Tag: emily burgess

2020 ANZ Premiership – Young gun focus: Round 4

WITH a host of young talent littered throughout the ANZ Premiership competition, Draft Central takes a look at one key player each week. This week the player in focus is Central Pulse midcourter Maddy Gordon who impressed in Round 3 with her speed, tenacity and desire to take the game on. 

Age: 20
Height: 174cm
Position: WA, C, WD

Still honing her craft, the young midcourter has walked into the permanent wing attack position and taken each challenge in her stride. Typically known for her role as either a centre or wing defence, Gordon has taken like a duck to water in the attacking position, using her speed to full effect and delivering the ball on a silver platter to the likes of Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn. Her ability to read the play and vary her passes depending on the goalers is impressive, able to release the ball with speed and trajectory to Dunn holding under the post, or popping a short pass to Ekenasio at the top of the circle. 

For someone so young her vision is also impressive, able to sight her teammate in space and deliver accordingly as shown last round racking up 10 goal assists against the Mystics despite the long arms of opponent Emily Burgess. Gordon will once again have to use her speed and fancy footwork to evade the hands over pressure from her opponent and have a profound impact in the attacking third for the Pulse against both the Magic and Steel. 

Standing at 174cm, the wing attack is not afraid to take the hard drive to the top of the goal circle and create plenty of attacking forays. She hardly ever stands still, constantly repositioning around the circle and looking to open up space making her incredibly hard to match-up against. She is a real energiser bunny for the Pulse through the midcourt with her explosive speed and impressive change of direction to keep defenders head on a swivel. Her nippiness around the court and strong hands makes her a crucial cog for the Pulse through the centre and attacking third while her athleticism is also another key element of her game play. Gordon’s balance around the perimeter and general spatial awareness is second to none and given she is still early in her career has plenty of upside.

Impressive in attack, Gordon has proven more than once that she can do the defensive things incredibly well, with her three foot marking and aerial ability allowing her to get hands to ball. She is never out of the contest, always on the hunt for an intercept and contesting every ball that comes her way. Her pressure through the midcourt is pivotal to the Pulse’s game style with the 20-year-old renowned for her timing to create tips and skill to switch from defence into offence in a heartbeat amassing three deflections and two pickups for her efforts in Round 3. 

Combining with the likes of Claire Kersten through the midcourt, the two balance each other out, knowing when to run or when to hold in the attacking third. Their quick ball movement and link up through court adds to the Pulse line-up and will have to be on song once again this week if they are to remain undefeated.

2020 ANZ Premiership stats wrap: Round 3

WITH Round 3 of the ANZ Premiership done and dusted, it’s time to take a look at the best stats of the week. Both Northern Mystics and Southern Steel took the court twice, making for some interesting numbers to finish the round.

In a round that seemed a lot more defensively focused than last week, a couple of defenders stood out with Sulu Fitzpatrick leading the way with four intercepts and nine gains in a winning Mystics outfit on Saturday, before adding two more gains to her tally against the Pulse on Monday. Fitzpatrick’s partner in crime Phoenix Karaka had a similar output, pulling off three intercepts in the first match while Emily Burgess combined for three intercepts across the two games. Also impressive was the explosive defensive unit of the Tactix, with the side running out victors thanks to the efforts of Temalisi Fakahokotau (three intercepts, six gains), Jane Watson (two intercepts from five gains) and Charlotte Elley (two intercepts).

Magic’s Holly Fowler racked up five gains and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit was also solid with six evenly spread across her two matches, while Taneisha Fifita well and truly led the penalty tally this round with 32 and four gains across the two games.

Down the other end, Maia Wilson led the way in singular games thanks to a phenomenal 37-goal output at 88 per cent accuracy, while Grace Nweke was similarly dominant across her two matches, shooting 63 goals from 73 attempts. Jennifer O’Connell had a much better week, scoring 60 goals at 88 per cent accuracy in her back-to-back matches, while Ellie Bird was solid once more with 33 goals.

For Magic, Kelsey McPhee (21 from 26) and Abigail Latu-Meafou (15 from 21) shared the load while Ameliaranne Ekenasio led the tally for goal attacks, shooting 21 from 24 and spending some time in goal shooter towards the end of the match, while Kalifa McCollin was slightly down on her output and accuracy this week but across her two games still managed 26 goals from her 35 attempts. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was not quite as dominant to post with 12 from 19 but made up for it with her 17 centre pass receives, doing a wealth of work out the front.

Through the midcourt, dual match players in Peta Toeava (39 assists across both games) and Steel’s Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders (33 assists apiece) dominated the stats sheet, while Mila Reuelu Buchanan stepped up to dominate the individual match stats with 20 assists against the Steel. Reuelu Buchanan was closely followed by Claire Kersten (18 assists) and Erikana Pedersen (17 assists) while Whitney Souness put out an impressive well-rounded performance with 17 goal assists and two intercepts.



>> Mainland Tactix (45) defeated WBOP Magic (36) 

>> Northern Mystics (46) defeated Southern Steel (42)

>> Northern Stars (47) defeated by Southern Steel (49)

>> Central Pulse (42) defeated Northern Mystics (35)

ANZ Premiership: Round 3 – Pulse hold off a determined Mystics outfit

IN a battle of the undefeated teams it was the reigning premiers that came out on top in what was an intense and highly defensive battle to finish the third round of the ANZ Premiership. Neither the Pulse or Mystics were willing to give an inch and despite it being their second game of the round the Mystics did not seem fazed coming out strong and sticking to their structures but ultimately the Pulse had all the answers able to combat everything thrown at them. The lead chopped and changed throughout the game before the Pulse pulled away in the final term to run away with a seven goal victory (42-35) and keep their perfect record intact. 

The opening term started with a bang with both sides feeling each other out. With the centre pass in hand, the Pulse hit the scoreboard first and converted off a turnover to nail two goals in a row despite the immense pressure from the Mystics. The Mystics made it hard in defence for the Pulse, clogging up the space and making Pulse flick the ball around. It was a scrappy couple of minutes from both teams with a lot of turnover ball before the Pulse started to settle in. Youngster Maddy Gordon continued her hot form from last round, lighting up the court with her speed and deceptive pressure while Aliyah Dunn showcased her strength with her solid positioning on the rebound and ability to find good space in the circle. The Mystics were costly in attack giving away a couple of offensive penalties allowing the Pulse to go on a mini goal scoring spree and open up a four goal buffer with seven minutes left in the quarter. Kelly Jury made Grace Nweke work for every ball before the Mystics goal shooter started to find her groove in attack and hold more of a commanding position. Pulse, goal defence Katrina Rore showcased her class taking a screaming intercept through the midcourt followed with a quick transition down the court and easy conversion under the post. The Pulse kept the pressure up going on another three goal run at the four minute mark while Nweke kept getting caught on the body and getting pinned for penalties. But she quickly changed up her game play sparking the Mystics in attack and prompting a flurry of goals to reduce the margin to two heading into the break. 

Much like the first, the second was filled with intensity and excitement, however it was the Mystics that seemed to have the upper hand. Peta Toeava found Nweke with ease under the post, constantly delivering the ball to her on a silver platter. Disregarding the height difference between Toeava and Karin Burger, the wing attack had a field day, turning Burger inside out with her speed off the mark and unstoppable connection with Nweke. In defence the Mystics applied a wealth of pressure with Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka shutting down every single option making the Pulse work for absolutely everything. With nine minutes remaining in the quarter, scores were tied up with the Mystics looking much more composed with ball in hand so much so they went on a three goal running spree to snatch the lead for the first time this match. Nweke was doing all the damage for the Mystics with Asher Grapes only managing the one goal for the game while the Pulse goalers struggled for accuracy. Sloppiness continued for the Pulse with Gordon breaking the centre pass and the Mystics applying a wealth of pressure only limiting the reigning premiers to two goals up until the 5 minute mark. With less than two minutes to go the Pulse kicked it up a gear inspired by captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Dunn stringing four goals together and clenching a one goal lead. 

The half time break did not slow either side down but brought plenty of changes. A slow start from Grapes saw Saviour Tui come on at goal attack for the Mystics while moments later Tiana Metuarau pulled on the wing attack bib for the Pulse. It was goal for goal for most of the quarter with neither side willing to give up possession before the Mystics defence prevailed forcing a turnover. It did not take long for the Pulse to return serve with Jury and Rore working in overdrive to claim a huge rebound. Toeava seemed to have the ball on a string able to deliver to Nweke with ease while for the Pulse Claire Kersten kicked it up a gear, linking well with Ekenasio in the attacking third. After being level pegging for the opening couple of minutes the Mystics took the lead capitalizing off the back of a turnover sparked by Fitzpatrick while Jury kept getting pinned for contact thanks to Nweke being so strong on the hold. With the Pulse struggling to generate turnover ball in defence and hit the scoreboard, Dunn went to the bench pushing Ekenasio to goal shooter while Metuarau moved into her preferred position of goal attack. The change up seemed to be the spark the Pulse needed with Ekenasio upping the ante in attack and Metuarau good on the shot. After a quiet start, Burger leapt into action taking an important intercept to swing momentum back to Pulse, helping her side to three consecutive goals with Metuarau nailing a shot on the buzzer. 

With the final 12 minutes of the game underway the Pulse unleashed, proving why they are still the team to beat. A turnover from the Mystics gifted the Pulse with an opportunity to bounce and that they did. Pulse were not afraid to go back and reset the play instead working the ball around to find an opening. The Mystics lost their way with Nweke giving away another offensive penalty while the Pulse kicked it up a gear to really pull away and cement their spot as top dog. It was a physical encounter with bodies flying everywhere, Gordon hit the deck midway through the quarter but immediately bounced back up. Ekenasio was as cool as they come under the post for the Pulse, dictating the play and sinking them from here, there and everywhere to push her side out to a solid lead. 

It was an accurate display of shooting with Dunn finishing the game with 12 from 14 before heading to the bench while Nweke also flexed her muscles under the post sitting at 85 per cent thanks to her 28 from 33 attempts. The real difference came from the goal attack output with Ekenasio a strong target under the post and converting 21 from 24 while Mystics youngster Tui struggled to generate a lot of scoring opportunities with six from seven. Fitzpatrick was key in defence with two gains, four deflections and two rebounds while Burger managed three intercepts and three gains.




CENTRAL PULSE 10 | 8 | 12 | 12 (42)
NORTHERN MYSTICS 8 | 9 | 11 | 7 (35)


Central Pulse:

GS: Aliyah Dunn
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA: Maddy Gordon
C: Claire Kersten
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Kelly Jury

Northern Mystics:

GS: Grace Nweke
GA: Asher Grapes
WA: Peta Toeava
C: Tayla Earle
WD: Emily Burgess
GD: Phoenix Karaka
GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick

ANZ Premiership: Round 3 – Mystics maintain their winning streak in third round clash

IN a fairly predictable result for both teams, the Mystics remained unbeaten in Season 2020 while the Steel are still on the hunt for their first win of the year. Steel came in carrying the weight of a string of difficult losses and never quite managed to shake off that burden. In contrast, the Mystics, with their young and fiery shooting line-up, produced a full-court performance led by experienced defensive duo captain Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick, setting themselves up nicely for some tough tests coming up.

The Mystics were brimming with confidence at the start of the game and despite being without Bailey Mes they have proven their worth in the competition so far and earned a decent reputation. The tall timber of Grace Nweke is such an asset for them, and she came into the game fresh after shooting 41 from 45 last week. Tayla Earle was up against the experienced World Cup Champion Shannon Saunders, who has over one hundred more national league appearances than the youngster.

The Steel got off to a shaky start and it seemed that Jennifer O’Connell lacked confidence in the shooting circle, which had a ripple effect on the team. A couple of early turnovers gave the Mystics the edge, and the defensive pressure from Karaka and Fitzpatrick set the tone for the game. Kalifa McCollin played excellently in the goal attack position but needed O’Connell to create a stronger target in order to build flow and connections in the attack end. In contrast, the Mystics were fearless in attack, with Peta Toeava’s rapid speed and vision into Nweke giving them the upper hand early.

A couple of turnovers later, the Steel were still struggling to find each other and the Mystics used this to their advantage with their rock-solid defence scooping up plenty of ball. Steel managed to gather momentum towards the second half of the quarter and capitalised on a couple of Mystics errors to go on a five goal run. This comeback showed they had really warmed into the game and they started finding space and options in the middle channel. Mystics let go of a healthy lead allowing the Steel to creep back in with the quarter ending at 13-12 to the Northern side.

In the second quarter, Georgia Heffernan replaced McCollin – a bizarre change considering McCollin had been running the show in the Steel attack end. Fitzpatrick took advantage of a couple of sloppy feeds, and the Mystics went on a run, taking the score out to 17-14. Then the momentum swung, and with O’Connell growing in confidence at the post the Steel somehow managed to get back level, partly due to fantastic hustle from wing defence Kate Heffernan.

For the Mystics, Asher Grapes was having trouble finding a good shooting position and was not able to draw the defenders away from Nweke. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita realised Grapes was hesitant to go to post and started to double back on Nweke. This prompted coach Helene Wilson, assisted by Dame Noeline Taurua for this game, to swap in Saviour Tui to provide a different look for the attack end. This had an immediate impact and combined with two timely intercepts from Karaka, gave the Mystics a well-needed lift. There was a turning point in the game, taking the Mystics into half time with a four goal lead.

Steel went into the locker room with just one intercept to the Mystic’s six and were only shooting at 74 per cent. The Mystics were putting on a full-court defensive display, and Emily Burgess was doing an excellent job at keeping Gina Crampton away from good feeding position. Consistency was lacking in places for both teams, and the Steel, in particular, appeared to lose focus at points during the first half.

With McCollin back on at goal attack, the third quarter started well for the Steel, but their rebounding let them down and the Mystics extended to a six-goal lead. Bringing on the youngster Tui was doing wonders for the Mystics attack, and Selby-Rickit was being kept unusually quiet. Tui made a huge difference, as there were now two threatening options in the goal circle for the Steel defenders to choose between. Something was still not quite clicking in the Steel attack end and two held balls on O’Connell’s shot meant the Mystics pulled ahead. The Steel looked a little frustrated and were almost trying too hard. They lacked the composure and the leadership of the Mystics side and this began to show in the scoreline, with the Steel trailing 29–37 at the end of the third quarter.

The Steel came out all guns blazing for the final quarter, with an urgency and intensity that gave fans a sliver of hope they were making a comeback. Through sheer force of will, they pulled it back to within three with eight minutes remaining. This heaped pressure on the young Mystics shooters, but they managed to dig deep and ride the wave, making use of the well-trodden route over the top to Nweke. Unfortunately towards the second half of the quarter the play started to lose fluidity and became scrappy. Mystics were rushing it, possibly already thinking ahead to their next match. The final score of 46 – 42 was a testament to the Steel’s hard work in the final quarter, and they were fortunate to come away with a bonus point. Overall the Steel showed patches of promise but were inconsistent and struggled to make it click. The Mystics gave a standout defensive performance and have found confidence in the young shooting duo of Nweke and Tui.

The Mystics managed to secure 10 rebounds to the Steel’s five, a surprising stat considering they both had the same number of attempts at the post. Low shooting percentage (76 per cent), as well as a high penalty count (51), tells the tale of the game for the Steel. While the Mystics managed the win, they still gave away 19 turnovers, something they will certainly want to improve before their next game.

The Steel will have to pick themselves up again for their second game of the weekend against the Stars, while the Mystics will look forward to an exciting test against the Pulse on Monday.




NORTHERN MYSTICS 13 | 11 | 13 | 9 (46)
SOUTHERN STEEL 12 | 8 | 9 | 13 (42)



GS: Grace Nweke
GA: Asher Grapes
WA: Peta Toeava
C: Tayla Earle
WD: Emily Burgess
GD: Phoenix Karaka
GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick


GS: Jennifer O’Connell
GA: Kalifa McCollin
WA: Gina Crampton
C: Shannon Saunders
WD: Kate Heffernan
GD: Te Huinga Selby-Rickit
GK: Taneisha Fifita

ANL Review: Round 2

IN Round 2 of the Australian Netball League (ANL) the Tasmanian Magpies and Victorian Fury continued their undefeated start to the season. Meanwhile the GIANTS slumped to the bottom of the ladder unable to record a win.

Netball NSW Waratahs (55) defeated Western Sting (49)

It was a relatively even start with both sides contesting hard for the ball. The NSW Waratahs edged ahead at quarter time to hold a two-goal lead until the Sting fought back in the second term winning a few crucial turnovers and squaring all things up at half time. But that is where it stopped for Sting who were unable to maintain that intensity conceding 31 goals in the second half. Matisse Letherbarrow was superb under the ring showcasing her hot hand with a whopping 36 goals from 40 attempts at 90 percent, fellow goaler Alison Miller also found her range sitting at 100 percent from her eight shots. Abbey McCulloch was solid in wing defence tagging her opposition well and applying good hands over pressure. For the Western Sting Emma Cosh and Sloan Burton had their work cut out for them but made sure that they stayed calm and composed under pressure to take the shots when in range. Goal defence Sunday Aryang also showcased her solid defensive work particularly in the air with her leap.

Territory Storm (46) defeated by Queensland Fusion (65)

The Queensland Fusion seemed to have the ball on a string against the Storm who had no answers for their quick ball movement and precision down the court. Fusion led at every break and maintained their pressure throughout the four quarters to ensure that they got the win. The rotations through the shooting circle did not seem to bother the Fusion with Rylie Holland dominating under the post with 37 goals from 41 attempts at a whopping 91 percent. Mia Stower was also handy around the goals with 14 from 17 while Alexia Baker also slotted five goals in the win. For the Storm Lucinda Benjamin and Binnian Hunt combined well in the goal circle, creating space for one another and setting good screens but it was not enough to get them over the line. Benjamin led the way with 25 goals but her conversion rate was low only sitting at 68 percent.

Southern Force (37) defeated by Victorian Fury (63)

It was neck and neck to start with neither side able to be separated at quarter time with 12 goals apiece. But the Fury pushed ahead after quarter time piling on 19 goals in the second term alone and did not look back outplaying the Force as the game went on. Emma Ryde was prolific under the post holding her space well and using her height to full advantage with 47 goals from 56 attempts. Mikaela Vaughan was solid in at goal attack working hard to feed the ball into the circle and then sweep across the goal circle to contribute to the scoreboard with 14 goals. Jacqueline Newton and Rudi Ellis were solid in defence with their hands over pressure and physicality. The Southern Force on the other hand could not contain the offensive pressure of the Fury making a host of changes throughout the game with Jordan Vivien, Chelsea Blackman and Emily Burgess all working hard. In the goal circle Cody Lange was unable to find her range only managing 11 goals from her 21 shots, while Nyah Allen was the top scorer with 14 goals.

Canberra GIANTS (52) defeated by Tasmanian Magpies (60)

The Magpies led from the get go and worked tirelessly to treasure possession across the court. They gradually extended their winning margin at each quarter to run away eight point winners. The Magpies were led in attack by Jane Cook who was prolific under the post putting up 42 shots at 92 percent. In the first half of netball alone Cook posted 24 goals to push her sides lead out while Samantha Gooden was also solid under the post chipping in with 15 goals. Through the midcourt Vanessa Augustini was pivotal opening up the court and fighting hard to secure good feeding position. In defence for the Waratahs Teigan O’Shannassy was instrumental contesting every ball while Toni Anderson showed her versatility moving between wing defence and goal defence. Goal shooter Georgia Marshall was the go to girl in attack for the Waratahs finding good space and using her clever footwork to be a threat in the goal circle sitting at 37 from 41 at 91 percent.

Territory Storm (51) defeated by Queensland Fusion (60)

It was another tight game between the two sides but in the end, it was the Queensland Fusion who came away with another nine goal win against the Storm. It was relatively even at quarter time but the Fusion added on 15 goals in the second term to head into the half time break up by 10 goals and continued that form for the rest of the match. Wing attack and part time shooter Alexia Baker found good space on the goal circle but failed to find the net. Holland continued her hot form under the post with 32 from 35 at 92 percent. Defensively Shenae Grant, Bridey Condren and Leah Middleton all played their role applying hands over pressure and confusing the space for their opposition. Storm goaler, Benjamin found her range with 34 goals with wing attacks Stephanie O’Brien and Courtney Murphy letting go of bullet passes into her.

Southern Force (50) defeated by Victorian Fury (51)

After a blowout in the first game of the round the Southern Force came out with a real fire in the belly. They lead at all the breaks but were unable to hang on in the dying minutes with the Fury fighting hard to remain undefeated. Their connections down the court were on song creating good space for one another and capitalising in the goal circle sitting at 89 percent compared to the Fury’s 77. Asha Thurlow and Lucy Austin were impressive in attack putting up goal after goal and were not afraid to turn and shoot. Thurlow recorded 27 goals, while Austin added 20. Ine-Mari Venter was the standout shooter for the Fury swapping between goal shooter and goal attack and using her good footwork, clever read of the play and accuracy to dice up her opposition nailing 30 of her 39 attempts. Ryde was down on her usual volume but still played her role while she was on the court. Lara Dunkley was clever with ball in hand and used her vision and speed to get into damaging feeding positions.

Canberra GIANTS (57) defeated by Tasmanian Magpies (75)

It was a tight tussle with the GIANTS and Magpies going toe to toe for the first three quarters until the Tasmanian Magpies put on a masterclass across the court with their precise ball movement and accuracy to post in the last term. They piled on a whopping 21 goals to 10 in the last quarter out running and outplaying the GIANTS who were gallant in defeat. Once again Cook starred in the goal circle only missing two goals for the entire match both of which came in the third term finishing at 97 percent with 59 goals. Magpies defenders, Brooke Allen and Karli Foster stepped it up in the last term applying pressure over the shot and going out hunting to create turnover ball. GIANTS goalers Angelina Frketic and Marshall combined well in the circle and held up strong for the first three quarters driving hard and turning and shooting with Marshall leading the way with 36 from 41 but it was not enough. The ball placement from Eliza Burton and Latika Tombs was good, making clever decisions on when to let the ball go but were unable to carry that form over into the final term of the game.

Netball NSW Waratahs (68) defeated Western Sting (40)

The Waratahs increased their lead at every change and put on a dominant performance from the first whistle. In the second quarter alone the Waratahs piled on 19 goals and did not look back applying strong defensive and offensive pressure across the ground. Sophie Garbin was phenomenal in the goal circle with her accuracy second to none with a whopping 40 goals, shouldering the load for the Waratahs. Youngster, Letherbarrow also contributed to the scoreboard with nine goals. Elle Bennetts and Tayla Fraser were clever with ball in hand to shake off their opponents and then hit the circle edge to feed into the Waratahs shooters. Swifts players Maddy Turner and Lauren Moore were impressive down in defence applying strong hands over pressure and contesting every ball to nullify the influence of Sting goalers Alice Teague-Neeld who only managed six goals from her 10 attempts for the game. Georgia Pitt showed great composure under the post with 22 goals leading the way for Sting with her intent to turn and shoot.