Tag: england roses

Top 20 players over 30: #16 Jade Clarke

THERE are a host of international players across the world who, 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 at number 16 is threatening England Roses midcourter, Jade Clarke.

A veteran of the game and the highest capped current England player, Clarke is still a force to be reckoned with and even at 36-years-old continues to one-up her form and craft constantly. Consistently driving down the midcourt and able to win the ball back with ease, Clarke uses her experience and netball smarts to be a formidable opponent with her ability to adapt to the situation. With a defensive approach to the centre position and the versatility to drop back to wing defence to form a blockade on the transverse line, Clarke is a real leader on the court.

Able to create a solid pairing through the midcourt with the likes of Serena Guthrie allows Clarke to continuously provide a threat regardless of her positioning, able to outsmart her opposition and use her gut-running and endurance to go, go, go. With 176 international caps to her name Clarke has showed no signs of stopping, building and adapting her game play to provide a thoroughly difficult barricade whether she takes the court in centre or wing defence. 

Able to provide pressure anywhere on the court is something that has allowed Clarke to continue at the top level for so long, with her pressing defensive ability and wing span creating a real workhorse option through the midcourt. Meanwhile, her shadowing and zoning style of play allows her to adapt depending on her opposition to apply pressure on both her player and the ball handler. On circle edge Clarke be a threatening option both in attack and defence, able to use her vision to propel ball into the circle or her long arms and three-foot marking to defend on circle edge and deflect passes out of the ring.

A crucial midcourter for Wasps Netball in the Vitality Netball Superleague, Clarke’s experience allows her be a consistent competitor against any opposition, able to form solid partnerships with a number of midcourters thanks to her adaptability and constant pressure.


#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)

Top 20 players over 30: #18 Ama Agbeze

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. Former England Roses captain Ama Agbeze comes in at number 18 on the countdown.

At 37-years-old, Agbeze is nudging the 40 milestone but is still one of the most reliable defenders to come out of England with her hands over pressure, lean over the shot and quick footwork across the court. Her ability to have an impact both in goal keeper and goal defence is what makes her such a talented player.

Her on court presence is not to be underestimated with the defender able to lead from the front with her netball smarts and impressive vision. She is not afraid to go out hunting for the ball and uses her long limbs to disrupt the attacking forays of the opposition team. The 184cm keeper has a strong aerial presence able to get up to the high balls and pluck them off while her attacking mindset allows her to propel the ball back down the court. Despite not being included in the 2019 Roses World Cup squad, Agbeze has not showed any signs of slowing down plying her trade in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) with the Severn Stars.

Her cool, calm and collected mentality on court allows her to take control and dictate the space in the defensive third. While she is not the most physical defender, Agbeze has proven that she is no push over able to hold her own in the goal circle and force doubt in the feeders minds with her intercepting ability and desperation to create a turnover.

She has been a key figure in the Roses side for years with her connection with Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown a prominent reason for their success in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Her ability to rotate through the circle and have a profound impact with her strength and skill to nullify the goalers influence under the post makes a challenge to match up against.


#20 Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever/England)
#19 Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Australia)
#18 Ama Agbeze (Severn Stars/England)

Top 20 players over 30: #20 Stacey Francis

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. Kickstarting the countdown at number 20 is West Coast Fever and England Roses defender, Stacey Francis.

Francis has been a staple hold in the Fever defence line-up since their inception with her aerial ability and physicality a couple of her characteristics. She is not afraid to use her body work to get under the skin of her opponents and while she is not the tallest defender it is her speed and skill to read the play that makes her one to watch. The 32-year-old is electric on her feet able to cover the court with ease and can rotate through the defensive positions with ease. While goal defence is her preferred position, Francis has shown that she is more than capable of playing her role in wing defence with her nagging style of defence and nous to block her opposition’s space and vision.

She has shown no signs of slowing down leaving her mark in the England Roses team with her constant hands over pressure and desperation to have a flying shot at anything that goes past her. Francis is light on her feet able to burst out of the blocks and gobble up the cross-court ball. Standing at 180cm Francis uses every inch of her height to cause turnovers and create tips across the court while her tenacity to chase down the loose ball also makes her an integral member in any side.

Her combination with Fever teammate and Australian goal keeper Courtney Bruce is highly impressive, with the two able to rotate through the space and cause confusion with their high intensity and general netball smarts. Her connection with fellow West Coast teammates such as Shannon Eagland and Olivia Lewis is also strong with the defender using her experience to dictate space and create a calming presence down back. She is agile but most importantly is strong, not often out-bodied by opponents especially around circle edge Francis can have a profound impact in disrupting the attacking flow and creating issues for opposition teams trying to push forward. Francis uses her balance and quick footwork to dance around her opponent and while she is towards the twilight of her career has shown that she still has a few tricks up her sleeve.


#20 Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever/England)

Players that got away: Chelsea Pitman

THERE are a number of netballers in the world that have pulled on the international dress for more than one country throughout the career. With netball on hold due to the outbreak of COVID-19 Draft Central has decided to take a look at those players and their international careers and what could have been. Next up is former Australian Diamond and current England Roses wing attack Chelsea Pitman.

It is fair to say that Pitman has had the best of both worlds and tasted her fair share of success with both Australia and England. The fancy footed midcourter burst onto the scene in 2011 with the Queensland Firebirds where she really made a name for herself with her composure and on-court brilliance. In fact, her impact was so profound in her first year at the Firebirds that she quickly caught the eye of the Australian Diamonds selectors. At the ripe age of 21, Pitman made her debut for the Diamonds and did not look back, seamlessly transitioning onto the international stage with great skill and movement. That year, she was also apart of the winning gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games.

Her ability to thread the needle and deliver the ball with pin-point accuracy into the goal circle made her near on impossible to stop. Her vision and connection into the likes of Nat Medhurst, Catherine Cox and Caitlin Bassett was simply undeniable and helped to push the Diamonds to victory. Although she is not the fastest player on court it is her understanding, spatial awareness and variety of passes that sets her apart from others.

But after spending times in the Australian Diamonds ranks, Pitman decided to jump ship and join the England Roses, something she was eligible to do thanks to her Yorkshire-born father. Pitman debuted for the Roses in 2017 and quickly became an integral member in their starting seven with her dynamic footwork and leadership.

Her experience both at an international and domestic level paid dividends for the Roses who were clearly building into becoming a powerhouse team. The classy wing attack, tasted her first lot of Roses success in 2018 on the Gold Coast after downing Australia by one goal in an epic gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games. Although they did not claim gold in the World Cup, Pitman also played a vital role in getting her side to challenge for bronze. Her ability to find Jo Harten, Helen Housby and Rachel Dunn under the post plus her strong connection with gut-running centre Serena Guthrie only makes her a more commanding presence for the Roses. She is reliable around the circle edge and works hard to tussle for prime feeding position.

Renowned for her skill out in wing attack, Pitman is quite versatile able to rotate into that goal attack position as shown at both an international and domestic level such as the Adelaide Thunderbirds. Since swapping countries, Pitman has played 38 caps in the red and white to go with her 15 for Australia. The New South Wales born talent has continued to elevate her game using her netball smarts to full effect.

Compare the Pair: Serena Guthrie and Imogen Allison

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing England Roses midcourters, Serena Guthrie and Imogen Allison.

The two Team Bath athletes – though Guthrie is taking a season away from the sport – have a plethora of experience together on the court and a similar gamestyle thanks to their midcourt defensive capabilities. Guthrie has been the perfect player for Allison to learn off with the pair sharing crucial attributes like their ability to create turnovers with their unselfish play.

Both are able to switch between being the playmaker holding their opposition at bay and zoning them out, while also being able to create intercepts of their own volition with respective impressive timing and ability to stay away from the whistle. With ability to provide hands over pressure and ply their trade under pressure, the two defenders are real playmakers who can dominate on both a defensive and attacking stage.

Guthrie is one of the leading midcourters in the world thanks to her athleticism and defensive-minded approach to the game. With an outstanding aerial ability and speed to run her opposition off their feet, Guthrie can impact anywhere across the court but still allows her teammates to shine. Her take-off and intensity allow her to fly in and take daring intercepts and deflect crucial ball, while her ability to create turnovers with ease allows her to utilise her athleticism and strength to propel the ball up the court and be ready for any pass through the midcourt.Her anticipation of the play is second to none and can make something out of nothing nine times out of ten, making her a highly exciting player to watch. A player who really builds off the crowd, Guthrie is a real excitement generator thanks to her constant drive and ability to apply pressure.

A highly touted midcourter with an ability to switch between wing defence and centre, Allison is a classy youngster who has a wealth of talent and experience despite her youth. Her ability to use the space to control ball-flow and create intercept opportunities for teammates is terrific while her versatility to switch between positions has allowed her to step up into centre this season in Guthrie’s absence.

Her ability to gather loose ball allows her to provide crucial ball to her teammates and with an ability to transition well down court and provide that extra cog through the centre, Allison is one to watch in the future. Her leadership potential is also impressive, having captained Team Bath while Guthrie and co-captain Eboni Usoro-Brown were away on international duties for the 2019 Netball World Cup, and is part of the 2019/20 England Futures squad.

Which Team Bath and England Roses midcourter is your favourite?
Serena Guthrie
Imogen Allison
Created with QuizMaker

Compare the Pair: Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing England Roses, Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin.

Two vastly different players with different playing styles and backgrounds, Guscoth and Shimmin have plenty of experience on court together. While Guscoth has been a prominent Roses player, Shimmin has only really played domestically in Australia prior to her selection. Guscoth plays a primarily wear-down role while Shimmin uses her footwork to expose her opposition. The pair do have one major thing in common – their wingspan and ability to deflect and gather crucial loose ball.

Both 28-years-old and consistent to a tee, the defensive pair have plenty left in the tank in the coming years. The pair typically share the defensive bibs for the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball alongside fellow defender Shamera Sterling, though Guscoth’s 2019 Achilles injury threw a spanner in the works throughout the latter stages of the season.

Layla Guscoth

Guscoth may not have many international caps to her name – just the 26 thanks to injury and time away from the sport – but she is one of the most reliable players in the Roses camp thanks to her cool, calm and collected approach to the game.

Her ability to find the ball is second to none, and her versatility is superb. Guscoth’s ability to rotate through goal defence, wing defence and goal keeper is testament to her work ethic. Her lean over the shot is impeccable with balance and long limbs to boot. She forces errors from her opposition to cleanly collect the ball under the post, and runs out for that unexpected intercept to propel the ball back up the court. Her tenacity, strength and drive is crucial for any team. Her cleanliness proves that defenders do not need to be on top of their players to get the job done.

Kate Shimmin

With dual-citizenship and targeted by current England Roses coach, Jess Thirby in 2019, South Australia born Shimmin has finally had an opportunity to collect some international caps and put her extraordinary aerial leap and defensive capabilities to the test for the Roses.

Her anticipation of the ball coming down the court is a crucial part of her game. Shimmin’s quick feet allow her to out-run opposition, and turn something into nothing at the drop of a hat. Her cleanliness to deflect the ball in the air is credit to her timing. Shimmin’s vertical leap and ability to evade her opposition on the landing allows her to defy her goaler an attempt. With an ability to play out in wing defence and goal defence as well as her preferred goal keeper, Shimmin is a real talent with plenty of experience playing against high calibre opposition.

Layla Guscoth
26 caps, 2012-present

Kate Shimmin
5 caps, 2019-present

Which Rose would you take up the defensive end?
Layla Guscoth
Kate Shimmin
Created with QuizMaker

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN: #3 – Jade Clarke

THE Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) is already home to a number of international stars making it one of the strongest netball competitions in the world. However, we as the Draft Central team are creating a list of top 10 players we would like to see join the competition. Coming in at number three is England Roses midcourter Jade Clarke.

While Clarke already briefly played in Australia throughout her career with both the NSW Swifts and during the inaugural Super Netball with Adelaide Thunderbirds as a replacement for Renae Ingles during 2016-17, she has proved time and time again over the years that despite being 36-years-old she still has plenty left in the tank. The defensive midcourter has been a crucial member for every team she has played in, with class, cleanliness and defensive pressure to boot. Her speed off the mark and ability to find circle edge allows her to be that handy versatile option in centre, while her hands over pressure and wingspan allow her to deflect plenty of crucial ball and stop teams in their tracks. 

Clarke’s vision on and off the ball is a real testament to her experience and consistency, able to find the ball in a split second and use her quick footwork to evade her opposition to make a clean intercept. Clarke is a critical member of Wasps Netball in the Vitality Netball Superleague and shows no signs of slowing, applying plenty of pressure on her opposition and denying easy takes at the centre pass. With experience already in the Australian competition, Clarke is one of those names who could easily slot into any available team if required. Clarke has plenty of Roses teammates in the Super Netball already which could ultimately be seen as a bonus for the veteran, though the real question would be whether clubs choose to go international or blood up some younger players if the 2020 Super Netball season goes ahead.

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN:

#10 Joice Takaidza (Zimbabwe)
#9 Zanele Vimbela (South Africa)
#8 Joyce Mvula (Malawi)
#7 Razia Quashie (England)
#6 George Fisher (England)
#5 Fran Williams (England)
#4 Maia Wilson (New Zealand)
#3 Jade Clarke (England)

Compare the Pair: Nat Haythornthwaite and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing England Roses, Nat Haythornthwaite and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis.

Two highly versatile players, Haythornthwaite and Drakeford-Lewis don’t entirely match up – with Haythornthwaite predominantly a wing attack and Drakeford-Lewis typically a goal attack – but both can rotate into the other’s position with ease to create an extra option in and around the circle. With speed and netball nous driving down the court, the pair can both have a big impact on circle edge and have an ability to apply pressure on the scoreboard, throwing an extra spanner in the works for their opposition. The pair were both in the Roses squad for the three-match test series against South Africa in late 2019 and again for the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in January, with Haythornthwaite heading the team.

Haythornthwaite’s eye for the ball and ability to find open space is testament to her work off the body, using her quick feet to evade her opposition and create chaos through attack. Her clean hands and ability to land on circle edge make her a crucial option in attack for the NSW Swifts in the Suncorp Super Netball, working in tandem with fellow England international Helen Housby and crafting a solid partnership in and around the circle. Haythornthwaite does not find herself inside the circle all that often for the Swifts but is a solid option at the post if need be, able to control the ball well and slot in seamlessly. Her ability to get out at the centre is credit to her speed off the mark, quickly gaining ground and propelling the ball down the court.

21-year-old Drakeford-Lewis is still a relatively unknown quantity on the international stage with just the two caps under her belt, but has crafted an impressive pairing at the post with Australian Kim Commane at Team Bath over the past season. She sat at a shooting accuracy of 87 per cent for the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season, winning the VNSL Young Player of the Season Award for her effort. With clean hands, quick footwork and an uncanny ability to evade her defender, Drakeford-Lewis continues to ply her trade in the goal circle with accuracy and volume alike. She is not afraid to shoot from distance or play more of a feeder role, able to provide that versatility that the Roses tend to have in the side. Drakeford-Lewis is one of 25 young players we put in our International Young Guns countdown, coming in at number 23.


Nat Haythornthwaite
50 caps, 2015-present

Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
2 caps, 2017-present

Do you opt experience or youth of the England Roses in the attacking third?
Nat Haythornthwaite
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
Created with QuizMaker

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN: #7 –  Razia Quashie

THE Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) is already home to a number of international stars making it one of the strongest netball competitions in the world. However, we as the Draft Central team are creating a list of top 10 players we would like to see join the competition. Coming in at number seven is Saracens Mavericks defender, Razia Quashie.

The talented young defender recently featured in our Young Guns countdown and for good reason, with tenacity, impeccable timing and cleanliness to boot making her a threatening prospect in the goal circle. While the Super Netball already has a plethora of young talent working its way up through the ranks, Quashie is a key cog in defence for the Saracens Mavericks and has a few England Roses caps to her name, making her an option that could almost slide straight into a starting seven if the spot became available. While she is still young, she has proven she can compete against the greats plying her trade again and again on the domestic stage.  

It is Quashie’s aerial ability, vision and footwork that make her such a dominant force in goal keeper, able to anticipate the ball well to apply pressure on the shot and run for that snatch and grab intercept when required. While she is not the tallest goal keeper coming in at 183cm, she has the ability to apply body-on-body pressure to deny any easy take or rebound of the netball, constantly pushing her opposition to work hard to find the ball. Meanwhile Quashie’s clean footwork allows her to work her way around her goaler and snag any loose ball, always ready to propel up the other end of the court. In season 2020, Quashie has helped the Mavericks to two wins from three matches, with both impressive victories coming against Severn Stars. Quashie averaged five intercepts and almost two deflections from the three matches, proving the wealth of work she does on and off the ball. With plenty of growth still to come, an SSN opportunity to really build the young defender into a top talent.

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN:

#10 Joice Takaidza (Zimbabwe)
#9 Zanele Vimbela (South Africa)
#8 Joyce Mvula (Malawi)
#7 Razia Quashie (England)

Netball fantasy teams: ANZ Premiership All-Stars v. VNSL All-Stars

BOTH the ANZ Premiership and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) play host to a wealth of a-list talent making for some impressive squads. The ANZ Premiership is filled with a multitude of Ferns players while the VNSL also has a couple of Roses featured in the team creating an interesting contest between the two sides.

ANZ Premiership All-Stars:

GK: Jane Watson
GD: Katrina Rore
WD: Karin Burger
C: Shannon Saunders
WA: Gina Crampton
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
GS: Maia Wilson

BENCH: Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Whitney Souness, Phoenix Karaka

The ANZ Premiership is littered with New Zealand Silver Ferns representatives as shown by this stacked line-up. But their strength really lies in their defensive end with Jane Watson taking out the goal keeper position. Watson is a machine down back with her cleanliness, hunt for the ball and ability to shut down opponents with ease a couple of her key attributes. The goal keeper is not afraid to back herself, often out hunting for an intercept with her quick feet doing all the work while her lean over the shot is highly intimidating. Fellow defender and veteran Katrina Rore is one of a kind. Just like a fine wine she continues to get better with time, able to read the play with ease and disrupt the attacking flow of the opposition with her aerial ability and long arms. Rore is never out of the contest always able to weasel her way back into the play and is strong in transition thanks to her offensive minded style of play. Wing defence and partner-in-crime at the Central Pulse, Karin Burger is another key cog down back. Burger has really come into her own in recent seasons with her tenacity and tagging style of defence often wearing opponents down. Her long arms and height causes havoc in the wing defence position while her deceptive speed gives her another competitive edge around circle edge to swat away any passes into the goal circle. Throw in her ability to move into goal defence or keeper and Burger is one of a kind for the All-Stars line-up. Through the midcourt, the tried and tested duo of Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton adds another strong element to the already stacked squad. While Saunders is more defensively minded, she can hit the circle edge and provide an option in attack while teammate, Crampton consistently showcases her impressive vision into the circle with her pinpoint precision passes and good timing. Crampton has good balance around the circle edge and is not often worried by the physicality of the game. Headlining the goal circle is none other than fan favourite Ameliaranne Ekenasio. The highly talented goaler has class to boot able to sink them from just about anywhere in the circle while her impeccable timing is envious. Ekenasio is renowned for her smooth movement in the circle, strong baseline drives, quick ball movement, accuracy and most importantly ability to stand up under pressure. Youngster Maia Wilson takes out the goal shooter position with the towering shooter able to hold strong and provide a commanding target under the post. Unlucky not to make the starting All-Stars squad are Silver Ferns shooter Te Paea Selby Rickit, speedy midcourter Whitney Souness and Northern Mystics defender, Phoenix Karaka.

Vitality Netball Superleague (VNLS) All-Stars:

GK: Razia Quashie
GD: Fran Williams
WD: Nat Panagarry
C: Jade Clarke
WA: Caroline O’Hanlon
GA: Eleanor Cardwell
GS: Rachel Dunn

BENCH: Sigi Burger, Adean Thomas, Eboni Usoro-Brown

Although the VNSL has less Roses players in the competition due to the majority of them joining the Suncorp Super Netball League, there are still plenty of classy players amongst the ranks. When it comes to options in the goal circle there was no shortage of possibilities, however it was veteran and deadeye shooter Rachel Dunn that claimed the starting goal shooter position. Dunn is one of the most experienced shooters in the league with her silky footwork, strong hands and impressive timing consistently on display along with her accuracy. While Eleanor Cardwell is typically suited to the goal shooter position she has proven that she can do just as much damage out in goal attack with her clever ball placement into the circle and strong movement. Through the midcourt Caroline O’Hanlon provides plenty of experience with her gut running and ability to hit the circle edge time and time again. Adding to the experience through the midcourt is Jade Clarke with the Wasps centre consistently able to do the unthinkable. Clarke oozes class, netball understanding and is cautious with ball in hand able to dish off well weighted passes making her an easy pick for the all-stars squad, while also able to move into wing defence given her defensive abilities. Loughborough Lightning’s Nat Pangarry dons the wing defence position thanks to her defensive skills, long arms, speed off the mark and ability to cause havoc down back to propel the ball into the attacking third. She can clog up space with her shadowing movements and can read the play often forcing turnovers. Roses representative Fran Williams takes out the goal defence position. Williams is an excitement machine and works tirelessly down in defence to build pressure and cause confusion with her quick feet and three-footy marking. She is not afraid to go out and hunt the ball and has a good netball nous to sense the moment. Rounding out the starting seven is goal keeper Razia Quashie. The goal keeper is strong, not often outmuscled under the post and uses her long arms to intimidate shooters when going for goal. Making their way onto the bench for the VNSL all-stars is London Pulse and South African goaler Sigi Burger, Jamaican Adean Thomas and former Roses defender Eboni Usoro-Brown.

Who would win?

With plenty of talent amongst both sides it is tricky to decide who would have the edge however given that the ANZ Premiership All-stars team is virtually filled with Silver Ferns players it is fair to say that they should have the upper hand. Their strength clearly lies in the defence end and while the VNSL All-stars line-up has a couple of handy goalers in the mix they would have to be on their a-game to overcome the prowess of the Ferns. The ANZ Premiership squad is strong through the midcourt with their dynamic movement and experience further adding to their competitive edge.

Which All-Stars team would win in this match up?
ANZ Premiership All-Stars
Vitality Netball Superleague All-Stars
Created with Quiz Maker