Tag: caitlin thwaites

2020 Suncorp Super Netball Preview: Round 13

WITH one game already done and dusted for Round 13 the remainder of Suncorp Super Netball Indigenous round is set to play out over the weekend as the race for finals intensifies. The GIANTS are still in with a shot but rely on results from other games as the Fever and Swifts tussle for prime position in the top four.

West Coast Fever v. GIANTS Netball
Saturday, 19 September

It is a do or die clash for the GIANTS as they look to keep their finals chances alive, however the West Coast Fever have been in scintillating form and will be keen to secure the win in order to rise up the ladder and potentially claim at top two finish.

The GIANTS will have to be on their A-game in defence with Jhaniele Fowler simply unstoppable in the past couple of weeks, recording a whopping 124 goals and showcasing just how damaging she can be at the post. Alice Teague-Neeld has elevated her game in 2020 and while she does not put up a wealth of shots, working alongside the likes of Emma Cosh and Verity Charles the Fever have been able to weave their way down the court with great ease and allow Fowler to do the heavy lifting. To stop Fowler and the Fever the GIANTS will have to employ full court defensive pressure to stop the ball from flowing freely into attack and ending up in Fowler’s hands – meaning the likes of April Brandley, Sam Poolman, Kristiana Manu’a, Amy Parmenter and Jamie-Lee Price will all have to ply their trade consistently in order to stop the ball from coming down with pace.

With everything on the line the GIANTS attacking unit will have to be on song from the first whistle. Caitlin Bassett has not received a wealth of court time this season but given the speed and accuracy with which she can score, she could definitely make a handy cameo and alter the course of the game. There is no denying that Jo Harten and Kiera Austin are fast becoming the super shot queens with their ability to turn and sink them from long range, something the Fever defenders in Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis will be acutely aware of heading into the clash.

 

Adelaide Thunderbirds v. NSW Swifts
Saturday, 19 September

The Adelaide Thunderbirds are a team that should not be underestimated given the amount of international prowess they have across the court, and while they cannot make finals they are still in a position to have an influence on ladder positions. The Swifts have struggled to find their mojo in season 2020 but heading into finals they will be eager to find some continuity across the court and claim the all-important win.

Hopefully returning after missing last week’s clash with concussion, Helen Housby will be a great addition into the attacking end given her experience, class with ball in hand and willingness to go to the post. Her connection with England roses teammate Natalie Haythornthwaite is also pivotal to the Swifts attacking unit while Sam Wallace is a strong target under the post thanks to her athleticism and creativity with ball in hand. However the high release into Wallace will play directly into the hands of Shamera Sterling with the Adelaide Thunderbirds goal keeper renowned for her athleticism to reach up and gobble any looping passes .The support she receives from the likes of Layla Guscoth out the front, Kate Shimmin, Shadine van der Merwe and Maisie Nankivell allows her to go out and hunt the ball with freedom.

The midcourt battle will be intriguing with both sides not afraid to throw the bibs around as shown with Paige Hadley sliding back into that wing defence position allowing the likes of Maddy Proud, Tayla Fraser and Haythornthwaite to take the reins in attack. As for the Thunderbirds, Nankivell, Hannah Petty, Tayla Williams and Georgie Horjus have all floated through various centre court positions, though it is fair to say Horjus does her best work inside the goal circle with South African Lenize Potgieter. The Thunderbirds will hope to welcome back co-captain Chelsea Pitman with her class and ball placement critical to their attack if they are to keep Sarah Klau, Maddy Turner and Lauren Moore busy and out of the contest.

 

Melbourne Vixens v. Queensland Firebirds
Sunday, 20 September

The final game of the round sees minor premiers Melbourne Vixens take on a young and exciting Queensland Firebirds outfit. The Vixens have been in ripping form in season 2020 while the Firebirds have showcased that they have plenty of potential and are building towards a strong 2021 season, making for an exciting contest between the two sides.

Inside the shooting circle the Melbourne Vixens have a plethora of options with Caitlin Thwaites, Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip all able to seamlessly rotate in and out of the game and have a profound impact when called upon. Their innate understanding and connection with their midcourters in Liz Watson and Kate Moloney enables the Vixens to constantly create space and find easy avenue to goal meaning the Firebirds defenders will have to be on song if they are any chance of slowing down the Vixens’ attacking unit. Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe are a formidable duo for the Firebirds down back, able to hunt ball and cause chaos, while Rudi Ellis can add that extra height if required. It will be up to captain Gabi Simpson to nullify Watson if she returns or limit the impact of Tayla Honey or Elle McDonald if the Firebirds are any chance of an upset.

Boasting a different style in attack to their opponents, holding shooter Romelda Aiken has been a lynchpin under the post for the Firebirds with her strong and clear holds, aerial ability and increased accuracy consistently on display. Aiken is the Firebirds’ get out of jail free card with the likes of Mahalia Cassidy, Jemma Mi Mi, Lara Dunkley and Macy Gardner all able to bomb it long into the shooter when there are limited options, an area the Vixens will be hoping to shut down with Kate Eddy’s long arms to block vision. Dunkley has been crucial over the past couple few rounds, due in part to her strength around circle edge and composure with ball in hand. Youngster Tippah Dwan has also proven to be a revelation with her speed, confidence and super shot shooting meaning the Vixens defensive duo in Emily Mannix and Jo Weston cannot afford to pay all their attention to Aiken.

Vixens survive early Magpies scare to secure minor premiership

THE Melbourne derby was always set to be a huge matchup, and regardless of ladder positioning – the Melbourne Vixens on top and Collingwood Magpies currently on course to win the wooden spoon – the battle did not disappoint. While the Magpies came out hot, the Vixens used every ounce of their experience and poise to run out eight goal victors (61-53).

A huge eight-zip start to the Magpies told the story of the first quarter, with the cellar dwelling side firing early against the table toppers who were missing their general out in attack, co-captain Liz Watson. It was an uncharacteristically inaccurate Vixens side that started the quarter, credit to Geva Mentor’s stellar hands over pressure on the shot. Transition through the Vixens midcourt was stunted, with the side unable to cleanly make their way down court and getting blocked from easy drives. For the Magpies though, they had a stellar start and it was not entirely down to the Vixens’ sloppiness with Molly Jovic and Kelly Altman impressing on the feed early finding Shimona Nelson with ease. 

While Kadie-Ann Dehaney got the start against Nelson, Emily Mannix entered not long into the match and had an immediate impact attacking the goal shooter’s hands, allowing the Vixens to force their way back. But little errors continued to plague the Vixens, with Tayla Honey a little bit shaky in her first start in Watson’s absence and the goalers taking some time to adjust. A couple of super shots allowed the Vixens to reduce the margin, fighting to an 11-12 scoreline during the super shot period seeing Magpies coach Rob Wright call a tactical timeout to stem the flow. The Magpies came out of the timeout flying, with a Mentor gather and Gabby Sinclair super shot extending the scoreline once more. A fatigued-looking Caitlin Thwaites got the ring around in the final minute of the quarter, hitting the deck a couple of times and seeing the Magpies lead by five goals at the first change.

Thwaites started the second on the bench as Tegan Philip stepped into goal attack, and a Magpies break on the opening centre pass saw the Vixens capitalise with two quick goals on the board. Mannix’s body on body pressure and ability to attack the hands without drawing the contact saw another goal off the hands of a Magpies centre, getting the Vixens within two. While the Vixens attack still did not seem to be quite right, it was firing much better with Kate Moloney leading the way as Mwai Kumwenda showcased her impressive athleticism out the front. 

The scoreline continued to tick over with neither side able to break the centre despite the defensive effort to win ball back. Jo Weston had a stellar second quarter, exploiting Sinclair’s comparative inexperience and using her great positioning to gain possession. Accuracy was no issue for the Magpies which was what kept their noses in front, while the Vixens’ uncharacteristic inaccuracy saw much of the defensive effort from Mannix and Weston wasted. Scores levelled and Thwaites returned to the court, and suddenly the intensity lifted once more for the Vixens as they took their first lead of the game, extending to a four goal lead at half time. 

The Vixens started the third quarter well outside the circle but struggled to find the ball within, and while the goalers were far more accurate there was a lot of patience needed to get the ball in. Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward were exceptional spotting the turnover ball, able to adapt to the Vixens goalers’ positioning and pass off to a waiting Mel Bragg. Nelson’s hands improved as the game went on as did her positioning, allowing her to draw the penalties from Mannix. The Vixens attack-line seemed to lose some of its speed and options to the ball, seeing Elle McDonald take the court for Honey and add a different layer out the front with her hard drive to circle edge. The Vixens extended a seven goal lead by three quarter time, seeing the Magpies continue their accurate game but unable to turn around the margin. 

The Vixens continued their better form in the final quarter, with improved speed and renewed intensity. But the Magpies would not back down, consistently applying pressure and forcing error-ridden long bombs down court from their crosstown rivals. Continuing to go goal for goal and just over five minutes left on the clock, both teams were gearing up for the super shot period with Nyah Allen taking the court in goal shooter and the Magpies defenders stepping up their game once more. Despite a couple straight super shots from the Magpies, the Vixens were well in control and ran away with an eight goal victory 61-53.

Player of the match Moloney racked up 23 goal assists from 36 feeds to go with her two intercepts and three deflections (one to advantage) while also managing a huge seven pickups, never far from the action. Honey and McDonald racked up 11 assists apiece in their shared time on court, both also coming away with a couple of pickups for their efforts. At the post, it was a fairly shared effort between the three Vixens goalers with Philip (22 goals from 26 attempts), Thwaites (21 from 22, two super shots) and Kumwenda (14 from 16, two super shots) all having their time in the spotlight, and while quiet in patches, Mannix and Weston were consistent down back, combining for eight gains (three intercepts). For the Magpies, Mentor’s fine form continued with another huge effort for six gains (two intercepts), aided by a more reserved Ward than we typically see, though she still managed three intercepts of her own. Nelson was accurate out the front with 43 goals at 96 per cent, while Sinclair did not hit the scoreboard as much as usual (six from eight) but racked up 26 assists from 31 feeds to top the leaderboard.

>>>MAGPIES TEAM PAGE
>>> VIXENS TEAM PAGE
>>> FULL MATCH STATS

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 17 | 9 | 13 | 14 (53)
MELBOURNE VIXENS 12 | 18 | 16 | 15 (61)

STARTING SEVEN

Magpies

GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Gabby Sinclair
WA: Kelly Altmann
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Mel Bragg
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor

Vixens 

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Caitlin Thwaites
WA: Tayla Honey
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Kadie-Ann Dehaney

Courtside Comments: Round 4 – Molly Jovic
Courtside Comments: Round 10 – Kate Eddy
Courtside Comments: Round 11 – Mel Bragg

Elle McDonald ready for the next step

2020 Suncorp Super Netball Preview: Round 12

ROUND 12 sees some big match-ups as clubs look to keep their finals hopes alive with the Thunderbirds, GIANTS and Firebirds all teetering on the edge of a finals berth with four wins apiece. West Coast will be out to leapfrog their opponents and steal second spot on the ladder as the Vixens hope to hold onto top spot.

West Coast Fever v. NSW Swifts
Saturday, 12 August

The Fever will be on a high heading into their clash with the reigning premiers after trouncing their Round 11 opponents by 20 goals. Meanwhile the Swifts will be hoping to work their way back onto the winners list and find some continuity in what has been an up and down season.

Jhaniele Fowler is an unstoppable force under the post, consistently recording ridiculously high numbers however the work out the front from Alice Teague-Neeld has enabled the goal shooter to recapture elements of her 2018 form. The chopping and changing in defence for the Swifts in the way of Lauren Moore and Maddy Turner is something to keep an eye on as they look to offset Teague-Neeld or potentially help Sarah Klau by doubling back on the Jamaican shooter.

The Swifts are gifted with a multitude of options through the midcourt with Paige Hadley, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Maddy Proud and Tayla Fraser all handy choices and have proven they can come on and have an impact. With no Ingrid Colyer, Emma Cosh has well and truly stepped up to the plate and is getting better and better with more court time while Verity Charles is arguably in career-best form in centre. When it comes to the shooting circle the Swifts have lacked a bit of cohesion with Sam Wallace, Helen Housby and Sophie Garbin all labouring and clumping together which will play into the hands of the Fever defence as Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis are master-readers of the play. Even if Bruce and Francis are not up to the challenge, Sunday Aryang has been a revelation this season while Olivia Lewis has shown she is no slouch down back.

Collingwood Magpies v. Melbourne Vixens
Saturday, 12 August

Having not played each other since Round 1, a lot has changed with the Magpies losing a couple of integral members through the midcourt in Madi and Kelsey Browne while the Vixens have really kicked into gear. The Vixens hold a firm grip on top spot while the Magpies languish down the bottom of the table, however that will not stop either side from putting on a show given their crosstown rivalry.

There is no denying that the combination between Mwai Kumwenda and Caitlin Thwaites has developed at a rate of knots in 2020 with the two effortlessly pairing in the goal circle while the injection of Tegan Philip’s speed can slice a game right open. Geva Mentor has been a consistent factor for Collingwood down back as Jodi-Ann Ward powers through in goal defence out the front. The Magpies will be hoping to find an answer in the form of Mel Bragg to shut down Liz Watson with the wing attack in hot form and often setting up the attacking forays for the Vixens. Partner in crime Kate Moloney is another player Collingwood will hope to contain given her explosiveness and ability to break a game wide open, meaning the responsibility will land on either Kelly Altmann or Molly Jovic to quell her influence through the middle.

Shimona Nelson has had a rocky 2020 season, often fading in and out of games which is an area she will be hoping to rectify while Gabby Sinclair has proven more than once she is up to the challenge especially when it comes to the super shot. Emma Ryde has also been a good impact player for the Pies however the Vixens have an extremely cohesive defensive unit, even if Emily Mannix is missing, with Simone McKinnis able to shuffle the cards between Kate Eddy, Jo Weston, Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Allie Smith.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Queensland Firebirds
Sunday, 13 August

The Lightning have struggled to generate their usual dominance this season and are coming off another heavy loss at the hands of the Fever. On the other hand, the Firebirds have found their groove and confidence making for an intriguing battle between the two Queensland sides.

With a new sense of confidence in the goal circle Romelda Aiken has elevated her game in 2020, holding strong under the post and dominating the airwaves allowing Tippah Dwan to be a menace out the front. Dwan has proven she is no slouch consistently tearing games apart with her two point shooting, something the Lightning defenders will have to be acutely aware of if they are to stop the Firebirds in their tracks. Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni are no easy beats, however Maweni gives away close to 10 centimetres meaning it will take a full court defensive effort from the likes of Laura Langman and the rotating wing defence’s Maddy McAuliffe and Jacqui Russell if they are to stop the ball from getting down to the inform shooter.

The Firebirds have a wealth of midcourt options and have proven they are not afraid to use the bench with Macy Gardner, Mahalia Cassidy, Lara Dunkley and Jemma Mi Mi all viable options through the centre. The Lightning on the other end tend to stick to a consistent line-up with the most changes coming in the shooting circle between Cara Koenen, Steph Wood and Peace Proscovia. Koenen has really come into her own this season however the hesitancy on the release into her under the post could play into the hands of the ball hungry Firebirds defensive unit in Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe. Pair that with their physical nature and it could upset the Lightning in attack while Gabi Simpson’s work off the ball will be integral in nullifying the impact of Laura Scherian around circle edge to limit the Lightnings’ chance of scoring.

Adelaide Thunderbirds v. GIANTS Netball
Sunday, 13 August

The final game of the round sees an intense battle between two sides hoping to keep their finals hopes alive. Adelaide and the GIANTS are evenly poised across the court and sitting just outside the top four know just how much a win means if they are to cause headaches come the pointy end of the season.

There is no denying that Georgie Horjus has been a revelation in season 2020 with her ability to sink super shots often keeping her side in touch while the connection between her and Lenize Potgieter continuously gets better. The ball placement and movement from Chelsea Pitman and Maisie Nankivell is crucial to the Thunderbirds meaning it will be up to the midcourt duo of Amy Parmenter – if she returns after missing Round 11 – and Jamie-Lee Price to shut down her drive in attack. However Kristiana Manu’a proved she is also a viable option out in wing defence if needed given the defensive capability of Matilda McDonell, Sam Poolman and April Brandley, all able to rotate through circle defence.

Shamera Sterling is a menace in the air, able to consistently win ball back for her side while Layla Guscoth, Shadine van der Merwe and Kate Shimmin are dogged in defence making for an exciting battle between the rotating GIANTS shooting trio of Kiera Austin, Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett, with the latter hoping to secure some regular court time.

SSN stats wrap: Round 10/11

TWO huge rounds opened September’s Suncorp Super Netball proceedings, with the second draw, a couple of shaky performances by finals contenders and a huge Queensland Firebirds win telling the tale of the week in netball. Instead of combining player stats from the two rounds as we did earlier in the season, we will now take a look at the two different rounds of competitions separately and delve into the top performers based on individual outings. While Nat Medhurst has not played a game in season 2020 after taking leave for her pregnancy, the Magpies goaler retired during the week marking the end of another era. A huge asset to Australian netball, Medhurst’s ability to goal from anywhere, her constant drive to be the best and her perseverance saw an illustrious career pan out over the last 17 years. 

ROUND 10

As usual, it is tough to skate past the incredible effort of Jhaniele Fowler who once again put up a huge amount of goals against the Vixens, shooting 59 from 62 attempts in the draw. Three players hit the 40-mark with Sam Wallace and Romelda Aiken both putting up 43 goals at 90 per cent and 80 per cent respectively, while Lenize Potgieter was unstoppable with 41 goals from 46. When it came to goal attacks, Kiera Austin stood up once more for the GIANTS with 31 goals to her name – including five super shots – while Tippah Dwan impressed in the Firebirds’ win over the Swifts with 26 goals (18 from 22 in regular time plus eight from nine super shots). Alice Teague-Neeld may have had a quiet game at the post but racked up 23 assists and two intercepts, while Liz Watson was held well in the first half against the Fever but still managed to lead all comers on goal assists with 25 to her name.

Emma Cosh was also in the mix for Fever with 19 goal assist in her first full SSN match, finding Fowler with ease at the post. Lara Dunkley also put in a solid performance out in wing attack with 21 assists and three deflections. Maddy McAuliffe has stepped up this season and was relentless against the GIANTS coming away with two intercepts against Jamie-Lee Price who managed five gains, while Maisie Nankivell and Mel Bragg cancelled each other out with a couple of intercepts apiece and Vixens debutant Allie Smith put herself out there with two intercepts in her half on court. When it came to circle defenders, Courtney Bruce seems to be completely over the back niggle that kept her out of matches early in the season with six deflections (four gains), while Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni were huge in the Lightning’s win over GIANTS, combining for 13 gains. Shamera Sterling came up with six gains of her own following up from an ankle injury, aided by a huge effort from Layla Guscoth (two intercepts).

ROUND 11

While both Fowler and Aiken were up there for goals scored once more in the second round of the week (55 and 45 goals respectively), Mwai Kumwenda put up a huge 48 goals from 51 attempts (one super shot) in the Vixens’ win over the Swifts, in a round that saw just about every other team share the load at the post. Youngsters Georgie Horjus and Dwan held up well once more (17 from 21 and 15 from 21, respectively), while Caitlin Bassett shone with 19 goals from 20 attempts and continued the trend of the GIANTS winning when she is on the court. In attack, Watson overcame an early ankle roll to still topscore the goal assists tally with 26 this round, closely followed by Verity Charles (23), Cosh and Nankivell (both 22). 

When it came to defensive efforts this round, it was not just the defenders who had all the fun in a solid week for midcourt defence as 12 midcourters registered at least one intercept to their name – Dwan was the outlier with three intercepts out in goal attack. Sam Poolman and Geva Mentor cancelled each other out in a tight battle between the GIANTS and Magpies with seven gains (four intercepts) apiece while Bruce tallied the highest amount of gains for the week with 11 (four intercepts, six deflections, one rebound). The Firebirds defensive unit of Gabi SimpsonTara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner was consistent as ever, combining for seven intercepts while Vixens’ Kadie-Ann Dehaney racked up four of her own in the absence of Emily Mannix. Stacey Francis was a tough opponent in goal defence, registering eight pickups such was her hunt for the loose ball, while Caitlin Thwaites racked up six pickups in her first full match in goal attack, relishing the extra space to take charge of the ball.

Courtside Comments: Round 1 – Maisie Nankivell
Courtside Comments: Round 2 – Tippah Dwan
Courtside Comments: Round 5 – Georgie Horjus
Courtside Comments: Round 9 – Alice Teague-Neeld
Courtside Comments: Round 11 – Mel Bragg

Vixens topple Swifts to continue ladder-leading ways

IT was a battle of one and two to open Round 11, with the Melbourne Vixens and NSW Swifts going head to head for the second time in Suncorp Super Netball season 2020. Once again it was the Vixens that came out on top in a huge battle, running out seven goal victors (62-55) and collecting the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup in the process.

A tight defensive start saw both sides have to work hard for the ball, with no easy access into the goal circle just as expected. While the Vixens got the early break, an error forced on the transverse line saw the Swifts draw even once more with tight defence negating a pass straight under the post. Sam Wallace had a great start on Kadie-Ann Dehaney, while Sarah Klau was ready for a hunt from the opening minutes, attacking the ball and creating hesitance on the feed from Liz Watson and Kate Moloney

Maddy Proud had a fantastic start driving down court, scrapping with Moloney and doing what she had to do to get ball in hand. Wallace was all but lapping Dehaney, finding space with ease and using her strong hands to snatch the ball out of the air. While the Vixens had a patient start, the Swifts were testing the Vixens with their continuous hunt, not letting any easy passes go down the court and giving the Vixens a taste of their own medicine with hands over every ball. The speed with which the Swifts transition was too quick for the Vixens to block off, seeing both sides go goal for goal for majority of the quarter, unable to get a break.

The super shot period began with a missed attempt from Helen Housby and the Vixens were quick to punish, getting a single on the board before Caitlin Thwaites extended the scoreline with a super shot. A deflection from Klau and awkward fall from Watson saw a forced change from the Vixens and Tayla Honey on the court, with the Swifts racing down the court and continuing to ply their trade on the front. The Vixens managed to stay two goals ahead, although connections in attack seemed to not fire as well, with a couple of shots from the Swifts the home side even up the ledger by the first break. 

Honey took the court once more to start the second, with the Vixens confident in her ability to hold down the attack, with both sides getting another few goals on the board off their own centre passes. Nat Haythorthwaite’s quick feet and feeds continued to pay off, patiently and confidently finding Housby and Wallace inside the circle. Contesting Housby and transitioning well through the midcourt toward the other end, Jo Weston did a heap of work on the transverse line to allow resetting from the Vixens frontline. The Swifts were working overtime to get the ball into the goal circle, with Kate Eddy upping her game out in wing defence to deny access to circle edge.

Watson headed back out to wing attack after a tactical timeout from the Swifts, with the side lifting immediately to put three goals straight on the board. The feeds into Mwai Kumwenda were excellent, exploiting the back space and denying Klau a chance at getting a hand to the airball. Proud continued to challenge every ball that came her way, and while she collected a couple of penalties it did the job to force a couple costly errors from the Vixens in attack. 

Housby was working overtime in attack for the Swifts, having to get into everything with Haythornthwaite and Proud being kept away from circle edge. While Klau had all the accolades early, Kumwenda stepped up in the second and piled on the offensive pressure, although toward the end of the quarter Klau stepped up her game once more with a couple of confidence-boosting deflections to her name. Midcourt defence from both the Swifts and Vixens was immense, with turnovers from both sides creating opportunities at opposing ends and seeing a seesawing quarter end in a three goal buffer going the way of the Vixens.

A huge second half saw the Swifts bite into the three-goal Vixens lead straight off the bat thanks to the centre pass, while Proud did everything in her power to have a crack at the loose ball. Despite the pass not going her way, the Vixens spilled a turnover to allow the Swifts a look in, adding two more goals to their tally to even up the scoreline before the Vixens could put a score on the board.

The Vixens continued to force the Swifts high in attack, although it seemed the Swifts had stolen back some of the momentum after half-time. Paige Hadley stepped out into centre and added a new defensive layer alongside Sophie Craig in at wing defence, although an intercept from Dehaney off the hands of Hadley saw the Vixens steal back a lead once more as Moloney got in on the action with a handy tip to see the Vixens put seven straight goals on the board to cut the Swifts’ momentum. Dehaney continued to have a great impact this quarter with hands to loose ball once more, seeing a six-goal lead the way of the Vixens force Briony Akle to call a tactical timeout. 

The Swifts bit into the lead once more after a couple of clumsy Vixens penalties, seeing Wallace head to the bench and Housby into goal shooter alongside Sophie Garbin. The physicality upped a level in the third quarter, with both teams doing whatever it took to get the ball and the contact penalties racking up. While both sides were looking to add a super shot to their tally, neither could find the post as required until one on the siren to Kumwenda saw the Vixens head into the final quarter with a nine goal buffer.

Wallace returned to take on Dehaney as the final quarter began, while the defensive end of the Swifts made the change once more as Lauren Moore headed back into goal defence. While Watson had seemed a bit proppy on her ankle earlier in the match, she began to shine in the final quarter, finding Kumwenda at the post with ease and adjusting her feeding accordingly after Klau’s deflections in the second and third. 

The Vixens’ defence around circle edge was huge, forcing continuous chipping and allowing Weston and Dehaney to get hands to ball. While a lot of the loose ball gets were down to the effort of Moloney and Eddy, there was no doubt that the confusion of space from Weston and Dehaney played a huge role in maintaining the Vixens lead, with Kumwenda maintaining her stellar accuracy at the other end and starring at the post alongside Thwaites. Soon enough the Vixens had pulled out to an 11-goal lead, with the Swifts still looking for answers in attack as Gaerbin and Haythornthwaite returned to the court and seven minutes on the clock. 

The super shot period saw the Swifts need a few on the board if they were to mount a comeback, with Housby coming to the rescue to reduce the margin by four goals and forcing Vixens coach Simone McKinnis into the side’s first tactical timeout of the match. The Swifts continued to attack every ball, with Maddy Turner managing critical hands to ball to put the Vixens off. With a six goal and just over two minutes to play, the Swifts continued to tally the super shots and stole away valuable momentum. The Vixens needed to control ball down the court to ensure they did not waste possession, and it paid off. The Vixens weathered the storm, with a last super shot from Garbin after the siren not enough as the Swifts went down by seven goals, 55-62.

Player of the match Kumwenda tallied 48 goals (one super shot) to go with her two deflections, while Thwaites played out the whole game in goal attack, putting up 11 goals (two super shots) and turning it on out the front with 14 assists. Watson had a solid impact despite spending time off the court, tallying 24 assists and two gains, while Weston and Dehaney combined for nine gains (five intercepts, four of which to Dehaney). For the Swifts, Wallace topscored with 30 from 33, while Housby put up 12 goals (three super shots from seven attempts) and Garbin was handy during her time on court with seven from eight including two super shots. Proud’s ability to find the loose ball saw her tally four pickups to go with her one gain and 17 goal assists, while defensively Klau collected the sole Swifts intercept. 


>>>SWIFTS TEAM PAGE
>>>VIXENS TEAM PAGE
>>>FULL MATCH STATS

NSW SWIFTS 17 | 13 | 10 | 15 (55)
MELBOURNE VIXENS 17 | 16 | 16 | 13 (62)

Swifts

GS: Sam Wallace
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Nat Haythornthwaite
C: Maddy Proud
WD: Paige Hadley
GD: Maddy Turner
GK: Sarah Klau

Vixens

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Caitlin Thwaites
WA: Liz Watson
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Kadie-Ann Dehaney

Suncorp Super Netball Preview: Round 11

THE fight for finals continues to heat up with a couple of top four clashes headlining the Round 11 action. Just outside the top four, the Adelaide Thunderbirds will be looking to find their way into the mix while the Melbourne Vixens will be hoping to extend their lead at the top of the table.

NSW Swifts v. Melbourne Vixens
Tuesday, 8 September

In their Round 8 encounter the Melbourne Vixens got the wood over the Swifts, something the reigning premiers will be hoping to rectify this round as they look to steal top spot on the ladder. Both sides are evenly matched across the court however Briony Akle is not afraid to swing the axe and change the line-up given the amount of depth the Swifts boast.

The Swifts have a plethora of options through the midcourt with Paige Hadley, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Tayla Fraser and Maddy Proud all viable options through the centre. The potential matchup between Hadley and Vixens wing attack Liz Watson will be one to keep an eye on given their strength and courage while the Swifts will look to match the energy and go-get it attitude of Kate Moloney in centre. The likes of Sam Wallace, Sophie Garbin and Helen Housby have struggled to hit their stride so far this year, plagued by inconsistency and will have their work cut out for them against the Vixens. Emily Mannix will miss the clash for the Vixens however Jo Weston proved to be a handy option in goal keeper.

The increased versatility in the Vixens line-up has given them an edge this season not only in defence with Kate Eddy plying her trade in either wing defence or goal defence but so too in attack as the shooters have seamlessly rotated through. Caitlin Thwaites has had a resurgence out in goal attack while Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip have proven to be a menace under the post. The concerning part for the Swifts is the fact that all three can punish from the super shot zone meaning Maddy Turner, Sarah Klau, Lauren Moore and potentially Sophie Craig will have to be switched on every second of the match if they are to keep the Vixens out of the game.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v, West Coast Fever
Tuesday, 8 September

The Lightning will be out for redemption against the Fever who completely outclassed them in their last outing, scoring a staggering 80 goals, the highest of the season. Sunshine Coast simply had no answers for Jhaniele Fowler with the goal shooter slotting a staggering 57 goals, an area they will be hoping to address this time round to keep them in the hunt for finals.

West Coast are blessed with a number of defenders who have stepped up to the plate in 2020 with Sunday Aryang and Olivia Lewis the two revelations down back while the ever reliable duo of Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis are solid contributors. Up against the constantly changing attacking unit of Cara Koenen, Peace Proscovia and Steph Wood, the battle under the post is set to be intriguing. In recent weeks Wood has showcased her versatility able to switch into wing attack with the Lightning not afraid to pull the trigger through the centre court and make wholesale changes.

Without Ingrid Colyer it will be up to Emma Cosh to stand up in wing attack while the playmaking load will likely land on Alice Teague-Neeld with the goaler able to dictate the flow out the front. The defensive combination of Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius however is no mean feat with the duo renowned for their ability to steal possession and shut down attacking units, something they will be hoping to inflict in this contest. The likes of Maddy McAuliffe and Laura Langman are also crucial cogs in the defensive third for the Lightning with their hands over pressure and read of the play impressive.

GIANTS Netball v. Collingwood Magpies
Wednesday, 9 September

It has been a disappointing season for the Magpies who farewelled Madi Browne and lost Kelsey Browne to injury while for the GIANTS 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride, filled with plenty of ups and downs. Collingwood have not won a game against the GIANTS in the past two years, a feat the GIANTS will be hoping to keep intact as they cast one eye on a finals berth.

Caitlin Bassett has struggled to get much court time in season 2020 with Jo Harten and Kiera Austin often getting the nod in goal shooter and goal attack respectively. However Bassett is no slouch, able to change the course of a game with the speed in which she can score and given the experience of Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward could likely be injected into the game against the Pies.

Molly Jovic has proven to be a key cog through the centre court with her speed and dynamic movement while Kelly Altmann has also showcased her strength around circle edge but copped a nasty knock last round. Tyler Orr debuted in Round 10 and did not skip a beat for the Magpies however the GIANTS are not without star power of their own through the mid court with Jamie-Lee Price, Amy Parmenter and Maddie Hay all formidable forces through the centre third. Defensively the GIANTS have a wealth of options with Matilda McDonell, April Brandley, Kristiana Manu’a and Sam Poolman all able to effectively ply their trade under the post.

Adelaide Thunderbirds v. Queensland Firebirds
Wednesday, 9 September

In a battle of the birds expect the game to go down to the wire with both sides coming off strong victories and looking to prove themselves in 2020. The Thunderbirds have steadily worked their way up the ladder and sit marginally out of the top four while the Firebirds are eager to keep their winning ways going.

There is no denying that Romelda Aiken is in career best form while Tippah Dwan is relishing the court time and feeding off the energy and dominance of Aiken at the post. However the goal shooter will have her work cut out for her against compatriot Shamera Sterling as the Thunderbirds goal keeper is an aerial mastermind, able to swat away ball time and time again. Partners in crime Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin are also major ball winners who are renowned for their tagging style of play to nullify the influence of their opponent.

The midcourt battle is also set to be enticing as both sides boast a wealth of youth and one experience spearhead – Chelsea Pitman for the Thunderbirds and Gabi Simpson for the Firebirds. The two are likely to match up against one another meaning it will be up to the players around them to impact the play as they often cancel each other out. Lara Dunkley really came into her own last round while Jemma Mi Mi offers plenty of dash in the attacking third. The strength of Mahalia Cassidy could match up nicely against the likes of Maisie Nankivell or Hannah Petty while Shadine van der Merwe is another handy option. Inside the goal circle Lenize Potgieter oozes nothing but class, composure and accuracy while Georgie Horjus has quickly become a super shot star meaning the likes of Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe will have to be on their A-game and look to attack the play if they are to upset the Thunderbirds and keep their slim finals hopes alive.

2020 Suncorp Super Netball: Five talking points – Round 9/10

ROUND 9 and 10 of the Suncorp Super Netball saw some impressive individual performances from a couple of towering shooters while the GIANTS’ struggle in the attacking third continued as they dropped to sixth spot on the ladder. The Firebirds mustered up another win for the season as the Adelaide Thunderbirds showcased they should not be underestimated in season 2020.

GIANTS still looking for answers inside the goal circle
The issues in the shooting circle have plagued the GIANTS throughout the season, unable to find any continuity in the front half and seeming to be out of answers, steadily dropping down the ladder. In Round 9 the GIANTS copped a 20 goal drubbing at the hands of the top of the table Vixens while in Round 10 they went down by two goals to the Lightning. The GIANTS are not without star power, arguably boasting one of the most damaging shooting trios in the competition, however it is their inability to cohesively work together that is impacting their scoreboard pressure. Caitlin Bassett has struggled to get court time this season and once again found herself on the bench, only managing 25 minutes across both games. Although the combination between Jo Harten and Kiera Austin is increasing as time goes on, the trio is relatively inconsistent and the frequent chopping and changing seems to upset the dynamic in the attacking third with Austin sometimes swinging into wing attack forcing Jamie-Lee Price to adjust her game.

Jamaican shootout
Both Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler are integral members for their respective teams with the Jamaican natives prominent under the post and key reasons for their sides resurgence. Fowler is enjoying the extra support she is getting this season from Alice Teague-Neeld when it comes to her pinpoint feeds and clever timing to drive into the circle. In the absence of Gretel Bueta, Aiken has taken her game up a notch acting as a real leader in the front half for the Firebirds, working seamlessly with Tippah Dwan to cause headaches for opposition sides with her increased accuracy and volume of shots. Fowler and Aiken sit one and two on the leader board when it comes to the number of goals scored and starred once again in Round 9 and 10 with 122 and 88 goals respectively, indicating just how influential they are under the post.

Thunderbirds keep finals chances alive
Coming off four consecutive losses the Thunderbirds rallied in their game against the Pies to secure an 11-goal victory and most importantly keep in touch with the top four. Boasting a highly versatile squad the Thunderbirds have relished the extra movement and rotations across the court with the defence end often changing between Shamera Sterling, Kate Shimmin and Layla Guscoth. However it is their young players that are really leading the way with Georgie Horjus and Maisie Nankivell plying their trade across the court and doing damage. Tayla Williams played a strong role through the centre in Round 10 for the T’Birds while the acquisition of Lenize Potgieter has paid dividends with the goal shooter oozing plenty of composure to settle things in attack.

Firebirds’ youth paying off
After a disappointing 2019 season, it was looking like 2020 would follow a similar track. But the Queensland Firebirds seem to have unlocked their winning ways, sitting on three wins for the season. With a bit of a personnel change up at the end of last season, the Firebirds have taken the changes in their stride and have not looked back. Aiken and Dwan have taken the competition by storm while the defensive combination of Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe is often where the magic happens. The duo are a formidable force down back able to regain a wealth of possession and stream down the court. Through the midcourt the inclusion of Lara Dunkley has added an element of calmness and stability while Jemma Mi Mi injects that dynamism. They have proven they can mix it with the best knocking off the reigning premiers by 13 goals last round and given the competition is so close this season, if the Firebirds notch up a couple more wins they could potentially push for a spot in finals.

Super shot comes up big in Round 10
Down by as many as 14 goals midway through the third quarter, the Melbourne Vixens fought their way back into the contest against the Fever, mainly due to some impressive super shots from Caitlin Thwaites and Mwai Kumwenda. The shooting duo registered nine for the game and while they did not win, they managed to secure a draw credit to their ability to peg the margin back quickly and accurately. But they were not the only team that resorted to the long bomb with the GIANTS taking full advantage of the super shot as Austin and Harten combined for 12 to remain in the hunt against the Lightning. In terms of individual performances, Dwan was unstoppable for the Firebirds with eight from nine while Steph Wood sunk the winning super shot for Sunshine Coast showcasing just how impactful the super shot can be to results.

SSN Momentum Shifts: Round 10

ROUND 10 of Suncorp Super Netball saw some phenomenal matchups across every games and some highly talented players take the court. The condensed fixture and introduction of rolling subs this year have seen plenty of young names already jump on the court and have a huge impact despite their lack of experience. We take a look at each game and note which players shifted the gears and switched up the momentum.

Melbourne Vixens (63) drew with West Coast Fever (63)

The final five minutes of the third quarter saw the Melbourne Vixens mount an almighty comeback that filtered into the fourth term. Four consecutive super shots – three off the hand of Caitlin Thwaites and one after the whistle to Mwai Kumwenda – enabled the Vixens to cull the 14-goal buffer to eight at the final change. With a pep in their step coming out of the break the Vixens toiled hard in attack as Kumwenda and Thwaites slotted seven of the first 10 goals while Liz Watson upped the ante to give the Vixens all the momentum in the final term. Jo Weston came to life while the work of Allie Smith and Kate Eddy stood tall as they blocked the flow of goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler and Alice Teague-Neeld in the Fever attack.

NSW Swifts (64) defeated by Queensland Firebirds (77)

The Firebirds came to play from the opening whistle, asserting themselves on the contest and dominating on the scoreboard. A purple patch in the latter stages of the quarter saw the home team skip out to a seven goal lead as Tippah Dwan and Romelda Aiken carved up the defensive combination of Maddy Turner, Sarah Klau and Lauren Moore. The Firebirds goal shooter in Aiken set the tone instantaneously, commanding the ball under the post allowing Dwan to get to work around her with her quick footwork to keep her respective opponent occupied. The midcourters in Mahalia Cassidy and Lara Dunkley were unstoppable around circle edge, as the Firebirds attacked hard to push the Swifts onto the back foot.

GIANTS Netball (65) defeated Sunshine Coast Lightning (67)

In a see-sawing affair it was Kiera Austin who kept the GIANTS in the hunt. Down by as many as eight goals in the dying minutes of the third quarter, the goal attack single-handedly dragged her side back into the contest, showcasing her impressive range and accuracy to convert two super shots. Austin was a menace, driving hard into the space and syncing up with Jo Harten who also managed to hit a super shot, working alongside Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price with great ease. Her increased intensity across the court sparked the GIANTS side which entered the break with their tails up and while they did not go on to win the contest, going down with five seconds left on the clock, this passage of play in the third term set them up for the comeback that ensued.

Adelaide Thunderbirds (60) defeated Collingwood Magpies (49)

It was a final quarter blitz from the Adelaide Thunderbirds that gifted them an 11-goal victory in front of a home crowd for the first time this season. Geva Mentor seemed to have no answers for the in-form Lenize Potgieter despite the South African goaler missing more shots than usual, while Georgie Horjus continued on her merry way out in goal attack. Potgieter went on a tear in the closing minutes of the game stringing seven consecutive goals together. Strong under the post, Potgieter relished the drive and quick hands of Maisie Nankivell and Tayla Williams out in the midcourt. up the other end, Shamera Sterling played a key role with an intercept and a couple of deflections to gift her side the opportunity to push forward and inflict scoreboard pain.

Vixens fight back from 14 goals down to secure a Feverous draw

IT was a heart racing finish to the game as the Melbourne Vixens and West Coast Fever were unable to be separated finishing the game on 63 goals apiece. The Fever skipped out to a 14-goal lead midway through the third term before the Vixens fired back courtesy of the super shot to mount an almighty comeback. Although both sides were without some crucial players with Emily Mannix a late withdrawal and Ingrid Colyer out for the remainder of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), they showcased plenty of grit and depth.

It was a strong defensive start for both sides with the Melbourne Vixens applying good hands over pressure to slow down the Fever in attack and make them work the ball down to circle edge. An early turnover from the Fever saw the Vixens capitalise streaming down court with the shooter to shooter interplay between Caitlin Thwaites and Mwai Kumwenda on song early. The transition down court for Melbourne was impressive, slicing through the Fever to open up a two goal lead. But West Coast Fever worked their way back into the contest with Jhaniele Fowler proving to be a formidable force under the post. A Kate Eddy inspired deflection saw the Vixens regain possession and turn the tables to even the scores with the centre pass to come.

Although it was goal for goal for majority of the term, the Vixens seemed to have a slight upper hand with their composure and transitional play on full show. with Thwaites finding a wealth of space both in the goal circle and in attack, Sunday Aryang made her way onto the court for the Fever with the goal defence having an immediate impact with her hustle for the ball. The pressure from both sides was immense with neither side able to move the ball with great conviction and speed given. The tables started to turn as a couple of held ball calls against the Vixens gifted the Fever easy turnover ball as they skipped out to the biggest lead of the game – three goals.

Despite the Vixens making a change in the goal circle with Tegan Philip pulling on the goal attack bib it they struggled to get going and find any continuity in their frontend. On the other hand,  Fowler was making light work of Kadie-Ann Dehaney in the early stages of the second quarter with the Jamaican shooter owning the goal circle. Kate Moloney was on fire through the midcourt showcasing her impressive vision into the circle and composure to hold onto the ball for that full three seconds and then release. Everything seemed to fall the way of the Fever with the Western Australian side pushing out to a four goal lead and riding a wave of momentum. With their defensive pressure up and about they forced the Vixens into their third held ball for the call for the game.

Down by six goals, the Vixens called a timeout and momentarily pegged the margin back before the Fever hit back. Eddy made her way into goal defence as Jo Weston switched into wing attack while up in attack the Vixens seemed stagnant. The defensive pressure stemming from Jess Anstiss and Aryang was phenomenal with the duo working in overdrive to clog up the space and force uncharacteristic errors. Alice Teague-Neeld came to life in the latter half of the term with her ball placement and drive into the circle causing a wealth of headaches for the Vixens. Thwaites shot the first super shot of the goal at the three minute mark before Teague-Neeld answered the call up the other end. The Melbourne Vixens attacking unit looked disjointed with a wealth of passes floating over the baseline. But a late flurry of super shots from Thwaites and Kumwenda seemed to be exactly what the doctor asked for culling the deficit to seven goals.

The Fever came out firing piling on the scoreboard pressure early unfazed by the wholesale changes the Vixens made with Weston dropping into goal keeper, Eddy maintaining her spot in goal defence and Allie Smith making her way onto the court in wing defence. Vixens simply had no answers for the Fever with Emma Cosh starring in the attacking third thanks to her clever ball placement and confidence to deliver into Fowler while Verity Charles continued to be that driving force through the midcourt. The battle between Anstiss and Watson was enthralling with the latter unable to have usual influence, forced into uncharacteristic mistakes and struggling to hit circle edge.

Out to 13 goals the Fever continued to put their foot down both in attack and defence as Courtney Bruce made life hard down back with her constant tips and deflections. Her increased physicality offset the Vixens while Aryang continued to be a menace. But the Vixens were not about to go down without a fight as both Weston and Eddy came alive. Three consecutive super shots saw the Vixens rally as their increased pressure across the court and accuracy to post gave them a glimmer of hope heading into the fourth.

It was all set up for a huge final term and an early turnover from the Fever allowed the Vixens to capitalise as they started to mount a comeback. A hand from Weston in defence and the pickup from Smith gifted the Vixens another chance to score as they cut the deficit to a mere two goals after being as much as 13 goals down midway through the third. A huge offensive penalty from Cosh cost the Fever a goal as their opponents streamed down court and made them pay. With the centre pass to follow the Vixens skipped out to a handy one goal buffer as the Fever made a defensive change with Olivia Lewis coming onto the court. The momentum continued to chop and change but a super shot form Thwaites in the last 15 seconds gifted them a one point lead before Fowler levelled the scores thanks to a penalty after the whistle.

It is no surprise that Fowler was the dominant shooter once again top scoring with 59 goals from 62 attempts. However, the shooting load was shared for the Melbourne Vixens as Kumwenda registered the most goals with 28 goals five of which were super shots at 85 per cent accuracy, while Thwaites also made her presence felt with 22 goals to walk away with player of the match honours. Watson was down on her usual influence with 26 goal assists while Teague-Neeld led the charge for the Fever with 24.

Bruce was a force to be reckoned with in defence, winning back a wealth of possession with four gains and six deflections while up the other end, Weston worked in overdrive to collect three deflections while Smith came on and starred in her half of netball with two intercepts.

 

>>> VIXENS TEAM PAGE
>>> FEVER TEAM PAGE
>>> FULL MATCH STATS

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Melbourne Vixens 14 | 15 | 16  | 18 (63)
West Coast Fever 16 | 20 | 15 | 12 (63)

STARTING SEVEN:

 Melbourne Vixens:

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Caitlin Thwaites
WA: Liz Watson
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Kadie-Ann Dehaney

West Coast Fever

GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Alice Teague-Neeld
WA: Emma Cosh
C: Verity Charles
WD: Jess Anstiss
GD: Stacey Francis
GK: Courtney Bruce

2020 Suncorp Super Netball preview: Round 10

WITH the home stretch in sight now that we have surpassed the midway point of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season, teams will be raring to go to prove that they are capable of pushing the top teams and get in the way of a finals berth. This round will be a repeat of Round 5’s proceedings, with the Melbourne Vixens, NSW Swifts, Adelaide Thunderbirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning all coming away with wins last time around making for some huge matches.

Melbourne Vixens v. West Coast Fever
Saturday, 5 September

A huge match opens Round 10 with Melbourne Vixens hoping to solidify top spot on the ladder with a second win against the Fever, while the Fever have had an excellent run over the past few rounds and will look to continue that against the ladder leaders.

There are a couple huge matchups in this game, none bigger than the battle inside the goal circle between Jhaniele Fowler and Emily Mannix. Last time these two sides met, it was the defensive effort from Kate Eddy and Jo Weston out the front that hindered Fowler’s ability to find the ball and put up a winning tally, meaning the Vixens will want to match that effort while Fever’s Alice Teague-Neeld will need to do more than just spot Fowler at the post. Fever speedster Ingrid Colyer will miss this round after going down with a suspected knee injury on Thursday night, meaning the Vixens may need to shuffle their defensive unit depending on who gets the start in wing attack. Verity Charles has had a huge few rounds and will be tested in this one against an in-form Kate Moloney, while Liz Watson has been on fire this season so will be the real challenge out the front for the Fever. In the Vixens goal circle, expect plenty of rotations between Caitlin Thwaites, Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip, with all three players offering something different to post against a hugely versatile Fever defensive unit headed up by captain Courtney Bruce.

NSW Swifts v. Queensland Firebirds
Saturday, 5 September

The Queensland Firebirds have had an excellent few rounds coming into a second match against the NSW Swifts, meaning that this match is well within their reach if they can negate the Swifts who are yet to really put a four quarter effort together despite sitting in second on the ladder. 

Romelda Aiken has been in fine form in recent weeks and is coming up against Sarah Klau in an enticing battle, with the goal keeper putting on a show in patches but not quite yet hitting the heights of her 2019 season. Tippah Dwan has also had a solid few weeks, using her footwork and speed to find space with ease, and will likely take on Lauren Moore and Maddy Turner in defence while Sophie Craig is a smaller option to rotate through if Paige Hadley takes a step back to wing defence once more. While Hadley has typically plied her trade in the attack, her speed to shut down Jemma Mi Mi could be critical here with both Maddy Proud and Nat Haythornthwaite more than capable of holding down the midcourt. Question marks are still around Swifts goal attack Helen Housby at the other end, with fellow goaler Sophie Garbin forced off the court with a rolled ankle during the week, making for an interesting circle if the duo both cannot take the court, especially given the form of Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe down back for the Firebirds, with the height of Rudi Ellis a great option if needed to negate the effort of Sam Wallace at the post.

GIANTS Netball v. Sunshine Coast Lightning
Sunday, 6 September

GIANTS have had a frustrating few rounds on the court, only just getting over the line against the Firebirds last weekend and dominated by the Vixens during the week, and will be tested again this round by a tough Lightning outfit who come in off the back of similar circumstances. It was in this matchup back in Round 5 that Kristiana Manu’a was sent off which ultimately resulted in the Lightning’s come from behind win, meaning the GIANTS will surely be back with a vengeance in this contest.

For the GIANTS, three highly impactful goalers is the name of the game, with two of the three able to hit the super shot with ease and unafraid of the long bomb. Jo Harten and Kiera Austin are the go-to girls from range but with the likes of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni lifting defensively during the week, expect a tough battle both inside and outside the circle. Laura Scherian and Laura Langman are always a tough ask, able to keep going and going, but with two great defensive midcourters in Jamie-Lee Price and Amy Parmenter able to take them on, this match will really be won or lost through the midcourt. At the other end of the court, Steph Wood has lifted her game after a slow start to the season, while Cara Koenen continues to exploit defenders with her smooth movement along the goalline, although Sam Poolman’s netball nous could see her step up to the plate to block the speedy goal shooter on the drive.

Adelaide Thunderbirds v. Collingwood Magpies
Sunday, 6 September

A massive match between Thunderbirds and Magpies will complete Round 10, seeing the Thunderbirds running out in front of a home crowd for the first time all season. But the Magpies will be on a mission to honour their fallen troops in Browne sisters Madi and Kelsey, with Madi announcing her retirement during the week and Kelsey out for the rest of the season to recover from a knee tweak.

While the Magpies are missing two of their leaders through the midcourt, the side held up fairly well during the week before the Swifts lifted their game, with Molly Jovic, Kelly Altmann and Mel Bragg all doing their jobs well and standing up to the Swifts’ rotations. They will come up against a tough Thunderbirds midcourt though, with Chelsea Pitman and Hannah Petty leading through the centre and some influential defensive midcourters in Maisie Nankivell and Shadine van der Merwe holding up ball movement. But where the Magpies may be able to get a look in is in the attack, with no confirmation yet whether Shamera Sterling will take the court after a nasty ankle roll during the week, though the remaining defensive duo of Kate Shimmin and Layla Guscoth is more than capable of holding up the defensive end. Shimona Nelson will want to lift her game after a sloppy few weeks on the court, aided by Gabby Sinclair, while at the other end expect Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus to come out flying once more although a tough defensive duo of Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward will do anything in their power to block the pair from hitting the scoreboard.