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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.

Future Roses: Who will make their mark for England in the coming years?

DESPITE the cancellation of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) this year, several the up and coming stars for England have still had the opportunity to train at the elite level in 2020 through the Roses Futures programme. We at Draft Central cast our eye over some of those athletes, along with a couple of names who we are likely to hear more from over the coming seasons. The Roses Futures programme over the past few years has helped to nurture a strong cohort of athletes who will be ready to step onto the international stage when their time comes.

ATTACK

The future shooting circle of the Roses is looking bright, with several youngsters already making their mark on the Superleague stage and gaining valuable experience under pressure. Whilst we are likely to see Jo Harten, Helen Housby and George Fisher around for the next few years, there are a few players who will be snapping at their heels for a starting spot in the years to come. 

Olivia Tchine – London Pulse

Standing at 191cm, Tchine is a tall shooter of high calibre. This is her second year in the Roses Futures programme and she was due to compete at the World Youth Cup in Fiji in 2021. While the competition is currently postponed, her strong hold and accuracy to post would make her a useful option for the Roses, and she will have enjoyed the chance to learn from an experienced international level shooter in Sigi Burger whilst at London Pulse this season. 

Berri Neal – Manchester Thunder

There’s a lot to like about this young shooter who made her mark at the senior Netball Europe Open competition when she was just 16. Tipped by some as the next Housby, Neal’s clever movement and strong drives in attack are a standout of her game. Whilst she has not yet been named in the Roses Futures programme, her journey through the Roses Academy and Under 21s level is already progressing well beyond her years. She was recently promoted from being a training partner to earning a place the senior squad for Manchester Thunder, and her talents will only grow with more exposure at the elite level. 

MIDCOURT

Through the midcourt, England are developing a number of potential stars of the future. These youngsters are able to learn from some of the world’s best in Jade Clarke, Serena Guthrie and Chelsea Pitman. The midcourt has historically always been an area of strength for England, and alongside the full-time senior Roses, these talented athletes are likely to continue that trend beyond the Netball World Cup in 2023. 

Kira Rothwell – London Pulse

Similar to the likes of a Nat Haythornthwaite or Kiera Austin, Rothwell is confident to swing between wing attack and goal attack, making her a threatening option in any lineup. She has the speed to burn and whilst she is not the tallest player her nippy footwork and confidence to shoot from range make her a valuable asset. She has been on the England scene since she was selected for the EN National Academy in 2016 and has performed with confidence whenever she has stepped out onto the VNSL court. 

Amy Carter – Manchester Thunder

Carter impressed fans at the 2020 Netball Nations Cup with her gutsy performance and energy in the midcourt. She is a workhorse and the sort of player who can dig deep when a game gets tough in order to lift the team. Carter was also part of the 2019 VNSL Championship Thunder team and has already tasted success for England at U21 level. She is a tenacious and talented player, who can tire out her opponent and also make use of her excellent vision when feeding the circle. We are likely to see a lot more of her on the international stage over the next few years. 

Iona Christian – Wasps Netball

A product of the Manchester Thunder Pathway and England Youth setup, Christian has plied her trade on the Superleague stage for several years. She is a classy player who can provide a huge amount of consistency and easily dictate the tempo of the match. Having moved from Severn Stars to Wasps Netball in 2020 she has the opportunity to cement her place as a core part of the two time Superleague Championship side. This exposure will be a chance for Christian to grow in confidence and demonstrate her experience on court when it comes to senior England selection. 

DEFENCE

Defensively the Roses have a number of very exciting young athletes in the development pathway. Under the tutelage of England legend Sonia Mkoloma, who was named as an Assistant Coach for the most recent test series, these players have the best chance of fulfilling their huge potential. From Geva Mentor and Stacey Francis to players like Fran Williams and Razia Quashie coming up the ranks, the defensive end for England is extremely competitive, and the addition of the youth coming through will cause headaches for selectors. 

Halimat Adio – London Pulse

With her height and physical presence on court, Adio has all the components of a very strong defender at the elite level. Having moved to Pulse for the 2020 season, Adio was awarded the responsibility of co-captain, an appointment which demonstrates her leadership ability at such a young age. She is a leader both on and off the court, and having not played a full season at Superleague level due to the cancellation, it is impressive how she has managed to make such an impression on the UK netball scene.

Funmi Fadoju – London Pulse

After an outstanding performance at Netball Europe, followed by breaking onto the Superleague scene in 2020 it was surprising that Fadoju was not selected for the Roses Futures programme. The young defender is a natural ball winner, with fantastic athletic ability and a read of the game which is well beyond her years. She is a player with an enormous amount of potential and someone we will most likely see dominate in the red dress over the coming years.

2020 Suncorp Super Netball: Five Talking points – Round 11/12

ROUND 11 and 12 of Suncorp Super Netball saw the Melbourne Vixens secure the minor premiership sitting two games ahead of the next comers while other major talking points surround player injuries to some big names. The past two rounds have also brought attention to the lack of court time the Australian Diamonds captain is getting, while the Queensland Firebirds have showcased their growth and development to secure their fourth victory of the season.

Melbourne Vixens are the team to beat and boast a wealth of depth
Missing two of their star players in alternating rounds the Melbourne Vixens proved that they have a winning formula. Facing the reigning premiers in Round 11 without starting goal keeper Emily Mannix and missing lynchpin in attack Liz Watson in Round 12 against Collingwood, the Vixens resorted to their bench showcasing just how much talent they have. Not getting a wealth of court time so far this year, Kadie-Ann Dehaney came out with a real purpose while the youngsters in Elle McDonald and Tayla Honey stepped up to the plate. Typically criticised for their lack of bench usage, the Melbourne Vixens have showcased in 2020 and especially in recent weeks that their full roster can come on and have an immediate impact, proving why they are the team to beat in finals after securing the minor premiership with two rounds left in the season.

Firebirds building for the future
There is no denying that the Firebirds have a wealth of young talent coming up through the ranks with Kim Jenner, Tara Hinchliffe, Tippah DwanLara Dunkley and Jemma Mi Mi all stepping up to the plate this season. Their growth and cohesion is undeniable and that has shown recording their third win in Round 11, highlighting their increased intensity and ability to ride out games. Hinchliffe and Jenner have become one of the most dynamic and impressive defensive duos in the competition while Dwan has taken the competition by storm. In Round 11 the goal attack had a stats-stuffing performance with 14 goals, 15 goal assists and an impressive three intercepts. Spearheaded by two experienced players in Romelda Aiken in the goal circle and captain Gabi Simpson in wing defence, the young players around them have proven they are not afraid to elevate their game, relishing the extra and more consistent time on court as they steadily build towards the future.

West Coast Fever shaping up to be likely grand finalists
It is the Fever of 2018 with the West Australian side blowing teams out of the water thanks to the sheer volume produced at the hands of Jhaniele Fowler. in the past two rounds the goal shooter has managed a staggering 124 goals proving to be unstoppable under the post and causing headaches for opposition sides. Despite missing Ingrid Colyer who is set to miss the remainder of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury the Fever have not skipped a beat, with Alice Teague-Neeld finding her groove although not hitting the scoreboard regularly and Verity Charles starring through the centre. Defensively the Fever have tightened up with Courtney Bruce, Stacey Francis and youngster Sunday Aryang all making it incredibly difficult for their opponents to score.

Caitlin Bassett struggling to get court time
GIANTS goal shooter, Caitlin Bassett found herself on the bench once again in Round 12 and while the side did win – their first without her taking part in the match – it begs the question of why she is not getting the court time and ultimately where the Australian Diamonds captain will end up next season. There is no denying that the GIANTS are blessed with options inside the goal circle with Kiera Austin and Jo Harten a damaging duo, able to shoot the long bombs or convert from directly under the post. However Bassett offers plenty of stability, control and firepower able to score with great ease and speed; something the GIANTS have struggled with this season. The goal shooter has proven that she is an impact player coming on for 36 minutes in their clash against Collingwood in Round 11. In doing so she changed the course of the game, nailing 19 of 20 goals and providing a sense of composure in attack with Jamie-Lee Price and Austin able to identify her holds instantaneously.

Injuries starting to come into play
Round 11 and 12 saw a couple of notable names miss games through injury or management due to the condensed season. The Melbourne Vixens missed the services of Watson and Mannix for one and two rounds respectively while the Fever will be without Colyer for the season. in the Thunderbirds camp, co-captain Chelsea Pitman sat on the sidelines in Round 12 with a calf complaint while GIANTS wing defence Amy Parmenter also missed a round of action with the same niggle. Although not an injury as such, Helen Housby was also forced to the sidelines for precautionary measures after suffering a concussion in Round 11 showcasing how gruelling and taxing this 2020 Super Netball season has been, with her head knock and resulting time off court mirroring earlier injuries this season.

SSN Head to Head: Round 12/13

IN each round of Suncorp Super Netball we will identify key match-ups, provide an analysis of players and compare the two styles. This week’s head to head focuses on a couple of centres, one who has international experience in Jamie-Lee Price and the other a young up and coming midcourter in Hannah Petty, who has helped lead the way for her side this season.

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS v. GIANTS NETBALL
Hannah Petty (C) v. Jamie-Lee Price (C)

Two extremely competitive and strong athletes are set to go head to head in the final game of Round 12 in the form of Thunderbirds co-captain Petty and GIANTS youngster Price. Both centres boast a more defensive style of play, making for an enticing match-up as the duo are real barometers for their respective sides.

Petty has missed a couple of rounds this season through concussion however that has not stopped the dogged centre, who is renowned for contesting each and every pass. Petty is no easy beat through the middle, able to effectively ply her trade both in defence and attack. she is incredibly strong on the take and around circle edge to consistently claim prime feeding position. Petty is not afraid to look long and over the mess to deliver directly into the likes of Lenize Potgieter under the post. the centre works seamlessly with fellow co-captain Chelsea Pitman with the duo balancing the circle extremely well to give their shooters plenty of options. Effective in the front half, some of Petty’s best work comes in defence with the midcourter able to get hands to ball credit to her read of the play and speed off the mark. She is a key link through the centre court syncing the defensive unit to the attacking half with her drive and vision. Her adaptability to alter her game play to suit her teammates around her whether it be Maisie Nankivell, Shadine van der Merwe or Tayla Williams is a credit to her high netball IQ.

For the GIANTS Price has been as consistent as they come in season 2020 with her gut running frequently on show. In what has been a relatively up and down season, Price has provided a sense of composure and stability through the centre third, not often getting overrun or outworked, instead often flying under the radar such is her consistency. She is a menace in defence leaning on her offensive tendencies to force timely tips or intercepts especially around circle edge. The centre is extremely strong, able to outmuscle her opponents and keep them guessing given her closing speed and deceptively rangy arms while her work in attack has improved tenfold given the constant changes in the front half for the GIANTS. Her connection with Amy Parmenter is solid through the centre court while her one-two play with Jo Harten is also impressive. Price has a bullet pass on her, able to slice through congestion and defenders and can create plenty of space whether it be for Harten, Kiera Austin or Caitlin Bassett in the attacking third.

Both players are renowned for their inability to take a backwards step, consistently hustling for any loose ball and covering the court with great ease. It will ultimately come down to which player can treasure possession and lower their eyes to find a target rather than bomb it long and hope for the best. They are evenly poised when it comes to speed however Price does have a slight edge when it comes standing up in big matches, which this one is given their finals chances relies on securing a win.

Other key match-ups for Round 12 include the battle between Melbourne Vixens goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda and Magpies’ defender Geva Mentor while the top four clash between West Coast and Swifts sees the potential for England Roses teammates Stacey Francis and Helen Housby battle it out for their respective sides. The other game of the round will also see a contest between the in-form Romelda Aiken and Phumza Maweni along with a couple of young guns in Cara Koenen and Tara Hinchliffe. Round 13 welcomes the battle between a couple of international stars in Jodi-Ann Ward and Steph Wood while West Coast Fever’s Courtney Bruce is likely to line-up on Harten. A goal circle battle between Shamera Sterling and Swifts’ Sam Wallace will set tongues wagging while the final game of the round sees Gabi Simpson and Liz Watson go head to head.

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.

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.

Thunderbirds clinch fifth spot after impressive final term against Collingwood

IN the first game in Adelaide for the season the contest between the bottom two sides lived up to the hype as both the Adelaide Thunderbirds and Collingwood Magpies contested every pass that came their way. In the end it was the Thunderbirds that pulled away thanks to a dominant final term securing their fourth win of the season (61-49) and claim fifth spot on the ladder.

The defensive pressure was on song from the opening minute for both sides with Shamera Sterling getting a hand in the play early. It was a turnover riddled couple of minutes as ball flew over the sideline for both sides as they struggled to settle into the momentum of the game. An uncharacteristic miss from Lenize Potgieter enabled Geva Mentor to collect the rebound but a wayward pass in the goal circle saw the chance go missing for the Pies. After going goal for goal early in the term the tables started to turn as Sterling further injected herself into the game while up the other end Georgie Horjus was running riot in the goal circle, backing herself from range.

The quick transition down court from the Thunderbirds started to cause headaches for Collingwood as the defenders simply could not stop the flow. Potgieter seemed to have the ball on a string as Chelsea Pitman found a wealth of space around the top of the goal circle. Down by four goals Gabby Sinclair stepped up to the plate with the goal shooter sinking the first super shot of the game despite the immense hands over pressure from Sterling. However, Horjus said anything you can do I can do better, nailing a two point shot of her own to reclaim the four-goal buffer. The Thunderbirds seemed to have an answer for everything Collingwood threw at them as they made the most of their opportunities down court.

Three consecutive goals from the Thunderbirds allowed the home side to extend the lead and claim some ascendancy over the match. Hannah Petty starred through the centre court with her speed and precise feeding into the likes of Horjus and Potgieter time and time again. A classy intercept from Layla Guscoth early in the term gifted the Thunderbirds a further chance to put the foot down but the Magpies slowly pegged their way back into the contest as Mentor collected a timely rebound. The physicality went up a notch from both sides as bodies went flying across the court as players tried to contest the cross court ball in hope to regain possession. Kelly Altmann was strong around circle edge for the Pies using her footwork to claim prime position but copped a nasty knock midway through the term.

With a timeout called the Magpies made a couple of changes through the midcourt with newcomer Tyler Orr donning the centre bib and Molly Jovic slotting back into the wing attack position, as Altmann received treatment on the sideline. With the super shot in play Sinclair and Horjus came into play with the duo firing from range for their respective sides. Holding onto a five goal lead the Thunderbirds were happy to play the ball around the court while the Magpies consistently looked to attack the two point shot to eat into the margin. Maisie Nankivell was a commanding force down back, driving the ball through the court but some Sterling magic with a rejection over the shot capped off what was a see-sawing affair as the momentum ebbed and flowed throughout the quarter.

It was a hot start for the Pies in the second half as they reduced the margin to a mere two goals. An early missed shot from the Thunderbirds brought Mentor into the game as the goal keeper mustered up a strong rebound. Within a blink of an eye the Magpies had levelled the scores forcing the T’birds into a timeout. Adelaide looked rattled as Collingwood turned it up a gear both in attack and defence and hit the lead for the first time since the early stages of the game. Sloppy hands from Nelson gifted the Thunderbirds a wealth of opportunities to stream down court and capitalise as they stole back the lead. a change through the midcourt saw Tayla Williams enter the game in centre linking up with Pitman with great ease. Much like the rest of the Collingwood team, Jodi-Ann Ward stepped up to the plate in the third term, wearing Horjus like a glove and pushing her wide to reduce her impact in and around the circle.

Neither side could be separated going blow for blow for majority of the term. Inaccuracy seemed to plague both sides with the the ball swinging up and down the court as neither team managed to find the post with ease. Breaking down in defence, Kate Shimmin made her way onto the court for the Thunderbirds. Getting as close as one goal, Horjus delivered a super shot before Nelson slotted a goal up the other end to go into the final change with a two goal deficit.

After a sluggish third term the Thunderbirds came out with a point to prove in the final quarter unbothered by the wealth of changes coming from the Collingwood side as Emma Ryde and Matilda Garrett came onto the court. Potgieter was getting a wealth of separation from Mentor in the circle as they skipped out a game high seven goal lead. Things continued to tick along well for the Thunderbirds as they looked confident both in attack and defence exploiting the new connections across the court for the Magpies to run out 12 goal victors.

Nelson was a key contributor under the post for the Pies once again with the goal shooter converting 21 goals from 27 attempts. Partner in crime Sinclair also plied her trade in the goal circle with 14 goals, five of which were super shots. For the Thunderbirds the ever-reliable Potgieter was a force to be reckoned with, nailing 41 goals and taking out the player of the match as Horjus continued her hot form finishing the game with 12 goals and a team high 15 goal assists. Pitman was that key link in offence for the Thunderbirds amassing 10 goal assists while Jovic looked to fill the shoes of the Browne sisters with 11 goal assists for the Pies. It was a battle of the goal keepers as Sterling picked up three intercepts, three gains and six deflections while Mentor answered the call for the Pies with six gains and five deflections of her own.

 

>>> THUNDERBIRDS TEAM PAGE
>>> MAGPIES TEAM PAGE
>>> FULL MATCH STATS

 

Adelaide Thunderbirds 18 | 15 | 10 | 18 (61)
Collingwood Magpies 14 | 15 | 12 | 8 (49) 

STARTING SEVEN:

Adelaide Thunderbirds

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Chelsea Pitman
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Maisie Nankivell
GD: Layla Guscoth
GK: Shamera Sterling

Collingwood Magpies

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

 

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.

Lightning sharp against Thunderbirds to stay in touch with top two

OPENING up Wednesday night’s Suncorp Super Netball proceedings was a huge matchup between Adelaide Thunderbirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning. The Thunderbirds were hoping to close the gap on the ladder with a win, but the Lightning’s continuous intensity paid off for a six-goal 56-50 win, to stay in touch with the Vixens and Swifts at the top of the table.

It was a classy start from the experienced Lightning against a relatively young Thunderbirds outfit, but the two sides were unable to be split early despite some great defensive efforts. Defensively, the two sides were strong to start and their respective offensive lines were tentative and patient working into the goal circle. It seemed Shamera Sterling had learned her lesson against Cara Koenen this time around, with the Jamaican goal keeper blocking the backspace and ease on the goalline drive, though Karla Pretorius was also out flying with a few tips early and exploiting the inexperience of her direct opposition in Georgie Horjus. All four goalers had an accurate start, with the 100 per cent shooting from Horjus and Lenize Potgieter seeing the Thunderbirds remain in the race despite the Lightning having a couple more scoring shots thanks to the clean movement of Steph Wood and Koenen.

An interesting battle was forged through the midcourt between Hannah Petty and Laura Langman, with neither player willing to give an inch, with a huge one-on-one on the wing in Laura Scherian and Maisie Nankivell seeing no easy ball into the goal circle. Wood was the first to put a super shot on the board to extend a short lead, although the Thunderbirds would not back away. The Lightning’s midcourt defence was huge, limiting drives up the court and forcing chipping from the Thunderbirds, and seeing the Sunshine Coast leading by two at the first change.

A centre pass to the Thunderbirds saw the side narrow the scoreline to one as the second quarter began, but excellent patience saw a tough battle as both teams capitalised off their own before a sloppy patch of Lightning play saw the Thunderbirds even up the ledger. Koenen headed to the bench for Peace Proscovia following a tactical timeout, with the tall timber adding a new layer to attack but not as quick as Koenen, allowing Sterling to cherry pick a ball over the top to block her first possession. 

Wood’s speed was a shining light out the front, finding some easy ball as Guscoth fell back to defend Proscovia in the two on one, but despite the defensive pressure the Lightning were able to add another few goals to their tally as the Thunderbirds seemed to lack some connection in attack. The changes were made ahead of the second super shot period, with Sasha Glasgow coming into goal attack to add a bit more height while the Lightning were willing to chip away with the regular goals with both Koenen and Proscovia in the goal circle. 

Some better patches of play allowed the Lightning to maintain goal lead, while Shadine van der Merwe entered the fray to shut down Scherian’s drives and forced some iffy feeds into the circle with her hands over pressure. Pretorius was still in everything, stepping up to the plate again and again and ultimately putting out her best performance of the season so far to block a couple impressive attacking efforts as the Lightning came away with a five goal half time lead. 

A huge second half opened up with a great start from the Lightning, putting four goals nil on the board thanks to efforts from Pretorius and Langman, although hesitance feeding over Sterling put the side through their paces, unable to find an easy avenue to post. Despite constant defensive pressure paying off in patches for the Thunderbirds, the attack unit just could not fire and saw coach Tania Obst call a tactical timeout. The timeout seemed to do the trick, seeing the Thunderbirds add a few more to their tally but still trailing the Lightning by seven goals. Suddenly within four, the momentum had not completely swayed the way of the Thunderbirds but they certainly seemed to be brimming with confidence. But the class of Langman and Pretorius at either end of the court continued to control the play, with fumbles from both sides but the Lightning still seeming to dominate much of the contest racking up the loose ball.

A stagnant-looking attack saw the Thunderbirds give up a few of their centre passes, with Pretorius blocking Horjus’ every move and Phumza Maweni sticking to Potgieter to negate her ability to find the post. The combination of Koenen and Wood paid off as the super shot period began, while defensively the Lightning had front position every time, continuing to find answers for every attacking play set by the Thunderbirds and seeing the same scoreline remain heading into the final change.

The last quarter saw the Thunderbirds have another good start, speeding out to a 3-1 lead to pull back to just a three goal margin. But sure enough the Lightning stepped up once more, winning off a Chelsea Pitman error, and the cross court ball not paying off with Pretorius and Maweni both tracking so well. The long bombs continued to fall for both teams making for an interesting quarter given the super shot period was yet to begin, with improved accuracy after a low-scoring third term.

With an eight-goal lead the way of the Lightning, Thunderbirds called one last tactical timeout with just over five minutes on the clock and not entirely out of the contest despite the scoreline, although certainly needing to step up. Sterling went down in the back of play and had to be assisted off the court, rolling her ankle over Koenen’s foot almost immediately as play resumed. While the Sterling blow was huge, it did not stop the Thunderbirds from attempting a late surge with four of their last five goals super shots, but in the end the Lightning had just been far too in control throughout the match, coming away with a six goal win (56-50). 

When it came to the stats sheet, player of the match Pretorius could not be beaten with four intercepts while Sterling was impressive as ever with nine gains (five intercepts). The midcourt attack saw a heap of action with Langman and Scherian effectively leading the way out the front with 20 and 16 assists respectively, while it was much the same for the Thunderbirds as Pitman (16) led the charge, aided by Petty who finished with 10 from 35 minutes on court. In the goal circle, Potgieter topscored with 27 goals from 29 attempts including two super shots, while Koenen was next in line with 23, followed by Horjus and Wood (17 apiece) and Proscovia on 15 at 100 per cent efficiency.

>>>THUNDERBIRDS TEAM PAGE
>>>LIGHTNING TEAM PAGE
>>>FULL MATCH STATS

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 13 | 11 | 9 | 17 (50)
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 15 | 14 | 9 | 18 (56)

Thunderbirds

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Chelsea Pitman
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Maisie Nankivell
GD: Layla Guscoth
GK: Shamera Sterling

Lightning

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Laura Langman
WD: Maddy McAuliffe
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

2020 Suncorp Super Netball preview: Round 9

PASSING the half way point of the season the race for finals intensifies with a couple of teams all vying for that elusive fourth spot. After some big losses last round, expect Collingwood and the Lightning to bounce back while the Vixens hope to hold onto top spot in Round 9 of the Suncorp Super Netball season.

GIANTS Netball v. Melbourne Vixens
Tuesday, 1 September

The top of the table Melbourne Vixens will be looking for their eighth win of the season and firmly secure their spot while the GIANTS will be hoping to work their way back into the top four. Both sides have struggled to find a consistent shooting combination but have proven they have options aplenty.

Still toying with their best starting seven, the GIANTS will be hoping to inflict some early scoreboard pain with Jo Harten and Kiera Austin proving to be a menace from the super shot zone. Not getting a consistent amount of time on court, Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett has highlighted her skill to be an impact player and could once again be the trump card needed to upset the Vixens defensive unit. Emily Mannix is a strong force in goal keeper with the defender able to get hands to ball and stop the ball from entering the goal circle, while Jo Weston is also renowned for her ball tracking ability and hands over pressure to force turnovers. Kate Eddy has made a seamless transition into the Vixens making the wing defence position her own often getting tips and deflections to regain possession,

It will be a ferocious battle in the mid court with both Kate Moloney and Jamie-Lee Price set to go head to head. Neither player are known for their ability to take a backward step, often contesting every single pass and throwing their body on the line to win ball. Liz Watson has been in ripping form for the Melbourne Vixens with the wing attacks slicing up her opposition with her dynamic footwork and change of direction but will have her work cut out for her against up and coming youngster Amy Parmenter who is proven that she oozes nothing but class and determination. The Vixens will be hoping that the combination of Caitlin Thwaites, Tegan Philip and Mwai Kumwenda can all hit the scoreboard with relative ease and take out the the influence of Sam Poolman, Kristiana Manu’a, April Brandley and Matilda McDonnell.

 

Collingwood Magpies v. NSW Swifts
Tuesday, 1 September

Coming off another disappointing loss the Magpies will be keen to work their way up off the bottom of the ladder, while the Swifts will also be hoping to jump back on the winners list. Last time these two sides met Collingwood pushed the reigning premiers to their limits, falling just short.

The Swifts have lacked continuity throughout season 2020 often swapping and changing players and most importantly have not been able to treasure possession as regularly as they did last year. The connection between Helen Housby, Sam Wallace and Sophie Garbin has been hit and miss something the Collingwood defensive unit in Geva Mentor, Jodi-Ann Ward and Matilda Garrett will be looking to exploit. Through the midcourt Natalie Haythornthwaite and Maddy Proud have often rotated that wing attack position struggling to hit circle edge with great penetration another area Collingwood will look to break down through Mel Bragg and Molly Jovic.

The influence of Paige Hadley in wing defence has been huge for the Swifts with the centre court player providing that drive and defensive pressure while Sophie Craig is another option to fill the role. Collingwood have a wealth of speedsters to choose from through the midcourt with Madi Browne hopefully returning after missing last round, Kelsey Browne, Kelly Altmann and Jovic. In the goal circle, Shimona Nelson has been a bit shaky but Gabby Sinclair has proven she is more than capable to lead the way under the post with her long bomb shooting and cut and drive. Still working her way into match fitness Maddy Turner will be hoping to have a more profound impact while Lauren Moore has proven to be a ball winning machine alongside Sarah Klau in defence making for a hotly contested match.

 

Adelaide Thunderbirds v. Sunshine Coast Lightning
Wednesday, 2 September

Both teams will be licking their wounds after Round 8 making for a highly anticipated clash. A loss for the Thunderbirds could make it hard for them to make finals, while the Lightning could slip out of the four meaning this game has huge repercussions when it comes to ladder positioning.

The Lightning will be out for revenge after their poor showing last round with Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius expected to capitalise and go out hunting against a relatively young frontend. Georgie Horjus has taken the competition by storm with the goal attack slicing up the goal circle thanks to her hard drives and spatial awareness paired with her ability to go to post. She often brings the likes of Lenize Potgieter into the game, while Sasha Glasgow is another handy option under the post with her strong holds and rebounds. Wing attack Chelsea Pitman is in career best form, while fellow midcourters Maisie Nankivell and Hannah Petty have showcased their drive and determination throughout the season making for an enthralling contest against the likes of Laura Langman and Laura Scherian.

Inside the goal circle, the Lightning possess options aplenty with Cara Koenen able to seamlessly transition between goal shooter to goal attack in a heartbeat while Steph Wood has shown she can swing into wing attack with ease. Peace Proscovia has been relatively up and down in season 2020 but should not be underestimated given her strength. However the Thunderbirds are not without star power of their own; Shamera Sterling a ball winning magnet while England Roses duo Kate Shimmin and Layla Guscoth often rotate through that goal defence position to keep their opposition guessing.

 

Queensland Firebirds v. West Coast Fever
Wednesday, 2 September

Both sides will be riding a wave of confidence coming off some impressive performances over the weekend making for an enticing match. It will be a battle of the Jamaican goal shooters with Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler both in scintillating form for their respective teams.

Aiken is in career best form with the goal shooter leading the way under the post and providing a wealth of experience and composure in the goal circle. Her connection with Tippah Dwan has developed at a rate of knots throughout the season with the youngster backing herself from range time and time again, while through the midcourt the likes of Mahalia Cassidy and Jemma Mi Mi have showcased their ability to tear open a game with their speed and precise ball movement into the circle. The Fever have no shortage of options when it comes to defence with Courtney Bruce a dominant forcing goalkeeper while both Olivia Lewis and Sunday Aryang have proven to be handy inclusions in the defensive rotation. Stacey Francis is another handy option for the fever with the England Roses defender able to swing between wing defence and circle defence depending on the needs of the team.

The contest between Kim Jenner and Alice Teague-Neeld will be one to watch with the duo boasting plenty of speed and excitement. Teague-Neeld is coming off a strong performance last round, while Jenner has shown that she is no slouch, able to pick up ball and change the course of a game within a blink of an eye. Her partnership with Tara Hinchliffe is arguably one of the most damaging elements for the Firebirds while Gabi Simpson is a workhorse out the front able to block the drive of Ingrid Colyer and Verity Charles to disrupt the flow in the Fevers attacking end.