Tag: cath cox

Memorable Matches: New Zealand break Diamonds’ 16 year World Championship run

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is the New Zealand Silver Ferns’ drought-breaking victory over the Australian Diamonds for the 2003 Netball World Cup gold in Kingston, Jamaica.

It was a match of pure physicality and supreme determination from both sides, with the Aussies insistent on continuing their winning streak but the Ferns with a fire in the belly, having not won a World Cup trophy in 16 years. Both teams had some stellar players, with plenty of recognisable names among them. While Australia won the second half, it was New Zealand’s threatening first half that put them in with the lead, able to hold on throughout despite the Aussies’ fight.

New Zealand took an early lead, winning the first quarter thanks to the dominant pairing of Irene van Dyk and Belinda Colling, seemingly one step ahead of the Australians. It was van Dyk’s first World Cup with New Zealand and the South African dual citizen quickly paid dividends for the side, with the accuracy and drive giving the Ferns something they had been missing in previous years. While the likes of Kathryn Harby-WIlliams and Liz Ellis picked up a wealth of loose ball, the Ferns duo were unstoppable at the post, combining well and applying constant scoreboard pressure to put the Aussies on the back foot. 

Up the Australian attacking end, Sharelle McMahon had a constant barricade in Sheryl Clarke blocking easy access into the circle, and while McMahon’s clean footwork and speed allowed her plenty of crucial ball, it was a physical encounter between the two. Clarke’s five intercepts and game changing deflection resulting in a gain in the dying minutes – were critical for the turn of the match, with the final quarter going back and forth as the Diamonds fought to come back. 

Teaming up with Clarke in defence was Vilimaina Davu, who delivered constantly applying pressure on Cynna Neale and McMahon at the post and forcing errors from the likes of Natasha Chokljat and Rebecca Sanders on circle edge, putting doubt in their minds. New Zealand’s typical zoning play was critical throughout, holding onto the ball with ease and denying the Aussie any clean motion or movement through the centre third. Cath Cox joined the fray in Neale’s replacement later in the match, able to apply some extra fancy footwork.

The physicality hit its peak in the final term, with a young Temepara Bailey being sent off – something ultimately unheard of in netball today, but a call which marked Bailey as the first ever player sent off in a World Cup final. It was her tenth contact that saw the call made, forcing Lesley Nicol into the centre bib and enabling two quick goals from the Aussies to draw even with the Ferns down a player on court, but the two minutes on the bench only put more fire in the belly of the New Zealand outfit, with a bigger drive and desire to get that elusive gold medal. 

The dying moments saw deflections aplenty, with neither side able to steal momentum long enough to score, but the Ferns’ early efforts were enough to get the win over a stellar Australian opposition, breaking the drought 49-47.

AUSTRALIA 10 | 12 | 12 | 13 (47)
NEW ZEALAND 14 | 13 | 10 | 12 (49)



GS: Cynna Neele
GA: Sharelle McMahon
WA: Natasha Chokljat
C: Rebecca Sanders
WD: Peta Scholtz
GD: Kathryn Harby-Williams
GK: Liz Ellis

BENCH: Alison Broadbent, Cath Cox, Janine Ilitch, Nicole Richardson, Eloise Southby
COACH: Jill McIntosh

New Zealand

GS: Irene Van Dyk
GA: Belinda Colling
WA: Anna Rowberry
C: Jodi Brown
WD: Lesley Nicol
GD: Sheryl Clarke
GK: Vilimaina Davu

BENCH: Tania Dalton, Leana de Bruin, Temepara Bailey, Anna Scarlett, Adine Wilson
COACH: Ruth Aitken

Memorable matches: Silver Ferns defeat Diamonds in double extra-time – 2010 Commonwealth Games

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look back at memorable matches. Next up is the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal match in Delhi, India, which saw the 100th test match between the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns finish in magnificent fashion. For many Australian netball fans, this week’s memorable match is one that would be better left forgotten, with a devastating result for the Diamonds but the ultimate victory for the Ferns.

The two sides were unable to be split from the early stages and though Australia seemed to have the momentum, New Zealand never let up in their tough approach and whittled down the margin bit by bit to keep the Diamonds on their toes. With scores locked at 47 apiece at the end of regular time and the Diamonds fighting from seven goals down in the final term, the match would go on to be one of the longest ever official matches coming to 84 minutes in double extra-time.

Defensively the Aussies were on fire early, with Mo’onia Gerrard leading from the front, collecting loose ball left, right and centre, while Susan Fuhrmann stayed back in the goal circle keeping a crucial eye on Irene van Dyk. But while van Dyk was kept quiet, only shooting the 25 goals, Maria Folau had something to prove, providing that crucial long-range shot to shoot up a storm from anywhere in the circle. Folau finished the match with a whopping 41 goals from 50 attempts, well and truly dominating at the post with her silky movement and ability to not just finish plays, but also create them.

For the Diamonds, captain Sharelle McMahon had a stellar start credit to her cleanliness with ball in hand and quick footwork, aided by Lauren Nourse and Nat Medhurst out in goal attack, with the goaling duo influential against the Ferns’ defensive unit which had a slow start. But as it goes with the likes of Casey Kopua and Katrina Rore, they can never be discredited with the work they do off the ball, working their way into the game and proving to be a massive defensive threat to the Diamonds at the post on every opportunity later in the game to close the margin.

Through the midcourt, Renae Ingles was on fire in the first half blocking Temepara Bailey at every turn and using her hands over pressure and bodywork to force errors which the Diamonds took advantage of, seeing a combined eight crucial deflections from Gerrard and Fuhrmann. New Zealand centre Laura Langman was her usual workhorse self, constantly there to apply pressure on Natalie Bode in centre and create that run down the middle of the court.  The change through the midcourt in the second half had an immediate impact, with Anna Scarlett and Liana Leota replacing Joline Henry and Bailey respectively.

While Australia was ahead for majority of the early stages of the match, New Zealand flipped the switch in the third to lead at three quarter time, leading 35-33 after the major switch up to the midcourt unit saw the Diamonds fade away as tiredness began to set in. Cath Cox and Kim Green entered the court in the final term to have an immediate impact, pairing well with McMahon who topscored for the Diamonds with 30 goals at 88 per cent accuracy. The trio’s ability to move through the space was second to none, while Cox and McMahon’s experience together and respective ability to split and evade their opposition saw the unit play out the rest of the match – almost 25 more minutes than a regular game. 

Painful to watch for so many as the clock wound down in the second half of overtime, Australia had its chances to collect the win but the Ferns were just relentless in their pursuit for their second Commonwealth gold, denying Cox a goal to win the match and daring to go into double extra time, with the clock essentially stopped until one team was two goals ahead.

With the overall game time edging over 80 minutes and the two sides still going goal for goal, a final shot from Folau saw the Ferns take out the game with a crucial -and her specialty – long-range shot that rang true to finish in the most dramatic of fashions, ending with the ultimate celebration for the Ferns and devastation for the Aussies, 66-64. The gold medal match came to a head to be one of the greatest matches in recent history between the Trans-Tasman rivals.

AUSTRALIA 10 | 13 | 10 | 14 (47)
Extra time: 6 | 5 (58) | 6 (64)

NEW ZEALAND 9 | 11 | 15 | 12 (47)
Extra time: 5 | 6 (58) | 8 (66)


GS: Sharelle McMahon
GA: Nat Medhurst
WA: Lauren Nourse
C: Natalie Bode
WD: Renae Ingles
GD: Mo’onia Gerrard
GK: Susan Fuhrmann

BENCH: Cath Cox, Kim Green, Bec Bulley, Laura Geitz, Susan Pettitt
COACH: Norma Plummer

New Zealand
GS: Irene van Dyk
GA: Maria Folau
WA: Temepara Bailey
C: Laura Langman
WD: Joline Henry
GD: Casey Kopua
GK: Katrina Rore

BENCH: Anna Scarlett, Liana Leota (Nee Barrett-Chase), Leana de Bruin, Grace Rasmussen
COACH: Ruth Aitken


Cath Cox 20/26
Sharelle McMahon 30/34
Nat Medhurst 14/18

New Zealand:
Maria Folau 41/50
Irene van Dyk 25/29

Compare the Pair: Cath Cox and Caitlin Thwaites

THE Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two players from different Australian Diamonds eras, with the first examining goal shooters, Cath Cox and Caitlin Thwaites

Arguably two of the most dominant goal shooters of the modern era, both Cath Cox and Caitlin Thwaites have formed dominant options to post for the Diamonds. Both champions in their own right, Cox and Thwaites may have different shooting actions and playing styles but certainly both gave the Aussies a valuable advantage in the goal circle with their respective consistency and accuracy to post. Both standing at 188cm, the two goalers were able to change up their game at the drop of a hat and both showed immense improvement throughout their time at the  top level. Off the international stage, both players provided crucial linkups for the NSW Swifts and Melbourne Vixens at different stages in their respective careers, with Thwaites still currently suiting up for the Vixens in 2020.

Cox spent 16 years in the Australian squad, with the veteran shooter debuting in 1997 and retiring from the green and gold in 2014. Cox was an agile goal shooter throughout her time on the international stage, and while she was not the tallest, she still provided a crucial target at the post with her ability to free herself from her defender with her quick feet and speed off the mark. Her footwork and split created a formidable pairing with the shooter able to find the goals with ease, while her clean hands and impeccable timing allowed her to create impressive plays. She earned her 100th test cap in 2012 – by which time Thwaites was also a member of the squad – and reached 108 caps by the time she retired in early 2014, becoming the third most capped player in Australian netball history behind Liz Ellis (122) and Sharelle McMahon (118) and overtaking fellow goal shooter Vicki Wilson (104).

While Thwaites may not have reached as many caps as Cox with 55 to her name, it was her deadly accuracy, movement and ability to shoot from anywhere in the circle that made her such a threat in goals for the Diamonds. Thwaites played second fiddle to Caitlin Bassett for much of her international career but still managed to slot into the side and have an impact when required thanks to her ability to change up the attacking third entirely. Thwaites has proved again and again an ability to thwart defenders with her agility and willingness to take on the contest, with her physicality and stellar split giving defenders a tough time going about their business and denying Thwaites at the post. Thwaites’ eight years in the Australian squad may be dwarfed by Cox’s 16 in comparison, but she had arguably just as much of an impact on the game and was a real fan-favourite for the Diamonds.

Cath Cox
108 caps, 1997-2014

Caitlin Thwaites
55 caps, 2012-2019

Top 10 all-time New Zealand and Australian retired greats

IT is hard to narrow down just 10 players from both New Zealand and Australia that have had an everlasting impact on the game with both countries boasting players full of class, star-power and excitement. This list is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration longevity, international caps and perceived impact on-court.

#1 Irene Van Dyk – New Zealand (GS)

There is no denying that Van Dyk is arguably one of the world’s best goal shooters with her silky movement and sheer endurance. The netball superstar played 217 caps of which 74 were with South Africa, and the remainder with the Silver Ferns. Her cool, calm and collected nature steered her side to many victories, allowing her to quickly become one of Australia’s biggest nemeses under the post. She was simply unstoppable, able to turn a game on its head in a blink of an eye credit to her strong holds, perfect placement and most importantly, accuracy, hardly ever missing a shot.

#2 Laura Geitz – Australia (GK/GD)

The former Diamonds captain is nothing but class. All eyes would turn to her knowing something special would happen every time she took the court, credit to her physical presence, impeccable timing and general netball smarts to get around the body of an opponent or do the unthinkable just when her side needed it. She sensed the moment time and time again and was a real inspiration on court, consistently leading from the front and spurring her side on.

#3 Sharelle McMahon – Australia (GA/GS)

The Australian goaler was a true mastermind on the court, able to exploit the space with her dynamic movement. Her movement paired with her impressive accuracy proved to be hard to stop for opposition defenders trying to shut down the talented shooter. McMahon could singlehandedly jolt a side back into action with clever plays and silky connections, forging key partnerships in attack to provide a dangerous attack-line for the Diamonds.

#4 Liz Ellis – Australia (GK)

Ellis is one of the most influential goal keepers in Australian netball history with her attacking flair and willingness to take the game on. She controlled the airways with her intercepting abilities and used her height to swat away passes entering the circle. Ellis was one of a kind, renowned for her pressure over the shot, quick feet and cleanliness at the contest, reigning supreme over key opposition players again and again.

#5 Casey Kopua – New Zealand (GD/GK)

A true leader and inspiration on court, with her defensive prowess constantly on display. Kopua can light a game up with her match-winning style of play, able to take a huge intercept or force a turnover such is her imposing nature. Her competitive spirit and physical style of play turns heads along with her ability to read the play and gobble up any cross-court balls.

#6 Cath Cox – Australia (GS/GA)

She was a staple hold in the Diamonds uniform, playing in 108 tests thanks to her impressive endurance, class and accuracy. Cox was nothing short of consistent and reliable, able to shoot from anywhere in the circle and convert. Her footwork was effortless on the court, able to hold strong under the post or get off the body to find her own space.

#7 Anna Harrison – New Zealand (GD/GK/WD)

The lanky defender was renowned for her defensive antics, especially initiating the chair lift. Despite her slight stature she could impact the contest with ease to become a commanding presence in the defensive circle and would use her aerial skills to force turnovers, deflections and intercepts.

#8 Joline Henry – New Zealand (WD/GD)

She was a key cog in the Ferns defensive line-up, often blocking the wing attack’s drives and movements to the top of the circle. Her physical game style upset many attackers who struggled to combat the intense pressure and shadowing nature of her game play. Her hands over pressure was second to none blocking the vision of her opponents and forcing rushed passes or held balls.

#9 Kathryn Harby-Williams – Australia (GD/WD)

The talented Aussie defender was renowned for making her opponents’ lives hard with her imposing figure and skill to shut them down. She made it hard for the goalers to shoot and enter the circle with her smart movement across the court while applying a wealth of pressure out the front to block her opponents vision.

#10 Temepara Bailey – New Zealand (C/WA)

Bailey was a pocket rocket on court able to feed from all areas of the attacking third thanks to her impressive vision, strength and variety of passes to slice through the opposition defence. She was a real barometer through the midcourt, able to control the flow of the play and work her way through the pressure to deliver well-weighted passes into her goalers.

Tippett shines brightest on international stage, while Fowler claims back-to-back SSN MVPs

AUSTRALIAN Diamonds’ shooter Gretel Tippett has capped off a wonderful 2019 season both on the international and Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) scenes to take home a number of gongs at the 2019 Netball Australia Awards. The goal attack was deemed the top performing international Australian Diamonds athlete throughout the 2019 season, taking out both the International Player of the Year Award and the Liz Ellis Diamond Award – becoming the first goal attack to do so. The Queensland Firebirds’ goaler also picked up a starting spot in the SSN Team of the Year and earned a nomination in the SSN Player of the Year despite her side finishing on the bottom of the table.

For the Firebirds, Tippett shot 394 goals from 411 attempts at an elite 96 per cent accuracy. She also picked up 325 centre pass receives, 130 assists and 10 rebounds this season from 14 games. Internationally, Tippett scored 67 goals from 70 attempts in the Northern Quad Series, 118 goals from 125 attempts at the World Cup, and 82 goals from 85 attempts at the recent Constellation Cup. All up, Tippett finished the year with 267 goals from 280 attempts, at a superb 95 per cent accuracy. Earlier in the season she also achieved the rare feat of 100 consecutive goals without a miss in the SSN. She won the International Player of the Year with Melbourne Vixens duo Jo Weston and Liz Watson the other nominees. Caitlin Bassett (100 caps) and Lisa Alexander (100 games as coach) were also recognised for their milestone achievements.

West Coast Fever goal shooting machine Jhaniele Fowler was awarded the SSN Player of the Year, shooting 709 goals from 753 attempts, also picking up 44 rebounds in a side that finished in the bottom three on the table. She won the award with Tippett and Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Karla Pretorius the other nominees. Meanwhile Melbourne Vixens dominated the SSN Team of the Year with a remarkable four players in the 10-player side, with no other side recording more than one player. The Vixens hold the entire midcourt with Watson, Kate Moloney and Renae Ingles, as well as goal keeper Emily Mannix. Joining her in the defensive goal circle is Pretorius, while up in attack it was no surprise to see Fowler and Tippett there. On the bench, NSW Swifts’ Sam Wallace, Collingwood Magpies’ Ash Brazill and Adelaide Thunderbirds’ Shamera Sterling rounded out the team.

GIANTS Netball young gun, Amy Parmenter took out the Rising Star Award for her work in the SSN for 2019. Parmenter made 14 appearances in her first season, racking up 57 deflections, 25 intercepts, 52 centre pass receives and 14 feeds, as well as 10 goal assists.

NSW Swifts’ premiership coach Briony Akle was named the Joyce Brown Coach of the Year for her work in taking the Swifts from the bottom four to a premiership in the space of 12 months. The Swifts finished second overall after the SSN season, and after losing the qualifying final to reigning premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning, bounced back to defeat Melbourne Vixens and then topple the Lightning on the road to claim their first SSN premiership. Announced earlier in the year but congratulated on the night, Victoria Fury’s Emma Ryde was named the Deakin University Australian Netball League (ANL) Player of the Year.

Earlier in the night, Cath Cox thanked the three retiring Australian Diamonds in Renae Ingles, Caitlyn Nevins and Caitlin Thwaites who played a combined 120 matches. Off the court, Anne Sargeant OAM and Margaret Pewtress OAM were elevated to Legends in the Hall of Fame which received a standing ovation from the crowd. Two netball icons were also inducted into the Hall of Fame, with Elsma Merillo and Sharelle McMahon earning deserved places. Stacey Campton was awarded a Service Award for her work with Indigenous communities and umpiring over multiple decades, Michelle Phippard was named the Lorna McConchie Umpire of the Year, as South Australian Georgina Sulley-Beales and West Australian Rochelle McKee were also recognised for their efforts in officiating the code.

2019 Individual Season Awards:

International Player of the Year: Gretel Tippett
Liz Ellis Diamond Award: Gretel Tippett
SN Player of the Year: Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever)
Rising Star Award:
Amy Parmenter (GIANTS Netball)
Joyce Brown Coach of the Year: Briony Akle (NSW Swifts)
ANL Player of the Year: Emma Ryde (Victoria Fury)

SSN Team of the Year:

GS: Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever)
GA: Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds)
WA: Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens)
C: Kate Moloney (Melbourne Vixens)
WD: Renae Ingles (Melbourne Vixens)
GD: Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
GK: Emily Mannix (Melbourne Vixens)


Attack: Sam Wallace (NSW Swifts)
Midcourt: Ash Brazill (Collingwood Magpies)
Defence: Shamera Sterling (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Other awards:

Hall of Fame Legends: Margaret Pewtress OAM (posthumous), Anne Sargeant OAM
Hall of Fame Inductees: Elsma Merillo, Sharelle McMahon
Service Award:
Stacey Campton
Lorna McConchie Umpire of the Year: Michelle Phippard
Umpire Awards:
 Georgina Sulley-Beales (SA), Rochelle McKee (WA)

Diamonds H2H Battle: 2000s vs 2010s

WITH the upcoming Netball World Cup looming, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and come up with our definitive Diamonds of the 2000s side and Diamonds of the 2010s (so far) side. Both sides consist of some familiar names, with players put in a specific side based on when they played the brunt of their international netball career.

The 2000s side consists of a number of household names in Australian netball, with three of Australia’s elite most-capped players taking the court. Sharelle McMahon, Liz Ellis and Cath Cox have almost 350 caps between them, more than half the amount of the entire 2010s’ starting seven. Shooters Cox and McMahon dominated in goals together for the majority of the 2000s, while Ellis, with the help of key defenders through the years, Mo’Onia Gerrard and Peta Squire, remained the stalwart backend goal keeper throughout her ten years in the side. Though Gerrard and Squire played majority of their respective careers in goal defence, both players took the court in wing defence towards the later end of their time as Diamonds. Natalie Bode stole the top spot of centre, with 76 caps to her name and captaining the side from 2010 – 2012. Lauren Nourse took the last starting position on court at wing attack. Despite only 25 caps for the Diamonds, Nourse was clinical at circle edge when paired with Bode.

More familiar names line the bench, with the likes of defenders, Bianca Chatfield, Susan Fuhrmann, Alison Broadbent and Janine Ilitch all in the side based on their respective successful stints in the Diamonds throughout the course of the 2000s. Eloise Southby-Halbish was the only other shooter to be named in the 2000s list, playing second fiddle to the dominant pairing of Cox and McMahon throughout her career and collecting 34 caps to her name.


Diamonds team of 2000s:

GS: Cath Cox (2002 – 2014), 108 caps
GA: Sharelle McMahon (1998 – 2011), 118 caps
WA: Lauren Nourse (2007 – 2011), 25 caps
C: Natalie Bode (nee von Bertouch) (2004 – 2013), 76 caps
WD: Peta Squire (1999-2004), 54 caps
GD: Mo’Onia Gerrard (2004 – 2013), 68 caps
GK: Liz Ellis (1993 – 2007), 122 caps


Bianca Chatfield (2001 – 2009), 42 caps
Eloise Southby-Halbish (1998 – 2006), 34 caps
Janine Ilitch (1995 – 2006), 51 caps
Susan Fuhrmann (2006 – 2011), 33 caps
Alison Broadbent (2001 – 2006), 28 caps


The Diamonds of the 2010s (so far) is just as star-studded as the 2000s list, with a number of familiar faces in the line-up; some retired but some still taking the court. Champion, Laura Geitz has been selected in goal keeper, seamlessly taking over from the likes of Ellis through the late 2000s. Joining Geitz in defence is Bec Bulley and Renae Ingles, who were both first named in the Diamonds line-up in the late 2000s, but were pivotal in the early 2010s. Taking the court in goals is speedster Nat Medhurst and current Diamonds captain, Caitlin Bassett, who is already at 90 caps for her career and showing no signs of slowing down, sitting in the top ten most capped Australian players alongside Ellis, McMahon, Cox and Medhurst. Nabbing centre and wing attack are Kim Ravaillion and Kim Green, respectively. Ravaillion applies plenty of defensive pressure throughout the centre court and her effective ball movement helps produce turnovers, while Green’s speed and grit through the midcourt and attacking third helped to boost goal shooting opportunities.

On the bench are some well-known players who just missed out on a starting position due to the number of caps they have played. Goal attack Susan Pettitt has shared the role with Medhurst and McMahon throughout the years, with Medhurst pipping her at the post this time with more caps to her name. Caitlin Thwaites has also been effective on the Diamonds stage, but with a number of dominant goalers shooting at high accuracy throughout the past 20 years, has been overshadowed on court by the likes of Cox and Bassett. Defenders Sharni Layton and Julie Corletto also dominated while on the court, narrowly missing out on a starting positions. The final player in the 2010 side is Madi Robinson who stepped up in the absence of Kim Green, with her ability to get ball to post quickly and use the angles to set up clever plays.


Diamonds team of 2010s:

GS: Caitlin Bassett (2008 – present), 90* caps
GA: Natalie Medhurst (2007 – 2017), 86 caps
WA: Kim Green (2008 – 2015), 74 caps
C: Kim Ravaillion (2013 – present), 57* caps
WD: Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan) (2009 – 2017), 57 caps
GD: Bec Bulley (2005 – 2015), 42 caps
GK: Laura Geitz (2008 – 2018), 71 caps


Sharni Layton (2009 – 2017), 46 caps
Julie Corletto (nee Prendergast) (2007 – 2015), 42 caps
Susan Pettitt (2006 – 2018), 71 caps
Caitlin Thwaites (2012 – present), 47* caps
Madi Robinson (nee Browne) (2009 – 2018), 61* caps

*At time of publish