Tag: alexia baker

What if….. The VNSL introduced the Super Shot?

THE introduction of the two-goal Super Shot to the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) has been the biggest shock to the netball community in recent history. Coaches, players and the biggest names in netball across the world have come forward with their thoughts on the introduction of the controversial rule change. But what would happen if the UK followed in the footsteps of the SSN and introduced a reward for long-range shooting?

No team would benefit more from this rule change than Wasps Netball. Renowned as the “long bomb queen” Rachel Dunn has a habit of slotting them from anywhere in the circle, and even from outside when it comes to Fast 5. She was the MVP at the British Fast 5 All Stars in 2018 and just missed out on that title in 2019 to the formidable Jo Harten. Backed up by Katie Harris and Alexia Baker, Wasps would be unstoppable if they managed to keep the score close during the first ten minutes of each quarter. With the experienced Dunn at the post, and their exciting defensive line of Fran Williams and Hannah Knights creating plenty of turnover ball, they would be back on top as the team to beat.

London Pulse’s Chiara Semple is another master of the long bomb. With good accuracy from range and the typical New Zealand confidence to post, Semple would most likely benefit from the Super Shot rule, as she typically shoots from distance anyway. With Sigi Burger standing at 6′ 5″ under the post for the rebound, Pulse could fire these off all day long. Especially given their exciting form at the start of the 2020 season, this would add another advantage to the already improving side. Another team with confidence in their attack end is Team Bath. You would expect youngster Sophie Drakeford-Lewis to rise to the challenge of a two-goal shot if it were introduced, and her connection with Kim Commane would provide a strong starting point.

Two England Roses who do not shy away from a long ranger are Ellie Cardwell and George Fisher for Manchester Thunder and Saracens Mavericks respectively. These two have such great composure on their shot and have both been going from strength to strength over the past few seasons. Whilst Fisher usually takes the majority of her shots from under the post, she is accurate from anywhere, memorably sinking one from near the transverse line in Fast 5. For Thunder, Cardwell has so much strength on the hold and knows how to create space for herself to find good mid-range shooting position. Given her skill in the circle, it would not be hard for her to transition into an exciting long-range shooter. Both of these teams benefit from strong and experienced shooting partnerships, Fisher with Kadeen Corbin, and Cardwell with Kathryn Turner, giving them the edge over teams with only young blood in the attacking end. Saracens Mavericks also have the advantage of defensive mastermind Razia Quashie, as well as tall tower Jo Trip, to scoop up any stray shots and build pressure at the back.

Both Celtic Dragons and Severn Stars have potential secret weapons when it comes to shooting from further away from the post. Jamaican import Rebekah Robinson has fantastic movement in the circle for Dragons and is a playmaker with the ability to shoot long when needed. England Fast Nets player Lucy Herdman delighted fans with her distance shooting at Fast 5 in 2019, leading Dragons to their first-ever semi-final in the competition. She now plies her trade for Severn Stars and while we did not see much of her on court during the short 2020 season, Herdman would be a valuable asset for Stars to have up their sleeve.

The remaining teams would probably struggle to keep up based on their current shooting strengths. Loughborough Lightning’s Ella Clark does have the experience shooting from range due to her basketball background, however her accuracy can sometimes falter when she is under heavy defensive pressure. Another team that would need to improve their accuracy to post are Strathclyde Sirens. Lynsey Gallagher can be a real threat, and as a shorter goal attack, she does tend to take shots from further out. However Sirens are usually less accurate than other teams on their goal conversion, and in a situation where shots are worth more than one point, this could really hurt their chances. For Surrey Storm, their issues lie in other areas of the court. Karen Bailey typically shoots from under the post, and while Sophie Hankin is a possible threat from further out, Storm would need to stay in touch with other teams to secure wins. After a shaky start to 2020 they will be rebuilding, and hopefully will have secured some of their structures by the time netball resumes.

Netball fans in the UK, like many in Australia, are generally not keen for the introduction of the Super Shot in the VNSL. Sara Bayman has been openly critical of the decision on the Netball Nation podcast, stating that the rule change moves even further away from the international game. She accused the new rule of “sabotaging your own national team” and believes it is likely to bring more bad news for the Diamonds. However, Tamsin Greenway has claimed this is a chance for netball to evolve and suggests we will see a move away from the tall holding shooter slotting them in from under the ring. Clubs in the UK may be glad this is being trialled down under and not in the VNSL during such a time of uncertainty for netball in the UK. Due to the backlash from netball fans in the UK, it seems unlikely that such a bold move would be considered, especially when the influence of broadcasters in England is much lower than in Australia.

Netball fantasy teams: VNSL Roses v. VNSL International All Stars

FOLLOWING the huge success of the thrilling Diamonds vs All Stars Bushfire Relief game in March, it got us thinking about another hypothetical exhibition match, with international Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) players facing up to the top England Roses squad members who are currently plying their trade in the UK.

VNSL Roses:

GK: Razia Quashie (Saracens Mavericks)
GD: Fran Williams (Wasps Netball)
WD: Laura Malcolm (Manchester Thunder)
C: Jade Clarke (Wasps Netball)
WA: Gabby Marshall (Saracens Mavericks)
GA: Ellie Cardwell (Manchester Thunder)
GS: George Fisher (Saracens Mavericks)

BENCH: Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (Team Bath), Nat Panagarry (Loughborough Lightning), Jodie Gibson (Saracens Mavericks)

This Roses fantasy squad has a huge amount of experience and depth across all areas of the court. In the 2020 Netball Nations Cup, we saw the emergence of a new England shooting partnership between Ellie Cardwell and George Fisher – nicknamed “Fishwell”. Whilst Cardwell is usually seen wearing the goal shooter bib, in goal attack she opened up the shooting circle nicely for Fisher and can sink a sweet long bomb herself. This partnership would certainly give any defensive lineup a lot of headaches, especially given Fisher’s clever footwork and shooting accuracy. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis also plays more of the traditional goal attack role with her speed and strong drives and could provide another look for the shooting end. Whilst Drakeford-Lewis is at the beginning of her international career, she would be well supported in this lineup. She is likely to become a key option for England in the future – especially given she can also move into wing attack if needed, much like a versatile Nat Haythornthwaite or Kiera Austin.

In the midcourt, a balance of experience and youth creates this formidable unit. Youngster Gabby Marshall has great vision at wing attack and can keep any wing defence busy so they don’t go looking for trouble. Marshall is backed up by the veteran Jade Clarke who can keep a cool head in the middle and dictate play with ease. Tenacious tagger Laura Malcolm completes this midcourt lineup. Though she spent some time away from the England setup, her recent performances in the red dress have been outstanding. Nat Panagarry proved herself capable at the Netball World Cup 2019, showing that she is a confident team-player and can have an impact when needed. She has a good read of the game and her infectious energy can really lift a team.

The defensive end is where this team gets exciting. Whilst you have the reliable and gutsy Fran Williams out the front causing havoc, you also have one of the most threatening defenders coming up the England ranks in Razia Quashie at the back. Whilst Quashie is not the tallest defender in the game, she clearly has the athletic ability and pure strength to be a game-changer. With this defensive end, the difficulty may be the partnerships. As we saw in the Bushfire Relief game, putting two defending superstars out on court together doesn’t always mean they gel easily. I would love to see this combination out on court for England more as Quashie and Williams have such complementary styles of play. Given time together they could become a lethal partnership. Jodie Gibson is another versatile and experienced defender, providing a sparky and reliable option at the back should the defensive end need to change tactics.

VNSL International All Stars:

GK: Zanele Vimbela (Sirens, SA)
GD: Latanya Wilson (Dragons, JAM)
WD: Nia Jones (Stars, WAL)
C: Caroline O’Hanlon (Thunder, NI)
WA: Liana Leota (Stars, NZ)
GA: Alexia Baker (Wasps, AUS)
GS: Sigi Burger (Pulse, SA)

BENCH: Kim Commane (Bath, AUS), Adean Thomas (Pulse, JAM), Jo Trip (Mavericks, NZ)

This International All Stars side is undoubtedly stacked with talent. At the shooting end, it’s hard to ignore the threat of Sigi Burger under the post, given her 98% shooting average after three rounds of the 2020 VNSL Season. New to the VNSL, Alexia Baker is no stranger to high-quality netball, having been a Queensland Firebirds training partner. She knows how to feed a holding shooter like Burger and can also provide a solid option to goal. Kim Commane had an outstanding start to the 2020 season, ending up in the top five goal scorers, and she provides another different style of play to keep the defenders guessing. While this shooting end has very few international caps between them, these players have demonstrated their skills domestically and wouldn’t shy away from an opportunity on a bigger stage.

Liana Leota is a typical wing attack, extremely crafty and with a wealth of tools in her arsenal to feed the goal circle effectively. In the centre position, Caroline O’Hanlon is so impressive, not only due to her insane fitness but also her defensive pressure and a cool head. Leota and O’Hanlon combined effectively to secure Manchester Thunder’s Grand Final win last season, and could easily replicate this successful chemistry. Supported by Nia Jones in wing defence, the position where she is arguably her strongest, this midcourt unit would have no issues with transition play and swift goal conversion. Adean Thomas has also demonstrated her flair and skill, both at the VNSL and for Jamaica. Thomas is unpredictable, exciting and would be a great impact player in this lineup.

In the defensive circle, Latanya Wilson has been compared to a young Shamera Sterling and this glowing comparison is not undue. Wilson has fantastic aerial ability and was sitting on 14 intercepts when the VNSL was cancelled. This was just one behind the leader in Quashie, and Wilson racked up this impressive tally despite the fact she was suspended for one game due to dangerous play. Whilst discipline is an area to improve on, her surprising gameplay and rangy limbs would be a valuable asset in goal defence for the All Stars. Teaming up with Wilson is South African, Zanele Vimbela. Vimbela has proven her worth internationally and is surely next in line to the goal keeper bib for South Africa after Phumza Maweni. She is a fearless defender who attacks the ball and provides consistent pressure to unnerve the opposition feeders. Able to cover both positions effectively is Mavericks stalwart Jo Trip. Her height and experience mean she can make a difference in close games and would be a valuable addition to the All Stars.

Who would win?

The International All Stars have a tremendous amount of talent and a really diverse range of playing styles. However, the Roses consistency and familiarity with each other would most likely mean they would take the win. The battle would be lost and won in the midcourt, as the two sides are fairly evenly matched at both ends – with the Roses’ shooting circle slightly superior to the All Stars’. This would be a great spectacle of VNSL talent, but it’s likely the Roses would be able to edge out the All Stars.

Vitality Netball Superleague review Round 4: Stars stun Wasps while Thunder make it four on the trot

ONLY two games were played in Round 4 of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) as a result of the coronavirus. While not all the games went ahead, the two games that happened provided plenty of intrigue and a surprising upset.

Severn Stars (59) defeated Wasps (54)

The first game of the round well and truly lived up to the hype with the Stars pulling off one of the biggest coups this season with a five-goal win over the Wasps. The Stars established a handy lead in the first quarter and steadily built on it heading into the main break with a three-goal buffer. But the Wasps are a classy unit and showed just how easily they can flip the script going on a scoring rampage of 18 goals to 10. The strong fight back did not last long though, with the Stars landing the final blow in the last quarter with an impressive 10-goal turnaround. Severn simply could not be denied under the post piling on a whopping 20 goals while keeping the Wasps under wraps and limiting their attacking ball movement. They simply could not maintain their high intensity third term falling short and notching up their third loss for the year a feat they would not have been expecting heading into the season. The Wasps were force out of their usual game style racking up 20 unforced errors and while defensively they were strong winning the deflections and intercepts tally the Stars took the cake when it came to accuracy and ability to stay away from the whistle.

Georgia Rowe was a key cog in the Stars win with the towering goal shooter only missing one goal for the game and nailing a game-high 47 shots. Rowe was unstoppable under the post making it look effortless with her clever movement and connection with shooting comrade Paige Reed. The goal attack managed to put on 12 goals and while her accuracy was down, missing six goals she played a pivotal support role. Defensively Towera Vinkhumbo was in a league of her own with the new recruit racking up the stats with four intercepts and four deflections. Wasps’ shooter Rachel Dunn was her usual dominant self in the goal circle with her impressive timing, strong hands and range on full display with 45 goals while both Sienna Rushton and Alexia Baker struggled to find their rhythm with a combined nine goals. With the attacking end struggling to fire, Fran Williams led the way down back with her ball winning ability and desperation. Williams finished with two rebounds, four intercepts and one deflection while goal keeper Hannah Knights imposed herself with two intercepts and one deflection. Jade Clarke found herself back in wing defence up against former Silver Fern Liana Leota who was clever with ball in hand and played a big role in creating scoring chances for her side.

Surrey Storm (42) defeated by Manchester Thunder (60)

Manchester kept their undefeated run intact with a dominant 18-goal win over the lowly Storm. The Thunder raced out of the gates opening up a six goal lead at the first break and extending it to 13 by half time. It was a complete performance by the reigning premiers who looked slick across the court and never really gave the Storm a chance. Although their scoring dried up in the second half, only adding 27 goals to their tally compared to their 33 in the first half, the Thunder still romped it home, keeping the home side under double digits in the fourth quarter. When it came to penalties around the court the away side won the battle with 49-42 while they also had the upper hand when it came to intercepts with Thunder highlighting their defensive prowess with 16 to seven. Despite the Thunder being costly around the court with nine more turnovers 22-13 they managed to win enough of the ball back to do damage on the scoreboard and run out with the win.

It was a trying game for the Storm shooters, with Karyn Bailey and Sophie Hankin receiving plenty of close attention from their opposition. Bailey was the main scoring source for Surrey, with the experienced goaler proving to be a rock under the post with six offensive rebounds to go with her 24 goals. Hankin although she was not overly accurate still had an influence with her 11 goals while through the midcourt Yasmin Parsons and Mikki Austin worked tirelessly to deliver the ball into the circle. However it was the defensive efforts of Caroline O’Hanlon and Amy Carter that stood head and shoulders above the rest through the midcourt with the two taking a combined six intercepts and five deflections. Australian defender, Leah Middleton also had a profound influence and while she received plenty of attention from the umpire with 18 penalties her ball winning ability was on display with a couple of timely tips to disrupt Thunders attacking flow. For Thunder, the shooting load was evenly spread across both Joyce Mvula and Eleanor Cardwell. Mvula was strong under the post with her aerial presence and accuracy on display finishing with 25 goals while Cardwell top-scored with 29 goals from 36 attempts at 81 per cent. In the defensive circle the tried and tested duo of Loreen Ngwira and Emma Dovey wreaked havoc confusing the space with their constant movement and hunt for the ball. Ngwira notched up four intercepts and six deflections while Dovey managed two rebounds, four intercepts and four deflections to cap off an all-round impressive performance by the visiting side.

Vitality Netball Superleague review: Round 2 – Team Bath continues hot start to season

THE second round of Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) brought plenty of controversy and close encounters with sides battling hard to claim early ascendancy. New recruits continued to make waves in their new colours while the tried and tested combinations of years gone by also proved to be the difference in narrow wins.

Severn Stars (56) defeated by Manchester Thunder (65)

The Thunder made it two from two to open the season downing the Severn Stars in convincing fashion. It was an even first term with only one goal separating the sides at quarter time before the Thunder started to hit their straps in the second to extend their lead. But a strong third quarter from the Stars kept them alive scoring 17 goals to reduce the margin and keep them in touch heading into the final quarter. However, the Thunder were not about to lie down piling on the pain in the final quarter with an impressing 19 goals to run out with a strong nine goal lead. Accuracy proved no issue for either side with a combined 14 shots missed while Manchester proved to be stronger under the post offensively with 11 rebounds.

It was a shooting showdown, with Stars goal shooter Georgia Rowe leading from the front with an impressive 43 goals from 45 attempts at 96 per cent. Rowe was strong under the post holding her space and using her hands to reign in passes that came her way. Up the other end, Joyce Mvula owned the circle with the Thunder goaler going about her business with 22 goals and Eleanor Cardwell doing even more damaging finishing with 32 goals to her name. Cardwell rotated between shooter and goal attack highlighting her endurance and skill under the post while Kathryn Turner also plied her trade in the goal circle with 11 goals. Through the midcourt Amy Carter and Ashleigh Neal combined well to feed the Thunder shooters while both Liana Leota and Bethan Dyke for the Severn Stars worked tirelessly in attack to hit the circle edge and provide good ball use to the shooters. Defensively Ama Agbeze stood tall with her experience on full display with Towera Vinkhumbo and Ella Powell-Davies also having an impact down back but not able to effectively shut down the Thunder offence.

Loughborough Lightning (59) defeated Strathclyde Sirens (53)

After a poor start to their first home game of the season the Lightning clawed their way back into the game and overran the Sirens who seemed to have all the answers in the opening term. Loughborough only managed a mere seven goals in the first 15 minutes of the game thanks to the Sirens overwhelming pressure and ability to combat everything that the Lightning threw at them. But that quickly changed with Loughborough bursting out of the blocks in the second with 18 goals and returning the favour to their opposition limiting them to nine goals of their own. With momentum behind them the Lightning continued on that trajectory applying a wealth of scoreboard pressure with consecutive quarters of 17 goals apiece while the Sirens failed to recapture the same intensity they had in the first term gifting the Lightning a hard-fought win. To a certain extent the Sirens will be ruing their inaccuracy with 12 shots going astray while both sides will be pleased it was a relatively low penalty game with 45 and 35 apiece despite Samantha May receiving a warning due to her 14 penalties.

The Lightning were led by Ugandan shooter Mary Cholhok with the goal shooter cool, calm and composed under the post only missing two goals and sinking an impressive 46 proving to be the go-to girl in her sides win. Cholhok was strong in the circle with Ella Clark playing a strong support role with 13 goals to keep the Lightning in the fight. Vicki Oyesola proved to the difference down in defence with her ability to read the play and take important intercepts or disrupt the attacking flow with her well-timed deflections. Up against Oyesola Bethan Goodwin and Lynsey Gallagher showcased their strength and connection with clever shooter to shooter interplay. Goodwin was the dominant shooter with 31 goals from 38 attempts while Gallagher made an important 15 goal contribution while the seven goal cameo appearance from Niamh McCall was not enough to get them over the line. Zanele Vimbela continued her hot form in the defensive third with the defender racking up three intercepts pairing with Natalie Bright with ease. Gia Abernethy and Claire Maxwell were strong through the midcourt for the Sirens but wing Hannah Williams proved too much to handle with her clever touch around the circle edge.

Celtic Dragons (52) defeated by Team Bath (71)

The clash between the Dragons and Team Bath was filled with plenty of intensity and ferocity with Jamaican recruit Latanya Wilson order off the court after an ill-disciplined performance on the court. Down a player in the final term the Dragons found it hard to keep up with Team Bath who took it all in their stride and put on a show in the last quarter scoring a whopping 23 goals to 12 to run out with another strong win. It was an even start to the game with both sides sitting at 13 goals apiece before Bath got some separation in the second with a 19-goal term, a lead they were not willing to surrender despite their opponent’s best efforts. In the rebounding department, the ball seemed to fall Bath’s way credit to their positioning under the post winning both the offensive rebounds 12 to six and defensive nine to two.

After a stellar performance in her debut match Wilson tried to recreate her impressive form but struggled to stay away from the whistle. Her clumsiness and inability to play to the umpire’s call caused havoc, initially forced to the bench before re-entering the game and giving away a late penalty that was the final straw for the defender who found herself sent off for the remainder of the game leaving her side in the lurch. Abigail Tyrrel was a Trojan in defence working tirelessly to cover the slack left by Wilson but it was no match for the highly skilled shooting unit of Kim Commane and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis.  The load was relatively evenly split with Commane nailing 37 goals and Drakeford-Lewis posting 25 goals while newcomer Betsy Creak showed her hot hand with nine goals at 100 per cent. Co-captain Summer Artman was solid in goal keeper along with Imogen Allison and Tash Pavelin out the front. For the Dragons, the shooting combination of Amy Clinton and Brittany Coleman proved to be strong with Clinton nailing 31 goals and Coleman slotting 15 but it was not enough to worry the scoreboard. Shona O’Dwyer was a key cog in wing attack with her ability to feed the ball into the goalers.

Surrey Storm (50) defeated London Pulse (51)

It turned out to be a close contest between the Storm and Pulse with the latter prevailing thanks to their ability to ride the storm and hold strong under pressure. The Pulse well and truly blew the Storm out of the water with a staggering 19 to six goals opening term proving just how much power they have under the post. But the Storm were not about to be embarrassed fighting back hard in the second quarter giving the Pulse a taste of their own medicine with 18 goals of their own and keeping the Pulse to nine. With the margin at four goals at half time Surrey continued their hot form in the third quarter to take a slender one goal lead heading into the final change but failed to maintain that intensity falling agonisingly short. Storm had their fair share of chances missing 18 goals while the Pulse only missed seven shots. In terms of other key statistics neither side could be split with penalties 56-53 and intercepts seven to nine.

Sigi Burger has made herself at home in the new pink dress having an immediate impact under the post with her commanding height, good movement, holding ability and most importantly accuracy to post with 32 goals from 34 attempts at 94 per cent. She was ably assisted by goal attack Chiara Semple with 12 goals while wing attack Adean Thomas highlighted her ability to find space and thread the needle in the attacking third with her quick release. Wing defence Funmi Fadoju put up a strong performance for the Pulse doing her role to disrupt the attacking flow with four intercepts while goal keeper Halimat Adio plied her trade confusing the space and picking up three intercepts. Storm’s Lorraine Kowalewska proved that anything you can do I can do too with two intercepts combining well with fellow defender Katy Hughes. In the shooting circle, Karryn Bailey proved to have a hot hand with 35 goals while Sophie Hankin chipped in with 14 goals of her own.

Wasps Netball (57) defeated Saracens Mavericks (53)

In the final match of Round 2 the Wasps got on the winners list for the first time in 2020 after going down last week to reigning premiers, Manchester Thunder. Jade Clarke got things underway with the first centre pass of the game and that ultimately set the tone for the rest of the game with the Wasps claiming an early lead in the first quarter and building on that as the game went on. A strong second quarter performance from the home side helped to set up the win with the Mavericks unable to get their noses in front despite reducing the margin after half time. It was an even performance under the post with each side only missing nine goals apiece while the rebounding column was won by the Wasps both in offence and defence.

England Roses and Wasps goaler Rachel Dunn led from the front letting her consistency and silky movement do all the talking while he volume was another key aspect of her game with 33 goals. Australian youngster Alexia Baker made her debut, pairing nicely with the experience of Dunn in the circle and showcasing just how much class she has with 11 goals from 13 attempts. Katie Harris also put in the hard yards in the circle with an important 13 goals to get the Wasps over the line. Jo Trip and Razia Quashie had their work cut out for them against high quality opposition with Quashie displaying her defensive prowess with four intercepts and two rebounds. Sasha Corbin was her usual solid self through the midcourt finding space and using her experience to weave her way through the traffic to deliver well weighted passes into sister Kadeen Corbin and George Fisher. Fisher was strong to post with a game-high 38 goals such is her dominance and skill while Kadeen managed 15 goals. But both were put under the pump thanks to Wasps’ defenders Fran Williams and Hannah Knights with the two collecting six rebounds and five intercepts between them.

VNSL 2020 team preview: Wasps Netball

WITH the 2020 season of the Vitality Netball Superleague now upon us, we take a look at each team heading into a massive year in Superleague netball. The next team in our season preview is Wasps Netball.

Coach: Mel Mansfield
Captain: Hannah Knights
2019 finish: 1st (Runners-up) (16-4)

Wasps were impressive all through 2019, with their cleanliness, speed down court and each player’s individual ability to turn the tides of the match just three of their major pros. But while they had a stellar season, the Wasps were pipped at the post after dominating for majority of the season and went down in the grand final in devastating fashion.

2020 predictions:

Given the Wasps fell at the final hurdle last season, it is safe to say they will be raring to go this season to dominate the contest once more. They did not lose a load of talent at the end of last season but really just added to an already extensive list of key names, making for another tough outfit that a lot of sides will need to find ways to combat early, especially the goaling lineup of Rachel Dunn and Katie Harris whose consistency and ability to share the load went far last season. Fran Williams has also elevated her game over the off-season in the England Roses, making for Roses names in key positions across the court to hold ground and maintain consistency. The addition of Aussie youngster Alexia Baker will bring plenty of excitement and unpredictability to the Wasps line-up who are renowned for their consistent game play. 

Key player: Jade Clarke (C/WD)

With experience and a wealth of talent to boot, Clarke is always one to watch on court with her dynamic movement, read of the play and ability to dictate her opposition’s next step. Her versatility through the midcourt makes her a real barometer for the Wasps, and her vision around the edge of the circle is key for collecting loose ball and creating turnovers. Clarke works tirelessly both ways to ensure she has an impact both defensively and offensively consistently proving she is not afraid to put her body on the line.

Team list:

Jade Clarke
Rachel Dunn
Hannah Knights
Fran Williams
Iona Christian (Severn Stars)
Tamsin Moala
Katie Harris
Sienna Rushton
Alexia Baker (Queensland Firebirds)
Beth Dix
Ally Housley
Hannah Leighton
Josie Huckle
Amy Flanagan
Sophia Candappa

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Semi-finals

COLLINGWOOD Magpies will attempt to bring the New Zealand Super Club trophy back across the ditch after winning through to the final following a 14-goal win over Central Pulse. Their opponents will be Northern Mystics, who also picked up an impressive win, downing Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by seven goals.

Collingwood Magpies (54) defeated Central Pulse (40)

Collingwood became the first team to move through to the New Zealand Super Club final after a pulsating win in the semi-finals. The Magpies defeated ANZ Premiership reigning premiers Central Pulse by 14 goals, winning three of the four quarters and pushing on from a brave stand by the Pulse to outscore their New Zealand opponents by 11 goals in the third term to be the key difference in the game. Collingwood started the game strongly with Shimona Nelson putting up 13 goals from 15 attempts, pairing well with Nat Medhurst (two goals from three attempts and six goal assists) who grabbed a combined three rebounds. They had a fascinating battle with defensive duo, Katrina Rore and Karin Burger, while up the other end, Geva Mentor won a crucial rebound when going head-to-head with Aliyah Dunn (six goals from seven attempts). Ameliaranne Ekenasio scored four goals from five attempts and had three goal assists, playing a creator role to set up her teammate. The second term saw Maggie Lind come onto court in the wing attack role and she immediately had an impact picking up three goal assists from her three feeds, with Nelson and Medhurst not missing from their nine attempts. General play turnovers were hurting the Magpies in the term however, recording eight to four, and Dunn (nine goals from 10 attempts) and Ekenasio (three from four, and five goal assists) took advantage. The Pulse certainly stepped up in the second term, with Renee Savai’inaea picking up two intercepts, while Burger and Maddy Gordon (four goal assists) both had an intercept each.

As if the disappointing second quarter had awoken the sleeping giant, Collingwood roared into action in the second term, showing off clinical ball use to record just the one turnover, whilst heaping on the pressure to the Pulse who had eight in comparison. Nelson’s remarkable tournament under the post continued, netting 15 goals from 16 attempts, while Medhurst’s experience in the goal circle was telling, picking up an equal team-high eight goal assists from as many feeds – while shooting three goals herself. Ash Brazill also had eight goal assists, playing a consistent role through the midcourt and taking control of that battle. When the Magpies lifted a gear, the Pulse could not quite go with them, scoring seven goals with Dunn (four) and Tiana Metuarau (three) shooting at 100 per cent efficiency. Their scoring flow was made more difficult by a Mentor-sized problem with the English international intercepting the ball twice in the third quarter. The fourth term saw a much tighter quarter once again, but the Magpies still got the spoils, shooting 12 goals to 11 to win, 54-40. Nelson finished the game with eight goals from eight attempts in the term, while Dunn had nine from 10 herself up the opposite end. Collingwood brought on its host of young stars for most of the last term, allowing Medhurst, Brazill, Mentor and Nelson to all finish the game on the bench. The Pulse did the same with Rore and Ekenasio finish on the pine, as Claire Kersten (four goal assists from six feeds) had a good final term to round out the game. Overall, Nelson shot 41 goals from 44 attempts at 93.2 per cent efficiency, while Medhurst finished with 10 from 11, as well as 16 goal assists from 19 feeds. Brazill got better as the game went on, recording 16 goal assists from 17 feeds, while Mentor had three intercepts and one intercept for the game. Dunn was the central target under the post for the Pulse, shooting 28 goals from 31 attempts, while Ekenasio had nine from 12, as well as 11 goal assists from 17 feeds. Kersten finished with a strong 12 goal assists from 18 feeds.

Northern Mystics (49) defeated Waikaito Bay of Plenty Magic (42)

A strong first half in the other semi-final resulted in an impressive seven-goal win to Northern Mystics, thanks to another clinical performance from teenage shooting sensation, Grace Nweke. The Mystics took control in the first term to go four goals up at quarter time, as Nweke sank 11 goals from 13 assists and picked up a rebound in the term. Silver Ferns goaler Bailey Mes did not miss a shot from her three attempts, while Elisapeta Toeava‘s great work at wing attack during the tournament continued with six goal assists from 10 feeds. Up the other end, Phoenix Karaka took a crucial intercept for the Mystics, while the goal circle combination of Georgia Marshall (six goals from six attempts) and Abigail Latu-Meafou (four from five) was keeping the Magic in it. Ariana Cable-Dixon (five goal assists from five feeds) and Whitney Souness (four from five) were also impressing to help with the flow in transition. Nweke picked up where she left off in the first term once returning from the break, adding 13 goals from 15 attempts, while Toeava was sizzling thanks to eight goal assists from 12 feeds. Karaka was an ongoing problem for the Magic, as the Mystics were starting to have some problems in the goal circle. Latu-Meafou had three turnovers and two penalties in the term, forcing the coaching staff to make a change with Kelsey McPhee coming on. She managed one goal from two attempts, while Marshall shot seven from nine, as the flow through the midcourt was interrupted and the defensive errors were starting to occur. The Magic had 17 penalties to 10 in the term, with the Mystics holding a comfortable 10-goal lead at the main break.

That lead did not change by the final break, with both teams adding 11 goals to their totals in the third quarter. Nweke put in a 10 out of 10 performance for the term – when talking goals and attempts – while Saviour Tui came into the goal circle and helped with two assists and a goal from three attempts. The Mystics mixed up the line-up in that term, with Michaela Sokolich-Beatson picking up an intercept at wing defence, while Emma Iversen and Danielle Gray came into the midcourt and had three goal assists apiece. For the Magic, McPhee got into her rhythm and took control close to the post shooting eight goals from 11 attempts, while Marshall posted up all three of her attempts and had a couple of goal assists for good measure. Souness was the key through the midcourt with six goal assists from 13 feeds, while Samantha Sinclair had three assists of her own in the centre. The final term saw the Magic finally take control, but it was too little, too late, scoring 12 goals to nine and cutting the final deficit down to seven. McPhee (nine goals from 12 attempts) and Marshall (three from five) were working well together, while Souness (four assists from six feeds) and Sinclair (three from eight, and one intercept) continued their good work. The defensive half was much more switched on in the final term for the Magic, picking up five intercepts to two in the term which was a key reason in the turnaround. Karaka was her usual reliable self with an intercept and two rebounds for the Mystics, while Nweke had a rebound to accompany her eight goals from 10 attempts. Overall, Nweke finished with 42 goals from 48 attempts at 87.5 per cent efficiency, and also recorded an equal game-high three rebounds. Karaka was the other to pick up three rebounds, also having a goal assists and three intercepts in the match. Toeava was the standout midcourter for the Mystics thanks to 14 goal assists from 22 feeds, while Souness (17 goal assists from 30 feeds) was crucial in that role for the Magic. Other impressive players were McPhee (18 goals from 25 attempts) and Marshall (19 from 23), while Georgia Tong picked up an equal game-high three intercepts.


Mainland Tactix (41) defeated Wasps Netball (37)

Mainland Tactix got the job done in a tight one over Vitality Netball Superleague invitational side, Wasps Netball with a strong second half performance. The Tactix lead by three goals at quarter time, before the Wasps hit back to cut the deficit to just one by the main break. It spurred on the New Zealand side upon return from half-time, increasing the lead to two at the final break, then winning the last quarter 12-10, to win 41-37. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was impressive in the goal circle with 16 goals from 21 attempts, as well as 13 goal assists from 15 feeds, two rebounds and one intercept. She worked well with Ellie Bird (15 goals at 100 per cent efficiency), while Kimiora Poi (12 goal assists) was strong through midcourt. In defence, Sophia Fenwick helped herself to two rebounds and two intercepts, while Kate Lloyd was reliable in the goal keeper bib with one rebounds and two intercepts, as well as just one penalty for the game. It was not surprising to see veteran English Roses’ shooter Rachel Dunn score 24 goals from 25 attempts, as well as six goal assists from seven feeds, while Katie Harris assisted eight times, and scored 13 goals from 17 attempts. Jade Clarke had a game-high three intercepts in wing defence, while Alexia Baker and Amy Flanagan both picked up 10 goal assists.

Southern Steel (38) defeated Northern Stars (37)

The Southern Steel held on against a determined Northern Stars outfit to record a narrow one-goal win. Neither team could be split in the first half breaks, until the Steel managed to dominate defensively in the third term to move three goals clear with a 9-6 quarter. The Stars then applied some of that defensive pressure in the final term to score 9-7, but fell a goal short in the 37-38 loss. Kalifa McCollin had 14 goals from 20 attempts for the Steel, while Jennifer O’Connell managed 13 from 20, in a combined inaccurate display of just 67.5 per cent. Georgia Heffernan was more clinical at the post with seven goals from eight attempts, while Shannon Saunders‘ midcourt display was superb, picking up a standout 13 goal assists from 23 feeds. For the Stars, Maia Wilson was enormous in attack, posting up 26 goals from 32 attempts at 81.3 per cent efficiency, having a great battle with opponent, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit (three rebounds and one intercept). Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was also important in midcourt with 16 goal assists, while Jamie Hume sunk eight goals from 11 attempts, and had a perfect strike rate of eight goal assists from eight feeds. Kate Burley was the rock in defence for the Stars, recording three rebounds and two intercepts in the game.

Final day fixturing:

Final: Collingwood Magpies vs. Northern Mystics
3rd v 4th: Central Pulse vs. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
5th v 6th: Mainland Tactix vs. Southern Steel
7th v 8th: Wasps Netball vs. Northern Stars

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Day 3

COLLINGWOOD Magpies’ experience in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) showed on Day 3 of the New Zealand Super Club series, winning their final game of the group stage to finish on top, while a dominant display from Central Pulse over the previously undefeated Southern Steel sent a message to the rest of the competition.

Northern Stars (41) defeated by Collingwood Magpies (53)

Collingwood’s dominance within its group continued in the third and final match of the stage, downing Northern Stars by 12 goals to finish on top of its four-team group undefeated. The Magpies had a blistering start to the game, piling on 15 goals to seven in the first term, with Shimona Nelson carrying the entire scoring load from 16 attempts, as wing attack Ella Bayliss was working well in midcourt between the experience of Ash Brazill and Nat Medhurst, picking up seven goal assists. Up the other end of the court, Maia Wilson did not miss from her six attempts,  but as the second quarter showed, the Magpies were just a class above, extending the lead out to 13 goals with a 14-9 second term. Nelson (11 goals) and Medhurst (three) did not miss any of their attempts, while the partnership of Geva Mentor and Matilda Garrett up the other end was forcing turnovers. Wilson added another six goals to her tally, while Lisa Mather was working hard in centre for three goal assists, the same number as Vika Koloto who also scored three goals from four attempts in the quarter. Medhurst and Mentor were rested for the entire second half, while Nelson and Brazill came off for the fourth quarter, with the likes of Brooke Allen and Gabrielle Sinclair coming on to have an impact, while Nyah Allen shot seven goals from eight attempts in the last quarter. The Stars’ more settled line-up came back to reduce the final deficit to 12, but the damage was done by then. Nelson finished the game with 36 goals from 38 attempts, while Brazill had an equal game-high 14 goals assists, two more than Bayliss who was equally impressive. For the Stars, Wilson shot 31 goals from 33 attempts, as Koloto proved a valuable link in the scoring chain for the Stars, helping herself to 14 goal assists from 18 feeds, then going into the circle and shooting four goals from six attempts. Jamie Hume had four goal assists from 12 feeds, while up the other end, Kate Burley was solid in defence, picking up a team-high two rebounds, as well as one intercept and committing just three penalties. Juliana Naoupu also gave spectators a glimpse of her ability to play both the playmaker and target role, shooting six goals from nine attempts with six assists from seven feeds in just a half of action.

Northern Mystics (52) defeated Wasps Netball (31)

In one of the most convincing performances of the tournament to that point, Northern Mystics completely dominated Wasps Netball by 21 goals to record a 52-31 victory in what was crucial to the Mystics topping their group stage. Coming into the match sitting at 1-1, while Wasps were yet to win a game, the Mystics took control in the opening term, adding 13 goals to eight. Talented teenager Grace Nweke was surprisingly left on the bench, as Saviour Tui (seven goals from seven attempts) and the experienced Silver Ferns shooter in Bailey Mes (six from seven) both took control, while Elisapeta Toeava had a massive seven goal assists from 12 feeds to be the difference. Up the other end, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson was working hard to limit the supply to veteran Wasps’ shooter Rachel Dunn who could not miss in the opening term, nailing all of her eight attempts. The second term was even more dominant than the first for the Mystics, as they added a further 14 goals to six to lead by 13 at half-time. Tui (10 from 12) and Mes (four from four) were proving difficult to contain, while the addition of Phoenix Karaka in the defensive goal circle to join Sokolich-Beatson was impressive. Dunn scored five from six in the term, but the limited chances and turnovers in the midcourt – 10 turnovers to five – meant the Wasps were unable to retain possession. Nweke hit the court for the first time in the second half to replace Mes, while the move of English Roses’ midcourter Jade Clarke into centre worked wonders for the Wasps, having four goal assists from 11 feeds, setting up for Dunn (seven goals from nine) and Katie Harris (four from five), as the Wasps limited their turnovers and forced the Mystics to make a few errors (eight turnovers). The final quarter saw the Wasps decide to throw all the youth on, with Dunn and Clarke rested, and the Mystics regained control with a 14-6 final term to run out comfortable winners. Tui shot 23 goals from 25 attempts for the Mystics, while Nweke managed 19 from 24 despite only playing a half. Toeava had 13 goal assists from 20 feeds, while Karaka finished with a game-high intercepts in the story of the match with the Mystics finishing with 12 intercepts to zero. For the Wasps, Dunn was the standout with 20 goals from 23 attempts, while Alexia Baker (nine goal assists from 13 feeds, but 10 turnovers) and Amy Flanagan (eight goal assists from 16 feeds) were always working hard to get the ball through to the circle.

Mainland Tactix (43) defeated by Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (51)

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic earned second spot in their group, bouncing back from a Day 1 loss to Collingwood to earn back-to-back wins over Northern Stars and Mainland Tactix. The Magic did not have it all their own way, but a strong first term saw them move six goals clear at the first break. Kelsey McPhee shot eight goals from 12 attempts for the Magic, while partner-in-crime Abigail Latu-Meafou had six from eight, with Silver Ferns’ representatives Whitney Souness (seven goal assists from 10 feeds) and Samantha Sinclair forming a formidable midcourt. For the Tactix, Ellie Bird did the bulk of the scoring with seven goals from eight attempts, while the midcourt was struggling with retaining possession, having seven opening quarter turnovers, as well as 18 penalties, with goal keeper Sophia Fenwick committing 10 of those. The second quarter was more even as the Tactix settled into the game – Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit both added five goals each to the score, while Kimiora Poi was starting to influence the game with her movement in midcourt, producing six goal assists from eight feeds. McPhee was still proving a handful for the Tactix defenders, sinking nine goals from 11 attempts, while Latu-Meafou played the role of playmaker perfectly, sinking all three attempts and helping her teammate with seven assists from as many feeds. Both sides made some changes in the second half, with Latu-Meafou rested in favour of Georgia Marshall who scored from all five of her attempts, while converting her three feeds into assists. Despite this, the Tactix took control with elite shooting as Bird and Selby-Rickit did not miss from their 12 attempts. Poi (five assists from nine feeds) and Samon Nathan (four from seven) were also influencing the contest, cutting the deficit back to six at the final break. To ensure there was no comeback, the Magic shuffled the magnets in the final term with Sinclair heading to wing defence and Souness moving back to centre, allowing Ariana Cable-Dixon to enter the fray and have four goal assists from five feeds, with Marshall (five goals from seven assists) and McPhee (10 from 10) get the side back in control. They won the term 15-13 and enjoyed the eight-goal victory. Overall, it was the the composure with the ball in the first term that proved the difference for the Magpies, as McPhee finished with 32 goals from 40 attempts, while Souness (18 goal assists from 26 feeds) was crucial through the midcourt. For the Tactix, Selby-Rickit (20 goals from 22 attempts) and Bird (19 from 21) showed what they could offer as a partnership in the goal circle this season, while Poi showed once she settles into the game she can be a special player, having 18 assists from 23 feeds.

Central Pulse (51) defeated Southern Steel (28)

In the final game of the day, Central Pulse sent a message to group toppers Southern Steel, smashing their ANZ Premiership opponents by 23 goals. In a defensive effort that was almost beyond belief, the Pulse restricted the Steel to a combined seven goals in the first and fourth quarters, winning three of the four terms in a dominant display. The first term had plenty of spectators take notice of what the Pulse could do this season as ANZ Premiership favourites, with a full strength side really taking control. Ameliaranne Ekenasio continued her great form with six goals from eight attempts and three assists from six feeds, working well in partnership with Aliyah Dunn (eight goals from nine assists). Maddy Gordon was a key cog in the machine with seven goal assists from nine feeds in wing attack, as six general play turnovers from the Steel proved costly. Shooting at just 33.3 per cent, the Steel could only manage three goals for the term, as the most dominant defensive goal circle in the ANZ Premiership – Karin Burger and Katrina Rore had a combined three rebounds and one intercept for the term. The second term was a complete reversal for the Steel, showing why they were undefeated in the tournament to that stage, posting 12 goals from 14 attempts, and limiting the Pulse to just 10 attempts – of which Dunn and Ekenasio nailed all of them. Shannon Saunders had six goal assists from 10 feeds in wing attack after a disappointing first term, while Kate Heffernan worked hard in centre. The third term saw the Pulse take control once again, and extend the lead out to 16 goals at the final break courtesy of a 14-9 quarter. Ekenasio shot nine goals from 10 attempts with Dunn having four from six, earning a rest to give Tiana Metuarau (one from one and eight goal assists from nine feeds) a chance to shine. Kalifa McCollin was working hard for the Steel by converting all of her four chances and three feeds, with the coaching staff moving around the defensive end to give Abby Erwood and Della-May Vining a chance. The pair only committed a combined two penalties between them against a dominant shooting combination. The Steel returned to the defensive combination of Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita for the final term, but looked helpless to stop the machine of the Pulse, with Ekenasio even rested for the final term, and Rore earning a break. Dunn shot nine goals from 10 attempts, while Metuarau had four from five and seven goal assists. Overall, Ekenasio finished with 20 goals from 23 attempts, as well as seven goal assists from 10 feeds, while Dunn (26 from 30) was also prolific. Metuarau and Gordon combined for 31 assists from 38 feeds, while Burger had four intercepts and three rebounds in a dominant defensive effort. For the Steel, Jennifer O’Connell played her role by shooting 17 goals from 23 attempts, while Saunders had nine assists from 21 feeds, but the Pulse were just too dominant across the court.


Collingwood Magpies vs. Central Pulse
Northern Mystics vs. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Day 2

IT was an action packed Day 2 of the Super Club tournament with the Central Pulse getting on the board with a convincing win over Vitality Super Netball League team Wasps Netball. Collingwood Magpies kept their winning streak alive notching up another victory while the Southern Steel and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic also registered a win.

Southern Steel (45) defeated Northern Mystics (41)

Both sides could not be separated throughout the first half all tied up at 24 goals apiece proving just how close the match was. But they call it the premiership quarter for a reason with the Steel going on a scoring spree to pile on 13 goals to seven in the third to all but set up the win. The new look goal circle for the Steel took a while to kick into gear but once they found their feet they managed to score with ease a relatively high accuracy sitting at a combined 75 per cent. Jennifer O’Connell led the way under the post with 20 goals from 26 attempts while Kalifa McCollin was the most accurate of the lot with 10 goals from 11 attempts at 91 per cent. Kate Heffernan was strong through the midcourt hitting the circle edge with ease racking up 13 feeds while her defensive efforts were equally as impressive amassing two intercepts, six gains and five deflections. Once again goal shooter Grace Nweke stood tall owning the circle with her imposing figure, clever positioning and accuracy scoring 35 goals from 40 attempts. Bailey Mes and Saviour Tui both struggled to trouble the scoreboard but played a key role out the front feeding the ball into Nweke.  Defensively Sulu Fitzpatrick and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson put up a wall blocking any easy entrance into the goal circle with Sokolich-Beatson really putting in the hard yards and reaping the rewards with six gains, two intercepts and nine deflections. Despite their defensive efforts it was not enough to nullify the rotating goal circle of the Steel who ultimately proved too strong.

Northern Stars (39) defeated by Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (53)

It was a disappointing outing for the Stars; were well beaten by the Magic who came out with a real fire in the belly from the first whistle. The Magic put their foot down in the second quarter keeping their opponents to a mere four goals compared to their 14 highlighting their ability to sense the moment and capitalise. Kelsey McPhee led the charge in attack with the goal shooter proving to be the go to girl thanks to her composed nature, control of the ball and accuracy sitting at 92 per cent with 35 goals from 38 attempts. She paired well with Abigail Latu-Meafou out the front while the addition of Georgia Marshall and Khiarna Williams in the fourth quarter paid dividends only missing one goal between them. Whitney Souness was integral through the midcourt using her speed to deliver ball into the goalers. Up the other end Jenna O’Sullivan showcased her defensive prowess picking up six gains, one intercept and five deflections. The Northern Stars had their moments and mounted somewhat of a comeback bringing on towering goaler Maia Wilson in the second half who provided a key target under the post and most importantly did the job converting 21 of her 23 attempts at 91 per cent. But fellow shooters Juliana Naoupu, Vika Koloto and Jamie Hume who rotated through the circle struggled to have the same impact and accuracy. Storm Purvis plied her trade in defence working hard to get hands to ball with three gains and an intercept to her name while Kate Burley also provided plenty of excitement across the defensive third with three gains and two intercepts.

Mainland Tactix (38) defeated by Collingwood Magpies (51)

The Trans-Tasman clash saw the Magpies prevail after a tight tussle in the first quarter. Collingwood struggled to get separation early but upped the ante in the following quarters to secure their second win of the tournament. Goal attack and fan favourite Nat Medhurst claimed player of the match honours after her impressive efforts slotting 14 goals from 17 attempts at 82 per cent along with 17 goal assists highlighting her high workload across the court. Medhusrt paired exceptionally well with Shimona Nelson who showcased her aerial ability and improved accuracy only missing four out of her 37 shots at 89 per cent while new training partner Nyah Allen made a solid cameo appearance in the final term to sink four from five. Geva Mentor and Matilda Garrett were on song once again with the defensive duo causing confusion and contesting the ball in the air amassing seven gains, three intercepts and six deflections such is their prowess. But Brooke Allan was not about to be outdone by Mentor imposing herself in the goal circle while Melissa Bragg also came to play shutting down the likes of Samon Nathan and Jess Prosser. For the Tactix Ellie Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit showed plenty of promise with the two flicking the ball around the circle to reposition and score. Bird set the tone holding strong and commanding the ball with her height while piling on 22 goals and Selby-Rickit put on 12 goals. Up against her old side- albeit a replacement player for Collingwood, Kimiora Poi proved her worth donning the centre bib and running both ways to provide an offensive and defensive option. But the Magpies were simply too strong and outclassed their opponents at almost every turn.

Central Pulse (56) defeated Wasps Netball (39)

After dropping their first game of the Super Club, Central Pulse did not want to make that mistake twice bringing out the big guns to run rampant against international rivals Wasps. Pulse were in control from the get-go setting the tempo of the game and dictating the flow of play credit to key players such as goal shooter Aliyah Dunn and Katrina Rore. Dunn only played three quarters but had a huge influence on the rhythm of the game with Maddy Gordon and Clare Kersten finding her with ease under the post. Dunn slotted 27 goals from 28 attempts at 96 per cent, while Ameliaranne Ekenasio took the court for the first time this tournament and did not skip a beat converting 14 of her 15 attempts. Pulse proved accuracy and rotation was no issue with Tiana Metuarua also sitting at 94 per cent while for the Wasps volume and variety seemed to be the underlying issue. Rachel Dunn led the Wasps contingent with 34 goals from 40 attempts but struggled to get support from the likes of Katie Harris (five from eight) and youngster Alexia Baker who made her debut. Josie Huckle and Hannah Knights failed to control the explosiveness of the Pulse shooters while on the other hand, Karin Burger, Elle Temu and Rore played their role shutting down the free reign in attack and picking off passes. Temu provided a real spark in defence pick pocketing opponents to rack up five gains, one intercept and six deflections.

2019 New Zealand Super Club: Young players to watch

WITH a host of marquee players named for the Super Club test series we look at an up and coming player from each of the eight teams competing. For the likes of invitational teams in particular – Magpies (Suncorp Super Netball) and Wasps (Vitality Netball Superleague) – some of the players will be a relatively unknown quantity, and are considered the young and developing players of their respective countries.

Northern Mystics: Grace Nweke – GS

Nweke broke onto the scene midway through the 2019 season and will be wanting to replicate her hot form in the Super Club to really put her name on the map. Nweke is a strong talented shooter who moves with ease and puts up a high volume of shots. Nweke could be the difference for the Mystics in this tournament given she is a fairly unknown quantity for the international teams and is a developing player in New Zealand. Nweke can stand up under pressure, often unfazed by the physical nature of her defenders and thinks her way through the pressure.

Northern Stars: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan – WA/C

A dynamic midcourter who has speed to burn and is an exciting prospect for New Zealand, able to break lines with her quick ball movement to shake the defence. She started to become more confident throughout the 2019 season and will be aiming to bring that same intensity and excitement into the Super Club. Reuelu-Buchanan works hard across the court running both ways to re-offer around the circle edge and deliver carefully crafted passes into the circle.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic: Holly Fowler – WD/GD

Fowler will be looking to prove her worth at her new club after making the switch from the Northern Stars. She has plenty of X-factor about her with her impressive aerial ability to pick off errant passes and read the play to have an impact across the court. She could be a game changer throughout the tournament if given enough time to find her feet and build up a connection with her teammates. Fowler’s versatility is another key aspect of her game while her transition work is equally as important, coming out hard to receive the ball and bring it down the court.

Central Pulse: Tiana Metuarau – GS/GA

Despite being in her fifth year at the club the 19-year-old is a raw talent filled with plenty of potential and skill and will benefit from further court time. She is a smooth mover and can have an impact under the post when called upon and most importantly will be hoping to prove herself on the big stage against some key defenders. Metuarau is crafty in the attacking third able to dish off passes into her fellow goaler and swing the defenders’ heads with her quick ball movement. Expect her to come out all guns blazing and assert herself on the competition.

Mainland Tactix: Kimiora Poi – C/WA

Despite being on the international radar for a while now Poi is still only 22 and has plenty to give. She showed glimpses of her brilliance throughout the 2019 season in both the ANZ Premiership and Suncorp Super Netball highlighting just how damaging she can be. Poi has speed to boot, can find space with ease and exploit opposition weaknesses with her give and go ability. The talented midcourter backs herself across the court and can switch between the positions with ease, so will want to bring that strong form into the Super Club tournament.

Southern Steel: Kate Heffernan – C/WD/WA

The 20-year-old midcourter offers plenty of class across the court and paired with her strength and versatility she is shaping up to be a real star of the future. Heffernan uses her height to full advantage applying strong three-foot marking to block her oppositions’ vision and cause headaches. Credit to her athleticism and ability she can get hands to ball and cause a disruptive influence through the midcourt to stop the ball hitting circle edge.

Collingwood Magpies: Brooke Allan – GK/GD

The talented defender is a real excitement machine, able to turn a game on its head with her flair and defensive pressure. Allan poses a constant threat down in defence thanks to her commanding height and lean over the shot. She makes her opponent work for the ball, clogging up the space and forcing turnovers such is her pressure. With limited experience with the Magpies she will be hoping to have an immediate impact when on court and use her defensive assets to full affect.

Wasps Netball: Alexia Baker – GA/GS

The former Queensland Firebirds training partner has made the big move to play with the Wasps and will be aiming to have an immediate impact for her new squad. She has talent to boot but is a very raw prospect that has not gained much court time in Australia. If she can hone in her craft and really lift her game play to the next level to pair with her strong timing and silky movement Baker could pose a real threat in years to come.

ANL Review: Round 2

IN Round 2 of the Australian Netball League (ANL) the Tasmanian Magpies and Victorian Fury continued their undefeated start to the season. Meanwhile the GIANTS slumped to the bottom of the ladder unable to record a win.

Netball NSW Waratahs (55) defeated Western Sting (49)

It was a relatively even start with both sides contesting hard for the ball. The NSW Waratahs edged ahead at quarter time to hold a two-goal lead until the Sting fought back in the second term winning a few crucial turnovers and squaring all things up at half time. But that is where it stopped for Sting who were unable to maintain that intensity conceding 31 goals in the second half. Matisse Letherbarrow was superb under the ring showcasing her hot hand with a whopping 36 goals from 40 attempts at 90 percent, fellow goaler Alison Miller also found her range sitting at 100 percent from her eight shots. Abbey McCulloch was solid in wing defence tagging her opposition well and applying good hands over pressure. For the Western Sting Emma Cosh and Sloan Burton had their work cut out for them but made sure that they stayed calm and composed under pressure to take the shots when in range. Goal defence Sunday Aryang also showcased her solid defensive work particularly in the air with her leap.

Territory Storm (46) defeated by Queensland Fusion (65)

The Queensland Fusion seemed to have the ball on a string against the Storm who had no answers for their quick ball movement and precision down the court. Fusion led at every break and maintained their pressure throughout the four quarters to ensure that they got the win. The rotations through the shooting circle did not seem to bother the Fusion with Rylie Holland dominating under the post with 37 goals from 41 attempts at a whopping 91 percent. Mia Stower was also handy around the goals with 14 from 17 while Alexia Baker also slotted five goals in the win. For the Storm Lucinda Benjamin and Binnian Hunt combined well in the goal circle, creating space for one another and setting good screens but it was not enough to get them over the line. Benjamin led the way with 25 goals but her conversion rate was low only sitting at 68 percent.

Southern Force (37) defeated by Victorian Fury (63)

It was neck and neck to start with neither side able to be separated at quarter time with 12 goals apiece. But the Fury pushed ahead after quarter time piling on 19 goals in the second term alone and did not look back outplaying the Force as the game went on. Emma Ryde was prolific under the post holding her space well and using her height to full advantage with 47 goals from 56 attempts. Mikaela Vaughan was solid in at goal attack working hard to feed the ball into the circle and then sweep across the goal circle to contribute to the scoreboard with 14 goals. Jacqueline Newton and Rudi Ellis were solid in defence with their hands over pressure and physicality. The Southern Force on the other hand could not contain the offensive pressure of the Fury making a host of changes throughout the game with Jordan Vivien, Chelsea Blackman and Emily Burgess all working hard. In the goal circle Cody Lange was unable to find her range only managing 11 goals from her 21 shots, while Nyah Allen was the top scorer with 14 goals.

Canberra GIANTS (52) defeated by Tasmanian Magpies (60)

The Magpies led from the get go and worked tirelessly to treasure possession across the court. They gradually extended their winning margin at each quarter to run away eight point winners. The Magpies were led in attack by Jane Cook who was prolific under the post putting up 42 shots at 92 percent. In the first half of netball alone Cook posted 24 goals to push her sides lead out while Samantha Gooden was also solid under the post chipping in with 15 goals. Through the midcourt Vanessa Augustini was pivotal opening up the court and fighting hard to secure good feeding position. In defence for the Waratahs Teigan O’Shannassy was instrumental contesting every ball while Toni Anderson showed her versatility moving between wing defence and goal defence. Goal shooter Georgia Marshall was the go to girl in attack for the Waratahs finding good space and using her clever footwork to be a threat in the goal circle sitting at 37 from 41 at 91 percent.

Territory Storm (51) defeated by Queensland Fusion (60)

It was another tight game between the two sides but in the end, it was the Queensland Fusion who came away with another nine goal win against the Storm. It was relatively even at quarter time but the Fusion added on 15 goals in the second term to head into the half time break up by 10 goals and continued that form for the rest of the match. Wing attack and part time shooter Alexia Baker found good space on the goal circle but failed to find the net. Holland continued her hot form under the post with 32 from 35 at 92 percent. Defensively Shenae Grant, Bridey Condren and Leah Middleton all played their role applying hands over pressure and confusing the space for their opposition. Storm goaler, Benjamin found her range with 34 goals with wing attacks Stephanie O’Brien and Courtney Murphy letting go of bullet passes into her.

Southern Force (50) defeated by Victorian Fury (51)

After a blowout in the first game of the round the Southern Force came out with a real fire in the belly. They lead at all the breaks but were unable to hang on in the dying minutes with the Fury fighting hard to remain undefeated. Their connections down the court were on song creating good space for one another and capitalising in the goal circle sitting at 89 percent compared to the Fury’s 77. Asha Thurlow and Lucy Austin were impressive in attack putting up goal after goal and were not afraid to turn and shoot. Thurlow recorded 27 goals, while Austin added 20. Ine-Mari Venter was the standout shooter for the Fury swapping between goal shooter and goal attack and using her good footwork, clever read of the play and accuracy to dice up her opposition nailing 30 of her 39 attempts. Ryde was down on her usual volume but still played her role while she was on the court. Lara Dunkley was clever with ball in hand and used her vision and speed to get into damaging feeding positions.

Canberra GIANTS (57) defeated by Tasmanian Magpies (75)

It was a tight tussle with the GIANTS and Magpies going toe to toe for the first three quarters until the Tasmanian Magpies put on a masterclass across the court with their precise ball movement and accuracy to post in the last term. They piled on a whopping 21 goals to 10 in the last quarter out running and outplaying the GIANTS who were gallant in defeat. Once again Cook starred in the goal circle only missing two goals for the entire match both of which came in the third term finishing at 97 percent with 59 goals. Magpies defenders, Brooke Allen and Karli Foster stepped it up in the last term applying pressure over the shot and going out hunting to create turnover ball. GIANTS goalers Angelina Frketic and Marshall combined well in the circle and held up strong for the first three quarters driving hard and turning and shooting with Marshall leading the way with 36 from 41 but it was not enough. The ball placement from Eliza Burton and Latika Tombs was good, making clever decisions on when to let the ball go but were unable to carry that form over into the final term of the game.

Netball NSW Waratahs (68) defeated Western Sting (40)

The Waratahs increased their lead at every change and put on a dominant performance from the first whistle. In the second quarter alone the Waratahs piled on 19 goals and did not look back applying strong defensive and offensive pressure across the ground. Sophie Garbin was phenomenal in the goal circle with her accuracy second to none with a whopping 40 goals, shouldering the load for the Waratahs. Youngster, Letherbarrow also contributed to the scoreboard with nine goals. Elle Bennetts and Tayla Fraser were clever with ball in hand to shake off their opponents and then hit the circle edge to feed into the Waratahs shooters. Swifts players Maddy Turner and Lauren Moore were impressive down in defence applying strong hands over pressure and contesting every ball to nullify the influence of Sting goalers Alice Teague-Neeld who only managed six goals from her 10 attempts for the game. Georgia Pitt showed great composure under the post with 22 goals leading the way for Sting with her intent to turn and shoot.