Tag: Bongi Msomi

South Africa star against Malawi

WITH limited international netball this year given the COVID-19 pandemic, it did not stop the SPAR Challenge Test series between South Africa and Malawi from getting underway – providing netball fans with some much needed matchplay. South Africa made a clean sweep of the Queens who were without lynchpin Mwai Kumwenda under the post but still put up a strong effort and allowed for some fresh faces to step up to the plate.

Game 1

South Africa kicked off their campaign in style notching up a strong 40-goal win against Malawi (65-25) credit to their strong defensive pressure and plethora of options inside the goal circle. It was mostly one-way traffic with South Africa exploiting Malawi’s inexperience and most importantly limiting their options under the post. The Proteas raced out to a handy lead at the first break and steadily built on it by half time with the Queens staring down the barrel of a 22-goal deficit at half time alone. Unfortunately they had no answers for the Spar Proteas despite both sides making a host of changes throughout the second half to test out new combinations across the court. The Queens had their best term in the final quarter piling on nine goals however that did not impact the scoreboard too much given the Proteas managed 17 goals of their own to run out comprehensive victors.

A couple of familiar faces suited up for the SPAR Proteas with the likes of Sunshine Coast Lightning goal keeper Phumza Maweni leading the way down back with her impressive court coverage and sticky hands stopping the ball from entering into the defensive circle with ease. She partnered up with Adelaide Thunderbirds representative Shadine van der Merwe who, while in the SSN spends most of her time out in wing defence, proved to be a real force to be reckoned with inside the defensive circle credit to her ball tracking abilities and dogged style of defence. Ine Mari-Venter starred under the post for South Africa notching up an impressive 28 goals from 30 attempts at 93 per cent while Lenize Potgieter also weaved her magic recording 19 goals from 21 attempts at 90 per cent. This game also marked an exciting milestone for the likes of Kamogelo Maseko and Tshina Mdau who both made their international debuts. For Malawi, Sindi Simtowe paved the way doing the most damage under the post with 14 goals from 22 attempts at 64 per cent while Mary Nyirenda managed three goals at 100 per cent but would be hoping to up the ante.

MATCH SHOOTING STATS
South Africa 65/72 90%
Malawi 25/36 69%

SOUTH AFRICA SHOOTING STATS
Lenize Potgieter 19/21 90%
Lefebre Rademan 15/17 88%
Ine-Mari Venter 28/30 93%
Kamogelo Maseko 3/4 75%

MALAWI SHOOTING STATS
Sindi Simtowe 14/22 64%
Jessie Mazengera 4/5 80%
Tendai Masamba 4/6 67%
Mary Nyirenda 3/3 100%

 

Game 2

Despite coming out strong in the opening quarter of play the Malawi Queens simply could not sustain their high level of intensity as South Africa powered to a 62-29 win. Both sides made a couple of changes from their previous outing but that did not seem to impact the outcome with the SPAR Proteas showcasing their array of talent and ability to capitalise on each opportunity that came their way. Although scoring did not seem to be an issue for the home side, the Queens upped the ante across the court contesting every ball and applying pressure on the established connections to force the Proteas to labour and think their way down the court. By half time South Africa well and truly had the game on their own terms, creating a 20 goal buffer and did not let their foot off the throat for the remainder of the game. holding a handy lead the Proteas were not afraid to bring in the changes with a couple more debutantes taking the court and not skipping a beat in defender Nicola Smith and Sikholiwe Mdletshe.

Potgieter was once again a menace under the post, earning player of the match honours thanks to her 100 per cent shooting performance, nailing 32 goals straight. Renowned for her strength under the post in goal shooter, Potgieter found herself out in goal attack for patches and did not look back credit to her increased stamina and high netball IQ to have a profound areas across the court. Bongi Msomi was her usual energetic and zippy self lighting up the court with her drives, quick feet and lightning hands to deliver under the post. For Malawi, Bridget Kumwenda had a strong presence out in wing attack feeding the ball well and using her spatial awareness to try and create some separation while Towera Vinkhumbo had her work cut out for her up against the South African shooters.

SHOOTING STATS
Q1
South Africa 18/19 94%
Malawi 7/8 87%
Q2
South Africa 17/19 89%
Malawi 8/9 88%
Q3
South Africa 16/18 88%
Malawi 6/6 100%
Q4
South Africa 11/17 64%
Malawi 8/12 66%

MATCH SHOOTING STATS
South Africa 62/73 84%
Malawi 29/35 82%

 

Game 3

With the series won and done that did not stop the SPAR Proteas from throwing everything they had at Malawi amassing a record-breaking 41 goal victory (69-28). The Proteas were on from the opening minute while the Queens struggled to combat the fast paced and well-oiled machine that was South Africa. It was a physical battle to start proceedings with both sides not willing to give an inch before things kicked into gear for the Proteas and they managed to open up a narrow five goal lead. Coming off a close opening term South Africa piled on the pressure in the second term nailing 22 goals and converting at an impressive 92 per cent highlighting just how much damage they can do when they get going. Unfortunately for the Queens things did not get much better as the Proteas continued their merry way, finding easy avenues to goal and most importantly making the most of their opportunities with repeated chances.

Defensively the Proteas were sound once again with van der Merwe and Maweni combining effortlessly inside the defensive circle to nullify the influence of the likes of Simtowe and Jessie Mazenger. The starting combination of Potgieter and Lefébre Rademan was once again strong with the two carving up the court and doing damage on the scoreboard thanks to their impressive range and ability to find the post.

At the end of the series, Malawi coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa highlighted her disappointment, unable to register a single win across the series but also noted the importance and value of being able to get out on court and test the combinations.

“We are grateful to have played some international netball but when we go home we know that we have to make sure the players don’t remain idle, but that they keep fit for action. “The lack of match fitness was a problem, and they were unable to take the momentum through to the later stages of the match,” she said.

SHOOTING STATS
Q1
South Africa 14/15 93%
Malawi 9/11 81%

Q2
South Africa 22/24 92%
Malawi 7/11 63%

Q3
South Africa 20/23 86%
Malawi 4/6 66%

Q4
South Africa 13/18 72%
Malawi 8/11 72%

MATCH SHOOTING STATS
South Africa 69/80 86%
Malawi 28/39 71%

Who will replace Bongi Msomi as captain of South Africa?

THE Spar Proteas have risen up the rankings, seen as a team to beat with star players across the court and speed to boot. Led by inspirational captain Bongi Msomi, South Africa have pushed many of the top four nations to their limits, collecting crucial wins and getting inside opposition heads. But in a look to the future, the question must be asked who will replace the role of captain when Msomi retires, with the midcourter celebrating her 32nd birthday this year. The two options listed have experience playing in both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL), showcasing their ability to perform both on an international level and domestic level, week in week out. 

Karla Pretorius:
There is no denying that the electrifying goal defence has skill, stamina and x-factor to boot. She is lightning quick and able to have an impact at every single contest such is her read of the play. The 30-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down and is already a key leader down back with the goal defence dictating the space and using her experience to lead the likes of Phumza Maweni and Shadine van der Merwe. Pretorius’ read of the play and calming presence pays dividends in the defensive third for the Proteas, able to swoop in and change the course of the game in an instant. Her go-go gadget arms and quick footwork makes her nearly impossible to stop while her endurance and durability makes her a crucial cog in the Proteas defence and attack, often able to feed the ball through the midcourt. Already the vice-captain, it would make sense for the defender to step up to the plate and deliver as captain if and when Msomi retires. Pretorius is the one that players look to to lift or inspire the side to create turnover ball and go on a scoring spree. She is hardly ever out-muscled despite her slight stature and is a real workhorse across the court with her ferocity and desire to win the ball. 

Lenize Potgieter:
The talented goaler is clearly a key cog in the future development of the Spar Proteas with her quick fire shooting style and accuracy to post. Potgieter is strong under the post and has been a permanent figure in South Africa’s line-up for the past couple of years with her ability to hold space, create scoring opportunities and pile on the attacking pressure. Her silky movement and strong hands makes her a commanding presence in the goal circle. At 26, Potgieter still has plenty of time left to continue her leadership and has proven to be a threat to be reckoned with under the post with her unconventional shooting style, high volume of goals and play making abilities. She can withstand the pressure and is not afraid to absorb it to act as the main goaler for South Africa as shown throughout all her international outings. Potgieter has developed her versatility throughout her career, able to switch from a holding shooter to a moving one, and occasionally pushes out to goal attack displaying her netball smarts and clever ball delivery. She can adapt to a wealth of shooting partners whether it be Sigi Burger, Ine Mari Venter or young gun Lefébre Rademan, such is her composure and leadership in the attacking third, something she will have to maintain if she does take over the reigns.  

While there are a wealth of other options such as Khanyisa Chawane, Venter, Maweni and Zanele Vimbela, expect the leadership role to fall to either Pretorius or Potgieter given they are both consistent figures for the Spar Proteas.

Compare the Pair: Shelley O’Donnell and Bongi Msomi

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from different eras across the netball world, with the next showcasing wing attacks, Australian Shelley O’Donnell and South African captain, Bongi Msomi.

Both zippy attackers who can change the course of a game in a split second, O’Donnell and Msomi are dominant midcourters with plenty of speed to find circle edge. Though hitting the court with different builds, both players are tough to take on with tenacity and intensity to boot creating an interesting matchup here given their respective strengths. Both able to ply their trade in either centre or wing attack, their versatility and speed makes them threatening fixtures on court.

A three-time world champion, O’Donnell used her clever netball nous to find the ball with ease, consistently able to create something out of nothing with her speed and ability to find space. O’Donnell’s strong build allowed her to body up on her opposition and transition from midcourt attack to defence in a split second, using her read of the play to switch up with ease. Her ability to adapt to the play was second to none, using her vision and cleanliness to serve the ball on a silver player to her goalers. With a stellar drive down court and the speed to back it up, O’Donnell was one to watch on court with her endurance and ability to get the job done. O’Donnell served the Diamonds for just under 10 years, and it was a credit to her ability to ply her trade with ease that saw her collect over 80 international caps.

Speedster Msomi is an energiser bunny who can just go and go, using her speed to take the ball with ease and zip away before her defender is aware she had the ball. With plenty of experience under her belt and the agility to keep going, expect Msomi to continue plying her trade with her quick feet and ability to find circle edge doing wonders for the Spar Proteas. With a smaller build to go with her quick feet, Msomi has an innate ability to find herself exactly where the ball needs to be, using her game awareness to find the netball with ease and evade her opposition. With over 100 caps to her name, Msomi has spurred her nation on time and time again with her consistency and constant drive to go one better, forming a crucial role through the midcourt.

Shelley O’Donnell
84 caps, 1990-1999

Bongi Msomi
~108 caps, 2011-present

Fantasy Team: AUS/NZ v. Rest of the world

THERE is no shortage of talent across the netball world with stars hailing from a range of different countries. Draft Central has created two teams, one comprised of players from Australia and New Zealand the other made up of netballers from around the globe.

Australia/New Zealand:

GK: Jane Watson
GD: Katrina Rore
WD: Ash Brazill
C: Laura Langman
WA: Liz Watson
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
GS: Caitlin Bassett

BENCH: Gretel Bueta, Gina Crampton, Jo Weston

Starting in the defensive third it is hard to go past the tried and tested duo of Jane Watson and Katrina Rore. Watson has come along in leaps and bounds with her pressure over the shot, speed off the mark and impressive leap causing all sorts of havoc down back. Throw in the experience and class of Rore and the defensive unit is one to be envious of. Rore is electric, nimble on her feet and has proven to be a real barometer for any team, able to create tips and deflections time and time again.

The midcourt is littered with highly athletic netballers able to run all day and constantly do the unthinkable. Starting in wing defence is Ash Brazill, with the Diamonds midcourter renowned for her aerial ability and flashy style of play. Brazill can create plenty of turnover ball and has a high endurance to run toe to toe with her opponent all game. It is no surprise that the centre bib goes to Silver Ferns and netball legend Laura Langman. With experience to boot, speed off the mark, explosiveness and undeniable netball smarts Langman is one of the most exciting midcourters to take the court. She can single handedly turn the game on its head with a perfectly timed intercept or a pin-point pass into the circle. Diamond, Liz Watson takes out the wing attack position with the speedy centre court player strong around circle edge. Her vision is second to none and is constantly two moves ahead of her opponent such is netball understanding. Watson oozes class, dynamism and precision able to deliver the ball into the goalers with great ease.

The goal circle is headlined by two impressive shooters with Ferns goal attack, Ameliaranne Ekenasio getting the nod. Ekenasio is a smooth mover that glides across the court and is a real playmaker in the attacking third. She backs herself from range, able to shoot from anywhere in the circle and uses her quick footwork to reposition in the goal circle. In at goal shooter is Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett with the towering goaler renowned for her strong holds and high volume. Her positioning under the post is impressive able to ward off defenders with her angles and footwork, while also making the most of her long limbs to reel in passes going over the baseline.

The experience and class does not stop there with Gretel Bueta unlucky not to get the start but earning a spot on the bench, while versatile attacker Gina Crampton also earned herself a spot. The final place goes to Diamonds’ Jo Weston given her defensive pressure.

Rest of the world:

GK: Geva Mentor
GD: Karla Pretorius
WD: Vangelee Williams
C: Serena Guthrie
WA: Bongi Msomi
GA: Helen Housby
GS: Sam Wallace

BENCH:  Lenize Potgieter, Chelsea Pitman, Shamera Sterling,

Kicking things off down in goal keeper is England Roses and netball veteran, Geva Mentor. The highly talented defender is nothing but class with her silky footwork, lean over the shot and skill to pick off passes entering the defensive third. She is deceptively quick and applies a wealth of pressure. Pairing with Mentor is Spar Proteas goal defence Karla Pretorius. The South African defender is in a league of her own with her speed off the mark and uncanny ability to reel in intercepts. She is simply unstoppable when on song, causing all sorts of havoc down back with her menacing style of play, quick footwork and long arms to force turnovers and propel the ball back down the court.

Through the midcourt Jamaican defender Vangelee Williams gets the nod at wing defence. She is a highly versatile player that can drop back into circle defence when needed but has an impressive skillset around the circle edge credit to her balance and netball smarts. Meanwhile, t is hard to go past England Roses midcourter, Serena Guthrie in centre. Guthrie is a running machine that just keeps on going, throwing herself at everything that comes her way. She has speed to boot and while she is more defensively minded can apply plenty of attacking pressure with her well-weighted passes into the goal circle. The 30-year-old is a key cog for any side able to provide that steadying presence and spark up when needed. In at wing attack is South African speedster Bongi Msomi, with the nippy midcourter able to dart around the court and create space in the attacking third. Msomi has lightning quick hands, able to fire off passes into the circle and is strong around the circle edge despite her slight frame.

The goal attack position goes to the cool, calm and collected Helen Housby. The Roses shooter is hardly ever frazzled and can shoot from anywhere in the circle, given her impressive range and accuracy to post. She is quick on her feet and is not afraid to take the hard drive into the circle to receive the ball. Her pairing with Trinidad and Tobago goaler, Sam Wallace is highly impressive with the two able to seamlessly move in the circle and create plays. Wallace is arguably one of the most laidback and underrated shooters and uses that to her full advantage, getting up to the high balls with ease while also putting up a wealth of shots.

Rounding out the team is South African and unconventional shooter, Lenize Potgieter along with Roses midcourter Chelsea Pitman and Jamaican excitement machine Shamera Sterling.

Who would win?

Both teams are packed with plenty of x-factor, however given that Australia and New Zealand sit one and two on the rankings it is fair to assume they might have the upper hand. The experience of Langman, Rore and Bassett in each third will help give the Diamonds/Ferns team that competitive edge over the rest of the world while their strength through the midcourt is also another key indicator.

Memorable Matches: South Africa defeat Jamaica – NWC 2019

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is South Africa SPAR Proteas’ stellar three goal victory over Jamaica at the 2019 Netball World Cup. Then world number two nation, Jamaica lost to the Spar Proteas for only the third time, seeing South Africa top Pool C heading into the preliminary rounds.

It was a spectacular start that kept the Proteas ahead from the get-go, limiting every opportunity the Sunshine Girls had to get goals and the board and forcing plenty of errors. While Jamaica has a wealth of talent bookending the court, where they lack some star-power is through the midcourt which is where they were well and truly beaten by South Africa.

The first half went all the way of the South Africans, leading by more than 10 goals at the main change. While it was partially down to the impressive scoreboard pressure the Proteas applied, full credit had to go to the defensive efforts of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni, with the pair denying every opportunity into the goal circle. Where Jhaniele Fowler is a major target at the post for Jamaica, Maweni well and truly shut her down while Pretorius kept the likes of Shanice Beckford away from her range.

Pretorius racked up three intercepts and four gains throughout. A real workhorse through the middle of the court, Erin Burger impressed with her ability to impact on and off the ball and propel the play forward, with Bongi Msomi doing what she does best in attack, running laps around her opposition to hand ball on a silver platter to Lenize Potgieter, who shot 19 goals alone in the first half – only two less than the Sunshine Girls did overall. 

But while the first half was all down to South Africa, Jamaica came out flying to well and truly outscore the Proteas in the second half. A massive 17 goal to 10 third quarter allowed the Sunshine Girls to power their way back into the game, only down by four goals by the final change. Burger was well matched in the second half by Nicole Dixon in at centre, while Vangelle Williams did whatever was necessary to limit Msomi’s impact by blocking her every move – but racking up the penalties as she did so, collecting 16 penalties out at wing defence, only two and one less than respective goal keepers, Sterling (19) and Maweni (18). Khadijah Williams racked up the 21 goal assists to form a threatening combination with Beckford feeding into the circle, racking up 12 alone in the second half.

Where goal keeper Shamera Sterling had a messy first half she cleaned up her act later, only picking up the eight penalties in the second half to pull back the margin, but was not entirely able to limit Potgieter’s silky movement at the post. Sterling only picked up the two intercepts across the entire game, with South Africa aware of the goal keeper’s ability to pluck ball out of the air with ease and able to poke holes in the defensive play.

Fowler dominated at the post with ease in the second half, drawing penalties from the long-limbed Maweni and shooting 23 goals at 100 per cent accuracy to keep Jamaica in the game. It was South Africa’s dominant defensive effort that kept them afloat even when Jamaica came out flying in the second half, with five Proteas collecting an intercept to their name. Where the Proteas racked up elements of defensive pressure, they also kept down the penalties, maintaining the defensive without the physicality. 

The last quarter was neck and neck with neither side really able to grab the momentum, seeing the score see-saw as each team took advantage of their centre pass. But a vital turnover or two allowed South Africa to always stay one step ahead of Jamaica, never conceding a goal for the Sunshine Girls to take the lead. While the defensive pressure was what saw the game come down to the close margin in the end, the phenomenal scoreboard pressure applied by both goal shooters saw the game come down to the wire with little to separate the two stars.

Fowler missed just the one goal all match for 38 goals at 97 per cent accuracy, while Potgieter was just as solid with 36 from 39 attempts. Their respective goal attacks in Beckford and Maryka Holtzhausen were not quite as accurate, shooting at 74 and 66 per cent respectively, but it was their ability to evade their opposition and assist their goal shooter that allowed them both to still have an impact.

JAMAICA 9 | 12  | 17 | 12 (52)
SOUTH AFRICA 16 | 16 | 10 | 13 (55) 

STARTING SEVEN

Jamaica
GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Shanice Beckford
WA: Khadijah Williams
C: Nicole Dixon
WD: Vangelee Williams
GD: Stacian Facey
GK: Shamera Sterling

BENCH: Adean Thomas, Jodiann Ward, Romelda Aiken, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Rebekah Robinson
COACH: Marvette Anderson, Sasher-Gaye Henry

 

South Africa

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Maryka Holtzhausen
WA: Bongiwe Msomi
C: Erin Burger
WD: Khanyisa Chawane
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

BENCH: Shadine van der Merwe, Sigi Burger, Izette Griesel, Renske Stoltz, Zanele Vimbela
COACH: Norma Plummer

SHOOTING STATS

Jamaica
Jhaniele Fowler 38/39
Shanice Beckford 14/19

South Africa
Lenize Potgieter 36/39
Maryka Holtzhausen 19/29

Memorable Matches: 2019 VNSL Grand Final

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is Manchester Thunder’s impressive come-from-behind win over Wasps Netball in the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final.

It was a match of pure intensity, with the see-sawing match-up proving to be just as good as suspected in the lead up. While the Wasps had been ahead on the ladder for much of the season, Thunder had gotten the chocolates both times the two teams played during the season, making for an interesting and exciting match-up.

Both sides battled hard from the get-go, with Wasps pulling out an early lead thanks to defensive efforts from Fran Williams and Hannah Knights, who were clinical and relentless in the circle denying easy ball into the circle and causing headaches with their long arms. The Wasps’ herding gamestyle worked a trick, crowding Manchester and forcing errors through the midcourt, propelling the ball down to attack with ease thanks to the pressure of stalwart Jade Clarke through the centre, driving the ball down to Rachel Dunn and Katie Harris at the post. Dunn and Harris’ ability to share the load was impressive as ever, with Thunder retiree Kerry Almond and Emma Dovey unable to hold off the duo when they got inside the circle.

But Manchester proved they cannot be underestimated, drawing ahead in the second quarter with a spectacular 18 goals to 11 to hold the lead at half time. The likes of Kathryn Turner and Joyce Mvula lifted to apply some much needed scoreboard pressure, while Liana Leota was instrumental through the centre of the court alongside veteran Caroline O’Hanlon, using their experience to hold ground through the midcourt. But a second quarter blitz was not enough, with the Thunder’s inconsistency all but coming back to bite them in the third when the Wasps unleashed once more.

A tight second half ensued and it was unsure which team would take out the title, with both sides spurred on by spectacular defensive efforts paired with impressive feeding in attack. Bongi Msomi used all her match experience to be a constant threat on circle edge for the Wasps, applying pressure with her speed and agility to find Dunn and Harris in the circle, unstoppable despite Laura Malcolm’s best efforts. But Malcolm’s bodywork came in useful once the final quarter came around, blocking Msomi’s leads and forming a crucial defensive buffer as Almond and Dovey kicked it up a notch once more despite trailing by six goals at the final change

The final quarter started with a bang, with Manchester chugging along to claw their way back ahead of the Wasps and doing so in an impressive manner, holding the Wasps to just the seven goals in the final term. While Wasps were consistent as ever, an injury time-out for Malawian goal shooter Mvula could have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for the Thunder, but instead saw Manchester come back with a vengeance as Ellie Cardwell joined the fray. A consistent figure who does not always get the recognition she deserves, Cardwell shot the lights out and offered a different option in the circle, switching up the match play with her clever ball use and gave her defenders another thing to think about in the circle. 

It was there that the game was won and done, with the Thunder running home for their third VNSL premiership title, winning against the reigning premiers 57-52 in impressive manner.

WASPS NETBALL 16 | 11 | 18 | 7 (52)
MANCHESTER THUNDER  11 | 18 | 10 | 18 (57)

Wasps

GS: Rachel Dunn
GA: Katie Harris
WA: Bongi Msomi
C: Jade Clarke
WD: Amy Flanagan
GD: Fran Williams
GK: Hannah Knights

COACH: Mel Mansfield

Thunder

GS: Joyce Mvula
GA: Kathryn Turner
WA: Liana Leota
C: Caroline O’Hanlon
WD: Laura Malcolm
GD: Emma Dovey
GK: Kerry Almond

COACH: Karen Greig

International All-Stars players edition: George Fisher (Saracens Mavericks/England Roses)

CONTINUING our theme of All-Star teams, England Roses and Saracens Mavericks shooting dynamo, George Fisher compiled her own dream team. Take a look at her selections and reasoning behind each player.

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My All-Star Team:

George Fisher (Saracens Mavericks/England Roses)

When I was first asked to put together my All-Star team by Netball Draft Central, I was really excited at the prospect of completing this. However when I actually started to pick my team, I realised just how hard it was with the calibre of players past, present and coming through. I could have picked at least four for every position.

So this is what I ended up with, and I would so love to see this team perform for real!

I had to start with the legendary Irene Van Dyk. This decision pretty much speaks for itself, being one of the most capped international players of all time, with her flair, athleticism and by God the way she takes a ball, not to mention her accuracy at shot and her cool and calm attitude, I just couldn’t start with anyone else.

So joining Van Dyk in the D is none other than Jo Harten. Most people see her as a goal shooter but I really enjoy watching her out on court. She has so much flair and passion and the will to win. She is always someone you want on your side and paired with Van Dyk in the D, there will not be any loose balls that don’t end up in their hands, with trick passes, amazing catching and shot accuracy, this would be my dream shooting team.

So up next is wing attack. I really struggled with this position with the likes of Tamsin Greenway, Liz Watson, Nat Haythornthwaite, Bongiwe Msomi and Chelsea Pitman in the mix, but I’ve finally gone for Liana Leota, someone who I personally have thoroughly enjoyed watching over the past few years in the Vitality Superleague. Her court craft, game knowledge, leadership paired with her decision-making ability to land on edge of the D and deliver killer balls to the shooters make her my wing attack. And all this while being the mother to five children, what a total inspiration to all sportswomen!

We come to the centre and for me it’s always a toss-up between Serena Guthrie or Laura Langman to who will have which bib, centre or wing defence? I’ve put Langman as my centre as she is a total powerhouse. Strong, quick, able to bring the ball up court, feed the D with ease and bringing an air of calm to the whole team.

No team is complete without a Serena Guthrie – what a legend and not just for her on court ability. She would be in my wing defence bib for her never ending energy and grit on court to turn that ball over in any way possible. Watching her pick off balls, not just off the circle edge but all through court, with an athleticism that is unmatched is just incredible.

Now leading onto my goal defence, Casey Kopua. Her agility through the court at her height is phenomenal, matched with her ability to read the game and pull off interceptions is a game changer. Not only is she a danger out on court but her ability to sight turnovers in the D will put doubt into any feeder’s mind.

And goal keeper – again lots in the mix but came down to a choice of two, Laura Geitz or Geva Mentor to complete my team. For me it has to be Geva Mentor, strong, powerful, calm and a crucial interception maker. With her long reach and her elevation she puts doubt into the shooters’ mind and is a demon at taking those rebounds and paired with Kopua – what a total dream team.

So who’s on my bench! I’ve gone for a younger bench with players that have already made a massive mark on the international scene and I think are becoming total legends of our game. I’ve selected Maia Wilson as I thought she was outstanding at the Nations Cup and is really starting to hold down the front end for the Ferns. And up at the other end we have Shamera Sterling with her rangy frame and complete natural ability to play netball, she puts doubt in the feeders by confusing space so well and more often than not will come out with the ball. I also loved seeing her out at goal defence so two options in one. That leads me onto my final player Nat Haythornthwaite, not only does she have the fastest feet I have ever seen and a never give up attitude, she has the ability to nail the wing attack position but also step into the goal attack role seamlessly. Plus she is one of the nicest people I have ever met and helped me to grow into my shooting role at Wasps Superleague when I was just 17.

So that’s my All Star team! As I said before, it has been so hard to pick just the one player for each position due to the phenomenal past and present players that have influenced our game. 

Do you know what, I really love our sport. 

GEORGE FISHER’S ALL STARS

GS: Irene Van Dyk
GA: Jo Harten
WA: Liana Leota
C: Laura Langman
WD: Serena Guthrie
GD: Casey Kopua
GK: Geva Mentor

BENCH: Maia Wilson, Nat Haythornthwaite, Shamera Sterling

Memorable Matches: 2019 Quad Series – South Africa defeats England ahead of Netball World Cup

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look back at memorable matches. Next up is the 2019 Quad Series match between South Africa and England, where the Proteas shocked the reigning Commonwealth champions, England Roses on their opponents’ home turf ahead of the Netball World Cup.

The three-goal victory stunned the Roses who went toe-to-toe early on but were ultimately outclassed by the Spar Proteas over the course of the match, which saw Player of the Match Karla Pretorius team up with Phumza Maweni to make life difficult in the goal circle. Pretorius’ four intercepts were crucial with the stalwart defender pushing the likes of Jo Harten and Helen Housby to the limit, while Shadine van der Merwe was crucial on circle edge racking up the five deflections. England’s goalers were uncharacteristically inaccurate, shooting at a combined 81 per cent for the match while Harten was well and truly kept away from her regular goal tally, unable to put up her usual volume thanks to the Proteas’ constant defensive pressure.

But while South Africa came away with the win, England maintained their class and cleanliness throughout, collecting 11 less penalties while they were at it and winning the second half – albeit by a single goal. It was the second quarter where the Roses lost control, only shooting 10 goals and allowing the Proteas to take the lead, with the defensive pressure of Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown not entirely having the desired effect, leading to a change with returnee Layla Guscoth taking the court and playing out the match for three gains to Mentor’s four. But it wasn’t enough, with a solid partnership forming between Bongi Msomi and Erin Burger, seeing Burger use her gut running to constantly be a threat in centre while Msomi’s speed and feeding ability saw her collect 21 goal assists from 36 feeds, while her opposition in Jade Clarke collected two intercepts.

For the Proteas, Lenize Potgieter was the difference with her atypical – yet accurate – shooting technique accurate as ever, shooting 34 goals at 92 per cent. While England maintained some control in the second half, it seemed the second quarter had shaken the usually confident Roses, with the side ultimately unable to gain dominance and take a lead against the Proteas. Serena Guthrie was a good match for Burger through the midcourt but was moved back to control Msomi, while Chelsea Pitman racked up 18 goal assists from 29 feeds despite van de Merwe’s best efforts. But it was to no avail as the Proteas put themselves in good stead for the Netball World Cup with the 48-45 victory.

ENGLAND 13 | 10 | 11 | 11 (45)
SOUTH AFRICA 13 | 14 | 10 | 11 (48)

STARTING SEVENS

England

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

BENCH: Layla Guscoth, Rachel Dunn, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Razia Quashie, Fran Williams
COACH: Tracey Neville

South Africa

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Maryka Holtzhausen
WA: Bongi Msomi
C: Erin Burger
WD: Shadine Van der Merwe
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

BENCH: Khanyisa Chawane, Rome Dreyer, Renske Stoltz, Ine-Mari Venter, Zanele Vimbela
COACH: Norma Plummer

SHOOTING STATS

England:
Helen Housby 27/32
Jo Harten 18/22

South Africa:
Lenize Potgieter 34/37
Maryka Holtzhausen 14/16

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN: #9 – Zanele Vimbela

THE Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) is already home to a number of international stars making it one of the strongest netball competitions in the world. However, we as the Draft Central team are creating a list of top 10 players we would like to see join the competition. In at number nine is South African Zanele Vimbela.

The lanky defender has shown that she can hold her on both on the international scale and domestically plying her trade for the Strathclyde Sirens in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL). She only joined their ranks this year but in her three games racked up impressive stats thanks to her go get it attitude, hunt for the ball and tenacious mindset amassing 11 intercepts and nine deflections. Her quick footwork and ability to get around the body makes her an imposing figure despite her slight stature. Although she is not the most physical defender it is her ability to get in the heads of opponents with her three-foot marking, lean over the shot and skill to clog up space and force turnovers. Vimbela can swap between circle defence and wing defence such is her netball nous and transition work to bring the ball down court seamlessly. While her impressive elevation, quick reflexes and strong footwork allows her to cause havoc down in the defensive circle.

As shown through her performance at the Netball World Cup, Vimbela is no easy beat, consistently buttering up and applying a wealth of pressure against a-list players. Her ability to stay on her toes and change direction in the circle to go out and grab the intercept or collect a deflection makes her an exciting prospect and further exposure to the highest league would give her another platform to develop on. She racked up nine intercepts, nine rebounds and eight deflections across the World Cup while only having one turnover to her name showcasing her skill and nous to treasure possession. Fellow Spar Proteas’ defenders Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni have become key features in the Sunshine Coast Lightning with the first, winning two consecutive premierships. Pretorius and Maweni have developed at a rate of knots with their defensive pressure and endurance ramping up across the board something that Vimbela would benefit from if she was picked up by an SSN club.

Pretorius and Maweni are not the only South African players to compete in the SSN with Ine-Mari Venter and Lenize Potgieter joining the ranks while captain Bongi Msomi played for the Adelaide Thunderbirds back in 2017. The addition of Vimbela would add an element of excitement to the SSN and despite being 30 she still has plenty of raw talent that has not been tapped into.

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN:

#10 Joice Takaidza (Zimbabwe)
#9 Zanele Vimbela (South Africa)

2020 Nations Cup: Team of the Series

IN an action packed Nations Cup, title holders New Zealand dominated the Team of the Series with four players making the side credit to their impressive display. Boasting a less experienced side, England struggled to have their usual impact while South Africa underperformed considering their stacked line-up.

GS: Jhaniele Fowler (Jamaica)
Fowler was a key cog in the attack end for the Sunshine Girls with the goal shooter shouldering the load in the goal circle. The 198cm tall goaler was accurate to post and put up a wealth of shots throughout the tournament making her the standout shooter of the series. Her movement was solid using her height and body positioning to claim prime positioning and reel the ball in.

GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio (New Zealand)
If it was not already possible, Ekenasio lifted to a whole new level throughout the Nations Cup with the newly appointed captain running amok on the court. The goal attack went from strength to strength able to use her change of pace and impressive timing to full advantage. She was a real playmaker in the attacking half, setting up strong screens and sensing the moment when to release the ball into the circle or fling it around the circle edge. She oozed patience and netball smarts while also showcasing her accuracy to post to back herself from range and deliver without hesitation. Her movement was second to none opening up the goal circle and using the baseline to draw the defender.

WA: Natalie Haythornthwaite (England)
The Roses midcourter was on fire throughout the Nations Cup using her clever ball placement and speed to full advantage. The wing attack led the charge in the attacking third showcasing her deft touch to deliver well-weighted passes into the goalers and open space across the court with her well-timed drives. Her hustle at the top of the goal circle was a key feature of her game, consistently using her footwork to edge her way around the circle and feed the ball in. Haythornthwaite displayed her impressive vision to sight players under the post and oozed confidence.

C: Jade Clarke (England)
The veteran centre was one of the most consistent players across all four games using her experience and endurance to full effect. Her work both offensively and defensively was solid running both ways to create opportunities across the court. Clarke was not afraid to put her body on the line, throwing herself into every contest and plying her trade around the circle edge.

WD: Karin Burger (New Zealand)
The Silver Ferns defender continued to make a name for herself winning the ball back time and time again thanks to her lanky arms. Burger built into each match using her impressive footwork to get around the body of her opponent and pick up timely tips or intercepts. She was a real ball magnet gobbling up any errant pass that came her way pair that with her ability to read the play and was near-on unstoppable in the defensive third. Burger worked well to clog up the space and block the vision of her opposing midcourter with her long reach.

GD: Karla Pretorius (South Africa)
Although Pretorius was not up to her usual lofty standards the South African goal defence did enough to star in a struggling side. Her dominant presence worried opposition attack ends with her willingness to hunt the ball and ability to stay in play. She is a real game changer thanks to her read of the play and intercepting abilities.

GK: Jane Watson (New Zealand)
It is hard to go past the performance of Silver Ferns goal keeper Jane Watson who dominated throughout the series. The talented defender did not skip a beat and while she did not feature highly on the stats board it was her work off the ball that stood head and shoulders above the rest. Watson applied a wealth of pressure in the backend of the court using her quick feet to cover the court with ease and getting hands to ball to stop any easy access into the circle. Her pressure over the shot was impressive throughout, placing doubt in the goalers minds and getting up high to collect tips and intercepts.

BENCH: Maia Wilson (New Zealand), Bongi Msomi (South Africa), Shamera Sterling (Jamaica)
Although it was a relatively disappointing series for South Africa, captain Bongi Msomi led the way in the attacking third. Msomi lit up the court with her speed and dynamic footwork to feed the ball into the goalers and create scoring opportunities. The Spar Proteas speedster was reliable and offered plenty of variety in each of her matches. Up the other end, Jamaican defender Shamera Sterling had a blinder of series using her light frame to read the flight of the ball and pick off passes while also bodying up opponents when need be. Although she gave away a lot of penalties, Sterling made up for her ill-discipline with her attacking mindset to repel the ball down the court and limit any easy avenue into goal. Maia Wilson stood tall in the goal circle using her height and clever body positioning to get around the defenders and continuously deliver.

Picture credit: Michael Bradley