Tag: emma ryde

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.


#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)

Lightning storm home to claim minor premiership

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

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

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

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

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


Sunshine Coast Lightning:

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

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

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

SSN Round 14 Preview – Final round to determine minor premier

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

GIANTS Netball v. West Coast Fever

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

NSW Swifts v. Queensland Firebirds

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

Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Adelaide Thunderbirds

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

Collingwood Magpies v. Melbourne Vixens

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

Emma Ryde Casey Demons 2019

Emma Ryde’s wild journey

IT has been a massive year for goal shooter Emma Ryde, who has found herself returning to netball in 2019 and providing a massive target in the goal circle for every team she has taken the court with. While a relatively well known name in the netball community thanks to her stature in the circle and accuracy to post, Ryde is still only 22 years old and has plenty to prove in her netball career – and though it is still only August, Ryde says it has been a big year after taking a break from high performance leagues with injury in 2018.

“It has definitely been a crazy year. I definitely didn’t think that I would be playing Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) this year at all so that’s been one crazy thing. I was even contemplating whether I was going to play Australian Netball League (ANL). Things have definitely gone not the way I would have thought but it has been a pretty awesome journey and I have enjoyed every minute of it.”

While injury threw a spanner in the works last year, Ryde says taking opportunities in 2019 has been a real focus while also keeping on top of post-match recovery to ensure she can continue her reign in goal shooter.

“Last year I was injured and this year I kind of wanted to maybe focus on the one team and have a really good solid season at Victorian Netball League (VNL) with the Casey Demons … hopefully make a grand final and just focus on that one thing. But I am definitely glad now that I chose to take all of my opportunities,” Ryde said. “I think having all of last year off really put me in – I don’t want to say good stead because it was really crap getting injured – but it really has been kind of a blessing in disguise, you could say.”

“This year I have really focused on getting everything right, like recovery outside of netball. When I need a break I ask for a break, I am trying my best to do all the things outside to help recovery.”

Ryde honed her craft in the Victorian netball pathways as a junior and has continued to do so in 2019. An ANL premiership appearance for Victorian Fury saw Ryde showcase her ability to shoot her team to glory, while also juggling a starting position for Casey Demons in the VNL in its inaugural season – with another grand final appearance against Geelong Cougars last week.

While Casey lost in their inaugural grand final appearance, Fury got a big win on the board, coming from behind against NSW Waratahs.

“I think all the girls were quite nervous but once we got on court we knew what we had to do and got the job done. So it was really exciting and I hadn’t won a grand final in a while so I really, really loved the experience. It was great to be a part of that team together.”

The 1.97m goal shooter has impressed in her comeback to netball in 2019, earning a Most Valuable Player award for her efforts in the ANL and shooting 46 goals from 53 attempts in the grand final alone.

“I obviously didn’t think that I would win the MVP. I think there were some games where I thought I played quite well but there were other games where I was like ‘that was a bit of a shocking game’. I think it helps that I had such an awesome team around me, the girls just kept working and working to get me the ball,” Ryde said.

“It’s credit to the team for getting me the ball but I really enjoyed the season with the girls. I think that, that also made me enjoy playing netball again, so it was a great opportunity to play ANL.”

Among these achievements, Ryde has recently worked her way back into the Suncorp Super Netball as a replacement player, albeit in a non-Victorian team, taking the court for Adelaide Thunderbirds.

“I’m loving every minute of it. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity that I have been given and I think that I have grabbed it with both hands and made the best of the chances that I’ve got,” she said. “The girls have been great, I have been so welcomed into the group and everyone has been really great. Obviously being able to work with Maria Folau – she just has a wealth of knowledge and helped me easily join the team.”

While Ryde is familiar with the level of competition after taking the court with Melbourne Vixens on occasion over the past few years, she said it was good having some familiar faces at the Thunderbirds in her first opportunity interstate, especially with the leap in intensity.

“Each level you go up the intensity just goes up a notch. VNL maybe you train once a week to twice a week. Then you go to ANL and you’re training three times a week and then you go to SSN and you’re training four to five times a week. So they are all quite different in the training loads but the higher you go the intensity is definitely on another level,” Ryde said.

“Tania (Obst, Head Coach of Adelaide Thunderbirds) was my Under 21s coach. It’s been good that I know people there and am not going in by myself. The environment has been really welcoming and I have really enjoyed being with the team.”

Ryde suffered a hyperextension of the knee in Round 13 of SSN against the GIANTS and while 2019 has seen her only come in as a replacement player since the Netball World Cup break, she hopes her efforts this season has helped her chances for making it as a regular next season.

“Hopefully this year I kind of put myself out there again and proved to some people that I’m capable to come up against Australia’s and all around the world’s best defenders. So I’ve got my fingers crossed.”

“I played Collingwood … playing against Geva (Mentor). Geva is just the ultimate competitor and she’s just awesome, I think she is someone who is really hard to play against. It was a good tussle and there was a lot to learn playing against her and playing against anyone. So yeah Geva is quite the defender. I just think her work rate, her ethic, the way she goes about her netball game is just awesome.”

Over the past 18 months Ryde has combined her passion for netball with a matter close to home, taking on an assistant coaching role with the Victorian All Abilities program.

“It’s awesome. I never saw myself much as a coach but I have a sister with a disability and that kind of hits close to home. I got asked last year if I wanted to get involved and I put an application in, I couldn’t resist,” Ryde said.

“Last year I got the opportunity to be the assistant coach and again this year I’ve been given the opportunity and it’s awesome and I love it. All the girls are awesome to be around, they all just want to be there and that’s the main thing, they just want to be there and have fun and get out there and play netball.”

All Abilities netball programs are still growing around Australia, but Ryde says Netball Victoria have been great in trying to elevate the Victorian program to be a more high performance environment.

“I guess that’s what they wanted my input to be in the team, because I have been in a high elite netball environment. We train once every fortnight and then we will have a full on two hour hard intense training session,” she said. “I think they are really trying to push to get more people involved and get the word out there about the All Abilities program.”

While Ryde has had an impressive year both on and off the court, she says she still has elements of her game she would like to improve on.

“A definite strength is obviously my height – leaping and a good arm, strong target. Obviously being tall and always being an option in the goal ring to turn and shoot the goals, she said.

“I guess my weakness is my confidence sometimes. You can tell when I’m confident and when I’m not confident, I’ll take a longer shot if I’m feeling confident but if I don’t shoot a longer shot that’s when you know I’m off and my confidence must be down. So yeah I’ve got to believe in myself all the time and just getting that confidence all the time.”

Casey Demons’ pathway to finals

Victorian Netball League Awards

WITH the Victorian Netball League (VNL) season officially over there were plenty of award winners across all three divisions, along with a Team of the Year announced for the 19 and Under, Division One and Championship leagues.

19 and Under

Jasmine Mackie claimed the 19 and Under Hot Shot award for her efforts throughout the season. Mackie left her mark on the competition with her scoring ability on full display for the Peninsula Waves while Ellen Doyle took home the MVP for the same age group. Doyle was instrumental in the Geelong Cougars line-up with her accuracy to post and slick movement in the circle while her versatility across the court also impressed. She switched between defence and attack seamlessly, bringing down errant passes and propelling the ball back down the court. both Doyle and Mackie made their way into the Team of the Year credit to their impressive form and skill across the court.

19&U Team of the Year:

Ellen Doyle-Geelong Cougars
Jasmine Mackie- Peninsula Waves
Georgia Moody- Southern Saints
Daisy O’Kane-City West Falcons

Emma Allman- Boroondara Express
Keara Fitzgerald- North East Blaze
Sienna Kelly- Peninsula Waves
Emma Walters- City West Falcons

Ashlee Barnett- Peninsula Waves
Anna Donnelly- Southern Saints
Melissa Oloamanu- City West Falcons
Sophie Shoebridge- Geelong Cougars

Division 1

After a dominant first season in the VNL, Abigail Gedge claimed the Division One Hot Shot Award. She finished the season with a whopping 564 goals at 88 per cent and was a lynchpin in North-East Blaze’s attack end, holding strong and backing herself to post. Boroondara Express midcourter Maddy Wallmeyer won the MVP award for her impressive skill and dynamic movement across the court. She proved to be an integral player for Express throughout their finals campaign with her ability to hit the circle edge with pace and precision while delivering pinpoint passes into the goalers. They were among 12 players named in the Division One Team of the Year.

Division One Team of the Year:

Ruby Barkmeyer- Boroondara Express
Georgie Cuthbertson- Geelong Cougars
Abigail Gedge- North East Blaze
Daisy Hill- Hawks Netball

Samantha Coppinger- North East Blaze
Jasmine Ferguson- Hawks Netball
Georgia Finn- Geelong Cougars
Maddy Wallmeyer- Boroondara Express

Laura Giles- Geelong Cougars
Nakita Singe- North East Blaze
Tegan Stephenson- Boroondara Express
Ruby Tidd- North East Blaze


Libby Nicol notched up her third consecutive Hot Shot award, steering the ship for North East Blaze with her ability to control the tempo of the game in the attacking third. She was the key for Blaze in attack with her dynamic movement, strength, volume and sheer accuracy backing herself time and time again. She finished with a staggering 835 goals at 90 per cent highlighting her skill and rhythm in the goal circle. After an impressive finals performance and stellar 2019 season Julia Woolley was named the Championship MVP to cap off an already successful year. Woolley won the grand final with the Geelong Cougars showcasing her experience, skill and class both under the post and across the court.

Championship Team of the Year:

Libby Nicol- North East Blaze
Julia Woolley- Geelong Cougars
Emma Ryde- Casey Demons
Tahnysha Salanoa- City West Falcons

Molly Jovic- City West Falcons
Maggie Lind- City West Falcons
Elle McDonald-North East Blaze
Kaitlyn Sheringham- Geelong Cougars

Brooke Allan-Geelong Cougars
Kaitlyn Black- North East Blaze
Stephanie McNay- Southern Saints
Jacqui Newton- City West Falcons

Injury rate rises as fight for finals intensifies

AFTER a blockbuster Round 13 of netball there has been plenty of intrigue and upset with a host of players going down with injuries. In fact, there are only two teams that have not been affected by injury throughout the season with the GIANTS and Sunshine Coast Lightning maintaining a relatively stable line-up. Collingwood Magpies confirmed speedster Kelsey Browne has done her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) after starting goal shooter Sasha Glasgow‘s fall seemed unassuming but has also been confirmed as an ACL. Results regarding fellow Thunderbirds shooter Emma Ryde are still unconfirmed.


There have been a multitude of severe injuries this season with Glasgow’s ACL the sixth of its kind since the beginning of 2019, sparking plenty of debate amongst the netball community about the workload of athletes as well as court surfaces. In Round 3 English international Beth Cobden also suffered a season ending ACL injury shedding a light on the extreme physical nature of the game. Browne will join sister and fellow midcourter, Madi Browne who tore her ACL earlier in the year during the pre-season Team Girls Cup. Queensland Firebirds midcourter Mahalia Cassidy was struck down with an ACL in Round 5 while Swifts captain Maddy Proud‘s season similarly came to a devastating halt after rupturing her ACL in Round 7.

While ACL injuries have been the big talking point of the season, there has been no shortage of short-term injuries throughout the 2019 season with Helen Housby and Natalie Haythornthwaite both spending time on the bench due to niggles. Meanwhile teammate Kate Eddy has been ruled out for the rest of the season following ligament damage to her ankle, forcing the Swifts to make a host of changes to their squad.

West Coast Fever have gone through relatively unscathed but have felt the pinch at times with captain Courtney Bruce missing the first few games with an arm injury after falling heavily in the opening round and now ruled out of the final round with scans revealing a small pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Meanwhile Jamaican shooting machine Jhaniele Fowler also found herself on the sideline with injury but fortunately made a quick recovery. Makeshift goal attack Kaylia Stanton was also been forced to the bench for a few rounds with the Fever missing her drive and accuracy to the post. Despite injuries to South African shooter Ine-Mari Venter pre-World Cup and young gun Tayla Honey during the preseason, the Vixens have remained relatively settled with the nine other players staying fit, helping them to build some good momentum.

Adelaide have arguably been hit the hardest with Cobden going down early while co-captain Layla Guscoth followed suit during the World Cup, rupturing her Achilles. While Ryde is uncertain to play again this season despite no announcement as yet, Glasgow’s ACL ultimately rules her out for a larger portion of next season. Meanwhile, the Queensland Firebirds have had a heavily disrupted season with youngsters Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner sustaining injuries throughout the course of the season. Lynchpin Romelda Aiken also missed games due to bone stress on her tibia while Tippah Dwan failed to play a game due to a foot injury after being elevated to Firebirds squad.

Both the GIANTS and Lightning have escaped relatively unscathed in season 2019 with neither side forced to bring in replacement players so far.

Finals are go for GIANTS after defeating Thunderbirds

IT was a highly physical encounter with plenty of players hitting the deck for both the GIANTS and Thunderbirds but in the end the GIANTS prevailed by 14 goals (54-40). The game was not without plenty of controversy and injuries with both Sasha Glasgow and Emma Ryde going down with knee injuries while Shamera Sterling was handed a caution.

With a spot in the top four up for grabs, the GIANTS came to play quickly surging ahead thanks to a 17 to seven first quarter. Shooters Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett found their feet with both goalers combining well in the circle and setting up clever plays for one another however they struggled for accuracy with a combined percentage of 71. Harten did a wealth of work out the front creating plenty of front space for her shooting partner while also showcasing her ability to turn and shoot herself. Despite the repeat entries Sterling stood up down in defence injecting herself into the game with three intercepts, three gains and two deflections. GIANTS centre, Jamie-Lee Price seemed to have the ball on a string throughout the quarter finding good space in the attacking third while running hard in defence to apply strong hands over pressure and block easy avenue to goal for the Thunderbirds. The GIANTS really hit their straps early with their connections across the court on song and unfazed by the physical nature of the game. With only seconds left in the quarter Glasgow went down with a suspected knee injury after landing awkwardly sending shock waves throughout the Thunderbirds camp but continued to play.

The Thunderbirds lifted their intensity in the second quarter but were still searching for a spark. South African, Shadine Van der Merwe made her way onto the court in goal defence and made an immediate impact for the Thunderbirds winning back some ball and helping to propel it back down the court. With Glasgow injured Ryde took the court using her height and strong holds to command the ball under the post against both Sam Poolman and Kristiana Manu’a. Ryde highlighted her ability to turn and shoot with confidence nailing 10 goals straight while Maria Folau worked tirelessly out the front to draw the attention of Manu’a and create a one on one in the circle. The battle between Maisie Nankivell and veteran Kim Green provided plenty of interest with both players going toe to toe throughout the quarter. Nankivell shadowed Green’s every movement and applied strong hands over pressure to limit her influence in the attacking third however Green was not bothered racking up five goal assists.

After a disappointing start to the game the Thunderbirds showed some fight to draw even on the quarter scores with 10 goals apiece. The Jamaican goal keeper put on a masterclass in defence credit to her long reach, incredible aerial skills and read of the play racking up another five gains, three intercepts, three deflections and two rebounds. The GIANTS brought on youngster Kiera Austin with the wing attack stepping up to the plate immediately with her clever feeds and good vision while also putting in the hard yards defensively with one deflection and one pickup. Amy Parmenter took control in the defensive third with three gains, one intercept and two deflections displaying her ability to apply strong pressure, force turnovers and limit easy access to goals. With the T’birds attack end connecting well they were struck by injury once again with Ryde going down late in the quarter with another suspected knee injury. With two players out Adelaide were forced to make some wholesale changes with Chelsea Pitman dropping into goal attack, Hannah Petty into wing attack and Kelly Altmann coming on in centre. Though Pitman did not hit the scoreboard her work to feed the ball into Folau and create space in the goal circle was second to none.

The GIANTS regained control after a relatively even third term to run out with another bonus point. With effectively one shooter, Folau proved that accuracy was no problem piling on 12 goals from 14 attempts well and truly carrying the load in attack. The Silver Ferns shooter nailed 18 from 22 at 82 per cent while Ryde was going along nicely with 18 from 19 before injury struck. Altmann and Petty paired nicely through the midcourt but the GIANTS were just too good closing down every option and capitalising on turnover ball. Bassett finished with 32 from 38 attempts at 84 per cent while Harten slotted 22 from 28 at 79 per cent both down on their seasons average accuracy. Sterling broke the record for the number of intercepts with an impressive 10 for the game surpassing Emily Mannix’s nine earlier in the season.


Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS | Sasha Glasgow
GA | Maria Folau
WA | Chelsea Pitman
C | Hannah Petty
WD | Maisie Nankivell
GD | Kate Shimmin
GK | Shamera Sterling

GIANTS Netball:

GS | Caitlin Bassett
GA | Jo Harten
WA | Kim Green
C | Jamie-Lee Price
WD | Amy Parmenter
GD | Kristiana Manu’a
GK | Sam Poolman

Player Focus: VNL Grand Final

THE grand final of the 2019 Victorian Netball League brought plenty of excitement with the Geelong Cougars defeating Casey Demons for their inaugural VNL Championship title. We attended the match and took notes on one player from each side, analysing their impact on the match.

Brooke Allan (Geelong Cougars)

The goalkeeper had no easy opposition in the goal circle, but despite a significant height difference lining up on Casey’s Emma Ryde, Allan took every opportunity to make Casey pay for any wayward feeds. Her aerial ability was second to none, attacking the hands to cause turnovers and making it tough for the Demons to enter the goal circle. Allan’s composure in the contest found her with plenty of ball despite her highly experienced opposition in Ryde and Erin Bell, while her ability to read the game saw her create plenty of opportunities to reset play and send the ball back down to attack. Allan took a number of key intercepts throughout the match to turn the tides, but came out flying in the third as the Cougars extended their lead to 16 goals, crowding Casey’s attack and forcing errors with a solid defensive effort spoiling the party for the Demons. She applied plenty of hands over pressure while her never say die attitude was a real feature of her game willing herself to each and every contest throughout the match.

Shannon Blackman (Casey Demons)

The versatile midcourter has had a breakout season in 2019, capping off her effort with a dominant performance in the grand final and showcasing her ability to be that key cog through the midcourt for Casey. Despite the loss, Blackman exhibited some real game smarts with her impeccable drives to the pocket in attack. She found plenty of elevation to ensure clean hands to ball and fed well into the likes of Bell and Ryde in the circle time and time again. Blackman started in centre driving the ball downcourt before a short three minute stint in wing attack to start the second, though the side then seemed to lack the defensive pressure around the circle she had applied early credit to her read of the play and quick footwork. Blackman finally found herself in wing defence for majority of the second half and was put to good use providing a strong option transitioning back through the midcourt and using her game smarts to disrupt the strong drives of Cougars wing attack, Vanessa Augustini.

Victorian Netball League: Geelong Cougars claim their inaugural Championship title

WITH both teams fighting for their first premiership it was the Geelong Cougars that broke their hoodoo with a 14-goal victory over the Casey Demons (69-55). In their inaugural season the Casey Demons well and truly showcased that they have the skill and intent to put on a show but simply could not match the Cougars. After heartbreak last year falling to the City West Falcons, Geelong came out with a vengeance and took complete ownership in the third quarter piling on a whopping 22 goals to nine to all but secure the win. Geelong Cougars announced themselves as fierce contenders early in the finals campaign and did not look back going from strength to strength.

It was a see-sawing affair in the first quarter with the Cougars pushing out to an early lead before the Demons fought back to go into quarter time with a two goal lead. Cougars goal shooter, Ruby Horton slotted the first goal of the game and maintained that composure and accuracy throughout the quarter only missing one shot with nine goals from 10 attempts. With both sides neck and neck a huge effort in the dying seconds of the game from Karli Foster saw Casey claim possession and stream down the court credit to her clever and athletic block on the shot. The Cougars were doing everything in defence setting up clever zones to try and force turnovers and create easy pickings to stop the easy access into the goal circle but it was not enough with Erin Bell and Emma Ryde owning the circle.

Down by two goals at quarter time the Geelong Cougars put their foot down nailing three consecutive goals to take back the lead and did not look back. They upped their defensive pressure limiting Casey’s second phase work and clogging up the attacking third while using their precision and skill to transition down the court with ease. The Cougars got out to a seven goal lead midway through the second quarter but the Demons clawed their way back into the action credit to the work of Bell out the front and accuracy of Ryde under the post. Both Kassidy Withers and Shannon Blackman did a wealth of work across the court to hit circle edge and deliver well weighted passes into the circle for Casey.

The third quarter was a complete and utter masterclass from the Cougars who simply could not be stopped. Vanessa Augustini seemed to have the ball on a string in the attacking third for Geelong finding good space and using her quick hands into the circle to allow Horton and Julia Woolley to claim prime position under the post. Horton posted 13 goals from 15 attempts while her combination with Woolley was on full display with the two carving up the circle with their strong drives and clever cuts across the circle. Up the other end, Brooke Allan turned the match on its head with her sheer determination and desperation getting hands to ball credit to her impeccable timing and athleticism. She forced turnovers and competed hard for every ball while the work of Jessica Standfield and Victoria Honner out in goal defence paid dividends with the two backing up Allan in the circle. Melissa Bragg moved into centre midway through the quarter and provided plenty of dynamic movement prompting Allie Smith to make her way onto the court in wing defence and she did not miss a beat quickly into the thick of things. With the Cougars well and truly on top the Demons rung in the changes with Demi Woodlock, Foster and Natasha Petroff all rotating through the defensive circle but essentially it was to no avail.

With a 16-goal lead the Cougars continued their merry way while Casey mounted somewhat of a comeback. Ryde found good space under the post slotting 17 goals from 18 attempts in the quarter thanks to Bell, Withers and Christie Hillberg releasing the ball with confidence and accuracy. Bridgette Furphy, Emily Post and Georgette Paatsch made their way onto the court in the final term for the Cougars providing some fresh legs and strong connections down the court while Casey made no changes. They cut the deficit down to 14 goals but the Cougars were just too strong. Ryde finished with 47 goals from 50 attempts at 94 per cent while former Australian Diamond, Bell nailed eight from 11. Meanwhile for the Cougars the load was more evenly shared with Horton slotting 38 from 44 at 87 per cent and Woolley converting 27 from 32 while Furphy’s last quarter cameo was handy with four from four.

Victorian Netball League: Grand Final Preview

AFTER a stellar performance against City West Falcons, the Casey Demons earnt a spot in the grand final against Geelong Cougars. The Cougars secured their spot in the semi-final with a strong performance against the Falcons. Both teams have hit their stride at the right time with the Demons hoping to claim their first premiership in their short history while Geelong will be wanting to capitalise on their opportunity on the big stage.

Casey has taken the competition by storm, surging its way into the grand final with a couple of convincing performances. The Demons have gone from strength to strength and are relishing the opportunity with Emma Ryde and Erin Bell at the post. Both shooters have shown that they have plenty of class and can post a handy total if they can get hands to ball. They are not short of star power through the midcourt with Shannon Blackman and Kassidy Withers crucial through the centre third with their attacking play. Both midcourt players are renowned for their ability to hit the circle edge hard and claim prime position at the top of the circle. Meanwhile the partnership between Demi Woodlock and Karli Foster has steadily developed throughout the season with both defenders able to pick off any errant passes and cause confusion making for an intriguing battle between the Cougars shooters. Out in wing defence, Christie Hillberg and Zali Mifsud have showcased their skill to take their opponent out of their game with their clever footwork and hands over pressure.

The Cougars ooze class, composure and skill to grind out games and work their way through traffic to capitalise under the post. They have a plethora shooters with Ruby Horton, Julia Woolley and Bridgette Furphy all viable options under the post credit to their accuracy to post and silky movement. All three combine effortlessly and pose a dominant threat while the work of Vanessa Augustini out the front allows them to get first access to ball. Emily Post is a real playmaker for Geelong in the attacking third with her quick ball movement and vision into the circle hard to stop. Defensively the Cougars are solid with all four knowing each others game plan relatively well, able to sag off or go hunting at the right time credit to their connection. Victoria Honner, Brooke Allan, Allie Smith and Jessica Standfield have all shown they have what it takes to turn a game on its head and win ball back for their side when things get tight making for an exciting match-up. Melissa Bragg is also a key player for Geelong given her experience and versatility able to switch between a defensive and attacking position with ease.

Both sides can score quickly and are accurate to post, meaning it will be won and lost either through the midcourt or in defence given the fire power under the post. Expect both sides to come out with a real fire in the belly and intent.

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