Tag: april brandley

Memorable Matches: Roses make history with 2018 Commonwealth Games gold

WITH netball taking a back seat to the coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is England’s inaugural Commonwealth Games gold, defeating Australia by one goal on home soil in 2018.

A memorable match for many Aussies – and not in a good way, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal match was one for the ages as England quite literally pipped Australia at the post to reign supreme. While Australia led the competition in majority of the stats, this was England’s opportunity to topple to Diamonds for the first time and they were not about to let their greatest gold medal chance slip away. England may have been the underdogs, playing in their first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal match, but it was that goal which saw the Roses turn it out on Australian soil.

With ultimately one of the greatest lineups England has ever hand – perhaps only rivalled by their current list – they were just too strong for the overconfident Diamonds who faltered at the final hurdle and could not compete with the tenacious Roses when it came down to the nitty-gritty. For the Diamonds, the match came down to extensive rotations which the side had dealt with throughout the entire tournament. The Roses however came in with a different mindset, only rotating as they saw fit and able to form a consistent barrier against the formidable Aussies. 

It was an even start by both teams, with neither team really able to find much momentum such was the impact all 14 players were having on court. The two sides were evenly matched with both goal keepers in Laura Geitz and Geva Mentor forming tough barriers in their respective circles. Mentor racked up a whopping 12 gains throughout the match, putting on a clinic with her cleanliness and the ease with which she found the ball, using goal shooter Caitlin Bassett’s consistency against her. Geitz and April Brandley were solid as ever, fairly clean in their defence and finding plenty of loose ball. 

While Australia started out clean, not finding much whistle, the two sides evened up as the match went on, seeing the Roses clean up their act and forcing errors from the Diamonds who seemed out of sorts with the closeness of the game – which saw both teams even at 25 goals apiece at half-time. Liz Watson entered the game to take on the likes of Serena Guthrie, providing some real gut-running against the star centre. While it took some pressure off the attack with Watson’s quick hands doing wonders, Guthrie’s overall athleticism is tough to overcome while her immense endurance saw the midcourter continue to ply her trade and propel the ball back up the court.

The Diamonds got back into the groove in the third but while they had the goals on the board, the side seemed out of sorts thanks to the constant pressure applied down the court from the Roses. That being said, Australia’s full court defensive pressure impressed with just the four goalers not picking up gains – but it was the constant changing of goalers that seemed to work in England’s favour.

For the Roses, there were little changes throughout, with only some small impact options taking the court to ply their trade. Goalers, Jo Harten and Helen Housby were consistent from the start and had a couple of patches where their defenders were on top, namely the beginning of the first and third quarters thanks to Australia’s rotation for fresh feet in Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston, but ultimately continued to ply their trade and coming into the final quarter were well aware of what had to be done to win the game despite a slower third term.

Full credit has to be given to England’s final quarter effort, shooting 16 goals to overcome Australia’s three quarter time lead and forcing error upon error from the Diamonds. England was just much cleaner with ball in hand, treasuring possession where Australia seemed to throw away far more ball than their typical game. Australia all but fell apart in the final term, collecting a whopping 25 penalties – 22 contacts – compared to England’s 10 overall. When you compare that number to Australia’s seven penalties overall in the first quarter, it’s hard to not think of what could have been if the consistency had remained from the beginning to end.

It was a goal on the buzzer from Housby which cemented the win for England, making history as the Roses collected their first Commonwealth gold, well and truly earning the win against the reigning champions, 52-51. At the post, Harten topscored with 34 goals at 87 per cent accuracy, while Bassett was not quite as influential with 22 goals from 24 attempts – though she did miss out on the third quarter. Housby came in next with 18 goals while Steph Wood and Susan Pettitt shot 12 and 11 goals respectively to provide another option in the circle. 

The consistency of Gabi Simpson was impressive, with the athletic midcourt defender the only Aussie to play out the full 60 minutes. Simpson used every inch of her pressure to impact on the Roses’ ability to find the goal circle, impeding former Australian representative Chelsea Pitman from finding avenues to the ring and providing impressive speed and pressure up the court. Pitman racked up 18 goal assists from 28 feeds, while Watson was not far behind with 17 assists from 27, only having played the three quarters. Geitz racked up five gains in her half on court and was well and truly missed in the final quarter, while Simpson’s consistency and pressure saw her collect four gains and Guthrie three with her threatening speed.

AUSTRALIA 14 | 11 | 13 | 13 (51)
ENGLAND 13 | 12 | 11 | 16 (52)

Australia

GS: Caitlin Bassett
GA: Susan Pettitt
WA: Madi Robinson
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: April Brandley
GK: Laura Geitz

BENCH: Caitlin Thwaites, Courtney Bruce, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Steph Wood
COACH: Lisa Alexander

England

GS: Jo Harten
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Chelsea Pitman
C: Serena Guthrie
WD: Beth Cobden
GD: Eboni Usoro-Brown
GK: Geva Mentor

BENCH: Ama Agbeze, Nat Haythorthwaite, Jodie Gibson, Jade Clarke, Kadeen Corbin
COACH: Tracey Neville

SHOOTING STATS

Australia

Caitlin Bassett 22/24
Steph Wood 12/14
Susan Pettitt 11/12
Caitlin Thwaites 6/6

England

Jo Harten 34/39
Helen Housby 18/21

What if… Laura Geitz played in the last quarter of the Commonwealth Games?

THE 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal loss is still etched in the memory of many Diamonds fans and players going down to the England Roses by a mere goal, 51-52. Roses sharp shooter, Helen Housby landed the final blow thanks to a shot after the whistle to gift her side their first gold medal in history. The Diamonds had a strong four-goal lead in the final term, before the tables started to turn and the Roses gathered momentum. Countering everything that Australia threw at them, tinkering their line-up and most importantly prevailing in the close contest to run out on top. The change up in the goal circle to switch Housby into goal shooter and push Jo Harten into goal attack paid dividends while bringing Nat Haythornthwaite on into wing attack to replace Chelsea Pitman gave them that extra spark in the attacking third. An element that the Diamonds simply could not contain.

So what if Laura Geitz was brought on in the final quarter? Could the Diamonds have won another Commonwealth Games gold medal?

As one of Australia’s most dominant and profound goal keepers in history, many were surprised to see Geitz not return to the court when the game was on the line. She has proven time and time again her ability to do the unthinkable and force a turnover out of nothing credit to her high netball nous, quick feet and sheer class. The talented goal keeper is renowned for her ability to stay away from the whistle and apply immense pressure with her three-foot marking and commanding figure something that the Diamonds could have used in the dying seconds of the game. Geitz is a real general down back with her leadership and ability to read the play constantly on display.

Prior to finding herself on the bench, Geitz impressed shutting down the Roses avenue to goal, blocking Harten with her strong movement and netball smarts to get ball-side and swat away any errant passes. Her long arms and skill to constantly get hands to ball and create deflections was a key aspect to the Diamonds winning ways. While her connection with the likes of Firebirds teammate Gabi Simpson and April Brandley enabled the Diamonds to win a wealth of ball back thanks to their swarming style of defence. Although both Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston put up a strong wall in defence, they were lacking that extra bit of experience and knowledge down back giving away a costly penalty after the final whistle.

Taking into account the skill, class and experience of Geitz it is not unfair to speculate that Australia could have taken the gold medal. The 2014 ANZ Championship showed just what Geitz can do when the pressure is on taking a match winning intercept with seconds left and propelling the ball back down the court to win their second grand final in two years. The Firebirds were two goals down with a minute left but it was the miracle work of their captain that got them over the line, something that could have been replicated if Geitz was gifted the opportunity to get back on court in the Commonwealth Games gold medal match.

In your opinion, would Australia have won the Gold Medal if Laura Geitz had finished on court?
Yes absolutely
No, it would not have changed the result
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Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown – #23/#22

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 25 players under 25-years-old across the netball world. The countdown continues at number 23, with English shooter and recent Roses addition Sophie Drakeford-Lewis along with up and coming Australian defender Matilda Garrett in at 22. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

Recently named in the Roses squad in the series against South Africa, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis has plenty of promise and will be hoping to continue her development. Although she has only played two international caps the goal attack has plenty of upside at 21-years-old that will excite the England fans. The up and coming shooter is a smooth mover, able to effortlessly glide across the court and while she does not put up a wealth of shots makes her presence known on the scoreboard when need be. She is cool, calm and collected under pressure and has played a good support role to the likes of Kim Commane at Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) level for Team Bath. Her high netball IQ and natural instincts are what makes her such an exciting prospect. She has plied her trade at the development levels with the Roses taking part in the Youth World Cup where she won bronze highlighting just how much class and skill she has.

Coming in at 22 is Collingwood Magpies defender, Matilda Garrett. She has had an up and down Suncorp Super Netball career so far, struggling to find her feet last year after suffering a calf injury in the early stages but has shown plenty of potential. She is an exciting prospect that has a bright future ahead of her, given her ability to read the play, get hands to ball and create turnovers. Her lean over the shot is one to be envious of, able to upset goalers with her hands over pressure and has had some high quality role models throughout her career playing with the likes of Geva Mentor, April Brandley and Sharni Layton all of which have represented their respective countries at the highest levels. Having played for Australia in the World Youth Cup in 2017, Garrett is not afraid of the big stage able to stand up under pressure and perform something she will have to do this season given the Pies list.  2020 will be a big year for Garrett with the highly touted defender looking to ramp it up a gear and have a profound impact down back with her quick feet and skill to shut down players.

Top 25 so far:

25. Latanya Wilson (Jamaica)
24. Summer Artman (England)
23. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (England)
22. Matilda Garrett (Australia)

Top 5 international games of 2019

THIS year marked 12 months filled with international tournaments ranging from the Constellation Cup, Quad Series and most importantly the World Cup.

#1 Australia (51) defeated by New Zealand (52) – World Cup Final

The World Cup gold medal match lived up to the hype with traditional arch rivals going head to head in a one-goal thriller. In the end, it was the Silver Ferns that prevailed in the tight battle after going down earlier in the tournament. The Ferns showed nothing but class, composure and skill to withstand the Diamonds pressure and apply their own scoreboard pressure. Led by the retiring, Casey Kopua the Ferns seemed to have the upper hand with their slick ball movement and zoned style of defence to pick off passes and restrict Australia’s flow in attack. Laura Langman and Maria Folau were other key pillars throughout the high intensity game while goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio displayed her skillset. Unfortunately, the Diamonds struggled for consistency with the goal circle changing with Caitlin Bassett, Gretel Tippett and Steph Wood all spending time under the post. It was a heart in mouth game with reputation and national pride all at stake but led by coach Noeline Taurua the Ferns had utter control and never really looked like dropping the game.

#2 Zimbabwe (79) defeated Sri Lanka (49) – World Cup

In their first World Cup appearance, Zimbabwe well and truly announced themselves on the international stage taking it to Sri Lanka with a convincing performance. The Gems did not muck around putting the after burners on in the first quarter to establish a commanding lead and did not let up steadily building on their margin. The outing helped to put talented goaler Joice Takaidza on the map with Takaidza going on a scoring rampage with 59 goals from 62 attempts at 95 per cent. Another star player that emerged from the clash was goal defence Felisitus Kwangwa who showed her defensive prowess and ability to read the play racking up eight gains and seven intercepts. Zimbabwe’s strong performance was just one of many for the rest of the World cup.

#3 England (52) defeated Australia (49) – Northern Quad Series

Despite Australia securing the Quad Series for another year the Roses came out on top in a class match between the two sides. In recent times, there has been plenty of history with England pipping Australia at the post in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 and once again taking out the win against a strong Diamonds side. The game was filled with intensity, physicality and determination with neither side letting up on the pressure. Roses goal shooter Rachel Dunn was a star under the post showcasing her cool, calm and collected nature to pile on 13 goals in a row while Helen Housby and Jo Harten also played an important role. The lead chopped and changed throughout with both sides trying to find the right combo that could out manoeuvre the other the likes of Caitlin Thwaites, Kelsey Browne and April Brandley all doing the job on the court. The win sparked plenty of joy for the Roses who claimed an impressive win on home soil and set the tone for the rest of the international netball calendar.

#4 England (45) defeated by South Africa (48) – Northern Quad Series

The SPAR Proteas came to play in the Quad Series edging out England and claiming a narrow three-goal victory over the home side. South Africa proved that they have a wealth of talent and can mix it with the best in the world coming up against the likes of talented goal keeper Geva Mentor and owning the circle with their strong holds and accuracy to post. Despite a slow start to the game the SPAR Proteas really built into the game hitting their straps in both the second and third quarter to all but cement the win. It is fair to say South Africa were led by goal defence Karla Pretorius who once again showcased her experience and class to win the ball and transition it down the court. Pretorius paired well with Phumza Maweni to limit the influence of Dunn, Housby and Harten while the match-up between Bongi Msomi and Serena Guthrie brought plenty of intrigue. But all in all, this game was a real coming of age match for South Africa after years of being around the mark but never able to pull it off.

#5 Jamaica (52) defeated by South Africa (55) – World Cup

South Africa got off to a flyer in their pool match against Jamaica clearly asserting themselves and making it hard for the Sunshine Girls to catch up for the remainder of the game. It was close game for the majority with Jamaica clawing back the margin in the second half with a 17 goal third quarter but it was not enough to stop the juggernaut that was South Africa. Lenize Potgieter stood tall once again under the post using her signature quick release shot to full affect nailing 36 goals from 39 attempts while partner in crime Maryka Holtzhausen also played her role with 19 goals. Defensively South Africa had all the answers as well with Pretorius, Maweni and Khanyisa Chawane putting in the hard yards. It was a relatively disappointing outing for the Sunshine Girls who struggled to find their mojo and despite many tipping them to win simply could not generate the same scoring and defensive intent as their opponents. However, it was not through a lack of trying with Jhaniele Fowler leading the way with her commanding height and sheer accuracy only missing one of her 39 attempts. Youngster Shamera Sterling also plied her trade while Vangelee Williams also made her presence felt down back for Jamaica but it was not enough.

New Zealand Super Club: Magpies claim crown over Mystics

COLLINGWOOD Magpies have become the first non New Zealand-based side to take out the Super Club competition title, defeating Northern Mystics by seven goals yesterday. It was a tight affair throughout the contest, with the Magpies increasing the lead by a goal each term, before enjoying a bit more freedom in the last to secure the 49-42 victory. Nat Medhurst was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) after a mammoth effort of 17 goals from 18 attempts at 94.4 per cent accuracy, as well as 18 goal assists from 22 feeds.

The game started with Medhurst playing more than just an assisting role, nailing all five goals and assisting with four to partner-in-crime, Shimona Nelson. The Jamaican was strong under the post, grabbing a rebound and converting eight of her 10 attempts, while Ash Brazill and Gabrielle Sinclair combined for seven goal assists from eight feeds. Up the other end, Geva Mentor was using her experience to try and counter the talented Grace Nweke, taking a crucial intercept, but also giving away four penalties. Nweke scored 10 goals from 12 attempts and picked off two rebounds in the first term, while her fellow goaler, Bailey Mes had two goals from three attempts, as well as three goal assists from four feeds. Elisabeth Toeava was strong with six goal assists from eight feeds, while Phoenix Karaka continued her great form at goal defence with a couple of clever intercepts.

Leading by a goal at the first break, it was much of the same in the second term with the sides remaining the same throughout the first half. Three of the four shooters did not miss a shot in the quarter, with Nelson (nine) and Medhurst (three) combining for 12 goals, as Nweke (eight and a rebound continued to do everything asked of her). Medhurst had three turnovers, but also assisted with eight goals, making the most of her eight feeds thanks to her carefully crafted passes. Through the midcourt, Toeava was creating plenty of opportunities for the Mystics, racking up a team-high five goal assists from six feeds, while centre Tayla Earle had three from four and grabbed an intercept. Karaka and new defensive partner, Sulu Fitzpatrick also managed to intercept a Medhurst pass, with Matilda Garrett doing the same up the opposite end as both teams recorded five general turnovers for the quarter. Heading into the main break, the Magpies led by just two goals and the final was shaping up as a thriller.

Northern Mystics pulled the trigger on the first change of the match, bringing on goal attack Saviour Tui for Mes, joining Nweke in the goal circle. Tui shot five of a possible seven in the quarter, while her teenage goal-shooting partner did not miss from her limited five opportunities. Toeava continued her strong work aiding the goalers with six assists from seven feeds, while Brazill picked up the bid in midcourt with four from six herself. In the goal circle, Nelson (five goals) and Medhurst (six) were spreading the load perfectly and not missing a shot, while Mentor added another intercept to her name up the other end as her and Garrett were working on limiting the flow to Nweke. Melissa Bragg even picked up a goal assist – from wing defence – in the third term with a bullet pass into the circle. The Magpies had an extra turnover, but two less penalties in the quarter, and again increased their lead by a solitary goal to lead by three at the final break.

Nelson became an incredibly imposing figure under the post in the final quarter, shooting 10 of a possible 13 goals, and picking up three rebounds, though also giving away three penalties and a turnover. Medhurst shot three from four but had three assists, while Brazill was the key playmaker through centre with six assists from seven feeds and one of her memorable intercepts. Mentor had yet another intercept in the defensive goal circle as the Mystics forward half started to falter and make a few more errors because of the raised pressure stakes. Mes returned to the court in the only other change, nailing two goals from three attempts along with three goal assists, but also four had turnovers to her name. Nweke managed another seven goals from eight attempts and a rebound in the quarter despite the pressure, while Toeava had nine feeds, five of which were goal assists and two were turnovers. She had three penalties, one less than Karaka, though the Mystics recorded three less for the entire term compared to their opponents. It was the nine to six turnovers that cost them in the end, with the Magpies piling on 13 goals to nine and winning, 49-42.

Nelson played a crucial role beside Medhurst in the goal circle during the final, shooting 32 of a possible 37 goals at 86.5 per cent accuracy, but collecting four rebounds. Up the other end, Nweke had 30 from 33 at 90.9 per cent, and also had four rebounds, but an equal game-high seven turnovers. Her goaling partner had seven turnovers too, with Mes finishing the game with seven goals from 10 attempts, and eight goal assists from nine feeds. Toeava was arguably the Mystics best, assisting with 22 goals from 30 feeds, while Karaka picked up five intercepts and 12 penalties. The other Mystics player to hold up the defensive end in an honest, hard-working game was Michaela Sokolich-Beatson who had one intercept and just four penalties opposed to Sinclair, who played out of her traditional goal attack position to give off seven assists from 12 feeds. Brazill won the centre battle convincingly against Earle, helping herself to 17 goal assists and one intercept, while Earle had seven and one. Garrett picked up a rebound and an intercept for the Magpies, while Mentor was at her clever best, picking off three balls up the defensive end. The Magpies were slightly a class ahead which resulted in the win during a game that showed the best ANZ Premiership sides can compete with the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) teams for large portions of the game – granted the Magpies were missing a couple of Diamonds in April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion from last season.

OTHER RESULTS:

Central Pulse (47) defeated Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (45)

The Central Pulse bounced back from their loss to the Magpies to post a come-from-behind two-goal win over the Magic to claim third spot for the tournament. Leading by a goal at quarter time, the Pulse slipped up in the second term as the Magic slammed home 15 goals to nine to lead by five at half-time. The Pulse stole back the momentum with a 16-10 quarter themselves to lead by a goal heading into the final term, then extending that out to two by the final whistle in a 47-45 victory. Aliyah Dunn scored 32 goals from 35 attempts, while Tiana Metuarau had four from four, and a team-high 16 goal assists from 20 feeds. Katrina Rore was at her absolute best up the other end with three rebounds and an intercept, working well with Elle Temu who had one rebound and two intercepts as the Pulse rested Karin Burger. The Magic goal circle partnership of Kelsey McPhee (31 gals from 40 attempts) and Georgia Marshall (10 from 11) was strong despite McPhee’s inaccuracy, as Whitney Souness was the key in midcourt with a game-high 18 gaol assists from 26 feeds, and a key intercept.

Mainland Tactix (45) defeated by Southern Steel (50)

Southern Steel grabbed fifth spot with a terrific last quarter to overrun Mainland Tactix in a huge contest. The Steel burst out the blocks in the opening term to score 15-12 and take an early lead. The teams broke even in the second quarter before the Tactix took control, and the lead thanks to a 14-10 third stanza. The Steel decided to have none of that, blowing their opponents away in the final quarter with 14 goals to eight on the way to a 50-45 triumph. Jennifer O’Connell was massive at goal shooter, despite being inaccurate, posting up 38 goals from 51 attempts, as Kalifa McCollin managed nine from 11. Gina Crampton was busy through midcourt with 19 goal assists, but a game-high six turnovers, while Shannon Saunders had 14 goal assists from just the one turnover. In defence, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit had three intercepts and one rebound. For the Tactix, up the same end as her sister, Te Paea Selby-Rickit shot 10 goals from 15 attempts at just 66.7 per cent, while picking up two rebounds and handing out eight goal assists. Ellie Bird was the key goal shooter with 31 from 36, while having a game-high five rebounds in the contest.

Wasps Netball (41) defeated by Northern Stars (52)

In the battle of the two bottom sides, it was Northern Stars who handed the Wasps the last place honours thanks to a convincing 11-goal win. The Stars led by two goals at the first break then dominated the second to hold an eight-goal advantage by half-time. The Wasps hit back to make it a more manageable six-goal deficit by the final break, before Northern took control once again, piling on 15-10 in the final term to claim the 52-41 victory. Stars’ shooter, Maia Wilson poured on 34 goals from 44 attempts, had five rebounds and seven goal assists from eight feeds, while Jamie Hume had 14 goals from 17 attempts, as well as seven goal assists and an assist. Kate Burley was reading plays like a picture book up the other end with four of her team’s nine intercepts, while Mila Reuelu-Buchanan had a game-high 18 goal assists from 37 feeds. For the Wasps, veteran shooter Rachel Dunn scored 28 goals from 32 attempts, as well as three rebounds close to the post. Katie Harris helped out with 12 from 14, and five goal assists, as Beth Dix worked hard in wing attack thanks to 11 goal assists from 21 feeds. Up the other end, Josie Huckle managed three rebounds.

2019 New Zealand Super Club preview

THE five day Trans-Tasman competition – the New Zealand Super Club competition – is set to take place from December 8-13 with the Collingwood Magpies making the trek across the ditch to play against all six ANZ Premiership teams and Vitality Netball Super League team, Wasps Netball. There are eight teams competing in the Super Club competition with teams divided into two pools. The team that secures top spot from each pool will move through into the grand final meaning there is plenty on the line for every side.

The Central Pulse are reigning premiers in the ANZ Premiership and have a wealth of talent across the court given their experience in both defence and attack so expect them to come out firing given their strong connections and dynamic movement. Pulse will be joined in Pool A with Southern Steel who finished second on the ladder but bowed in straight sets in the finals making for an interesting contest. The Mystics had an inconsistent season throughout 2019 but will be hoping to build some momentum going into next year while the Wasps round out Pool A. The Wasps were a formidable side throughout 2019 and will be looking to replicate that hot form again in this tournament to claim prime position and progress through to the final.

The Northern Stars headline Pool A after coming runners up in the ANZ Premiership proving they have class to boot. Although they have lost a couple of key players over the off-season, they have gained some valuable recruits making for an exciting series. The Magpies found some form in the latter half of the Suncorp Super Netball season but with the likes of starters Kim Ravaillion and April Brandley both pregnant along with Madi and Kelsey Browne both unavailable will need to find someone to fill their shoes. The Tactix struggled to find their feet in the ANZ and will be hoping to consolidate throughout this tournament while the Magic also had moments.

All eight sides have named strong teams with a host of marquee players set to take the court for their respective teams with Silver Ferns gold medallists Katrina Rore and Ameliaranne Ekenasio leading the way for Pulse meanwhile England Roses duo Jade Clarke and Rachel Dunn have also been named for the Wasps. Despite being burdened with injury Collingwood are not without star power in the like of veteran goal keeper Geva Mentor, Nat Medhurst and Ash Brazill.

Northern Mystics:
Tayla Earle, Courtney Elliot, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Asher Grapes, Danielle Gray, Emma Iversen, Phoenix Karaka, Holly Mather, Bailey Mes, Grace Nweke, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, Elisapeta Toeava, Saviour Tui.

Northern Stars:
Kate Burley, Jamie Hume, Chonaire Huriwai, Fa’amu Ioane, Vika Koloto, Oceane Maihi, Lisa Mather, Julianna Naoupu, Storm Purvis, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Nanise Waqaira, Maia Wilson.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:
Ariana Cable-Dixon, Georgie Edgecombe, Holly Fowler, Abigail Latu-Meafou, Georgia Marshall, Kelsey McPhee, Jenna O’Sullivan, Samantha Sinclair, Whitney Souness, Georgia Tong, Khiarna Williams, Ali Wilshier.

Central Pulse:
Karin Burger, Aliyah Dunn, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Maddy Gordon, Kelly Jury, Claire Kersten, Paris Lokotui, Tiana Metuarau, Katrina Rore, Renee Savai’inaea, Salote Taufa, Elle Temu.

Mainland Tactix:
Jess Allan, Ellie Bird, Charlotte Elley, Temalisi Fakahokotau, Sophia Fenwick, Hannah Glen, Lily Marshall, Samon Nathan, Tiana Placid, Kimiora Poi, Jess Prosser, Te Paea Selby-Rickit.

Southern Steel:
Gina Crampton, Abby Erwood, Taneisha Fifita, Georgia Heffernan, Kate Heffernan, Kalifa McCollin, Kendall McMinn, Jennifer O’Connell, Kiana Pelasio, Shannon Saunders, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit, Della-May Vining.

Collingwood Magpies:
Brooke Allan, Nyah Allen, Ella Bayliss, Melissa Bragg, Ash Brazill, Matilda Garrett, Maggie Lind, Natalie Medhurst, Geva Mentor, Shimona Nelson, Gabrielle Sinclair.

Wasps Netball:
Alexia Baker, Jade Clarke, Beth Dix, Rachel Dunn, Amy Flanagan, Katie Harris, Josie Huckle, Hannah Knights, Hannah Leighton, Tasmin Moala.

Melbourne Double Header to open 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season

A DOUBLE header at Melbourne Arena on Saturday, May 2 will open the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season.

The huge first round of action sees a number of tantalising clashes, with back-to-back matches in Victoria and a Grand Final rematch the next day. The round begins with Melbourne Vixens taking on last year’s wooden spooners Queensland Firebirds with Kate Eddy potentially making her Vixens’ debut, while Ine-Mari Venter could line-up against her old side.

In the second game, Collingwood Magpies host West Coast Fever with the Fever retaining its 2019 list, while the Magpies will be looking to youth following pregnancy departures of April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion. New Magpies’ recruit Jodi-Ann Ward will potentially line-up in the same circle as Jamaican teammate, Jhaniele Fowler in the clash.

The early afternoon game on Sunday is a grand final rematch between NSW Swifts and Sunshine Coast Lightning. Both these teams have remained fairly stable from their successful 2019 seasons, though the Lightning will be keen to seek some early revenge on the reigning premiers. The reigning premiers will no doubt want to celebrate their premiership against the team they conquered.

In the final game of the round, Adelaide Thunderbirds host GIANTS Netball, with the Thunderbirds likely to have a very different goal circle given the inclusion of Lenize Potgieter and the departure of Maria Folau. The GIANTS are fairly similar to the year before, but will miss Kim Green who retired at the end of the season.

The remainder of the SSN fixture will be released on Friday.

2020 Suncorp Super Netball team lists finalised

THE finalised team lists for the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season have now been announced, with most sides sticking to a similar lineup to their 2019 list in a bid for consistency after an abundance of changes over the 2018/2019 off-season.

While plenty of changes have occurred and replacement players are still yet to be announced, the 2019/20 signing period closed at 5pm Monday evening with 10 2019-listed players not returning in 2020: Maria Folau, Beth Cobden and Kelly Altmann (Thunderbirds), Kim Green (GIANTS), April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion (Magpies), and Caitlyn Nevins, Laura Clemesha and Tippah Dwan (Firebirds).

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS
Shamera Sterling
Hannah Petty
Kate Shimmin
Sasha Glasgow
Cody Lange
Chelsea Pitman
Layla Guscoth
Maisie Nankivell
Shadine van der Merwe
Lenize Potgieter

GIANTS NETBALL
Caitlin Bassett
Jamie-Lee Price
Jo Harten
Matilda McDonell
Teigan O’Shannassy
Kiera Austin
Sam Poolman
Kristiana Manu’a
Amy Parmenter
Madeline Hay

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES
Ash Brazill
Geva Mentor
Molly Jovic* injury replacement for Kelsey Browne
Matilda Garrett
Nat Medhurst
Shimona Nelson
Gabrielle Sinclair
Melissa Bragg
Madi Browne
Jodi-Ann Ward

MELBOURNE VIXENS
Emily Mannix
Kate Moloney
Liz Watson
Jo Weston
Kadie-Ann Dehaney
Caitlin Thwaites
Tegan Philip
Kate Eddy
Mwai Kumwenda
Tayla Honey

NSW SWIFTS
Sophie Garbin
Maddy Proud
Maddy Turner
Sam Wallace
Helen Housby
Lauren Moore
Paige Hadley
Nat Haythornthwaite
Sarah Klau
Kayla Cullen

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS
Gabi Simpson
Gretel Tippett
Kim Jenner
Tara Hinchliffe
Romelda Aiken
Ine-Mari Venter
Rudi Ellis
Jemma Mi Mi
Macy Gardner
Lara Dunkley* injury replacement for Mahalia Cassidy

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING
Laura Scherian
Cara Koenen
Steph Wood
Annika Lee-Jones
Peace Proscovia
Phumza Maweni
Karla Pretorius
Maddy McAuliffe
Laura Langman
Jacqui Russell

WEST COAST FEVER
Alice Teague-Neeld
Courtney Bruce
Ingrid Colyer
Jess Anstiss
Jhaniele Fowler
Olivia Lewis
Shannon Eagland
Stacey Francis
Verity Charles
Kaylia Stanton

Constellation Cup: Game 1 preview

GAME one of the Constellation Cup between the Diamonds and Silver Ferns is set to kick-off on Sunday, in New Zealand with both nations vying to claim the first win. Australia will be searching for vengeance after going down in the World Cup Gold Medal Match, whereas the Ferns will be hoping to start a dynasty of dominance against their old foes. There are some notable outs for the Diamonds with April Brandley announcing her pregnancy while speedster Kelsey Browne will miss out with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. But these absences have forged a way for up-and-coming Swifts defender Maddy Turner,Sunshine Coast Lightning speedster Laura Scherian and Collingwood star Ash Brazill. For the Ferns, Casey Kopua has hung up the netburners and left a big defensive hole in her wake.

Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston will be hoping to have an immediate impact with their physical nature and ability to go out hunting down in the defensive circle. New inclusion, Turner will pair nicely with fellow Swifts premiership winner Sarah Klau who showed her defensive prowess on the international scene in the World Cup. The duo have proven they have what it takes to shut down dominant shooting partnerships with their smothering pressure, making for an interesting contest up against the likes of Maria Folau, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Bailey Mes and Maia Wilson. All four New Zealand shooters pose a dominant threat with their rangy shots, athleticism and strong connections while their ability to rotate through goal attack and goal shooter makes them somewhat unpredictable.

The Diamonds have a wealth of options inside the circle with Caitlin Bassett and Caitlin Thwaites damaging prospects under the post. With Steph Wood taking time off from the big stage expect Gretel Tippett to get the start given her scintillating international and domestic form over the past 18 months. Tippett is not afraid to take the game on with her athletic and unpredictable game play making her a challenging prospect for the Ferns defenders. However, the Ferns have no shortage of star defenders with the likes of superstar Katrina Rore who just recently won another premiership with the Swifts along with Karin Burger, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, Phoenix Karaka and Jane Watson all of whom have proven to have the class to stop the Diamonds shooting end.

Fan favourite, Brazill has also made her way back into the Diamonds side for the first time since debuting back in 2016. With a relatively new-look side Australia will be hoping to flex their muscles to outsmart and outplay their opposition. Brazill offers plenty of excitement with her dynamic movement, defensive pressure and versatility, able to switch between centre and wing defence – something the Diamonds sorely lacked in their World Cup campaign. Through the midcourt the Diamonds have plenty of options with Liz Watson deadly around circle edge with her precision passing, slick movement and strength while Paige Hadley has had a season to remember. Despite coming into the Diamonds for the first time, Scherian has an established connection with the Australian captain having played together in the Suncorp Super Netball in recent years, making her a real prospect to get a start if Watson pushes out to centre. Jamie-Lee Pricehas shown she oozes versatility, able to move between wing defence and centre with ease where required. The match up in the midcourt will provide plenty of interest with energiser bunny Laura Langman owning the centre third with her impressive endurance, strength and netball nous. Meanwhile, Gina Crampton is pivotal in the attacking third with her timely feeds while Shannon Saunders is crafty with ball in hand.

2019 SSN season team review: Collingwood Magpies

AFTER a dominant pre-season tournament the Magpies looked in good stead to take the competition by storm. Collingwood notched up a convincing Round 1 win before faltering as the season went on, struggling to find consistency but hitting their straps at the right time to sneak into the finals.

Position: 4th
Percentage: 102.2%
Win-loss: 7-2-5

Overview:

The Pies were a player down from the get go with co-captain Madi Browne ruled out for the season after tearing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). In her place New Zealand Silver Fern Kimiora Poi found her way into the black and white dress playing her part in the latter half of the season and using her speed to full advantage. New recruit Geva Mentor had an immediate impact down back, winning ball back with her tenacity and cleanliness while speedster Kelsey Browne worked her way into the Collingwood line-up. Browne struggled to assert herself straight away but steadily built into the season with her dynamic movement and clever ball placement. Shimona Nelson had a breakout season at her new club showcasing her strong holds and good hands, pairing well with veteran Nat Medhurst who found her feet straight away. Staple hold April Brandley worked hard in defence applying smothering pressure but the biggest surprise came after the World Cup with Ash Brazill pushing into centre and Kim Ravaillion into wing defence with the switch up proving masterful. The Magpies showed glimpses of pure brilliance outclassing their opponents with their ball speed but were unable to maintain that intensity long enough, knocked out in the elimination final.

Shining light:

Brazill went to another level this season showcasing her sheer athleticism and running opponents into the ground with her high endurance and aerial ability. The wing defence turned centre highlighted her versatility able to play both positions effortlessly and have a profound impact. Renowned for her defensive efforts with her three-foot marking and smothering pressure she displayed another element to her game, able to hit circle edge with pace and precision which proved to be crucial in Collingwood’s surge into finals.

2020 predictions:

Nelson has come along in leaps and bounds during season 2019 and will be looking to further develop her skills, game sense and accuracy to post to have a more profound impact under the post next year. While criticised at times for her hands, Nelson has made noticeable inroads with her ability to rein in loose ball and could be a focal point for the Pies in 2020 with her agility. Paired with the likes of Medhurst, the Jamaican goal shooter could really develop into something special if she is able to maintain her composure, holds and movement in the circle. Her confidence has steadily grown throughout the year and with another pre-season under her belt she could pose a commanding threat.