal shooters once again dominated in Round 15 of the ANZ Premiership, with Grace Nweke pouring on the pressure inside the ring nailing 49 goals from 51 attempts. She was not the only one firing on all cylinders as Ellie Bird managed 42 goals from 44 attempts at 96 per cent accuracy, while George Fisher was up and running with her 42 goals from 45 attempts at 93 per cent. Aliyah Dunn was a commanding presence for the Pulse with her 36 goals at 92 per cent but the most accurate shooter of the lot was Te Amo Amaru-Tibble with the goal attack converting at 100 per cent and finishing with 21 goals to her name. Caitlin Bassett sat in the 90s with her 32 goals from 35 attempts as both Jamie Hume and Monica Falkner were strong for the Stars recording 26 and 20 goals apiece but at a lower percentage. Maia Wilson’s shooting woes continued sitting at a lowly 59 per cent with 17 from 29.

It was a good week to be a Jamaican goal shooter in the SSN, with Shimona Nelson starring under the post for the Magpies slotting a whopping 69 goals from 71 attempts at 97 per cent. Jhaniele Fowler was also damaging with her 64 from 66 at 97 per cent as Romelda Aiken finished with 41 from 49. In terms of accuracy though Lenize Potgieter continued her merry way with her first miss not coming until the dying seconds of the game to finish with 40 from 41, while partner in crime Georgie Horjus was accurate to post sitting at 95 per cent. Cara Koenen was confident to post with her 27 goals from 29 attempts, while Peace Proscovia had an impact in her 15 minutes of court time slotting seven from seven while Steph Wood nailed 22 from 28 including four super shots. Jo Harten led the way with her 30 goals albeit at 79 per cent as Mwai Kumwenda was down on her accuracy and volume recording 34 goals from 43 attempts at 79 per cent. Gretel Bueta was impressive for the Firebirds with her 25 from 29 as Sophie Garbin dominated for the Swifts recording 34 goals from 36 attempts.

Midcourt:

Gina Crampton was a real workhorse through the midcourt for the Stars racking up 24 goal assists along with 27 centre pass receives. Teammate Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was in commanding form through the centre recording 20 goal assists the highest of any centre this round with the next closest Tayla Earle with 15 goal assists and two gains. Shannon Saunders was her ever-reliable self in attack for the Steel with her 25 goal assists, while Whitney Souness showcased her speed and dynamism for the Pulse finishing with 22 goal assists and 31 centre pass receives. Kate Heffernan was down on her feeding load with just six goal assists but made up for it in defence with three intercepts. Erikana Pedersen and Kimiora Poi shared the load in attack for the Tactix with 15 goal assists each while Charlotte Elley was imperative in wing defence collecting a gain and two deflections. Sam Winders did the heavy lifting for the Magic with her 10 goal assists and three gains as Tori Kolose found her groove with 11 goal assists.

Maisie Nankivell had a game to remember amassing a whopping 32 goal assists with the next best Verity Charles with 26 and 23 centre pass receives. Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion was in fine form racking up 24 goal assists and an intercept as teammate Lara Dunkley also found her groove with 16 goal assists. Maddy Proud was a lynchpin through the midcourt for the Swifts collecting 23 goal assists and one deflection as Kelsey Browne dazzled for the Pies amassing 21 goal assists, 31 centre pass receives and an  intercept. Ash Brazill was also up and about for Collingwood registering two intercepts and three deflections in the win as Lauren Moore got busy with her three intercepts. Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price shared the workload for the GIANTS with 12 and 10 goal assists respectively while in a half of netball Amy Parmenter racked up two intercepts and four deflections. for the Lightning it was Laura Scherian that led the charge with her 20 goal assists.

Defence:

Northern Stars goal defence Anna Harrison seemed to have the ball on a string as she racked up a whopping eight intercepts along with five gains. It did not stop there as she also accumulated six deflections. Elle Temu was a force to be reckoned with for the Stars amassing five intercepts and three gains. Jane Watson plied her trade for the Tactix recording two gains while Karin Burger continued her merry way picking up another two intercepts and three deflections. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit was in fine form for the Steel producing four deflections and four gains as Kelly Jury also asserted herself on the contest for the Pulse with three intercepts.

Shamera Sterling’s defensive beast mode was activated as the Thunderbirds goal keeper managed three intercepts, two deflections and a couple of rebounds. Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni combined for nine gains including four intercepts from Pretorius. Sam Poolman was solid for the GIANTS with her six gains while in her 15 minutes of court time, Matilda McDonell proved to be a nuisance picking up two intercepts and two deflections. April Brandley had a hand in just about everything with her eight deflections as both Emily Mannix and Jo Weston registered a combined 12 gains. It was a quieter performance by Courtney Bruce who finished with seven deflections while Kim Jenner notched up three intercepts. It was the Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward show as the duo registered 11 gains and 13 deflections.

Photo credit: SSN

2021 SSN: Round 13 preview

WITH the condensed Suncorp Super Netball fixture in full swing, Round 13 rolls around just as quickly as Round 12 finishes with Collingwood and the Firebirds only given a days rest before taking the court once again. In fact the Magpies will play twice this round, while the NSW Swifts will not take the court.

Queensland Firebirds vs. Collingwood Magpies
Thursday, July 29 @6:00pm

With only a day between games expect fatigue to be a potential problem for both the Firebirds and Magpies – the latter in particular given they did not make a single change in their Round 12 clash. In saying that the Firebirds have also been heavily hit by injury with Jemma Mi Mi going down with a suspected Achilles injury. With both teams finals hope all but gone it will be a battle of respect and desire as they look to round out the season on a high.

Shimona Nelson is coming off the best performance of her career after slotting 69 goals from 71 attempts, and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into this clash. Without the services of Tara Hinchliffe with the goal keeper sidelined it will once again be up to Rudi Ellis to nullify the influence of the Jamaican gold shooter and really contest her hands if the Firebirds are any chance of claiming a win. Gabby Sinclair has been in fine form the past couple of weeks and while she is not overly potent on the scoreboard her work out the front is sublime meaning Kim Jenner will have to negate her influence with her strong hands over pressure and niggling style of defence. Another player in hot form for the pies is that of Kelsey Browne with the wing attack incredibly silky around circle edge and set to engage in an enthralling battle with Gabi Simpson. Coming up against her old side Kim Ravaillion will be keen to assert herself through the centre with the gut running with the midcourter able to grind out games and run her opposition into the ground something she will hoping to implement against the likes of Molly Jovic.

Looking into the shooting circle for the Firebirds there is no denying that the combination between Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken is hard to stop went up in firing on all cylinders. Bueta is a real playmaker in that attacking third with her speed and athleticism able to carve up the defence however she will have her work cut out for her against an equally as nimble Jodi-Ann Ward who can turn the game on its head in a second. Geva Mentor is always a great match for the likes of Aiken with the experienced goal keeper able to position strongly and take away the space under the ring which is exactly what the Pies will need to do if they are to walk away with the win.

Adelaide Thunderbirds vs. Melbourne Vixens
Monday, August 2 @ 7:30pm

The Adelaide Thunderbirds and Melbourne Vixens have been given a little bit more time to rest but that will not deterred the Thunderbirds from putting out another strong performance. The Thunderbirds are coming off the back of a stellar one goal victory over the Lightning and will be eager to use that confidence heading into this clash against the last place Melbourne Vixens who have struggled to hit their strides all throughout this season.

Lenize Potgieter has been in dominant form under the post, only missing the one goal last match and will be hoping to replicate those efforts against the long arm brigade of Emily Mannix and Jo Weston. Not only has Potgieter being in fine form, but so too youngster Georgie Horjus who has hit her straps towards the end of the season with her accuracy to post increasing and her overall playmaking skills out the front paying dividends. All eyes will turn to the battle between Maisie Nankivell and Kate Eddy with Nankivell really finding her groove in that new wing attack roll while Eddy will be hoping to enforce her long arms to block any easy transition into the goal circle. The Thunderbirds have options aplenty through the midcourt with the likes of Latanya Wilson able to slot into that wing defence role alongside Shadine van der Merwe. The intrigue will lie around who gets the nod in centre with Hannah Petty a strong option while Elle McDonald proved that she is more than capable of starring. For the Vixens it would more than likely be the experienced captain Kate Moloney that gets the nod in centre with her leadership and attacking prowess key.

If Shamera Sterling is able to get hands to ball early and get in the head of Mwai Kumwenda then it could spell real danger signs for the Vixens. Sterling is an attacking and defensive option for Adelaide with her long limbs and rejection over the shot becoming a key characteristic in her game plan. Kumwenda will need support from the likes of Kaylia Stanton and Ruby Barkemeyer if the Vixens are able to collect an upset win. Hannah Mundy will also be the key for the Vixens with the wing attack finding some good space around circle edge however Matilda Garrett is renowned for her hunting ability out in goal defence.

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. GIANTS Netball
Tuesday, August 3 @ 3:30pm

The Lightning have suffered back-to-back defeats and will be eager to put that to bed with a convincing performance against the GIANTS who have kicked things up a gear in the past couple of outings. Sunshine Coast are steadily slipping down the ladder in that top four position while the GIANTS on the other hand are climbing up it towards the tail end of the season.

With Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer more than willing to take the super shot it will be up to Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius to put an end to their confidence and really create some doubt in their minds. One player that will be eager to continue her upwards trajectory is Maddie Hay with the wing attack a real quiet achiever in the GIANTS frontend, able to dig in and hit circle edge with great conviction and timing. The GIANTS are also at their best when Jamie-Lee Price is up and raring to go with the centre a real barometer for them given her hunt, tenacity and all-round physicality. The Lightning have a plethora of midcourt options with Kate Shimmin able to slot into wing defence while Maddy McAuliffe, Mahalia Cassidy and Laura Scherian can all rotate through centre, throw in the likes of Binnian Hunt and the options are endless for the Lightning.

In attack, Cara Koenen will be hoping to bounce back after a quiet performance by her lofty standards and really impose herself along the baseline against Sam Poolman. If the GIANTS are not able to nullify the shooter to shooter combination between her and Steph Wood then it could give the home side the upper hand. But April Brandley has proven to be a real ball winner in the past couple of weeks while Matilda McDonell is a livewire down back for the GIANTS with her closing speed and aerial ability impressive.

West Coast Fever vs. Collingwood Magpies
Tuesday, August 3 @ 6:30pm

It is going to be an action packed couple of days for the Magpies as they front up for their third game in six days and the challenge does not get any easier coming up against the Fever. West Coast has proven to be a real powerhouse this season and will be hoping to exploit its couple of extra days rest to claim a win over the Pies.

It will all come down to whether or not the Magpies are able to defeat Jhaniele Fowler with the goal shooter a commanding presence under the post. She can single-handedly lead her side to victory given her accuracy and volume to post while both Sasha Glasgow and Alice Teague-Neeld have proven to be handy options in attack. the real key to success for the Fever is Verity Charles with the dynamic wing attack able to release ball into the shooters either from circle edge or further away. Collingwood will need the highly dynamic Ash Brazill to fire on all cylinders in this clash if they are any chance of causing an upset.

Defensively the Fever are littered with options but are headlined by the services of Courtney Bruce with the goal keeper in career best form and ready to take on Nelson under the post. the Fever will be hoping that Sunday Aryang can double down on Sinclair while Stacey Francis-Bayman will likely get the job on Browne in order to stop the speed of the ball heading into the circle. Do not be surprised if Kalifa McCollin gets a run out on court for the Pies given the heavy workload.

Photo credit: SSN

Thunderbirds set tongues wagging with upset win over Lightning

ADELAIDE Thunderbirds caused an almighty Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) upset against Sunshine Coast Lightning by one goal (61-60). It was a heart in your mouth finish, with the winner not decided until the final five seconds of the game with Lenize Potgieter prevailing as the match winner.

It was goal for goal to start the term, and while both teams did not necessarily treasure possession to start the game they managed to convert off their centre pass. Mahalia Cassidy had some real energy out on court winning ball back but simply could not capitalise with Potgieter imposing herself under the ring. An errant pass from Laura Scherian handed possession back to the Thunderbirds but they lacked fluidity down the court throwing away ball as soon as they got it. Shamera Sterling showcased her aerial presence and tenacity with an early intercept as the Thunderbirds skipped out to a three goal lead. Getting the nod in at wing defence with Shadine van der Merwe rested with a lower leg injury, Latanya Wilson rewarded her coach for the start with a huge intercept highlighting her speed and dynamic movement. the Thunderbirds were in complete and utter control pushing out to four-goal lead and most importantly made the Lightning pay shooting at 100 per cent.

With the timeout called the Lightning came out with a point to prove nailing the first goal as Cara Koenen upped the ante after being well and truly outdone by Sterling. Maisie Nankivell seemed to have the ball on a string with her bullet like passes into Potgieter and Georgie Horjus. The Thunderbirds’ tails were up as the attack end fired on all cylinders with the super shot working wonders and extending their lead to six goals. But Steph Wood said replied with a huge super shot of her own to reduce the deficit to four goals.

Potgieter was carving up the Lightning defence with Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius out of answers for her silky footwork and strong holds. But Maddy McAuliffe displayed her class and niggle around circle edge to pick up ball and then send it firing down the other end of the court. Sunshine Coast kicked up a gear eating into the margin but Sterling was not about to be outdone with the goal keeper out roaming and picking up a huge intercept. It was turning into a goal keeper’s game as Maweni racked up a rejection on the shot to hand possession back to the Lightning. The defensive nature of the game stepped up with Pretorius utilising her go-go gadget arms to wrangle an intercept with Koenen rewarding her for her efforts. Scores were level with just over five minutes played as Sunshine Coast started to use their speed to dart across the court and steal the lead.

The tussle from both sides was impressive but the Lightning managed to keep their noses in front. A timeout shifted momentum back in favour of the Thunderbirds as they slotted back to back goals to get back within striking distance. Horjus was proving to be a real livewire as Adelaide stole back the lead credit to their new found level of confidence. Wood nailed a much needed settler while the battle between Cassidy and Elle McDonald continued to heat up as the pair engaged in plenty of argy-bargy around circle edge. Once again it was Wood that sealed the deal with only seconds left on the clock with a super shot to hold a three-goal lead at half-time.

It took less than 20 seconds for Potgieter to add to the scoreboard as the Thunderbirds clawed their way back into the contest. It was turnover central to start the game as both attacking ends coughed up ball as they looked to re-settle back into the pace of the game. Sterling picked up where she left off with another huge rejection on the shot to spur the side into action. Within the blink of an eye the Thunderbirds had pegged the margin back and this goal for goal rhythm ensued. Horjus scrapped hard at the transverse line to win ball back as the tables started to turn and Adelaide re-established a two-goal lead.

The Lightning tinkered with the midcourt as Scherian swung into centre and Binnian Hunt pulled on the wing attack bib in hope to use her extra height to their advantage. There was an aura of confidence for the Thunderbirds as Hannah Petty picked off intercepts while Wilson used her aerial smarts to chase down the loose ball after replacing Matilda Garrett in goal defence. Adelaide flipped the script from half time to go into the final change up by three thanks to a six goal turnaround.

Looking down the barrel of a loss the Lightning looked to the bench as Peace Proscovia entered the game in goal shooter while Kate Shimmin got the nod in at wing defence prompting a midcourt re-shuffle. The Lightning rallied with a couple of big defensive wins as they levelled the scores once again before they hit the lead by a goal. It was a pulsating quarter as the lead ebbed and flowed with neither side able to assert their dominance. as the clock ticked down, Adelaide dug deep pulling a rabbit out of the hat to steal a one goal win off the hands of Potgieter.

Koenen finished with  27 goals from 29 attempts, while Wood also chimed in with 22 goals and 15 goal assists. Scherian was once again a livewire in the frontend racking up 20 goal assists. For the Thunderbirds, Potgieter was the go-to girl with her 40 goals from 41 attempts while Horjus slotted 20 goals. Nankivell impressed around circle edge for the Tbirds with a whopping 35 goal assists while defensively Pretorius starred with her four intercepts and six deflections as Sterling dazzled credit to her three intercepts and three gains.

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 14 | 17 | 12 | 17 (60)
ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 18 | 10 | 18 | 15 (61)

STARTING SEVEN

Lightning:

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Mahalia Cassidy
WD: Maddy McAuliffe
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

Thunderbirds:

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Maisie Nankivell
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Latanya Wilson
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

Photo credit: AAP

GIANTS fire against struggling Melbourne Vixens

IN a battle of first versus last it was the GIANTS that cruised to victory over the Melbourne Vixens by nine goals, 54-45. Although it took a while for the GIANTS to kick into gear, once they did the Vixens struggled to combat the pressure both in attack and defence.

The GIANTS came out with a hiss and a roar as Sophie Dwyer nailed the first two goals of the game before Jo Harten chimed in with a goal of her own to create a three-goal buffer within the first minute of action. But the Vixens did not panic as Kaylia Stanton asserted herself on the contest to open the account and get the cogs ticking over in attack. It then turned into a shootout with both sides capitalising off their centre pass as they settled into the contest. Hannah Mundy was crucial around circle edge for the Vixens with the youngster finding her groove while her counterpart in Amy Parmenter was also proving to be a nuisance with her niggle and speed.

The goal for goal rhythm continued for much of the term with neither side able to really assert themselves on the contest as the GIANTS maintained their handy buffer. But as the quarter went on the Vixens unlocked some better ball movement thanks to the workrate of Kate Moloney and Mundy. Mwai Kumwenda got busy with her body positioning and aerial presence to keep the Vixens in the game as they mounted somewhat of a comeback in the final couple of minutes of play. Three goals straight cut the margin down with only two goals separating the two sides at quarter time.

It was somewhat of a stagnant start in the second term with the GIANTS frontend not finding a wealth of space but still able to add to the scoreboard with Harten weaving her magic to break free under the post. the ball ping-ponged up and down the court with Kumwenda missing a couple of sitters that she would normally slot. The GIANTS held onto a three-goal lead but nothing was easy across the court as both sides looked laboured in attack. The battle between Harten and Mannix was palpable with the latter contesting every single pass and putting the GIANTS goal shooter under all sorts of pressure to score. The Vixens shook things up in attack with Stanton switching back to goal shooter and Kumwenda moving out to goal attack. Things were not falling the way of Kumwenda inside the circle while up the other end Harten was dominating. Dwyer continued on her merry way inside the goal circle as the GIANTS extended their lead to eight goals.

It was turning into a GIANTS masterclass as they slotted six goals straight with Parmenter dominating and using her closing speed to win ball back and propel it down the other end of the court. Inaccuracy continued to plague the reigning premiers but it was not the same case for the GIANTS as they chipped away with their short sharp passes led by Jamie-Lee Price. A much needed super shot from Kumwenda got them back into the contest as they culled the deficit from nine to seven. Brandley caused mayhem down in defence with her elevation to get hands to ball but they could not capitalise as the Vixens started to rally taking advantage of the super shot. Ruby Barkmeyer entered the fray in at goal shooter but struggled to have a real impact with the GIANTS applying smothering defence.

Up by a handy seven goals the GIANTS wasted no time adding to their tally with Dwyer slotting a nice goal to open the second half. The Vixens shifted their shooting combination with Barkmeyer swinging into her traditional position of goal attack and used her turn of speed to have an impact. Brandley and Parmenter were doing a mountain-load of work through both transition and defence while Sam Poolman impressed with her three-foot marking to come up with a big intercept. Jo Weston sparked into action with the goal defence gobbling up consecutive rebounds as the overall defensive pressure kicked up a gear for the Vixens. After a sluggish and uncharacteristic first half, Kumwenda fired up to provide a commanding figure under the post to drag her side back into the contest.

After a highly defensive opening few minutes in the third quarter the attacking nature of both sides kicked into gear with Kumwenda and Harten proving to be lynchpins for their respective sides. With the lead ballooning out to 10 goals Kadie-Ann Dehaney was injected into the thick of things for Melbourne but that did very little as the GIANTS continued on their upwards trajectory. Maddie Hay really started to come into the game with Harten seeking out the wing attack around circle edge. With the super shot in play the GIANTS were happy to shake things up and opt for under the post or perimeter edge. Parmenter was in fine form with the wing defence popping up to take a huge intercept as they went into three quarter time up by 11 goals.

Matilda McDonnell and Kristiana Manu’a both made their way onto the court in goal keeper and wing defence respectively for the GIANTS with McDonnell getting the chocolates nice and early. Allie Smith also entered the game for the Vixens but it was McDonell that was running riot down in defence with her speed off the mark and cleanliness at the contest. The GIANTS were gaining some real momentum pushing out to a 14-goal lead as Price and Hay dominated proceedings around circle edge. Stanton came back on midway through the term but it was much of the same as the Vixens struggled to eat into the growing deficit. Mattise Letherbarrow provided some fresh legs in the GIANTS frontend as they cruised to a nine goal victory, staving off a late super shot driven comeback from Kumwenda in the process.

Harten had a hot hand finishing with 30 goals from 38 attempts while Dwyer slotted 20 goals from 27 attempts at 74 per cent. Kumwenda recorded 34 goals at 79 per cent as Stanton only managed four from 11 at a mere 36 per cent. Mundy led the charge with 10 goal assists while in the GIANTS camp both Hay and Price finished with 11 apiece. McDonell was a ball magnet in her 15 minutes of play collecting three intercepts as Brandley registered five deflections. Mannix and Weston combined for 13 gains in the loss.

GIANTS NETBALL 14 | 13 |16 | 11 (54)
MELBOURNE VIXENS 12 | 9 | 12 | 13 (45)

STARTING SEVEN: 

GIANTS:

GS: Jo Harten
GA: Sophie Dwyer
WA: Maddie Hay
C: Jamie-Lee Price
WD: Amy Parmenter
GD: April Brandley
GK: Sam Poolman

Vixens:

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Kaylia Stanton
WA: Hannah Mundy
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Emily Mannix

Photo credit: SSN Twitter