Tag: Charlee Hodges

Opinion: Which teams in the SSN will benefit from the Super Shot?

IN light of the introduction of the Suncorp Super Netball “Super Shot” Draft Central casts an eye over which team will benefit from the new rule and which teams may struggle. The Super Shot allows goalers in the last five minutes of each quarter to earn double the points if they can sink them from beyond the designated 3 metre arc. 

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

The new attacking end will have their work cut out for them this season boasting a very different line-up to last year. Headlined by Lenize Potgieter the Thunderbirds will be relying on the South African shooting sensation to lead the way under the post. The Tbirds could be disadvantaged with the new rule given Potgieter, Samantha Gooden and Charlee Hodges do most of their damage from close to the post. However the possible return of Sasha Glasgow could provide some relief with the goal shooter confident from range. The Thunderbirds would be wishing that the Super Shot rule was introduced last year with the now retired, long bomb specialist Maria Folau at their disposal. 

Collingwood Magpies:

Relying heavily on Shimona Nelson under the post the Magpies may have a difficult 2020 season given the close range in which the goal shooter does her damage. Nelson came along in leaps and bounds in season 2019 and will be looking to elevate her game once again this season and will more than likely be the spearhead for the Magpies attack end. Newbie Julia Woolley has proven at Victoria Netball League (VNL) level that she can shoot from anywhere and could be a key prospect for the Magpies when it comes to the Super Shot. Although more comfortable on the mid-range shot, Woolley can shoot from the perimeter while Gabby Sinclair is also another possibility to wreak havoc in the final five minutes of the quarter. 

GIANTS Netball:

It will be a good combination of long bomb and close range shooting with the two GIANTS goalers possessing very different styles. Although both renowned for their holding style of play, England Roses goaler Jo Harten is accustomed to the long bomb, able to rock back on the shot and score. Able to shoot from both under the post and perimeter it will be up to Harten to deliver from further out in the final five minutes of the quarter to try and give the GIANTS that competitive edge. While Caitlin Bassett is dominant under the post, able to put up a wealth of shots she does not venture far out from her comfort zone meaning the Super Shot scoring will lie heavily on Harten and potentially youngster Kiera Austin. Although Austin does not get a wealth of court time in the goal circle she has proven that she can come on and have an impact with her ability to back herself from mid-range. 

Melbourne Vixens:

Renowned for their long bomb shooting thanks to the likes of Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip the Melbourne Vixens are in good stead with the introduction of the Super Shot. Both goalers have continuously proven that they can shoot from just about anywhere in the circle with their composure and skill on constant display. Thwaites while strong under the post is equally as damaging from close to the perimeter and while Philip is more commonly known for her baseline drives and mid-range shots she is not afraid to back herself from range, making the Vixens a real threat in 2020. Although Malawian goal shooter, Mwai Kumwenda is not known for her long range shooting she can rely on the likes of Thwaites and Philip to steer the ship from distance and can focus on delivering from under the post.  

NSW Swifts:

Another team in a strong position with the new rule is the Swifts with England Roses goal attack Helen Housby a commanding presence close to circle edge. Although more comfortable with her mid-range shooting, Housby can sink them from distance and deliver, potentially making her the go to girl in the latter half of the quarters. Sophie Garbin is another option that can shoot from further out and while it is not her go to shot, her ability to stand up and deliver could make her an interesting prospect for the Swifts in the dying minutes of the quarter. Trinidad and Tobago goal shooter Sam Wallace is renowned for her skill and strength directly under the post but may have to look at broadening her range to suit the SSN rule change. 

Queensland Firebirds:

There is no denying that the Firebirds game plan centres around Romelda Aiken and Gretel Bueta who are both recognised for their close range shooting. Aiken is arguably one of the most formidable goal shooters in the competition with her aerial presence, long splits and high volume of shots. The only downside being the majority of her goals come from directly under the post, placing a wealth of pressure on the Firebirds attack unit to generate more scoring opportunities. Coming from a basketball background Bueta is used to shooting from distance but on the netball court the dynamic goaler opts to edge closer to the post. Although she has proven over time that she can convert from further out many are used to Bueta doing the most damage from a metre or so under the post. The inclusion of Ine-Mari Venter may provide that element of long range shooting that could benefit the Firebirds when it comes to converting on the Super Shot. 

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

After a breakout season last year Cara Koenen will be hoping to go even bigger this season to really leave a mark on the competition. While she is most comfortable under the post and does most of her scoring from there, the Sunshine Coast local can shoot from mid-range, making her a viable option when it comes to the two point shot. However, the Lightning are well placed having the likes of Australian Diamonds goaler Steph Wood who is able to carry the load when it comes to shooting from further out. Wood is no slouch in the goal circle, able to shoot from just about anywhere and use her turn of speed to receive the ball and goal. Rounding out the shooting options for the Lightning is Ugandan goaler Peace Proscovia, while typically known for her holding role under the post, she might have to get on the move more in 2020 to create additional scoring chances.

West Coast Fever:

With Jhaniele Fowler the go-to-girl, West Coast might have to shake-up their game plan for the 2020 season in order to benefit from the Super Shot. The towering goal shooter is prominent under the post able to shoot quickly, accurately and at a high volume. But with most of Fever’s goals coming from within a metre or so of the ring, the Fever might have to look to Alice Teague-Neeld and Kaylia Stanton more often to capitalise on the two point shot. Stanton can shoot from further out  while Teague-Neeld hardly puts up a shot instead proving to be a playmaker in the attacking third with her quick hands and vision into the circle. While accuracy can be an issue for both Stanton and Teague-Neeld at times the new rule could cause a few headaches for the Fever in 2020 with the team in green potentially forced to stray from their usual game play of turn and deliver to Fowler under the post.

2020 SSN: Season preview- Adelaide Thunderbirds

AFTER an extended break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season is set to commence on August 1. Draft Central takes a look at each team, starting off with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. 

Coach: Tania Obst
Captain: Layla Guscoth and Chelsea Pitman
2019 finish: 7th 

Breaking their 27 game losing streak in Round 1 against the Fever last year, the Thunderbirds seemed to uncover a new lease on life attacking the ball with intensity. Unfortunately they could not maintain that style of play throughout the season only notching up two more wins. Riddled with injuries, England Roses midcourter Beth Cobden was ruled out early with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and co-captain Layla Guscoth missed the second half of the season after rupturing her Achilles. Sasha Glasgow also went down late in the season with an ACL topping off what had been a trying season for the Thunderbirds. They will be keen to put that to bed in 2020 and put their foot down. Adelaide well and truly proved they have the defensive firepower to change the course of the game, something they will be hoping to build on this season to register more wins. 

2020 predictions/expectations:

With the key loss and retirement of long bomb specialist Maria Folau and uncertainty surrounding Glasgow’s return the Thunderbirds shooting end oozes plenty of youth and inexperience when it comes to connections. Welcoming quickfire goal shooter and Spar Proteas star Lenize Potgieter the Thunderbirds attack will rely heavily on her to deliver while the likes of Samantha Gooden and Charlee Hodges will also have a challenge on their hands stepping into a new-look side. The midcourt remains relatively unchanged with Chelsea Pitman the key through the attacking third with her clever ball placement, speed on the pass, strong circle edge positioning and vision into the circle. Her output will be key to ensuring the goalers get good access. Defensively Adelaide are littered with ball winners, none bigger than Shamera Sterling. The Jamaican goal keeper took the competition by storm last year, using her long arms, speed off the mark and pressure over the shot to win ball back and cause havoc. The versatility of Kate Shimmin also worked wonders for the Thunderbirds while Shadine van der Merwe also slotted into the team seamlessly with her hands over pressure and strength to swing into circle defence or wing defence. The return of Guscoth will also be huge for the Thunderbirds with the England Roses representative able to have an impact with her calming nature, skill to win ball back and tagging style of play. 

Key player to watch:

New to the Thunderbirds this season, Potgieter is a real playmaker and staple hold under the post for any team. She is quick on her feet, able to change up the angles in an instant and more importantly score quickly and accurately. Having played with the Steel in the ANZ Premiership last season and spending time with the Queensland Firebirds midseason the Proteas goal shooter is well aware of what it takes to perform at SSN level. She is unfazed by the physical nature of the game, instead relying on her strong holds, baseline drives and range to do all the talking. She is an exciting prospect for the Thunderbirds this season given it will be her first full SSN season and has proven time and time again on the international stage that she is a true competitor, able to read the play and command the ball. 

Team list:

Sasha Glasgow
Samantha Gooden
Layla Guscoth
Charlee Hodges
Maisie Nankivell
Hannah Petty
Chelsea Pitman
Lenize Potgieter
Kate Shimmin
Shamera Sterling
Shadine van der Merwe

Memorable Matches: Central Pulse finally breaks premiership drought

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look back at memorable matches. Next up is Central Pulse’s 2019 premiership victory over Northern Stars.

While this memorable match only happened last year, it makes the cut thanks to it being Central Pulse’s inaugural grand final victory since the club’s inception in 1998. Factor in it was Pulse’s third grand final appearance in a row, and the victory is all the more sweet for the side which sat top of the ladder all season. Despite a solid second and final quarter, the Stars were unable to capitalise on any momentum, falling 52-48 at the final hurdle.

Pulse were threatening from the get-go, with defence holding strong to thwart options in the circle and deny precious goals on the board, propelling the netball down the court to attack and while Silver Ferns goaler Ameliaranne Ekenasio was slow off the ranks with only two goals from six first quarter attempts, youngster Aliyah Dunn stole the show with 10 goals from 12 to ensure a lead at the first break. Whitney Souness was key on circle edge collecting the seven assists from 12 feeds, working well with Ekenasio and Dunn who rotated seamlessly to the post. Souness ran circles around her opposition in Kayla Cullen, finding plenty of space and racking up 20 assists from 38 feeds throughout the match. It was no slow quarter for the Stars however, well and truly in the game thanks to early gains from defenders Leana de Bruin and Storm Purvis, with the duo capitalising off Ekenasio’s slow start and racking up a combined five first quarter gains. 

The second quarter saw neither side able to really capitalise, with Pulse unable to pull away from the Stars who had three more attempts on goal but finished the second with 15 apiece for the quarter, down by two goals at the main change. It was an impressive quarter in attack for Pulse who went 15 from 15 for the quarter, with Dunn shooting up a storm while Tiana Metuarau made her way onto the court to replace Ekenasio, not putting up any shots but teaming up well with Souness and Claire Kersten to serve Dunn the ball on a platter. Defensively, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Katrina Rore may not have been racking up the stats but it was the work they did off the ball that made all the difference, making it tough for Maia Wilson and Charlee Hodges to find clean ball at the post. The pair were far more accurate in the second sitting on 83 per cent thanks to stellar feeds from Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and Temepara Bailey who shared the load on circle edge. 

Where de Bruin and Purvis were in control early, the third quarter saw Pulse lift their game with Rore and Fitzpatrick reducing the Stars goalers to just 11 attempts, seeing Wilson being tagged out and Hodges having to lift her game to hold down the fort. Bailey moved into wing attack on circle edge but had a tough time with Karin Burger who did not necessarily open her bag of tricks but dogged every effort of the wing attack, reducing Bailey to just the four assists. Ekenasio returned to the court and was far more accurate, shooting four from five to take some pressure off Dunn, with the youngster continuing to put on a show.

A brave effort from the Stars saw them win the final quarter but it wasn’t enough, going down by four goals after an impressive fourth term effort. Where Wilson had a quiet third quarter, she came out of the blocks well to shoot 12 from 14 in the final term, with Hodges, Reuelu-Buchanan and Bailey plying their trade to get the ball to her at the post. But Pulse were just too good, with Dunn and Ekenasio sharing the load to take the trophy home in the intense matchup.
__

PULSE 12 | 15 | 13 | 12 (52)
STARS 10 | 15 | 9 | 14 (48)

STARTING SEVENS

Central Pulse
GS: Aliyah Dunn
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA: Whitney Souness
C: Claire Kersten
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick

BENCH: Elle Temu, Tiana Metuarau, Maddy Gordon
COACH: Yvette McCausland-Durie

Northern Stars

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Charlee Hodges
WA: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
C: Temepara Bailey
WD: Kayla Cullen
GD: Leana de Bruin
GK: Storm Purvis

BENCH: Ellen Halpenny, Holly Fowler, Kate Burley
COACH: Kiri Wills

SHOOTING STATS

PULSE:
Aliyah Dunn 40/43
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 12/19

STARS:
Maia Wilson 34/41
Charlee Hodges 14/20

ANZ Premiership season preview: Will the Tactix take the competition by storm?

WITH the 2020 ANZ Premiership season quickly approaching we take a look at potential premiers, the competitions biggest improver and a potential slider in a season that is sure to be filled with plenty of excitement and breakout performances.

Premiers: Central Pulse

After an impressive 2019 season capped off with a premiership 20 years in the making, the Central Pulse will be hoping to replicate their form going into this season. Having retained the majority of their players over the off-season the Pulse are in the box seat to make it back-to-back grand finals. Despite Sulu Fitzpatrick departing the club the Pulse picked up Kelly Jury a very handy replacement given her height and defensive pressure. Throw in the likes of Katrina Rore and Karin Burger and the Pulse once again have  a formidable trio down back able to stop any forward thrusts and propel the ball back down the court with their seamless transition and attacking mindset. In the goal circle, they are near on impossible to stop when both Ameliranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn are on song with the two able to shoot confidently and accurately from anywhere in the circle. Ekenasio is the mastermind in the attacking third with her ball movement, strong drives and ability to glide into the circle while youngster Tiana Metuarau has plenty of potential. With key pillars at either end of the court the influence of Claire Kersten and Maddy Gordon will be pivotal to their success.

Biggest improver: Mainland Tactix

With some key recruits over the summer and the return of highly touted defender Temalisi Fakahokotau, the Tactix are shaping up to be a real force to be reckoned with in season 2020. Mainland struggled to get going last year but have shown good signs in the preseason with their strong defensive intent and impressive ball movement down the court. Fakahokotau has made an immediate impact to the defensive circle with her physical pressure and aerial skills able to swat the ball out of the air with ease or force turnovers with her athleticism. Her combination with captain, Jane Watson will bring plenty of joy to fans and all involved with the duo renowned for their intense pressure and ability to confuse space with their zone style of defence. Kimiora Poi has taken massive leaps in her development throughout the past couple of months with the speedster able to open-up the court with her dynamic movement and use of angles while her variety of deliveries into the circle makes her an unknown quantity. New recruit, Te Paea Selby-Rickit will be hoping to have an immediate impact with her accuracy and volume to post just what the doctor ordered for the Tactix. Despite all the changes it will set them in good stead for the upcoming season making them a possible finals contender if they can maintain a high intensity.

Potential slider: Northern Stars

Despite making it to the big dance last year, those feats may be far away this season with the Northern Stars forced to resort to their young up and coming players to lead the way. The Stars were hit hard over the off-season with a couple of their key players such as Leana de Bruin, Temepara Bailey and Ellen Halpenny all retiring leaving some gaping holes across the court. While three of their usual starting seven all departed the game and youngster Charlee Hodges has returned to Australia the Stars still have some talent with none other than Maia Wilson. The goal shooter has had a strong preseason and her recent time with the Ferns will have paid dividends for the upcoming season. Meanwhile down the other end of the court Storm Purvis will have to lead the contingent of young defenders along with Trinidad and Tobago recruit Daystar Swift. However with so many people lost it will be hard to return to their lofty standards of last season.

SSN training partners to watch in 2020

WITH the Suncorp Team Girls Cup announced and the Suncorp Super Netball season creeping up we take a look at one key training player from each team to watch over the season.

Adelaide Thunderbirds: Charlee Hodges (GA/GS)
Hodges is returning home after a stint in the ANZ Premiership in 2019 with the Northern Stars where she was a key cog in the attacking third. The talented goaler took her game play to another level last season using her silky movement and strong drives across the court to full effect. She will have to work on her accuracy and volume to post often fading in and out of games but that development will come with further exposure to the highest level and confidence. The goal attack can be a real playmaker in the goal circle with her deft touch and high netball IQ to read the play and deliver carefully crafted passes into the circle.

Collingwood Magpies: Brooke Allan (GK/GD)
She is a real excitement machine down back and has a plethora of skills in the defensive circle. Allan uses her height to impose herself on the court with her lean over the shot a key aspect of her game play. The tenacious defender is not afraid to back herself and could be a star of the future for the Pies with her read of the play and quick feet in the circle to continuously get hands to ball. Allan can switch between keeper and goal defence effortlessly making the most of her deceptive speed to gain control of the ball and propel it back down the court.

GIANTS: Matisse Letherbarrow (GS/GA)
At the ripe age of 18, Matisse Letherbarrow has made the switch from the Swifts to the GIANTS and could be a handy inclusion if called up. While the goal shooter is on the shorter side at 188cm, she is an exceptional mover and her accuracy to post is second to none. Her continued development and strength on the take will be key for the talented shooter who is not afraid to go to post from range. She has a high netball IQ able to identify the space with ease and change up her game play from a holding shooter to a moving one in the blink of any eye showcasing her talent.

Melbourne Vixens: Allie Smith (WD/GD)
Smith has untapped potential with the young defender plying her trade in the lesser leagues and hoping to bring that ruthless intent to the Vixens line-up. she is a real go-getter type of player throwing herself at every ball that comes her way and using her dynamic footwork to clog up space both in the middle and defensive thirds. Her versatility is a strong point of her game play along with her netball smarts to sense the moment and hunt for an intercept.

NSW Swifts: Tayla Fraser (WA/C)
Fraser has already made a name for herself on the Suncorp Super Netball stage, taking the competition by storm in the latter half of the season with her dynamic movement but will be looking to go one better in 2020. Although costly at times with ball-in-hand credit to her inexperience, the talented midcourter works tirelessly in the attacking third to find the circle edge and deliver bullet like passes into the goal circle. She uses her speed and change of direction to evade defenders and cause havoc in the attacking third making her an exciting prospect for the Swifts.

Queensland Firebirds: Rudi Ellis (GK/GD)
The talented defender has plenty of knowledge and experience having been with the Vixens for the past couple of years which can she bring to the young Firebirds line-up. Ellis is light on her feet able to cover the court with ease and uses her long reach to disrupt the flow of play time after time. The young defender backs herself with cross-court balls often out hunting for intercepts. She is versatile able to move from keeper to goal defence seamlessly and help with transition play down the court.

Sunshine Coast Lightning: Sienna Allen (GK/GD)
The young defender will add another element to the Lightning’s already stacked defence end with her read of the play and solid movement across the court. She still has plenty of development left in her, given her young age but her potential is endless.

West Coast Fever: Sunday Aryang (GK/GD)
The lanky defender is relatively unknown still but has plenty of potential with her defensive pressure and quick feet key attributes of her game. Her ability to confuse the space and use her lean over the shot to disrupt the flow in attack is impressive. She works tirelessly to win the ball back and create turnovers to give her side a chance to stay in the contest.

Adelaide Thunderbirds snatch up Victorian Samantha Gooden for 2020

THE Adelaide Thunderbirds have bolstered their shooting line-up with the addition of Samantha Gooden as a permanent replacement player for the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season. Having lost Maria Folau at the end of 2019 and youngster Sasha Glasgow suffering a devastating ACL injury towards the latter half of the season the Thunderbirds were in dire need of more shooting power. Cody Lange also opted to take time away from the game leaving the Tbirds in the lurch, but the inclusion of Gooden will help to add some depth to their shooting trio.

Adelaide recruited shooting sensation and SPAR Proteas goaler, Lenize Potgieter who spent some time out in Australia joining the Queensland Firebirds in 2019 while Romelda Aiken was injured. Potgieter will have a different challenge heading into the 2020 season as a key cog to shoulder the load in attack, coming into the team as the most experienced shooter making her a key pickup for the new Thunderbirds line-up.

Gooden has spent time with Victorian teams Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Vixens as a training partner throughout her career, meaning she is well aware of the measures necessary to perform on the Super Netball stage. The young Victorian can switch between shooter and attack making her an exciting prospect amongst the likes of Potgieter and Charlee Hodges. The Thunderbirds will be hoping to better their performance from last year with the return of some key players and consolidation of new combinations across the court.

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS
Shamera Sterling
Hannah Petty
Kate Shimmin
Sasha Glasgow
Cody Lange
Chelsea Pitman
Layla Guscoth
Maisie Nankivell
Shadine van der Merwe
Lenize Potgieter
Samantha Gooden **permanent injury replacement
Charlee Hodges

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lightning storm home to claim minor premiership

SUNSHINE Coast Lightning secured the minor premiership after a dominant performance against Adelaide Thunderbirds in the final game of the home and away season (58-37). Lightning walked away with seven points to snatch top spot from the NSW Swifts and claim rights to a home final while restricting the Thunderbirds to their lowest score to date.

The opening couple of minutes was played at a frenetic pace with the ball flying up and down the court before the Thunderbirds settled into a routine. With both Emma Ryde and Sasha Glasgow out with knee injuries, Cody Lange got the nod at goal shooter and did not look back. Lange was composed at the post and made the most of her opportunities with two goals straight, albeit playing second fiddle to New Zealand international, Maria Folau who slotted 13 goals at 100 per cent. Adelaide were determined not to go down without a fight, striking first and establishing a four goal lead in the opening term thanks to Shamera Sterling putting on a show in defence with her impressive aerial skill. Sterling put on a clinic denying easy entry into the circle with five gains; three intercepts, two deflection and one rebound. But Karla Pretorius proved that anything you can do I can do better, taking her fair share of intercepts in the first quarter to keep the Lightning in the match and create doubt in Adelaide’s minds. With two minutes left in the quarter Cara Koenen made her way onto the court replacing Peace Proscovia who struggled to make an impact in the goal circle only registering five goals. Sunshine Coast were not the only side to make changes with Maisie Nankivell replacing Shadine Van der Merwe.

Down by four goals at quarter time the Lightning well and truly flipped the script, piling on the pain both in attack and defence. Although they did not post a huge total they kept the Thunderbirds to a mere seven goals highlighting their defensive prowess and pressure to limit their transition and impact under the post. Koenen made her presence felt in the goal circle with eight goals straight while Laura Langman lifted her intensity, hitting the circle edge repeatedly with pace and precision. Her offensive work was just as impressive as her defensive efforts amassing one gain, one intercept and one pick-up. Goal keeper Phumza Maweni also upped the ante applying strong hands over pressure, clogging up space and forcing errors in the defensive third. After a solid start Lange struggled to find the net, not sinking a single shot from her three attempts and forcing Folau to carry the load in the circle. Tania Obst rung in the changes with Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin making their way to the bench while Hannah Petty switched into wing attack. Kelly Altmann also entered the game in centre while Van der Merwe took the court once more in goal defence in hope to reclaim their first quarter form.

The Lightning continued to go from strength to strength, unphased by Adelaide’s wholesale changes. Former training partner, Charlee Hodges made her way onto the court but simply could not find the post, struggling to have an impact under the post with one goal from three attempts. Folau continued on her merry way but Pretorius outshone her with an impressive four gains and three intercepts credit to her defensive nous and cleanliness to win ball back. Up the other end, Steph Wood took control in the circle for Sunshine Coast with her cuts and drives on full display. Meanwhile, her ability to turn and shoot created headaches for the Thunderbirds with the goal attack scoring seven goals at 100 per cent. Sunshine Coast won their second bonus point thanks to an 18 goal to eight third quarter.

With one hand on top spot and the minor premiership crown, the Lightning pushed hard to end their home and away season on a high. Annika Lee-Jones replaced Maweni in goal keeper while Proscovia also re-entered the game late in the final quarter. Maddy McAuliffe donned the centre bib with Langman heading to the bench. Even with the changes the Lightning were slick with ball in hand while the Thunderbirds simply looked out of sorts across the court. Folau finished the match with 33 goals from 39 attempts at 85 per cent while Koenen topscored for the Lightning only missing two of her attempts to finish with 30 goals.

STARTING LINE-UP:

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

GS | Peace Proscovia
GA | Steph Wood
WA | Laura Scherian
C | Laura Langman
WD | Maddy McAuliffe
GD | Karla Pretorius
GK | Phumza Maweni

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS | Cody Lange
GA | Maria Folau
WA | Chelsea Pitman
C | Hannah Petty
WD | Shadine Van der Merwe
GD | Kate Shimmin
GK | Shamera Sterling

SSN Round 14 Preview – Final round to determine minor premier

THE final round of 2019 has hit Suncorp Super Netball, with both Collingwood Magpies and GIANTS Netball still fighting for one spot in the top four while the title of minor premiers will be decided by this round’s results. The only position secured in the top four is the Melbourne Vixens in third, while all three of their fellow top four sides will take on teams far below them on the ladder.

GIANTS Netball v. West Coast Fever

The opening match of Round 13 will see GIANTS fight for their spot in finals, currently sitting in fourth but needing a big win to ensure they finish ahead of the Magpies on the ladder. The Fever are well and truly out of the finals race after a breakout season last year crumbling with injuries aplenty in 2019, once again missing Courtney Bruce this round after scans revealed a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) meaning she is unable to fly, let alone play. While the GIANTS’ physicality on court has been called into question in recent weeks, their ability to get the job done under pressure is credit to their connections and combination of experience and youth across the court. Amy Parmenter has starred this season in wing defence, adding a new element to the GIANTS’ defensive lineup while Kim Green will play her final home game – and potentially final game altogether – after announcing her retirement today. While goalers Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett had a shaky start to the season there is no questioning their ability to turn and shoot, while Kiera Austin continues to provide an exciting alternative rotating through both goal attack and wing attack. For the Fever, Olivia Lewis is another youngster coming through the ranks with adaptability and talent to boot, and while lacking experience Lewis has been a solid option in Bruce’s absence this season pairing with the likes of Stacey Francis and Shannon Eagland. Ingrid Colyer has had a mostly inconsistent season and was held well by Firebirds’ Gabi Simpson last round so will be under the pump against Parmenter.

NSW Swifts v. Queensland Firebirds

In a big switch compared to the last time these sides met, the Swifts come in to Round 14 after a loss last week while the Firebirds finally got their maiden win for the season against the Fever. With NSW looking for a home final, this match will also see the Swifts look toward a top spot finish after being bumped into second by the Lightning. Last time these sides met the Swifts came out 22 point victors despite captain Maddy Proud going down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. They will welcome back dominant shooter Helen Housby after missing the past two rounds with injury. While both Sophie Garbin and Nat Haythornthwaite have rotated through goal attack in recent weeks with relative success, it does mean more pressure is on Sam Wallace at the post. The big goal for the Swifts will be to stop Gretel Tippett, who has been arguably the best goal attack in the competition this season with accuracy, volume and excitement going in her favour. Katrina Rore has been a big in for the Swifts in recent weeks with her versatility key, meaning she could line up against Tippett if the scales start to tip, making for an interesting contest. Meanwhile, this will be the Firebirds’ final match for the season with Caitlyn Nevins and Laura Clemesha pulling on the purple dress for the final time before retirement. Romelda Aiken did not play last time the Firebirds took on the Swifts, meaning Sarah Klau will be under some pressure to keep her at bay while Lenize Potgieter can also provide a big threat at the post with her low-release shot and quick footwork.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Adelaide Thunderbirds

Sunshine Coast may already know prior to their match whether they have secured the minor premiership, however they are sure to finish the season strong regardless after another impressive season. Lightning are still the only side that has not played in a draw this season showing their ability to close out games. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds have showed some impressive fight this year but have well and truly succumbed to injury with Sasha Glasgow and Emma Ryde both out of the side with knee injuries suffered in Round 13, adding on to their already extensive list. While the Thunderbirds put up an impressive performance last time they met, going down by six goals after leading at three quarter time, the Lightning came back from a 10 goal deficit last week against the Vixens to win and are sure to switch on early this match to ensure they get a win on the board. The real question in this match is who the Thunderbirds will bring in as injury replacements, with both Charlee Hodges and Cody Lange viable options to rejoin the gameday squad. Maria Folau has been in form all season shooting a bag of goals every round from all over the ring while Shamera Sterling continues to prove a massive threat in defence with her height and agility to get plenty of ball back an asset for the Thunderbirds. But while the T’birds have plenty up their sleeve, Lightning not only match it defensively thanks to the skill and timing of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni creating turnovers out of nothing, but also have Laura Langman‘s speed through the midcourt and versatility in attack to be threatening all over the court.

Collingwood Magpies v. Melbourne Vixens

The final match of the season pits the two Victorian teams against the other once more, but this time with different stakes – the Vixens have already secured a home final, while the Magpies need a win to jump the GIANTS and make finals. While the Vixens will want to get one back after losing to the Pies for the first time in SSN history in Round 7, it will be interesting to see whether they look to try and knock the Magpies out of contention or rest some of their big name players in time for finals. The Magpies will be missing Kelsey Browne with their star wing attack going down with a devastating ACL injury last round against the Swifts. Defensive midcourter Ash Brazill has been in exceptional form since the Netball World Cup break, playing out in centre for the past few weeks and providing a massive threat through both attack and defence. Veteran defender Geva Mentor put out a vintage performance last week to spur the Pies to victory, meaning the Vixens will really be under the pump this week if she is on song. The Vixens have been feeling out different attacking connections in recent weeks with Mwai Kumwenda back in the mix with Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip, and while that is a huge luxury and threat to their opposition it has been their downfall against both the Swifts and Lightning over the past few rounds. Meanwhile Shimona Nelson and Nat Medhurst have been in great form over the past few rounds, finding the ball with ease making it a tough job for Jo Weston and Emily Mannix in defence.

ANL Review: Round 7

WITH the final round of the Australian Netball League done and dusted the NSW Waratahs claimed top spot with Victorian Fury also imposing themselves at the top of table. Cellar dwellers Queensland Fusion failed to make a splash this season while the Southern Force and Western Sting only managed four wins for the season.

Western Sting (57) defeated Southern Force (47)

Though the Western Sting did not hold the lead from the get go they worked hard to turn the tables and build their own winning margin. The Southern Force jumped out to a two-goal lead at quarter time credit to the work of Maisie Nankivell around the circle edge to feed into the likes of Asha Thurlow and Cody Lange. A big 17 goal effort in the second quarter helped to set them up for the rest of the game and claim some momentum and control over the match. Both sides finished the game with a shooting average of 83 per cent with the main difference the number of attempts with the Sting putting up 12 more (69-57). As the game went on, the Force brought on Lucy Austin who impressed under the post with 20 goals from 23 attempts at 87 per cent. For the Sting, Emma Cosh and Sloan Burton worked well in the goal circle setting up good screens and making their presence felt on the scoreboard. Burton top scored with 39 goals from 45 attempts at 87 percent.

NSW Waratahs (49) defeated Canberra GIANTS (48)

After a hot start the Canberra GIANTS fought their way back into the contest against the NSW Waratahs. NSW jumped out to a big lead early on, scoring a whopping 19 goals to 10 in the first term and keeping that momentum up until a last quarter flurry from the GIANTS sent shockwaves through the side. The Waratahs had no issues ringing the changes in the goal circle with Alison Miller and Amorangi Malesale both getting a run with a combined seven shots. Meanwhile Kelly Singleton and Sophie Dwyer were prolific under the post with Dwyer highlighting her shooting prowess with 26 goals from 32 attempts. Through the midcourt Claire O’Brien and Tayla Fraser worked tirelessly to work the ball down the court and get into good feeding position while Abbey McCulloch showed her experience and class in at wing defence. The GIANTS are yet to provide statistics and a team list.

Queensland Fusion (52) defeated by Victorian Fury (58)

The Victorian Fury dominated in the first quarter to push out to a six-goal lead but the Fusion worked tirelessly to stay in the hunt. A 16 goal second quarter saw the Fusion get back within five goals at half time and continued to cut the margin down to four goals before a final quarter blitz from the Fury ended those hopes. Emma Ryde was prolific under the post once again using her height and reach to out body her opponents, finishing the game with 37 goals. Out the front in goal attack, Sacha McDonald and Ruby Barkmeyer applied scoreboard pressure and highlighted their accuracy to post for the Fury. For the Fusion, Macy Gardner and Jada Gafa worked hard through the midcourt to hit the circle edge and feed into the likes of Amy Sommerville and Rylie Holland. Holland top scored with 39 goals from 45 attempts with the goal shooter doing the most damage in the second quarter with 14 goals.

Territory Storm (63) defeated Tasmanian Magpies (60)

At the University of Sunshine Coast the Territory Storm claimed an upset win over the Tasmanian Magpies. It was a tight tussle with the Storm pushing out to a commanding lead but the Magpies continuously chipped away at the lead to fall agonisingly short by three goals. The Storm shooters capitalised on their opportunities in the second quarter with Cara Koenen and Binnian Hunt both sitting at 100 per cent shooting 10 and six goals respectively. Koenen’s accuracy to post continued throughout the match with 42 from 47 at 90 per cent showcasing her ability to break open a game with her timing and range. Annika Lee-Jones was important down in defence working with Sienna Allen and Sarahpheinna Woulf to limit the impact of the Magpies shooters. A couple of different combinations were tried out in the goal circle for Tasmania with Zoe Claridge showcasing her hot hand with 16 from 20 at 80 percent. Tried and tested duo Jane Cook and Samantha Gooden also played their role in attack with Gooden making the most of her opportunities at 84 percent.

Western Sting (47) defeated Southern Force (45)

It was a close encounter between the Western Sting and Southern Force with a mere two goals separating the sides in the end. The Southern Force worked their way back into the game to stay in touch with the Sting after they edged out to a four-goal lead heading into the quarter time break. Sunday Aryang and Olivia Lewis applied some strong pressure early on in the game to limit the ease of entry into the goal circle. But as the connection between Charlee Hodges and Lange grew they released the ball with confidence and looked to post more regularly. Hodges finished with 18 goals from 23 attempts while the work of Nankivell and Tayla Williams out the front was impressive. Goal keeper Kate Shimmin also showcased her defensive skill and aerial ability up against Sting shooters Kaylia Stanton and Burton. Stanton led all comers with 22 goals while Cosh showed her versatility switching between wing attack and goal attack. Through the Stings midcourt Courtney Kruta and Jessica Eales rotated through centre and provided good run both offensive and defensive.

Territory Storm (44) defeated by Tasmanian Magpies (66)

The Magpies completely flipped the tables on their previous clash to claim a 22 point win over the Storm. Though Tasmania struggled with accuracy finishing the game at 70 per cent they proved that volume is no issue putting up 95 goal attempts compared to 62. They put out a solid four quarter effort to transition down the court with ease and precision. But it was a 21 goal to nine third quarter that really enabled the Magpies to surge ahead and put their foot down. Cook took control in the goal circle with 35 goals but only managed 69 per cent shooting accuracy. Defensively Melissa Bragg, Brooke Allen, Zanna Jodlowska and Sharni Lambden all worked overtime to confuse the space and cherry pick any errant passes to try and nullify Lucinda Benjamin and Hunt. Benjamin threw her weight around with 31 goals while Chanel Dyer used her netball smarts to get into damaging feeding positions.

Queensland Fusion (49) defeated by Victorian Fury (59)

It was relatively close to start off with as the Fury held a three-goal lead at quarter time before they put the foot down and broke away to create a 12-goal deficit heading into the main break. Fusion tried hard to work their way back into the game but it was too far gone as the Fury stuck to their structures and capitalised under the post. Ryde continued her dominance under the post with 41 goals while Rudi Ellis and Jacqueline Newton worked hard in defence to confuse and clog up the space. Mia Stower made her presence felt for the Fusion on the scoreboard with the goaler converting 12 from her 16 attempts. Maddison Hinchliffe was solid through the midcourt with Laura Clemesha also working hard in defence to win the ball back with her hands over pressure and clever footwork.

NSW Waratahs (66) defeated Canberra GIANTS (27)

The Waratahs and Canberra GIANTS had a relatively even start until NSW kicked into gear and went on a scoring rampage in the third term. The main difference proved to be the volume of shots with the Waratahs simply outscoring them and transitioning down the court with pace and ease. The GIANTS had no answers only managing three goals in the third term while the Waratahs piled on a whopping 17 goals showcasing both their defensive and offensive prowess. Miller was simply unstoppable under the post with 43 goals at 90 per cent. Defensively they were just as impressive with Clare Iongi and Laura Rodger applying good strong hands over pressure and reducing Angelina Frketic’s dominance in the goal circle. Sophie Halpin and Madeline Hay also played her role in wing defence limiting the impact of Taylah Davies around the circle edge. Teigan O’Shannassy and Matilda McDonnell were outplayed by their opposition in defence but worked tirelessly to try and win ball back for the GIANTS.

ANZ Premiership Season Review: Northern Stars

WITH the ANZ Premiership done and dusted for the season we reflect on each teams year. The next in line is the Northern Stars who had a very up-and-down season but fired when they had to.

Ladder: 3rd
Win-loss: 6-9
Percentage: 93.5%

After a strong start to the season the Northern Stars fell away with some surprise losses derailing all their good work early but thanks to their dominant start they stayed in the hunt for finals. They pulled out all the stops in the elimination final, upsetting the Southern Steel to progress into the Grand Final, but were unable to capitalise on the big stage. There was plenty to like about the Northern Stars, who proved throughout the season that they have what it takes to mix it with some of the best teams in the league, but will have big shoes to fill next season with veterans Leana de Bruin and Temepara Bailey both retiring.

The shooting end oozes youth and class with Maia Wilson a key cog in the Stars’ attacking forays. She offers great composure under the post while showing she is not afraid to turn and shoot. Wilson was the leading goal scorer in the competition with a staggering 619 goals from 743 attempts at 83 percent. The goal attack bib was shared between experienced shooter Ellen Halpenny and young Australian goaler, Charlee Hodges. Both shooters offer very different styles of play with Halpenny using her experience and knowledge to try and outsmart her opponent while Hodges relied upon her speed and dynamic movement to get around her player. The goal attacks chimed in to help out on the scoreboard, but in the end it was Wilson who carried the majority of the load credit to her holds, strength and commanding presence at the post.

Through the midcourt, Temepara Bailey well and truly reinvented herself with the 43-year-old centre proving that age is just a number time and time again. Her ability to create space and use her vision to deliver pinpoint passes into the circle was a real feature of her game, with 375 feeds for the season. Her quick hands and netball knowledge to let passes go at the right time allowed Wilson to make the most of her opportunities. She was ably assisted by young gun Mila Reuelu-Buchanan who did her best work around the circle edge feeding into the Stars shooters, ranking second in the league for feeds with 593. Reuelu-Buchanan was also influential at the centre pass driving out hard receiving 299 centre passes, showcasing her work to transition the ball down the court. Another key member for the Stars’ midcourt was Kayla Cullen who proved to be a revelation in wing defence, thanks to her long reach and hands over pressure to block the vision of her opponent. Her speed off the mark and ability to read the play made her an ominous threat for the opposition when on the court. Holly Fowler also provided a handy addition to the talented midcourt, utilising her ball placement and pace to cut through opposition defence and find the circle edge.

The defensive unit for the Stars was equally as impressive with Storm Purvis flexing her muscles and pairing well with teammate de Bruin in the goal circle. The understanding between the two allowed one to go out hunting while the other stayed back and vice versa. Both Purvis and de Bruin were relatively clean, staying away from the whistle which allowed them to build and apply pressure to worry their opponents out of the shot or force them to pass the ball around. Purvis highlighted her ability to read the play and take a timely intercept, notching up 24 for the season, while de Bruin led the deflection tally with an impressive 99 to finish her career on a high. Kate Burley also showed great versatility to rotate through as a circle defender and a wing defence. She was an impact player for the Stars, coming on and getting timely tips and clever intercepts when needed while also doing the little defensive things well.