Tag: ANL

Is Australian netball moving too far from the regular game?

WITH the introduction of the two goal Super Shot to the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) for season 2020, we delve into the rule changes in the SSN in recent seasons. While some rules have less impact than others, there is plenty to unpack when it comes to why fans and players alike are so frustrated with the changes to netball in Australia.

Starting with ultimately the most controversial and unpopular rule to-date, the two goal Super Shot. Its introduction has thrown a huge spanner in the works for clubs, coaches, players and fans alike six weeks out of from the beginning of the season. Already a contentious announcement, players were blindsided by the rule change, not consulted prior to the announcement on Tuesday and leaving many up in arms and confused by the decision to go ahead with the major rule change. 

With fan engagement one of the most important factors in Super Netball’s success, the league’s deliberate decision to go ahead with the rule change regardless of the unpopularity as shown in an earlier survey conducted by SSN itself, has alienated many fans and could see many turn away from the competition because of it. With a lot of netball fans real traditionalists in the way the game is played, a massive change like this will leave a lot of fans wondering whether they will continue to financially support a league that continues to move further and further away from the typical netball game.

In a media release issued by the Australian Netball Players’ Association (ANPA) on Wednesday, ANPA President and former Diamonds representative Nat Medhurst said that the lack of communication from the Suncorp Super Netball is not good enough, while New Zealand Silver Ferns coach, Noeline Taurua also disagreed with the significant change in rules.

“For a decision of this significance to be made and announced without any engagement with the players, just six weeks out from the start of the season, is extremely disappointing and disrespectful,” Medhurst said.

“The players believe this initiative has been handled poorly, not for the first time, and it cannot happen again. We have written to the SSN Commission to seek their formal assurance on that.”

Another decision made ahead of the season’s start is the introduction of rolling substitutions, though the difference here is that the announcement was made far in advance and off the back of testing in the Australian Netball League (ANL) in 2019. A huge change to the way the sport is played, rolling subs could be a massive game-changer in the Super Netball given it will be an entirely new aspect to the sport that many have not yet seen in action and may not be entirely happy about. With so much changing at once, there is potential for the 2020 version of Suncorp Super Netball to look like an entirely different sport – which then brings us to the next rule change over the past seasons, the tactical timeout rule.

An adaptation over recent years that many have noticed impacts away from the Super Netball competition, the tactical timeout rule allows teams to call two tactical timeouts per quarter, typically adding up to eight timeouts with coach guidance per match. But on the international stage those same rules do not apply, meaning players do not have the same access to coaches and changes to game plans, limiting communication between players to those within the same areas of the court. 

While this example is not as significant as something like the Super Shot, questions can be asked of how the lack of tactical timeouts on the international stage actually benefits teams other than Australia, with the entire Diamonds cohort unused to going full steam for the full quarter without that extra guidance. This is not to call the professionalism or skill of the players into question because realistically these are talented athletes who can buckle down to get the job done, but instead bring up an aspect of how it can have a negative impact on the game, especially when having to swap and change between competitions with different rules.

One of the only decisions that has not significantly changed Australian netball is the introduction of bonus points per quarter won during a match. Where the aforementioned rules can arguably change games for the worse and have a negative impact on Australia’s performance at an international level, this is one of the changes that can actually boost the Diamonds’ chances of success. 

After two seasons with bonus points, many players are now well and truly used to kicking their game up to the next gear to ensure they win that bonus point and climb up the ladder or deny their opposition a chance at full points per round. But this change arguably does not have a bad impact on the nation’s potential internationally which is what makes it one of those rules that does not fundamentally change the game, instead just a point of difference for the competition compared to other domestic leagues.

Where rules such as the bonus points for winning quarters could actually be a booster to Australia’s chances internationally, huge changes like Super Shots and rolling subs could seriously hurt Australia on the world stage. While Super Netball players are professional enough to not need to rely on double goals or constant substitutions to win games, the further that Australia’s domestic netball moves away from the traditional game so do the Diamonds, having to constantly readjust to different rules.

For such a major adaptation to the game to be made with little to no communication to clubs, players and coaches – less than two hours notice of the announcement, in fact – is a real slap in the face with just six weeks left before the season starts. Factor in the need to now add a new element to team strategies that have already had to adapt to the rolling subs rule, and teams have very little time to prepare for a competition that will look very different to past Super Netball seasons. 

How does ANL cancellation affect netball in Australia?

WITH netball’s COVID-19 restrictions still in place for the indefinite future and the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season put on hold until August, it was only a matter of time until pathway programs were brought into the mix with the announcement yesterday that the 2020 Australian Netball League (ANL) season has been cancelled due to difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The most direct of the Australian pathways to the domestic league, the ANL sees all eight states and territories compete, with matches and teams aligning with the Super Netball competition. The ANL is a direct feeder to the SSN, with players using teams as an elite development opportunity.

Announced by Netball Australia on Tuesday morning as “due to financial pressures and inconsistent restrictions on training and matches between states and territories”, the cancellation means a lot of things for different aspects of the sport – namely the Super Netball benches and training partners, with players typically playing in the ANL when they do not receive SSN game time. 

Where this affects players at the top level, it flows down at a more significant rate to the individual pathway programs of each state, with emerging Australian talent unable to match up against those hailing from opposing states and territories.

Netball Australia Executive General Manager of Performance Stacey West says that the national governing body is exploring alternate development opportunities in place of the competition.

“We recognise that this is a lost development opportunity for this cohort,” she said. “A group including athletes, coaches and officials that we seek to nurture and progress each year to support our high performance pathway. “This [alternate opportunities] is likely to be similar to the centralised talent camps Netball Australia delivers at the Netball Centre of Excellence based at the AIS, which involve skill development, match play and education.” 

Netball Victoria released a follow-up statement on Tuesday afternoon, announcing a newly devised 2020 Victorian Elite Development Squad program, providing elite development across two squads made up of athletes from both the 2020 Victorian Fury and 2020 17/U and 19/U Victorian State teams.

Victorian Fury head coach, Di Honey and Netball Victoria Pathways Manager, Cathy Fellows have been announced at the program’s helm.

“Whilst today’s announcement was obviously disappointing for all the athletes and support staff involved, who have put in so much work already this year, we’re looking forward to be able to continue working with Victoria’s best up-and-coming netballers to technically develop their skills to an elite level,” Honey said.

Unfortunately, the cancellation of the ANL could prove more significant a loss than other competitions, with the plethora of talent involved in the pathway potentially unable to progress in their development without game time against opposing state and territory talent, meaning less opportunity to be brought up the ranks to a Super Netball club if the chance arises.

Thus far, no official announcements have been made regarding individual state competitions, which will come down to each state’s netball governing body.

While the ANL cancellation is unlikely to have a major impact on the future of netball in Australia, it is important to recognise the significance of the lack of game time these players will get, with the influx of international netballers in the Suncorp Super Netball already seeing less opportunity for ANL players to prove themselves at the top level.

Top 15 SSN training partners: #1 Emma Ryde

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball plate in 2020. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development. Coming in at number one is none other than Collingwood Magpies goaler Emma Ryde, a dominant performer who has been unlucky to not receive a consistent contract at Suncorp Super Netball level.

Named the 2019 Australian Netball League (ANL) MVP, Ryde was crucial in the Victorian Fury outfit as a holding goaler, able to use her body cleanly to attract the defender and use the space to get hands to ball. With clean hands, accuracy and height to match, there is no denying the impact Ryde has when she takes the court. The 22-year-old made a fantastic return to netball in 2019 after taking time off for injury, using her netball smarts to take her game to a new level and ultimately playing at each level last year. At 197cm, Ryde can be a real target at the post with her ability to take on the contest, and with a strong work ethic and tactical mindset she can be a threat taking on any opposition. 

Coming up through the Victorian netball pathways, Ryde was snatched up by the Adelaide Thunderbirds as an injury replacement player in 2019, picking up a few domestic caps along the way although injury cut her time short. Playing four matches for the ailing Thunderbirds, Ryde shot 66 goals at 93 per cent accuracy, well and truly making herself known to the league as a handy option who can jump on court and have an impact. Ryde has also trained and played with Melbourne Vixens in the past, gaining valuable experience and court time and making for an impressive resume despite not taking the court consistently in the Super Netball.

Season 2020 sees Ryde join forces with Collingwood Magpies as a training partner, returning to Victoria once more and with the opportunity to learn from crafty veteran Nat Medhurst and Jamaican young gun Shimona Nelson, among a smattering of young Magpies stars coming up through the pathways. Still young and with plenty of potential, Ryde has plenty left in the tank and will hope to prove herself on the Super Netball stage once more in 2020.

Read our 2019 feature with Emma Ryde here.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#10 Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
#9 Latika Tombs (GIANTS Netball)
#8 Sharni Lambden (Collingwood Magpies)
#7 Jacqui Newton (Melbourne Vixens)
#6 Allie Smith (Melbourne Vixens)
#5 Elle Bennetts (GIANTS Netball)
#4 Brooke Allan (Magpies Netball)
#3 Tayla Fraser (NSW Swifts)
#2 Beth Cobden (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#1 Emma Ryde (Collingwood Magpies)

Top 15 SSN training partners: #4 Brooke Allan

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is taking a look at the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) plate in 2020. Inside the top five and in at number four is Collingwood defender Brooke Allan. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration 2019 form, individual potential and future development.

The 21-year-old defender is still coming into the prime of her netball career but has already shown that she has the potential to become a permanent figure in the Magpies outfit. Having spent time with the successful Geelong Cougars in the Victorian Netball League (VNL) and Victorian Fury in the Australian Netball League (ANL), Allan has displayed her class and defensive tenacity. Her ability move between goal keeper and goal defence is a testament to her on-court netball nous and endurance.

In her short career, the skilled goal keeper has been recognised for her netballing prowess with selection in the Under 19 Australian team while also taking home the grand final MVP in 2017 for her impressive efforts with Victorian Fury. After switching to the Tasmanian Magpies in 2018, Allan tasted further success helping guide her side to their first ANL premiership. With so many accolades already to her name, Allan will be hoping to extend to her trophy cabinet and take the leap to the next level and become a more commanding figure in the goal circle. Her pressure over the shot and physicality in the goal circle are just a couple of key components of her game style.

While she is yet to make her debut at Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) level, Allan displayed her elite capabilities in New Zealand taking part in the Super Club tournament where Collingwood came out victorious. Her strength under the post to keep the shooters at bay and put doubt in their mind is impressive. She consistently displays her ability to hold her own against challenging shooters with her quick footwork and ability to cleanly get around the body. Allan is deceptively light on her feet given her height and stature and makes full use of her long limbs to cause disruptions to the oppositions attacking flow. The Magpies defender is not afraid to back herself in the contest and is strong in the air, able to compete and force a turnover with her impressive timing and positioning.

Still honing her craft, Allan has exposure to one of the worlds most renowned goal keepers in Geva Mentor. The England Roses star oozes class, composure and sheer brilliance, always able to make something out of nothing such is her netball mind and skill. Throw in new recruit and Jamaican representative Jodi-Ann Ward and Allan has plenty of talent to model her craft off. With fellow youngsters Mel Bragg and Matilda Garrett also amongst the Collingwood defensive line-up, expect Allan to draw plenty of confidence from their rise up the ranks, hard work and on-court impact. Further exposure to the highest level of professionalism and netball talent will only help the young defender to perfect her role and become a force to be reckoned with in years to come.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#10 Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
#9 Latika Tombs (GIANTS Netball)
#8 Sharni Lambden (Collingwood Magpies)
#7 Jacqui Newton (Melbourne Vixens)
#6 Allie Smith (Melbourne Vixens)
#5 Elle Bennetts (GIANTS Netball)
#4 Brooke Allan (Magpies Netball)

Top 15 SSN training partners: #7 Jacqui Newton

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is taking a look at the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) plate in 2020. Sitting at number seven on the countdown is Melbourne Vixens training partner Jacqui Newton. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration 2019 form, individual potential and future development.

At only 23, Newton has already tasted success thanks to her defensive prowess and impressive skillset. In 2018 the interchangeable goal keeper, goal defender played in the grand final and took out the premiership title in the Victorian Netball League (VNL) with the City West Falcons. She followed up those efforts, going one better in 2019 helping to guide the Victorian Fury to title glory in the Australian Netball League (ANL).

Her ability to have a profound impact at both levels of netball is a testament to her commitment while her desire for success and to push herself further shows her dedicated mentality. She is not afraid to put her body on the line and throw herself at the ball passing by. Newton is an exciting player to watch, quick on her feet and offers consistency when on court. Standing at 185cm she is not the tallest defender but makes up for it with tenacity and quick footwork to get around the body of her opponents and remain in the hunt for the ball.

Newton has had limited exposure to the Suncorp Super Netball level playing just a couple of games but is yet to really crack into the market and showcase her array of talents. Surrounded by the likes of Australian Diamonds duo Jo Weston and Emily Mannix, Newton is aware of the workload and defensive attributes needed to make a splash at international level. Throw in Jamaican up and coming star Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Newton has no shortage of defensive masterminds to learn from, when it comes to perfecting her craft whether it be pressure over the shot or movement inside the circle.

While she is still developing, Newton has showed that she can hold her own up against some talented young guns in the ANL. The more suited goal defence is light on her feet, able to dart around the court and put in the blocks at the top of the circle to stop her opposing shooter from entering the circle with ease. She works hard on transition, constantly looking to re-offer across the court and bring the ball down to deliver to the attackers. Her strong ball movement and accuracy with ball in hand also puts her in good stead for a potential step up to SSN level.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#10 Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
#9 Latika Tombs (GIANTS Netball)
#8 Sharni Lambden (Collingwood Magpies)
#7 Jacqui Newton (Melbourne Vixens)

Australian Netball League players to watch: Round 1

ROUND 1 of the Australian Netball League saw each team play twice over the course of weekend. We took note of some of the key players in the match we attended, focusing on those selected for the Melbourne Vixens and GIANTS Netball sides.

Victorian Fury:

Kadie-Ann Dehaney

Dehaney played the final quarter of the Melbourne Vixens v. GIANTS Netball match so was rested for periods during this game, however still took on the game well with her great hands over and pressure under the post. Came out to goal defence for patches and was solid covering the extra ground, showed her clever read of play in defence throughout the whole match. Dehaney was not afraid to come out hunting for the intercept and really highlighted her impressive lean over the shot throughout the game.

Lara Dunkley

Dunkley was a solid option through the midcourt, highlighting her versatility as she cleverly moved through the centre court as a viable wing and centre mover. Her stellar use of space proves why she is on the Vixens list, while her read of play and speed on the drive down court provided a handy option through the space. Her feeds into the circle were also impressive, letting the ball go at the right time and positioning to her shooters’ advantage.

Ine-Mari Venter

Showcased her versatility, playing through both goal shooter and goal attack during the match. Had all the momentum, cleanly slotting into whichever position she was needed in and adapting well to the player she was paired with. Did a great job finding space both inside and outside the circle, settling the play and showcasing her stellar footwork as she worked her way closer to the post. Used her height well in the circle, credit to her ability to hold for a lob or create movement under the post to open space for her fellow goalers. Venter was also accurate to post only missing seven shots from her 38 and showcased her technique in the goal circle proving a threat to her opposition defenders.

Canberra GIANTS:

Matilda McDonell

McDonell was another player who took the court during the Suncorp Super Netball, Vixens v. GIANTS match but showed off her skilful movement and aerial ability particularly well against the Fury. Her pressure on the loose ball was tough, at times crowding the space around the receiver and forcing the attack to move out of the circle. Did well against the likes of Venter, all but proving she has the capability to take on the higher levels.

Georgia Marshall

Marshall was a key option at the post for the GIANTS, playing out the full match and shooting 32 goals from 40 attempts at 80 per cent, proving she certainly has the ability to receive ball and shoot a volume of shots under pressure. Put her footwork to the test with some solid movement around the circle creating opportunities to go to post, taking shots without hesitation.

Maddie Hay

Had a solid game through the midcourt, putting in the hard yards against the likes of Dunkley and offering some great assistance through both defence and attack. Put some good pressure on every pass, creating opportunities for her side and used her decision making to get into clever positions to feed the ball into her sides goalers.

Suncorp Super Netball rule changes

WITH the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season set to commence in the coming months, a few changes have been made regarding ladder positioning, player involvement and trade period to help with the evolution of the game.

As of 2019, the SSN will allow for more player involvement, with those on the bench able to engage more regularly with on-court players. Through relaxing the rules a bit, players on the bench can move around the off-court area, allowing them to actively provide advice to their teammates. Another change made to the competition is the ladder. Having brought in the bonus point system last year, SSN has released that if two teams finish the season on the same number of points, the final ladder position will be decided upon based on the number of games won, rather than percentage. But if teams share both the same number or points and the same number of wins, positions will be determined based upon percentage.

The league also released an alteration in player contracts and trade, allowing clubs to become more involved in searching for and signing players. Clubs can start to approach players regarding contract agreements throughout the mid-season break due to the World Cup, but cannot sign them until the designated period. The trade period starts on September 16 and finishes on October 14, allowing teams to carefully consider player recruitment. Players can only be approached if their contract is set to expire by the end of the 2019 season, ensuring that those on long term deals cannot be snared from their existing club.

Rolling substitutions will also be trialled throughout the Suncorp #TeamGirls Cup along with the Australian Netball League (ANL). This will allow for coaches to make changes throughout the match with no limitations, with one of the main alterations being that time will not be stopped to make the positional changes. Currently, if a coach or player wants to make an interchange, time must be stopped – whereas these changes will facilitate and encourage a more free-flowing game. Multiple players can be substituted at once and changes can still be made at intervals and time-outs. However, this change will not feature in the Suncorp Super Netball League this year.

ANL fixture announced

THE Australian Netball League (ANL) is set to kick off on Saturday, May 4 with Netball NSW Waratahs facing off with Southern Force in the opening round of the season. The competition is set to run for seven rounds with the last game of the home and away season taking place on Sunday, June 16. Finals start two weeks later on Saturday, June 29 with the semi-finals, preliminary final and grand final all set to be played within a few days of each other making it a tight turn around for all teams involved.

In each round, the eight teams will play two games against the same opposition but on different days over the weekend, allowing players and coaches to look back and analyse the game in hope to register a win. The grand final rematch between the Tasmanian Magpies and Canberra GIANTS will take place in Round 2.

The Victorian Fury will be out for redemption after bailing out in straight sets in the finals while the Territory Storm will be hoping to build a better campaign in 2019 after only managing one win last year.

Reigning premiers, the Tasmanian Magpies will be looking to return to the top of the table and stake their dominance once again with the likes of Vanessa Augustini, Melissa Bragg, Sharni Lambden, Kelsie Rainbow and Jane Cook all returning in season 2019.

Star shooter Sam Gooden has made her way back onto the Tasmanian Magpies list after a stint with the Melbourne Vixens while the likes of former NWS Swifts captain, Abbey McCulloch will pull on the dress for their ANL counterpart the NSW Waratahs. Another big name signed for the ANL is retired defender Rebecca Bulley who is set to take on a new coaching role with the Canberra Giants. The experience defender will offer plenty of knowledge and class making her a key asset for the GIANTS.

Netball Draft Central coverage in 2019

AS the first official fortnight of Netball Draft Central nears the finishing post, we thought we would give a site update.

At Netball Draft Central, we aim to cover both international and domestic competitions throughout 2019. We have already begun covering the Vitality Netball Superleague in England, as well as the Northern Quad Series which comes to a conclusion over the weekend.

In the middle of February, the ANZ Premiership kicks off in New Zealand, while the Australian domestic competitions are staggered over the next few months. The Suncorp Super Netball begins in April and has a break for the World Cup in July, the Victorian Netball League begins at the end of March, while we will also cover the Australian Netball League, which is yet to set a formal fixture.

The World Cup is a major event this year in England, as will be the Southern Quad Series later in the year, and other regular international competitions such as the Constellation Cup and Fast5.

Netball Draft Central will have dedicated pages to all these competitions which can be found below:

AUSTRALIA:

Suncorp Super Netball (SSN)

Australian Netball League (ANL)

Victorian Netball League (VNL)

ENGLAND:

Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL)

NEW ZEALAND:

ANZ Premiership

INTERNATIONAL:

International competitions

 

Each page will have relevant news, fixtures/results and ladders, as well as special content throughout the year. There are plenty of exciting announcements to come for Netball Draft Central so stay tuned on the page.

Tasmanian Magpies claim a nail-biting maiden premiership

HAVING never previously made it to the finals, the Tasmanian Magpies took the Canberra GIANTS by storm to claim a one-goal victory, 54-53. Finishing the regular season in third place, the Magpies pulled out all the stops knocking over the New South Wales (NSW) Waratahs and then the GIANTS to get their hands on their first premiership.

With plenty of talent across the court and on the bench, Tasmania had the ability to substitute players in and out of the game. Former Collingwood goal attack Cody Lange found herself on the bench after a slow start only netting four goals in the first quarter, prompting the call-up of Gabrielle Sinclair. The goal attack made her presence felt on the court, nailing 13 goals from 16 attempts. Her dynamism on the court provided a spark for the Magpies front-end with her speed helping to open space in the goal circle. One constant was shooting machine Jane Cook who at 201cm dominated, nailing 37 goals from 45 attempts. Down on her volume from the previous week netting 55 goals, Cook still demanded the ball and used her body well to position inside the circle.

While the shooting end was impressive for the Magpies, the defensive work did not go unnoticed with goal defence Sharni Lambden taking an important intercept to push out the buffer for Tasmania in the third quarter. Tasmania’s defensive efforts were not the only ones that were noticeable on the day, with the likes of Canberra young gun, Amy Parmenter leaving her mark on the game taking a big intercept to keep scores close.

The Magpies did not have it all their own way with the GIANTS putting up a hell of a fight to come within a goal in the dying seconds. With what seemed like a comfortable four-goal lead at the last break Canberra worked tirelessly to keep themselves in the game falling just short. Thanks to the impressive defensive effort of the GIANTS players such as Maddie Hay got busy getting hands to ball and getting a timely deflection to keep her side in the hunt for the win.

Up the shooting end for the GIANTS, Georgia Marshall and Beryl Friday proved that volume seemed to be no issue putting up 67 attempts between the two. The rotation through the circle allowed for space to open up and provided greater variety in the goal circle for the feeders. The moving circle also created more confusion for the defenders allowing the two shooters to control the tempo. But in the end it was the desperation from the Magpies that helped them etch their name in ANL history securing their first ever premiership.