Tag: caitlin bassett

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

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

Goals:

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

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

Midcourt:

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

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

Defence:

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

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

Photo credit: SSN

Stars end season on a high with scintillating 19-goal win

IN both teams’ final game of the home and away season, it was the Northern Stars that claimed the win over Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by 19 goals (65-46). It was a one-sided affair as the Stars came out with a point to prove after dropping all the way down the ladder and missing finals.

Caitlin Bassett picked up where she left off hitting the scoreboard within the first 20 seconds of the game for the Magic meanwhile up the other end of the court it was Jamie Hume that carried her hot form into the round with a beautiful long bomb. An early deflection from Lisa Mather around circle edge gifted possession to the Stars as the home side opened up an early lead. The first few minutes of the term was riddled with ball handling errors and uncharacteristic turnovers. Anna Harrison was proving to be a nuisance in the goal circle for the Magic with the long limbed defender picking up intercepts and deflections aplenty. Maia Wilson started with a point to prove with the goal shooter finding some good space inside the ring making the Magic pay for their turnovers. Six goals in a row from the Stars allowed them to open up a five-goal lead with the momentum well and truly favouring them.

Sam Winders’ never-say-die attitude well and truly came to the fore, with the centre streaming through for an intercept and rewarded for her efforts up the other end of the court thanks to Khiarna Wiliams scoring the first goal of the game. If it was not Harrison competing in the air, it was Elle Temu that came up big with the goal keeper using her outside arm to sway ball away. The Stars defence was up and about early forcing Bassett high and out of her comfort zone. Hume was running riot against Erena Mikaere using her speed and drive to receive ball in the circle and most importantly score as the lead ballooned out to six goals. The Magic managed to stem the bleeding momentarily with Bassett upping the ante inside the circle but the Stars still had control of the match heading into quarter time up by seven goals.

Looking for something new in attack, Chiara Semple made her way onto the court for the Magic, and while it did not immediately go to plan with Harrison blocking the shot, she followed up and got the job done. Gina Crampton was providing a real spark around circle edge for the Stars with her quick hands and dynamic movement while Wilson seemed to go off the boil after her strong start. Temalisi Fakahoktau was injected into the game to replace Georgia Tong as the lead extended out to nine goals. The Stars went back to basics in attack utilising the the angles around circle edge. Every time the Magic looked like pushing forward the Stars found a way to win ball back with Mather using her acceleration to full effect.

The Stars pushed out to a 10-goal lead and with that the Magic made a host of changes with Winders swinging back to wing defence as Tori Kolose came on in centre. Monica Falkner came entered the game in goal shooter for the Stars and did not skip a beat instantly in on the action. She was put under all sorts of pressure but managed to stay composed and add to the Stars 11-goal lead. Grace Kara was struggling to find her rhythm in attack for the Magic with the wing attack well covered every step of the way by Mather while Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was also imposing herself in defence and attack with her ability to scrap for the loose ball.

The Stars made a change in the goal shooter role once again as Wilson re-entered the contest while defensively Harrison continued to be a menace coming up for a huge intercept. Things were falling apart for the Magic as the Stars steadily picked away at their structures with their silky ball movement and constant pressure enabling them to capitalise. The Stars were humming in all aspects of the court creating a 16-goal lead with Hume dominating to post meaning the Magic needed to find something to spark them back into action with the midcourt bibs thrown around once again. The messiness of the game started to get a bit out of control with missed shots aplenty and turnovers left, right and centre stopping any type of fluidity across the court.

The Magic started to rally with the changes starting to come together as they reduced the deficit from 14 goals to 10 within a blink of an eye. Semple was finding some nice space as Georgie Edgecombe was proving to be a key contributor in wing defence. Fakahokotau and Mikaere were putting some real pressure on the shot but the Stars goalers held their nerve to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Up by 17 goals the Stars were eager to apply more scoreboard pain with Harrison impressing with her go-go gadget like arms to regain possession for her side. The Stars were working like a well-oiled machine in attack with the Magic unable to quell the influence of the home side as they run away with a convincing win. It was a disappointing final game for Magic coach Amigene Metcalfe as her side simply had no answers for a rampaging Stars outfit.

Bassett finished with 32 goals from 35 attempts while Semple relished her court time nailing 12 goals at 80 per cent. Wilson had a slightly better day at the office for the Stars converting 17 goals from 29 attempts. Hume continued her hot form with her 26 goals while Falkner found her groove finishing with 20 from 28 at 71 per cent. Crampton was crafty around circle edge amassing 24 goal assists as Winders continued her charge for the Magic with 10 goal assists. Defensively Harrison was an imposing force collecting a whopping eight  intercepts and five gains. Temu was also in fine form down back racking up  five intercepts and three gains. Meanwhile Fakahokotau and Mikaere combined for six deflections and five gains.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Round 15

THE final round of the ANZ Premiership is set to have some ladder implications, although the Northern Mystics have already locked up top spot. The Stars and Magic will be battling it out for respect while the Pulse will be hoping to end their season on a high after not making finals for the first time since the competitions inception.

Southern Steel vs. Central Pulse
Saturday, July 24 @5:15pm

The Pulse will be hoping to farewell outgoing coach Gail Parata in style with a huge upset win over the Southern Steel who will be riding a wave of success of their own after toppling the Stars last round and securing a finals berth. It has been a disappointing season for the Pulse who have struggled to hit their straps but will be eager to cause an upset and finish their season on a high, while the Steel will be hoping to gain even more momentum.

The battle between George Fisher and Kelera Nawai will once again be the focal point as the two sides rely heavily on the influence of the aforementioned players. Fisher has well and truly asserted herself on the ANZ Premiership competition with her clever holds and fancy footwork enabling her to dictate the play meaning Nawai will have to be on her toes to stop the ball from entering the circle with any fluidity. The real barometer and concern for the Pulse however is, Tiana Metuarau with the Steel goal attack able to control proceedings credit to her crafty court work and pinpoint ball placement. With speed to burn she is going to be a tough task for Kelly Jury who well and truly has her height but no so much for court coverage. The contest between Shannon Saunders and Maddy Gordon is set to be a good one with the pair at different stages in their career but unrelenting when it comes to their pressure and desperation to impact the play for their respective sides.

It will all come down to whether or not Aliyah Dunn is able to withstand the physical nature of Taneisha Fifita for a full 60 minutes with the goal keeper coming off a dominant performance last round. Dunn does not take well to a bit of argy-bargy under the post meaning Te Amo Amaru-Tibble will have to up the ante inside the circle if the Pulse are any chance of causing an upset. The goal attack has showcased moments of magic but will need a consistent four quarter performance against the experienced head of Te Huinga Selby-Rickit. Speedster Whitney Souness and Claire Kersten will need to be on their a-game in attack if they are to bypass the hands over pressure from Kate Heffernan and Renee Savai’inaea to get easy passage into the circle.

Mainland Tactix vs. Northern Mystics
Sunday, July 25 @4:15pm

In what could be a potential grand final preview the contest between the Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics is set to be an eye catching one to say the least. Both sides are coming in off narrow wins and with the Mystics securing a spot in the grand final it will all come down to bragging rights and confidence as the two sides battle it out in the last game of the home and away season.

It is going to be a battle of the goal shooters with Ellie Bird up one end of the court and Grace Nweke up the other. Bird is a lynchpin for the Tactix in attack with her strong holds and extra centimetres set to be the real kicker when up against the likes of Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kate Burley who are likely to double-team the goal shooter. The Tactix will need the likes of Te Paea Selby-Rickit to be at her damaging best if they are to detract from Bird with the goal attack able to shoot from anywhere inside the circle when given enough time and space. For the Mystics, Nweke is the most prolific goaler in the league and for good reason with her dominance in the air and overall athleticism setting her apart from the rest. She will have wits tested though against Jane Watson and Karin Burger who are both renowned for their constant hustle and tenacity with the latter in career best form. Expect the Mystics to rely on the experience of Bailey Mes to combat the Tactix defensive pressure while Filda Vui is more than capable of holding her own in the circle.

The midcourt is littered with speed as Kimiora Poi headlines the Tactix in attack and defence while Tayla Earle is incredibly dynamic for the Mystics. But it will all come down to the battle between Peta Toeava and Charlotte Elley. Toeava can turn a game on its head within a heartbeat with her pinpoint precision passes into Nweke likely to set the tone for the game. therefore it will be up to Elley to stop the wing attack from finding any freedom and implement some strong hands over pressure to block her vision. For the Tactix if Samon Nathan can break free early then it will go a long way in setting things up for the home side.

Northern Stars vs Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Monday, July 26 @7:15pm

It is going to be a matter of respectability for both sides as the Stars have fallen out of finals contention and the Magic looking to end their year on a high after only securing the one win way back in Round 1. It has been a very different journey for both sides but that will not stop them from putting out a blockbuster clash with the Magic really hitting their stride the last couple of rounds but just falling short.

Maia Wilson has well and truly been off her game the past couple of weeks with her accuracy and volume both down. But she is a true competitor and will be hoping to return back to her dominant ways under the post. If not the Stars will take full confidence in the number of bench options they have with the likes of Monica Falkner and Amorangi Malesala both able to come on and have an impact. Jamie Hume has been in career best form but will have her work cut out for her against the long arms of Erena Mikaere who is likely to be joined by the likes of Temalisi Fakahokotau down in defence. Holly Fowler has not skipped a beat since her return and will need to negate the influence of Gina Crampton if the Magic are to cause an upset.

The midcourt worked wonders last week with the connections between Grace Kara and Sam Winders firing on all cylinders. The duo will need to replicate this form if they are to sight Caitlin Bassett and Khiarna Williams under the post and bypass the pressure from Anna Harrison and Elle Temu. The Magic play their best netball when they release the ball with confidence and accuracy into the circle to allow Bassett to set up nicely inside the circle something they will be aiming to continue from last round. Harrison is a real threat in defence with her closing speed and athleticism as is Temu while throw in the likes of Oceane Maihi and the Stars have choices aplenty.

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 11 and ANZ Premiership Round 14

ROUND 14 in the ANZ Premiership and 11 in the Suncorp Super Netball rolled around and it did not disappoint with a number of players racking up the stats. We take a look at some of the top performers across both leagues.

Goals:

Southern Steel goal shooter, George Fisher was accurate to post nailing 33 goals from 34 attempts, at an impressive 97 per cent accuracy. In fact it was the round of goal shooters as Caitlin Bassett impressed under the post with her 40 goals from 42 attempts, and Ellie Bird did enough to get the Tactix over the line with her 38 from 42 attempts at 91 per cent. Grace Nweke continued to top the table with a round high 52 goals from 61 attempts albeit at a slightly lower conversion rate than she would like at 85 per cent. It was a rough day at the office for Maia Wilson with the Stars captain only managing a mere 11 goals from 21 attempts at a lowly 52 per cent. But that did not stop Jamie Hume from stepping up to the plate nailing 30 from 38. Speaking of goal attacks Tiana Metuarau was as dominant ever for the Steel finishing with 13 goals and 14 goal assists. After a shaky start Te Amo Amaru-Tibble worked herself back into the contest with her 18 goals from 26 attempts as Te Paea Selby-Rickit finished with 10 from 17.

Accuracy proved to be no issue for Shimona Nelson with the Magpies goal shooter sitting at 100 per cent with 37 goals straight. Lenize Potgieter also shot at 100 per cent for the Thunderbirds nailing 26 goals while Jhaniele Fowler was hot on her tail with her 98 per cent accuracy but much higher volume thanks to her 57 goals from 58 attempts. Cara Koenen impressed playing out in goal attack managing 31 goals from 36 attempts as Peace Proscovia held her own in goal shooter with her 17 goals. Romelda Aiken shook off the yips early to nail 40 from 48, as Gretel Bueta imposed herself inside the circle with her 18 from 20 at 90 per cent, while also amassing 12 goal assists. The combination between Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer was on song once again as they shot 33 and 21 respectively with the latter converting at 91 per cent. They also combined for five super shots. For the Swifts, Sam Wallace was down on her accuracy sitting at 81 per cent but still managed to hit the scoreboard in a big way with her 39 goals. Mwai Kumwenda was once again the most dominant shooter for the Vixens scoring 33 from 37 at 89 per cent.

Midcourt:

Peta Toeava was up to her usual tricks for the Mystics amassing 24 goal assists and 17 centre pass receives in her sides win. Whitney Souness was also a commanding force for the Pulse with 24 goal assists and 27 centre pass receives of her own. Teammate Claire Kersten was her reliable self through the centre for the Pulse with her 18 goal assists as Maddy Gordon proved to be a ball magnet in wing defence with her three intercepts and two deflections. Sam Winders was a real maestro for the Magic racking up 19 goal assists as Grace Kara chimed in with 13. Erikana Pedersen found her groove for the Tactix coming on at quarter time with her 13 goal assists. For the Stars it was Gina Crampton that led the charge with her 22 goal assists as Shannon Saunders got busy for the Steel with her 17 goal assists.

West Coast Fever midcourter Verity Charles led all comers with her 27 goal assists as teammate Jess Anstiss chimed in with 15 of her own. The feeding was shared around in the Firebirds camp as Kim Ravaillion topped the table with 17 goal assists as Lara Dunkley managed 10. Paige Hadley was a commanding presence through the centre third racking up 17 goal assists while Maddy Proud found her groove in attack and defence with 11 goal assists and one intercept. Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price were unstoppable for the GIANTS with the former amassing 19 goal assists. Teammate, Amy Parmenter fired on all cylinders in wing defence with eight deflections and two intercepts. Kelsey Browne was an energiser bunny for the Pies in what was a stats stuffing performance racking up 17 goal assists, two deflections and an intercept as Molly Jovic also plied her trade in the Collingwood frontend with her 15 goal assists. Hannah Mundy continued to consolidate her form leading the way for the Vixens with 16 goal assists.

Defence:

Defensively Karin Burger starred for the Tactix as she racked up five intercepts, three deflections and two rebounds in what was an all-round stellar performance from the goal defence. Jane Watson showcased her read of the play racking up four deflections, while former teammate and current Magic goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau was amongst the thick of things with her six gains. Erena Mikaere utilised her long arms to rack up three deflections. Kelly Jury and Kelera Nawai combined for four gains and six deflections as Sulu Fitzpatrick impressed for the Mystics with her three gains. Goal keepers Taneisha Fifita and Anna Harrison imposed themselves racking up eight and seven gains apiece with the latter reeling in five intercepts credit to her go-go gadget arms.

Jodi-Ann Ward was once again at her best for the Magpies collecting nine gains, eight deflections and a couple of intercepts while Geva Mentor also showcased her class in goal keeper registering seven gains. The combination of Jo Weston and Emily Mannix was on full display as they combined for eight gains. Sarah Klau was a pillar of consistency for the Swifts recording four gains and six deflections as crosstown rival Sam Poolman was just as damaging for the GIANTS with her eight gains and four deflections. Adelaide Thunderbirds defender Shamera Sterling impressed with her six deflections, two intercepts as Matilda Garrett got busy with her four deflections. Courtney Bruce got plenty of hands to ball finishing with four intercepts and two deflections as Sunday Aryang took advantage of her long limbs and closing speed to pick up five deflections and four gains. Kim Jenner and Rudi Ellis imposed themselves with a combined 10 deflections.

Photo credit: AAP

2021 ANZ Player of the Week: Round 14 – Caitlin Bassett

IN a new series, Draft Central casts an eye over the top performer from the round taking into account not only their individual stats, but their overall impact on the game. Round 14 of the ANZ Premiership saw a number of key players lead the way for their respective teams and put their best foot forward, with Australian goal shooter and Magic lynchpin Caitlin Bassett the next player to get the nod for Player of the Week.

The goal shooter was in fine form using her body and clever holds to keep the likes of Jane Watson at bay time and time again. Watson is renowned for her prying arms and constant movement but the class and smarts of Bassett shone through as she dipped into her bag of tricks to dominate inside the circle. Bassett made her presence felt nice and early bodying up against Watson to drop back into the space along the goal line, a method which proved extremely beneficial for the Magic throughout their contest.

Although Waikato Bay of Plenty did not get over the line, Bassett’s performance is what kept her side in it as she consistently reoffered inside the circle and most importantly was accurate to post. The Australian goal shooter managed an impressive 40 goals from 42 attempts at 95 per cent, one of her highest outputs in the ANZ Premiership to-date and reminding everyone just how potent she can be. Bassett highlighted her ability to hold Watson at the top of the circle and then drop into the back space, but also proved that she could flick around and demand the front space with her strong positioning. Her footwork was also on song throughout the match as she worked all areas of the circle to open up space, but clearly did her best work when planted directly under the post as is her specialty.

Bassett has been steadily building all season with the Magic feeders taking a while to forge those really strong connections and confidence to deliver into her. But this round those connections well and truly came to fruition with the likes of Sam Winders and Grace Kara firing off well-executed passes into the goal shooter. The midcourt pair allowed Bassett to command the ball inside the circle and by cleverly directing passes into her, Bassett could and did impose herself for the full 60 minutes. This newfound confidence to release the ball in almost instantaneously paid dividends for Bassett as she was able to set up quickly, playing right into the hands of the tried and tested Australian captain. There was a real aura of confidence around Bassett which rubbed off on youngster Khiarna Williams inside the circle as the pair continue to develop a damaging partnership.

This was by far one of the best games this season from Bassett as her leadership kept her side within striking distance of the top two side in the Tactix. She utilised her voice out on court to help dictate the play inside attack and was a constant threat with her quick hands and footwork allowing her to reposition to ensure she could get into damaging places within the attacking third. Bassett took advantage of her extra centimetres to reel in the rebounds while her ability to draw the penalties also gave her a few easy shots under the post.

ANZ Premiership Young Guns: Round 14

ROUND 14 of the ANZ Premiership is done and dusted and with that came some scintillating performances from the next generation of players. This series will cast an eye over a host of under 21s players that made their way out on court and the impact they had for their respective sides.

Northern Mystics:

Grace Nweke

The goal shooter continues to grow with confidence week after week and this performance was no different. Able to twist herself inside out and reel in the high looping ball Nweke was once again a great target inside the circle. Although she was down on her usual accuracy her volume did not waver, still managing 52 goals. She was unfazed by the changes thrown at her with both Bailey Mes and Filda Vui spending time out the front as she remained a focal point. Nweke highlighted her ability to just about hold anywhere inside the circle and still somehow remain directly under the post such is her classy footwork and innate timing to get off the hold and pop into the space. Renowned for commanding back space, she also showed her capacity to hold the front space and command the ball adding another bit of diversity to her game. There is no denying that Nweke is just about unstoppable when able to get her arms free and cleanly contest the ball in the air which she did time and time again against the Pulse. She used her improved balance and composure to think her way through the tight one-on-one marking to stand up and lead the way for the Mystics.

Tayla Earle

It was a relatively quiet performance by Earle as the centre dug in and did the one percenters well. She flew under the radar and just plugged away for the Mystics with her cautious approach down the court and smarts to flick the ball around and wait for an opening to present itself. Earle played a clever role in defence to block the middle channel for the Pulse with her quick footwork and hands over pressure while she also helped out in attack to drive through the middle of the court and open things up. combine her turn of speed and excellent spatial awareness and Earle was a key cog in the Mystics’ engine room.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:

Khiarna Williams

Although her shooting accuracy and volume was down, Williams was still a force to be reckoned with for the Magic. Her composure and smarts reaches beyond her years, able to cleverly dance around the circle and present strongly. Not only is she a threat inside the circle but so too with ball in hand, consistently dishing off clever passes into Caitlin Bassett to keep the Magic scoreboard ticking over. The goal attack was in fine form using her split inside the circle to edge closer to the post while her confidence to back herself from anywhere in the circle was also on full display. The youngster presented nicely at the centre pass, coming over the line with some great pace but it did not stop there as she was constantly on the move and did the basics well to open up the circle. Her clever triangle work kept the defenders on her back and while Karin Burger proved to be a tough challenge she continued to find ways to remain in the game and utilised her turn of speed to have an influence on the game.

Central Pulse:

Maddy Gordon

It was another solid performance from Gordon who was tasked with the challenging job of combatting Peta Toeava. Gordon took advantage of her speed and quick change of direction to consistently block the drive of Toeava and wreak havoc in the defensive third. She threw her body on the line time and time again in an attempt to win ball back for the Pulse and was a real catalyst in the final term with her energy and desperation. Not only was Gordon strong in defence, contesting each and every pass around circle edge, but she was also influential in attack, sitting nice and high on the transverse line and providing a helping hand.

Southern Steel:

Tiana Metuarau

The goal attack had a real pep in her step from the opening minute of the game, asserting herself on the contest and using her clever body positioning to command the ball. Her work at the centre pass was impressive as was her endurance to get involved in the second phase in attack to edge the ball closer to circle edge. Metuarau showcased her impressive timing to enter the circle and take the ball at full speed and then stop on a dime. She was never far from the play and proved to be a real barometer for the side. Her strength took centre stage throughout the battle as she wore the physicality stemming from both Anna Harrison and Elle Temu and continued her merry way in the goal circle. It was a complete performance from Metuarau as the goal attack also imposed herself in defence, working hard to slow down the transition and keep the ball trapped in the goal third for the Steel credit to her three-foot marking.

Taneisha Fifita

Fifita refused to give an inch all game to Maia Wilson working the goal shooter in overdrive. Her constant footwork and movement confused the space for both the feeders and Wilson as she imposed herself from the get-go. Fifita pushed Wilson up nice and high and used her body to apply some physical pressure but not too much that she would draw the eye of the umpire. The goal keeper wasted no time defending the shot with her three-foot marking and well-timed jump to get in the head of her opponents. Fifita was not afraid to go out hunting and backed her speed to cut off any cross court ball coming her way. She also showcased her class to read both the high ball and the ground ball to disrupt the flow in attack and win clean possession for her side.

Kate Heffernan

It was a consistent performance from the centre who just flew under the radar for the Steel. She was cool, calm and collected with ball in hand able to work it around and lower the eyes when needed to deliver into the circle. Heffernan had an influence up both ends of the court with her work rate undeniable and overall netball smarts coming to the fore. She consistently re-offered around circle edge and in the attacking third to allow the likes of Metuarau and George Fisher to reset and inch closer to the post. She often held sway at the top of the goal circle and highlighted her ability to swing the ball from one corner of the court to the other.

Renee Savai’inaea

She did not have an overwhelming presence in defence but Savai’inaea definitely left her mark through transition. She worked hard to be an attacking option for the Steel using her speed to slice through the defence and open up the midcourt. She offered plenty of support on the transverse line with her smarts to reset the play coming to the fore time and time again.

Tactix topple gallant Magic outfit

MAINLAND Tactix survived a huge scare against the last placed Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic to claim a narrow two-goal victory 49-47 in the ANZ Premiership. It was not all smooth sailing for the Tactix as the Magic held sway for large passages of the game and forced the visitors to work in overdrive to collect the win.

A turnover from the centre pass gifted the Tactix the upper hand within seconds of the whistle as Te Paea Selby-Rickit made the Magic pay for their shortcomings. It did not take long for their goal shooter in Ellie Bird to get in on the action as the visitors had two goals in less than a minute signalling their clear intent. The Magic were struggling to find their way into the circle as Sam Winders worked in overdrive to reset time and time again. Caitlin Bassett’s hot form carried into this match with the goal shooter utilising her height and smarts to create space inside the circle. It was a bit of a scrappy start to the match from both sides as they tried to settle into the fast paced nature of the game. The Tactix started to find some real momentum across the court with their silky transition from defence to attack on show. Karin Burger was proving to be a thorn in the Magic’s side reeling in intercept after intercept and not allowing any room for Bassett or Khiarna Williams to breathe.

The Tactix opened up a handy five-goal buffer before the Magic mounted somewhat of a comeback with Winders proving to be the maestro. Two goals in a row to the home side saw them reduce the deficit to three goals. But the Tactix remained controlled and calm to keep their noses in front. Despite a huge height differential, Georgia Tong inserted herself into the play against Bird to compete in the air and follow up with her pace but the Magic simply could not capitalise. A flurry of goals from the Magic and a big defensive win from Erena Mikaere gifted Bassett with a chance to level the scores with three minutes left to play. The momentum completely swung in favour of Waikato Bay of Plenty as they hit the front for the first time in the game signalling a tit-for-tat type of shooting rhythm.

Down by two goals at quarter time the Tactix made a change in attack with Erikana Pedersen injected into the action replacing Samon Nathan. The Magic continued their merry way with their defensive structure really stepping up to the plate. Consecutive held ball calls from both sides saw possession change hands but it was the Magic that maintained their handy two-goal buffer. Williams and Winders were finding Bassett with ease under the post while up the other end the Tactix were having to work the ball around, waiting for an opening to emerge. Grace Kara upped the ante in attack with the wing attack using her body positioning and smarts around circle edge to keep Charlotte Elley at arm’s length.

Pedersen proved to be the spark the Tactix needed with her short sharp passes not allowing Mikaere or Tong a chance to get hands to ball. A misplaced pass into Bassett gifted the Tactix a chance to capitalise and that they did as the visitors managed to slot two in a row to steal back the lead. The partnership between Jane Watson and Burger was starting to come to fruition in the latter stage of the second term as they caused confusion and forced Bassett to run out of room. A run of three goals from the Tactix saw them arrest momentum and while Selby-Rickit was struggling to find her radar, her playmaking skills were second to none. Temalisi Fakahokotau made her way onto the court in goal keeper as Mikaere swung into goal defence with the Magic relishing the change. Sophia Fenwick made a real impact getting hands to ball as the Tactix momentarily pushed out to a four goal lead.

It did not take long for scores to be levelled with inaccuracy from both goal attacks costing their respective sides. The hustle inside the circle from Fakahokotau was never ending as the goal keeper forced Bird to work for every pass. The lead continued to ebb and flow as the Tactix opened up a two-goal lead before they were run down once again with Mikaere swatting away a huge ball and Bassett rewarding her down the other end of the court. Kimiora Poi was doing a truck-load of work out the front having to contend with Winders who was proving a nuisance both in attack and defence.

Every time either side had a sniff of momentum the other would spark up as a game of tug of war ensued. The combination between Kara and Bassett was on fire as they continued to plug away for the Magic. Up the other end of the court Selby-Rickit could not buy a goal for the Tactix as the Magic pushed out to a three-goal lead. The Tactix made a huge change with Bird moving out to goal attack as Amelia Walmsley entered the fray in goal shooter.

With the game on the line it was Burger that stepped up to the plate winning ball back as they slotted a couple of early goals to wrestle back control. But Kara was not about to be undone with the wing attack kicking things up a notch with an intercept of her own to keep the Magic in front. Inaccuracy started to creep in for both sides as did sloppy turnovers as the tides slowly started to turn. It was a frantic couple of minutes of netball with bodies flying across the court but the Tactix had taken control and refused to give up their two goal buffer.

It was arguably Bassett’s best game to-date nailing 40 goals from 42 attempts at 95 per cent. Williams was down on her accuracy only managing seven from 12 but collected 10 goal assists while Winders led the troops in attack with 19 goal assists. Fakahokotau was back to her best recording six gains as Mikaere finished with four. Bird was solid under the post for the Tactix slotting 38 from 42 at Selby-Rickit upped the goal scoring ante thanks to her 10 from 17 and 22 goal assists. Burger continued her scintillating form with a whopping five intercepts, three deflections and three gains.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Round 14 preview

THE penultimate round of ANZ Premiership action kicks off on Sunday with the top three given a huge shake-up over the past week of netball. The Mystics will be eager to bounce back from their shock loss while the Northern Stars are in desperate need of a win if they are any chance of making finals now.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic vs. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, July 18 @4:15pm

It has been a disappointing season for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic who have only secured one win for the season and that was right back in Round 1. On the other hand the Mainland Tactix have found their winning ways with a thumping victory last week and will be eager to continue that level of dominance in this match up.

The combination between Karin Burger and Jane Watson has been on fire with the pair just creating absolute mayhem down in defence with their constant hassle, tenacity and cleanliness to attack the ball no matter where it is in the defensive circle. But they will come up against an a-class shooter in Caitlin Bassett who has really hit her straps in the past few games with her connection with Khiarna Williams starting to come to the fore. Williams can play both a shooting and a feeding role making her an all-round threat and meaning that Watson and Burger will not be able to just isolate Bassett under the post. The Magic play their best netball when Grace Kara is out on court and they will be hoping that she is once again able to stand up to the pressure but will have to combat Charlotte Elley who is an unsung hero in the defensive unit for the tactics.

Looking into the shooting circle for the Tactix and Ellie Bird has been in scintillating form with the goal shooter using every inch of her height to dominate at the post. Even if Te Paea Selby-Rickit is not putting up the goals and shooting at a high accuracy it is her playmaking skills out the front that sets the Tactix up for the win time and time again meaning the constant rotation from the Magic defensive unit will have to be on song. The Tactix will be hoping that Temalisi Fakahokotau is able to return to the court and play a full 60 minutes while they will be needing the likes of Erena Mikaere, Georgia Tong and Holly Fowler to be able to chip in an work in overdrive to stop that ball getting to circle edge. They will also need the likes of Sam Winders to really up her ante through the midcourt to take on Kimiora Poi and Samon Nathan who have been in strong form for the Tactix.

Central Pulse vs. Northern Mystics
Sunday, July 18 @6:15pm

The Pulse snapped a five-game losing streak last round and will be eager to continue that winning way while the Northern Mystics registered their first loss in as many weeks and will be hoping to flip the script in this match up. The Mystics still hold on to top spot on the ladder and with finals insight will be hoping to iron out any kinks in their armour in this clash, while the Pulse will be hoping to add some more respectability to their ladder position.

It will all come down to whether or not Peta Toeava is back to her menacing ways with the wing attack able to carve up the court with her speed while her pinpoint passes into Grace Nweke is what will have the Pulse defence in all sorts of trouble. It will be up to either Maddy Gordon or Claire Kersten to stop Toeava with the Pulse midcourters having to pay her a wealth of attention to keep her away from circle edge. Both Kelly Jury and Kelera Nawai are building a strong partnership in the defensive circle for the Pulse but the Mystics could have the upper hand given how quickly and easily Nweke is able to score. Although Bailey Mes has not been the most reliable to post she is incredibly clever and crafty with ball in hand while the injection of Filda Vui is also highly likely with the goal attack able to go to post or play that additional feeding role.

The Pulse will need Aliyah Dunn to be firing on all cylinders if they are any chance to topple the Mystics who will be raring to go after an uncharacteristic loss. If Dunn is able to find room in the circle and the likes of Kersten and Whitney Souness are up and about early it could spell danger for the Mystics. Te Amo Amaru-Tibble is another one in the Pulse attacking unit that can impose herself with her high accuracy to post meaning the likes of Kate Burley, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Ama Agbeze and now Phoenix Karaka who made her long awaited return after giving birth will have to be on their toes.

Northern Stars vs. Southern Steel
Monday, July 19 @7:15pm

The final game of the round is set to be an absolute cracker and has huge ladder implications as the Stars look for their way back into the top three and the Steel hope to solidify their spot in the finals. The Stars have been in free fall the past couple of weeks dropping three games straight while the Steel will be riding high after knocking off the ladder leaders.

Maia Wilson has not been herself lately but will need to turn it around if she is to drag her side over the line. Only managing a condensed amount of court time last round and only shooting at 50 per cent accuracy, Wilson will be hoping to up the ante while Jamie Hume has been a solid contributor. The Stars have a plethora of shooters to choose from with Monica Falkner back in the mix and Amorangi Malesala a viable option given her accuracy to post. But the Steel have an incredibly strong defence with Taneisha Fifita growing each and every time she steps out on court with Te Huinga Selby-Rickit providing a calming presence out the front. Throw in the likes of Sarahpheinna Woulf and the defensive pressure from Renee Savai’inaea out the front in wing defence and it could be a tough day at the office for the Stars. However both Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan have been in fine form and will need to lead the charge if Wilson is nullified.

Goal shooter, George Fisher has been a revelation since joining the Steel and will have to be at her damaging best against the ball hungry duo in Anna Harrison and Elle Temu. The Stars pair have caused all sorts of havoc but just have not been rewarded for their hard work. Tiana Metuarau has developed at a rate of knots this season with her playmaking skills allowing her to find Fisher with ease while her combination with Shannon Saunders and Kate Heffernan will provide plenty of headaches for the Stars.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Young guns – Round 13

ROUND 13 of the ANZ Premiership is done and dusted and with that came some scintillating performances from the next generation of players. This series will cast an eye over a host of under 21s players that made their way out on court and the impact they had for their respective sides.

Northern Mystics:

Grace Nweke
It was a less than accurate performance from Nweke this round with the goal shooter missing a couple of uncharacteristic goals from directly under the post. She still found plenty of room inside the ring and managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over but was down on her lofty standards. The feeders around her were somewhat scared to release the ball into her which stopped Nweke from having her usual dominance despite putting up some strong holds and utilising her clever footwork to keep the defenders at bay. Nweke was still a constant threat in the circle though, and did the heavy lifting with her high volume to post keeping the Mystics in the hunt. She showcased her ability to score quickly putting up consecutive goals while her overall capacity to absorb the physicality and repeatedly take the hits was on full show as she stood up under the pressure.

Tayla Earle
The dynamic midcourter had her work cut out for her up against Kate Heffernan but held her own with her use of speed and spatial awareness allowing her to pave her way forward. Earle lifted the load in attack when Peta Toeava was covered showcasing her ability to switch into a more attacking mode when needed. She was a consistent figure through the midcourt, cutting and driving her way to circle edge while she also helped out in defence to create hands over pressure. Her constant niggle and tight one-on-one marking enabled her to shut down the space and force the opposition to reset and reposition in attack.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:

Khiarna Williams
The goal attack continued to impress with her varied entry into the circle showcasing just how explosive she can be when given space in attack. She was not afraid to take the game on and while she got caught out in passages by the more experienced players out on court, Williams still backed herself in. The goal attack impressed with her composure to step back on the shot when Kelly Jury was marking her while her overall smarts to draw the attention of the defenders allowed Caitlin Bassett to star. Her aerial presence was something to behold as the goal attack commanded the ball and most importantly reeled in the high looping passes time and time again. She used her body very well to keep the defenders on her back and protect the ball while her constant movement and confidence to go from the long bombs was impressive. Despite being one of the shortest players in the circle, Williams impressed with her ability to follow in her shots and gobble up the rebounds, although she did not need to do that too many times given her high accuracy.

Central Pulse:

Maddy Gordon
Gordon got the start out in wing defence and was immediately in the thick of things with her attacking mindset coming to the fore. The speedy midcourter showcased her smarts to sit up on the transverse line and provide that outlet pass for the Pulse attackers when things got stagnant in the forward half. Gordon was constantly on the move throughout the game with her quick footwork and energiser bunny mentality allowing her to cover every single move that Grace Kara made. She was not afraid to throw her body on the line to contest each and every ball that came her way. Although on the smaller side, Gordon used her three-foot marking to try and block the vision of the Magic midcourters while she also took advantage of her closing speed to create deflections. Her versatility was once again on show as she swung into the centre and did not skip a beat hitting circle edge with ease and pace to open up the circle for the Pulse.

Southern Steel:

Tiana Metuarau
It was another strong performance by Metuarau with the goal attack possessing an aura of wisdom and smarts beyond her years. She consistently found a way to step up to the plate when her side commanded her to make something out of nothing. Metuarau showcased her balance to set plays up one foot while she also impressed with her speed along the baseline. The goal attack was not afraid to work the ball around and play a patient brand of netball to wait for the game to open up rather that bomb the ball in and force something to come. Her combination with George Fisher continues to develop at a rate of knots with Metuarau able to dish off precise passes and dictate the space with her movement. The goal attack once again proved her leadership and development to be involved in just about every single attack foray and seemed to have the ball on a string in large passages of play.

Taneisha Fifita
Although statistically speaking Fifita did not have the most impressive performance it was her work off the ball that gave her the upper hand. Her ability to cleanly contest the ball and then just create a wealth of doubt around the ball coming in allowed the goal keeper to wreak havoc. Her closing speed was on full display as she would look to go out hunting and then quickly double-back to attend to Nweke under the post.

Kate Heffernan
The highly athletic centre was at her damaging best finding a wealth of space especially when it came to second phase depth. Her sheer height and long wingspan enabled her to employ some strong hands over pressure through transition which in turn allowed her to pick-up loose ball and create deflections time and time again. Heffernan was able to swing from defence to attack within a heartbeat such is her netball nous and composure. She was a cool, calm and collected customer for the Steel and although she did not rack up a wealth of goal assists her work around circle edge allowed teammate Shannon Saunders to get into commanding positions credit to her smart drives and ability to draw the attention of the defence. She showcased her endurance to go toe-to-toe with Earle for the entire game as the two engaged in a physical battle especially around circle edge to tussle for prime spot.

Renee Savai’inaea
It was by far one of the best games Savai’inaea has played to-date with the wing defence the first wing defence in a while who has been able to effectively shut down Toeava. Her dogged style of defence enabled her to wear down her opponent and steadily grind her out of the game. Savai’inaea was relentless in defence, going toe-to-toe with Toeava for the full 60 minutes and most importantly did not afford her an inch of space. Every time Toeava turned around, Savai’inaea was there with her hands up and blocking her opponents vision. The wing defence played an integral down in defence for the Steel taking away the usual influence of Toeava with her persistent hustle and never say die attitude. Not only was the wing defence impressive down back but also helped out on transition with her turn of speed allowing her to slice through the oppositions zone. Savai’inaea also got plenty of hands to ball proving she can play both a lockdown and hunting role for the Steel.

Pulse claim narrow win over rallying Magic

A HARD-FOUGHT clash between the Central Pulse and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic went down to the wire during Round 13 of the ANZ Premiership, with a huge second half from the Magic almost handing them the win but a late flurry from the Pulse ensuring they held onto a 55-51 victory.

The matchup started out relatively evenly, with neither side really able to find momentum as both teams starred defensively and boasted plenty of accuracy. All four goalers were quick to get on the board having no issue finding the post, with the reliable combination of Te Amo Amaru-Tibble and Aliyah Dunn heading up one end, and Khiarna Williams and Caitlin Bassett firing at the other. But while both Pulse and Magic were able to find patches of form to put a couple goals on the board at a time, defensively they canceled one another out as both sides worked hard to generate turnover ball. The midcourt battles were fascinating with Claire Kersten and Sam Winders wreaking havoc on one another, while the matchup between Whitney Souness and Holly Fowler created plenty of intrigue as to who would earn the upper hand, with Souness finding circle edge fairly well but Fowler winning ball back. A couple of late opportunities for the Magic to lead at the first change went missing with a couple of errant attempts not paying off, as a late Dunn goal on the whistle saw scores levelled at 15-apiece at quarter time.

While it appeared the Magic may have a chance following a tight first quarter, it all fell apart in the second as the Pulse stepped up their game massively. While two huge runs of seven goals and five goals respectively, it did not take long for the Pulse to showcase what they are made of and really flip the switch, with an 11-goal lead extending by the 10-minute mark of the second. With Kelera Nawai reading the feeds into Bassett like a book and blocking the goal shooter’s movement, the Magic struggled for an answer with Georgia TongErena Mikaere and Fowler failing to find turnover ball credit to the smooth movement of Souness and Kersten, who were having a field day out the front. Volume was the main issue for the Magic, shooting accurately with ball in hand but not receiving ample feeds off the likes of Grace Kara and Winders of circle edge, as the defensive prowess of both Maddy Gordon and Kersten came to the fore along with a seven-goal buffer (31-24) credit to a huge 16-9 quarter.

But despite their struggles in the second, the Magic came out with a point to prove as the second half began, controlling the airways defensively and finding a couple of runs throughout the quarter. Consistency proved crucial as Williams and Bassett continued to fire in goals with accuracy on their side, while the turnover rate lowered as the side began to treasure possession more. Better placement of feeds off the hand of Winders paid off as Georgie Edgecombe worked hard to block Souness’ speed and ability to find circle edge, taking away that easy access to Dunn and Amaru-Tibble. With evenly matched one-on-ones across the court and all four circle defenders forcing inaccuracy and hesitance on the feed, there was not much between the two sides as the Pulse retained the lead at the final break, albeit by a reduced six-goal margin, 44-38.

Despite winning the final quarter, it was one of missed opportunities for the Magic who had plenty of chances to pile on the scoreboard pressure but had the yips going to post. While the Pulse was still in the lead they did not quite have control, as Dunn and Amaru-Tibble worked hard out the front to tick over the scoreboard. The two goal shooters controlled proceedings missing just one apiece, while it was the Pulse midcourt that took advantage of errant passes as Souness and Kersten gathered pickups and generated momentum out the front. Kara’s ability to find Bassett and Williams inside the circle paid dividends as the margin lessened, however a late flurry from the Pulse attack proved crucial as they ran away with a tense four-goal victory.

For the Pulse, it was Dunn who led all-comers with 41 goals from 44 attempts, as Amaru-Tibble was kept to a lower total than usual with 14 goals to her name. Souness finished with 23 assists while it was hard to come by clean intercepts, with Jury and Nawai registering one and three gains apiece. For the Magic, Bassett (31 from 36) and Williams (20 from 23) shared the load well, with Winders (16 assists) leading her side, registering one of the Magic’s three intercepts in the process.