Tag: Collingwood Magpies

Where to next for Victorian Super Netball teams?

WITH Victoria sent back into lockdown for a minimum six week period due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 cases in the state it poses many questions for the upcoming Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season. SSN is set to commence on August 1 but with Victorian borders shut there is no chance of teams flying in or out of the state on a weekly basis. The element of a required 14 day quarantine must also be taken into account when looking into the logistics of how the 2020 season will run and the implications this lockdown will have on the competition as a whole. Quarantine and a lack of facilities such as Melbourne Arena being unavailable as a result of the Victorian lockdown ultimately throw the competition into a spin when it comes to fixturing, since the league has agreed to hosting a complete 60 round season.

With both the Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Vixens based in Melbourne, Super Netball have to make a decision on how to deal with the two clubs. As seen with the AFL, NRL and A-League, all of the Victorian teams have fled or are in the process of leaving the state to ensure the remainder of the season is viable, something SSN will have to consider in order for the season to actually go ahead. While it is an expensive prospect, weighing up the cost of accommodation, flights and facilities for both the Vixens and Magpies, it is one that must be done to ensure the longevity of the competition.

It is clear that for the season to go ahead the two Victorian teams must find a new home, despite already missing the cut off date to leave the state. But the big question is where do they go? As discussed on this week’s episode of the Centre Pass Podcast, the options of taking solace in New South Wales and Queensland are the glaringly obvious choices for the Victorian sides with both states playing host to two teams and also boasting recently refurbished stadiums. The Queensland Firebirds unveiled the Nissan Arena or Queensland State Netball centre last year fit with all the bells and whistles while the Sunshine Coast Lightning have already expressed their willingness for interstate teams to join them up in the Coast. The redevelopment of the Ken Rosewall Arena could also play a factor in getting the Victorian teams to set up shop in New South Wales. However, that is not to say that Western Australia and South Australia are not viable options given the quality of their facilities and are probably the cheaper option in terms of accommodation in comparison to the likes of Sydney and Queensland.

There is also a very limited chance of the SSN rescheduling or pushing the start back further as it runs into the international season with the Diamonds and Ferns confirming the annual Constellation Cup for late November. International netball is a huge drawcard for both countries and something Australia and New Zealand will be hoping to generate some money back into the netball sphere. Postponing the season could ultimately bring up issues surrounding venue fixturing as many sporting arenas are booked out years in advance given the high amounts of sport Australia plays host to.

While we all hope that it does not come to this stage, there is a small sliver of doubt that the season could not go ahead or that the Vixens and Magpies might not be able to compete given the recent developments in Victoria and the restrictions prohibiting them to travel. While the latter idea is unconventional and an extreme last resort, it could be the only way to salvage the season and ensure that some form of domestic netball is played in 2020.

Suncorp Super Netball returns to court on August 1

AUSTRALIA’S top netball competition returns August 1.

In a massive announcement by the Suncorp Super Netball today, fans of the world’s top ranked league will have to wait just two months until they see their favourite stars out on court again. The other two major leagues in the world – the ANZ Premiership and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) – had both made decisions on their returns in the past two weeks. While the VNSL opted to cancel the season citing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, the ANZ Premiership will return on Friday, June 19.

The 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season will be a full 60-game season – which means 14 rounds where teams face off against the other seven teams twice – as well as the four-game finals series for the top four sides. The fixture is yet to be announced, but the timing of the announcement today – May 31 – is for clubs to train together from tomorrow – June 1 – whilst sticking to social distancing guidelines.

Suncorp Super Netball CEO Chris Symington said in the release on the Suncorp Super Netball website that the season start represents a significant step forward on the road to getting back on court.

“We’re thrilled that a season start date has been locked away, now all our stakeholders have a date to work towards and fans can start to get excited for the start of the season,” he said. “We are planning to play out a full home and away season, and we are confident that our start date gives us the best opportunity to achieve that.

“Our guiding principles throughout this process have never changed, those being the health and wellbeing of the community alongside the financial viability of our sport. “There has been a collective commitment to those principles from the whole system including players, teams, partners and broadcasters and we will continue to take that approach as we look to get our season underway.

“I would like to thank our dedicated members and fans who have stuck by their teams and the sport through an incredibly challenging period. We look forward to showcasing our world class athletes once again from August 1.”

For full player profiles on each Suncorp Super Netball team, check out our team pages:

Adelaide Thunderbirds | Collingwood Magpies | GIANTS Netball | Melbourne Vixens | NSW Swifts | Queensland Firebirds | Sunshine Coast Lightning | West Coast Fever


Furthermore, the 2020 Constellation Cup between the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns will take place later this year, whilst the 2020 Quad Series that was meant to take place between the world’s top two nations, as well as England and South Africa, has been cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19 on international travel.

Top 20 players over 30: #13 Madi Browne

THERE are a host of international players across the world that, much like a fine wine, have simply gotten better with age. With netball on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Draft Central takes a look at players that fall into the category of over 30 and still have plenty in the tank given their on-court prowess. Coming up next in at number 13 is injured midcourter, Madi Browne.

While ultimately a class above plenty of names in her hey-day, Browne has stepped down from Diamonds duty and given injury has kept her off the court since early 2019, has not really had an opportunity to prove her skill in recent months. But with the Super Netball hopefully returning soon and the delayed start doing plenty for Browne’s recovery, fans will hope the impressive attacker will start back out on the court this season. With plenty of speed, cleanliness and experience, the 168cm energiser bunny can be a real barometer for any side, namely the Magpies – who will hope she can return to the court this season.

With wicked pace, clean footwork and impressive vision, Browne is a livewire and at 32-years-old has shown no signs of stopping. With an innate ability to not only find the ball but also use her vision to feed ball into the circle with ease, Browne is a constant threat whether she has possession or is held down by her defender, able to wriggle out of tough spots to find better positioning in attack. Browne’s ability to find circle edge allows her to always have pride of place to her goalers’ advantage, proving the star midcourter is a commanding presence with a real affinity for knowing exactly where she needs to be at any given time.

While her attacking prowess is undoubtedly her forte, the wing attack can be a hot option in centre thanks to her ability to transition from attack to defence with ease and her agile two-way running which allows her to change directions with speed to adapt to the situation. A fan favourite across the world, Browne retired early from the international scene with plenty of young talent coming through the ranks, but Browne would still be a quality opponent and tough player to come up against if she were to return to the Diamonds, with her experience and knowledge of the game second to none. The speedster can still be a constant pressure and threat even into the later stages of her career, and has not lost any of that speed or excitement that made her such an impressive player to begin with.

TOP 20 PLAYERS OVER 30:

#20 Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever/England)
#19 Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Australia)
#18 Ama Agbeze (Severn Stars/England)
#17 Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning/South Africa)
#16 Jade Clarke (Wasps Netball/England)
#15 Chelsea Pitman (Adelaide Thunderbirds/England)

#14 Romelda Aiken (Queensland Firebirds/Jamaica)
#13 Madi Browne (Collingwood Magpies/Australia)

Top 15 SSN training partners: #1 Emma Ryde

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball plate in 2020. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development. Coming in at number one is none other than Collingwood Magpies goaler Emma Ryde, a dominant performer who has been unlucky to not receive a consistent contract at Suncorp Super Netball level.

Named the 2019 Australian Netball League (ANL) MVP, Ryde was crucial in the Victorian Fury outfit as a holding goaler, able to use her body cleanly to attract the defender and use the space to get hands to ball. With clean hands, accuracy and height to match, there is no denying the impact Ryde has when she takes the court. The 22-year-old made a fantastic return to netball in 2019 after taking time off for injury, using her netball smarts to take her game to a new level and ultimately playing at each level last year. At 197cm, Ryde can be a real target at the post with her ability to take on the contest, and with a strong work ethic and tactical mindset she can be a threat taking on any opposition. 

Coming up through the Victorian netball pathways, Ryde was snatched up by the Adelaide Thunderbirds as an injury replacement player in 2019, picking up a few domestic caps along the way although injury cut her time short. Playing four matches for the ailing Thunderbirds, Ryde shot 66 goals at 93 per cent accuracy, well and truly making herself known to the league as a handy option who can jump on court and have an impact. Ryde has also trained and played with Melbourne Vixens in the past, gaining valuable experience and court time and making for an impressive resume despite not taking the court consistently in the Super Netball.

Season 2020 sees Ryde join forces with Collingwood Magpies as a training partner, returning to Victoria once more and with the opportunity to learn from crafty veteran Nat Medhurst and Jamaican young gun Shimona Nelson, among a smattering of young Magpies stars coming up through the pathways. Still young and with plenty of potential, Ryde has plenty left in the tank and will hope to prove herself on the Super Netball stage once more in 2020.

Read our 2019 feature with Emma Ryde here.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#10 Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
#9 Latika Tombs (GIANTS Netball)
#8 Sharni Lambden (Collingwood Magpies)
#7 Jacqui Newton (Melbourne Vixens)
#6 Allie Smith (Melbourne Vixens)
#5 Elle Bennetts (GIANTS Netball)
#4 Brooke Allan (Magpies Netball)
#3 Tayla Fraser (NSW Swifts)
#2 Beth Cobden (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#1 Emma Ryde (Collingwood Magpies)

Top 15 SSN training partners: #4 Brooke Allan

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is taking a look at the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) plate in 2020. Inside the top five and in at number four is Collingwood defender Brooke Allan. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration 2019 form, individual potential and future development.

The 21-year-old defender is still coming into the prime of her netball career but has already shown that she has the potential to become a permanent figure in the Magpies outfit. Having spent time with the successful Geelong Cougars in the Victorian Netball League (VNL) and Victorian Fury in the Australian Netball League (ANL), Allan has displayed her class and defensive tenacity. Her ability move between goal keeper and goal defence is a testament to her on-court netball nous and endurance.

In her short career, the skilled goal keeper has been recognised for her netballing prowess with selection in the Under 19 Australian team while also taking home the grand final MVP in 2017 for her impressive efforts with Victorian Fury. After switching to the Tasmanian Magpies in 2018, Allan tasted further success helping guide her side to their first ANL premiership. With so many accolades already to her name, Allan will be hoping to extend to her trophy cabinet and take the leap to the next level and become a more commanding figure in the goal circle. Her pressure over the shot and physicality in the goal circle are just a couple of key components of her game style.

While she is yet to make her debut at Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) level, Allan displayed her elite capabilities in New Zealand taking part in the Super Club tournament where Collingwood came out victorious. Her strength under the post to keep the shooters at bay and put doubt in their mind is impressive. She consistently displays her ability to hold her own against challenging shooters with her quick footwork and ability to cleanly get around the body. Allan is deceptively light on her feet given her height and stature and makes full use of her long limbs to cause disruptions to the oppositions attacking flow. The Magpies defender is not afraid to back herself in the contest and is strong in the air, able to compete and force a turnover with her impressive timing and positioning.

Still honing her craft, Allan has exposure to one of the worlds most renowned goal keepers in Geva Mentor. The England Roses star oozes class, composure and sheer brilliance, always able to make something out of nothing such is her netball mind and skill. Throw in new recruit and Jamaican representative Jodi-Ann Ward and Allan has plenty of talent to model her craft off. With fellow youngsters Mel Bragg and Matilda Garrett also amongst the Collingwood defensive line-up, expect Allan to draw plenty of confidence from their rise up the ranks, hard work and on-court impact. Further exposure to the highest level of professionalism and netball talent will only help the young defender to perfect her role and become a force to be reckoned with in years to come.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#10 Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
#9 Latika Tombs (GIANTS Netball)
#8 Sharni Lambden (Collingwood Magpies)
#7 Jacqui Newton (Melbourne Vixens)
#6 Allie Smith (Melbourne Vixens)
#5 Elle Bennetts (GIANTS Netball)
#4 Brooke Allan (Magpies Netball)

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Semi-finals

COLLINGWOOD Magpies will attempt to bring the New Zealand Super Club trophy back across the ditch after winning through to the final following a 14-goal win over Central Pulse. Their opponents will be Northern Mystics, who also picked up an impressive win, downing Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic by seven goals.

Collingwood Magpies (54) defeated Central Pulse (40)

Collingwood became the first team to move through to the New Zealand Super Club final after a pulsating win in the semi-finals. The Magpies defeated ANZ Premiership reigning premiers Central Pulse by 14 goals, winning three of the four quarters and pushing on from a brave stand by the Pulse to outscore their New Zealand opponents by 11 goals in the third term to be the key difference in the game. Collingwood started the game strongly with Shimona Nelson putting up 13 goals from 15 attempts, pairing well with Nat Medhurst (two goals from three attempts and six goal assists) who grabbed a combined three rebounds. They had a fascinating battle with defensive duo, Katrina Rore and Karin Burger, while up the other end, Geva Mentor won a crucial rebound when going head-to-head with Aliyah Dunn (six goals from seven attempts). Ameliaranne Ekenasio scored four goals from five attempts and had three goal assists, playing a creator role to set up her teammate. The second term saw Maggie Lind come onto court in the wing attack role and she immediately had an impact picking up three goal assists from her three feeds, with Nelson and Medhurst not missing from their nine attempts. General play turnovers were hurting the Magpies in the term however, recording eight to four, and Dunn (nine goals from 10 attempts) and Ekenasio (three from four, and five goal assists) took advantage. The Pulse certainly stepped up in the second term, with Renee Savai’inaea picking up two intercepts, while Burger and Maddy Gordon (four goal assists) both had an intercept each.

As if the disappointing second quarter had awoken the sleeping giant, Collingwood roared into action in the second term, showing off clinical ball use to record just the one turnover, whilst heaping on the pressure to the Pulse who had eight in comparison. Nelson’s remarkable tournament under the post continued, netting 15 goals from 16 attempts, while Medhurst’s experience in the goal circle was telling, picking up an equal team-high eight goal assists from as many feeds – while shooting three goals herself. Ash Brazill also had eight goal assists, playing a consistent role through the midcourt and taking control of that battle. When the Magpies lifted a gear, the Pulse could not quite go with them, scoring seven goals with Dunn (four) and Tiana Metuarau (three) shooting at 100 per cent efficiency. Their scoring flow was made more difficult by a Mentor-sized problem with the English international intercepting the ball twice in the third quarter. The fourth term saw a much tighter quarter once again, but the Magpies still got the spoils, shooting 12 goals to 11 to win, 54-40. Nelson finished the game with eight goals from eight attempts in the term, while Dunn had nine from 10 herself up the opposite end. Collingwood brought on its host of young stars for most of the last term, allowing Medhurst, Brazill, Mentor and Nelson to all finish the game on the bench. The Pulse did the same with Rore and Ekenasio finish on the pine, as Claire Kersten (four goal assists from six feeds) had a good final term to round out the game. Overall, Nelson shot 41 goals from 44 attempts at 93.2 per cent efficiency, while Medhurst finished with 10 from 11, as well as 16 goal assists from 19 feeds. Brazill got better as the game went on, recording 16 goal assists from 17 feeds, while Mentor had three intercepts and one intercept for the game. Dunn was the central target under the post for the Pulse, shooting 28 goals from 31 attempts, while Ekenasio had nine from 12, as well as 11 goal assists from 17 feeds. Kersten finished with a strong 12 goal assists from 18 feeds.

Northern Mystics (49) defeated Waikaito Bay of Plenty Magic (42)

A strong first half in the other semi-final resulted in an impressive seven-goal win to Northern Mystics, thanks to another clinical performance from teenage shooting sensation, Grace Nweke. The Mystics took control in the first term to go four goals up at quarter time, as Nweke sank 11 goals from 13 assists and picked up a rebound in the term. Silver Ferns goaler Bailey Mes did not miss a shot from her three attempts, while Elisapeta Toeava‘s great work at wing attack during the tournament continued with six goal assists from 10 feeds. Up the other end, Phoenix Karaka took a crucial intercept for the Mystics, while the goal circle combination of Georgia Marshall (six goals from six attempts) and Abigail Latu-Meafou (four from five) was keeping the Magic in it. Ariana Cable-Dixon (five goal assists from five feeds) and Whitney Souness (four from five) were also impressing to help with the flow in transition. Nweke picked up where she left off in the first term once returning from the break, adding 13 goals from 15 attempts, while Toeava was sizzling thanks to eight goal assists from 12 feeds. Karaka was an ongoing problem for the Magic, as the Mystics were starting to have some problems in the goal circle. Latu-Meafou had three turnovers and two penalties in the term, forcing the coaching staff to make a change with Kelsey McPhee coming on. She managed one goal from two attempts, while Marshall shot seven from nine, as the flow through the midcourt was interrupted and the defensive errors were starting to occur. The Magic had 17 penalties to 10 in the term, with the Mystics holding a comfortable 10-goal lead at the main break.

That lead did not change by the final break, with both teams adding 11 goals to their totals in the third quarter. Nweke put in a 10 out of 10 performance for the term – when talking goals and attempts – while Saviour Tui came into the goal circle and helped with two assists and a goal from three attempts. The Mystics mixed up the line-up in that term, with Michaela Sokolich-Beatson picking up an intercept at wing defence, while Emma Iversen and Danielle Gray came into the midcourt and had three goal assists apiece. For the Magic, McPhee got into her rhythm and took control close to the post shooting eight goals from 11 attempts, while Marshall posted up all three of her attempts and had a couple of goal assists for good measure. Souness was the key through the midcourt with six goal assists from 13 feeds, while Samantha Sinclair had three assists of her own in the centre. The final term saw the Magic finally take control, but it was too little, too late, scoring 12 goals to nine and cutting the final deficit down to seven. McPhee (nine goals from 12 attempts) and Marshall (three from five) were working well together, while Souness (four assists from six feeds) and Sinclair (three from eight, and one intercept) continued their good work. The defensive half was much more switched on in the final term for the Magic, picking up five intercepts to two in the term which was a key reason in the turnaround. Karaka was her usual reliable self with an intercept and two rebounds for the Mystics, while Nweke had a rebound to accompany her eight goals from 10 attempts. Overall, Nweke finished with 42 goals from 48 attempts at 87.5 per cent efficiency, and also recorded an equal game-high three rebounds. Karaka was the other to pick up three rebounds, also having a goal assists and three intercepts in the match. Toeava was the standout midcourter for the Mystics thanks to 14 goal assists from 22 feeds, while Souness (17 goal assists from 30 feeds) was crucial in that role for the Magic. Other impressive players were McPhee (18 goals from 25 attempts) and Marshall (19 from 23), while Georgia Tong picked up an equal game-high three intercepts.

OTHER GAMES:

Mainland Tactix (41) defeated Wasps Netball (37)

Mainland Tactix got the job done in a tight one over Vitality Netball Superleague invitational side, Wasps Netball with a strong second half performance. The Tactix lead by three goals at quarter time, before the Wasps hit back to cut the deficit to just one by the main break. It spurred on the New Zealand side upon return from half-time, increasing the lead to two at the final break, then winning the last quarter 12-10, to win 41-37. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was impressive in the goal circle with 16 goals from 21 attempts, as well as 13 goal assists from 15 feeds, two rebounds and one intercept. She worked well with Ellie Bird (15 goals at 100 per cent efficiency), while Kimiora Poi (12 goal assists) was strong through midcourt. In defence, Sophia Fenwick helped herself to two rebounds and two intercepts, while Kate Lloyd was reliable in the goal keeper bib with one rebounds and two intercepts, as well as just one penalty for the game. It was not surprising to see veteran English Roses’ shooter Rachel Dunn score 24 goals from 25 attempts, as well as six goal assists from seven feeds, while Katie Harris assisted eight times, and scored 13 goals from 17 attempts. Jade Clarke had a game-high three intercepts in wing defence, while Alexia Baker and Amy Flanagan both picked up 10 goal assists.

Southern Steel (38) defeated Northern Stars (37)

The Southern Steel held on against a determined Northern Stars outfit to record a narrow one-goal win. Neither team could be split in the first half breaks, until the Steel managed to dominate defensively in the third term to move three goals clear with a 9-6 quarter. The Stars then applied some of that defensive pressure in the final term to score 9-7, but fell a goal short in the 37-38 loss. Kalifa McCollin had 14 goals from 20 attempts for the Steel, while Jennifer O’Connell managed 13 from 20, in a combined inaccurate display of just 67.5 per cent. Georgia Heffernan was more clinical at the post with seven goals from eight attempts, while Shannon Saunders‘ midcourt display was superb, picking up a standout 13 goal assists from 23 feeds. For the Stars, Maia Wilson was enormous in attack, posting up 26 goals from 32 attempts at 81.3 per cent efficiency, having a great battle with opponent, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit (three rebounds and one intercept). Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was also important in midcourt with 16 goal assists, while Jamie Hume sunk eight goals from 11 attempts, and had a perfect strike rate of eight goal assists from eight feeds. Kate Burley was the rock in defence for the Stars, recording three rebounds and two intercepts in the game.

Final day fixturing:

Final: Collingwood Magpies vs. Northern Mystics
3rd v 4th: Central Pulse vs. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
5th v 6th: Mainland Tactix vs. Southern Steel
7th v 8th: Wasps Netball vs. Northern Stars

Suncorp Super Netball: 2019 Awards season wrap

WITH both the Suncorp Super Netball officially over and award season done and dusted we look at which players took out the Most Valuable Player award at each club and their 2019 season.

Adelaide Thunderbirds: Maria Folau

The New Zealand Silver Ferns recruit had a huge influence on the Adelaide Thunderbirds leading from the front with her strong intent, accuracy to post and silky movement across the court. She proved to be a real general in the attack end controlling the flow and ball movement while also setting up plays to keep her side within striking distance. Folau offered plenty of leadership and was composed under pressure finishing the season with 331 goals.

Collingwood Magpies: Geva Mentor

After crossing from Sunshine Coast Lightning, Mentor did not skip a beat with the talented defender putting up a wall in defence and applying her signature pressure. The England Roses international displayed her class to cleanly get around the body of her opponent and force turnovers with her hands over pressure. Her timing and ability to read the play was vital to Collingwood’s success with the defender finishing with 33 rebounds, 86 deflections and 40 intercepts.

GIANTS Netball: Jo Harten

The English international maintained her hot form taking out the GIANTS MVP award after once again plying her trade in goals. Harten was cool, calm and collected carving up the court with her movement, drives and vision to open up the circle. Her ability to switch up her game plan from a holding shooter to a moving goaler is impressive and caused headaches for opposition sides. Harten finished the season with 302 goals from 376 attempts along with 142 assists credit to her ever growing partnership with Caitlin Bassett.

Melbourne Vixens: Emily Mannix

After a relatively quiet start to the season Mannix well and truly hit her straps in the latter half of the year upping the defensive pressure and leading the backend with her attacking mentality. The goal keeper did not take a backwards step throwing herself at every cross court ball and using her lean over the shot to worry her opponents out of going for goal. Mannix racked up 45 intercepts, 61 deflections and 14 rebounds to cap off her stellar season.

NSW Swifts: Sam Wallace

The Trinidad and Tobago goal shooter took her game up a level this season letting her laid back nature do the talking. Wallace was influential under the post for the Swifts oozing composure and class to take the ball in confined spaces and capitalising on her opportunities with 648 goals from 695 attempts. She used her silky footwork to edge closer to the post and stood up in the big matches when called upon.

Sunshine Coast Lightning: Karla Pretorius

In another exceptional season, Pretorius reigned supreme notching up her second Player of the Year credit to her tenacious nature and uncanny ability to win the ball back for her side. The goal defence went about her business using her speed and go-go gadget arms to full advantage picking up 69 intercepts, 72 deflections and 12 rebounds.

West Coast Fever: Jhaniele Fowler

The Jamaican goal shooter was the shining light for West Coast who struggled to live up to the hype of last year. She at times single handily won them games thanks to her commanding presence under the post, accuracy and volume. Fowler used her netball smarts to position well in the circle and win one on one battles with the defenders nailing 709 goals from 753 attempts at a staggering 94 per cent while also picking up 44 rebounds.

Queensland Firebirds: Gretel Tippett

Although it was a disappointing year for the Firebirds, Tippett took complete ownership across the court with her unpredictable nature, attacking flair and explosiveness. Renowned for her unorthodox style, Tippett went to a whole other level in season 2019 taking the lead in the attacking third and highlighting her accuracy to post with 394 goals from 411 attempts at 96 per cent. Her efforts under the post were equally matched by her work up the court notching up a massive 325 centre pass receives along with 130 assists to round out an incredible season.

Team of the Week: SSN – Round 3

ROUND 3 of Suncorp Super Netball brought plenty of excitement and interest, with only two sides remaining undefeated- the Swifts and Vixens, while last year’s minor premiers, finally got a win on the board. The Melbourne Vixens were dominant against the Adelaide Thunderbirds while the West Coast Fever had 80 goals scored against them for the second week in a row. The Sunshine Coast Lightning steamrolled their state rivals while the GIANTS shocked the Magpies. Strong performances from the Lightning and Swifts sees them dominate the Round 3 edition of Draft Central Team of the Week, with four players for the Lightning featured and three for the Swifts. While the Melbourne Vixens have one player selected from their match against the Thunderbirds. Despite the loss, one Thunderbirds player has made the team, alongside a standout from the Firebirds in their loss to the Lightning. Although, the GIANTS were good in their win against the Magpies, they were unable to take a position in this week’s team, missing out alongside the Fever and the Magpies.

GK: Shamera Sterling (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Coming off an average performance last week, Shamera Sterling was outstanding against the Melbourne Vixens. Sterling had six gains and four intercepts in the last quarter alone which contributed to her haul of 13 gains and five intercepts for the match. She kept on her toes to confuse the space around Caitlin Thwaites and despite losing the match did well enough to earn herself a position in this week’s team.

GD: Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

Karla Pretorius returns to the team for the first time this season after an impressive match against the Firebirds. She worked well alongside SPAR Proteas teammate Phumza Maweni, their connection evident as she was able to drift from her opponent and intercept the ball throughout the match. Pretorius’ quick footwork and ability to read the play resulted in turnover after turnover going the way of the Lightning. Ending the match on eight gains and seven intercepts Pretorius was vital to the Lightning in their win over the Firebirds. Pretorius also claimed her 100th league intercept becoming the first to do so in Suncorp Super Netball.

WD: Renae Ingles (Melbourne Vixens)

After returning to netball halfway through last season, Renae Ingles often flies under the radar as many unsung heroes in the wing defence bib do, however, she shone against the Thunderbirds. Stealing the attention away from many of her other big-name teammates, Ingles finds herself in our team this week with her five gains and two intercepts. Not only did Ingles hunt the ball well, she effectively took Hannah Petty and Kelly Altmann out of the match, keeping their feeds low. Ingles also did a good job on Chelsea Pitman before Pitman suffered an injury that unfortunately took her out of the match.

C: Paige Hadley (NSW Swifts)

Paige Hadley is having a ripper start to the season. She has been consistent and driven for the NSW Swifts making her a key part of their undefeated run. Bringing a defensive edge to the centre position she was outstanding against Verity Charles on the weekend. Pairing well alongside teammate Maddy Proud, there is not much the dynamic mid-court duo cannot do at the moment. Finishing the match with the highest number of feeds for the round on 42 she worked well across the court, shutting down the momentum of Fever’s attack while firing in her own attack end.

WA: Maddy Proud (NSW Swifts)

It is hard to talk about one of the NSW Swifts key mid-court players without talking about the other. Maddy Proud was fantastic against West Coast Fever’s Jess Anstiss. Proud shared the workload with Hadley, only passing one less feed into the circle. Her feeds into the circle were solid and their accuracy alongside the accuracy of Hadley’s were part of how the Swifts managed to score 80 goals against their opposition. Proud was also quick at switching into defence alongside Hadley with both players adding an intercept and a gain to their names this week.

GA: Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds)

It may seem a little contradictory to have two players who were directly opposed to each other in the Team of the Week, however, no one else took on the role of goal attack like Gretel Tippett did this week. She put up a massive number of goals compared to her usual workload and nailed every single one of them, finishing the match with 40/40. Tippett did a wealth of work in the goal circle to open up room for her teammates and used her athleticism to burn off her opponent. Tippett also stepped up to the challenge of being her team’s primary shooter as Romelda Aiken was shut down and youngster Amy Sommerville struggled to break free of the strong opposition.

GS: Peace Proscovia (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

It was a tough decision over who should get the goal shooter bib this week, but in the end, Lightning’s Peace Proscovia won, for the second week in a row. Proscovia shot 53/55 during the match against the Firebirds. Her movement and dominance in the goal circle made it easy for her teammates to feed the ball in. On occasion when an off feed flew near her she was able to pluck it from the air with ease as if nothing were wrong. The inexperience of the Firebirds’ defence was exploited with how easily Proscovia was able to out-manoeuvre her opponents. In their struggle to find an answer to Proscovia and the Lightning’s fast attack, Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke threw their goal shooter Aiken down into goal keeper to try to make an impact. The move did work for a bit, however, Proscovia and the Lightning adjusted credit to her ability to hold strong and command the ball.

BENCH: Sam Wallace (NSW Swifts), Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning), Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning) Two more Lightning players in Laura Scherian and Phumza Maweni have made their way onto this week’s bench alongside Swifts superstar Sam Wallace. Goal keeper Maweni was massive against the Firebirds, keeping Aiken to only 10 goals in a half while doing plenty of work to give Pretorius space to chase the ball. Maweni also finished the match with six gains and five intercepts of her own. Lightning teammate Laura Scherian takes the mid-court position on our bench for her speed and agility which outclassed the Firebirds. Scherian was able to zip back and forth across the Lightning attacking end to hit the circle edge smoothly time and time again with 37 feeds and a strong unit around her she made it look easy. Rounding out our bench is Sam Wallace who missed out on our goal shooter position by the smallest fraction this week. Wallace has been up there as one of the top shooters so far this season but has gone under the radar a little. This week she was part of the Swifts’ record equalling 80 goals, scoring 62/66. Her command of the goal circle resulted in the Fever trying player after player in goal keeper to try nullify her, but they were unable to halt Wallace’s onslaught of goals.

SSN Head 2 Head: Round 3

IN each round we will identify one key match-up and provide an in-depth analysis of both players and compare the two styles.

GWS GIANTS v. Collingwood Magpies

KIM GREEN (WA) v. ASH BRAZILL (WD)

It will be a highly competitive match-up with both players renowned for their speed and sheer athleticism. Over their careers they have come up against each other multiple times causing great intrigue and excitement for all watching. It is the first time this season that both will match-up against each other and will want to stamp their authority on the competition.

Coming off her 200th game last the speedy wing attack and centre Kim Green proved that she has plenty left in the tank. She copped a couple of nasty knocks in the second term did not seem to deter Green from taking the hard drives to the top of the goal circle and dishing off bullet like passes. The veteran wing is renowned for her impeccable vision, impressive work rate and ability to find space that no one else can. Meanwhile her strength is second to none along with her insane balance to ensure that she can take the ball at full strength and pass off to a teammate with ease. Green also applies good defensive pressure going with her opponent step for step and denying easy access to the ball.

On the other hand, fan favourite Ash Brazill has continued her hot form thanks to her amazing athleticism. She offers great drive out of the back end for the Magpies and is relishing that extra protection to go for the big intercept. Her closing speed is second to none using her acceleration to pick pocket her opponents. Brazill’s footwork is also equally as skilful to cautiously and cleanly manoeuvre around her opponent on the circle edge to get a clever tap or disrupt the play. She also does a wealth of work off the ball blocking her opponent from making drives and working hard at the transverse line to provide back up play.

Given both players are physical at the contest and are not afraid to put their body on the line expect a ferocious battle. If Green is able to get on top it will a go a long way in providing her goalers with first access to post. But if Brazill shuts down Green the GIANTS will be starved of opportunity as she is the real play maker in that attacking end.

SSN Head to Head: Round 2

IN each round we will identify one key match-up and provide an in-depth analysis of both players and compare the two styles.

Queensland Firebirds v. Collingwood Magpies

GRETEL TIPPETT (GA) v. APRIL BRANDLEY (GD)

The match-up between one of the most athletic and unpredictable shooters in the league, Gretel Tippett and the in-form Collingwood defender, April Brandley could prove to be contest of the round.

Gretel Tippett is an excitement machine renowned for her extreme athleticism and game winning ability. She is clever with ball in hand and feeds the ball exceptionally well into her shooting partner Romelda Aiken. The shooter to shooter interplay is second to none with Tippet identifying the space and placing the ball there for Aiken. She does a wealth of work feeding into Aiken and coming out for the centre pass showcasing her running ability and endurance. Standing at 192cm the 25- year-old goaler is not afraid to impose her physicality on her opponents and uses her quick feet, speed and general netball nous to outrun and outplay her opposition. Her accuracy and volume at the post is also increasing and she will want to ensure that she is able to make presence felt in the goal circle.

Collingwood Magpies goal defence April Brandley is coming off a MVP performance last round showcasing her ability to shut down her opponent and still impose herself at the contest. Her tagging style of defence and constant pressure is a real feature of her game, while her hands over pressure also ensures that she places doubt in the shooters mind. Brandley is working well with new defensive partner, Geva Mentor with both combining well in the goal circle rolling off their players and confusing space for their opposition.

With both players renowned for different strengths in their game play it will make for an interesting contest. Brandley adopts a more tagging and run with, style of defence rather going out and hunting for the big intercept. Therefore, if she is able to nullify the influence of Tippet the Firebirds may find it hard to score as they rely heavily on the work she does to transition the ball down the court. However, Tippet is a taller opponent and has an arsenal of skills particularly in the air to reign in the loose balls making her a threat across the court.