Tag: gabi simpson

2021 SSN signing update: 21/9

THE second week of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) signings has already seen a heap of massive names re-sign and some intriguing ones bid farewell to their 2021 clubs, with the ninth official day of the free agency period marking some huge mix-ups.

The first announcement of the day saw the GIANTS confirm that Kiera Austin will not be continuing in the orange dress in 2022, with the Australian Diamonds goal attack looking to start fresh after rehabbing an anterior cruciate ligament injury this season and exploring other options in 2022. Coach Julie Fitzgerald said that she is sad to see Austin leave the club after coming up through the pathways as a junior and through the GIANTS training partner system, but thanked her for her contribution and bade good luck for the future.

“It is obviously disappointing to lose someone of Kiera’s ability and nature, but we respect her decision,” Fitzgerald said. “Kiera has come such a long way since she joined us as a training partner and is now regarded as one of Australia’s best shooters.

“She played a significant role both on our bench and within the team this season and she’s approached her rehab with diligence and professionalism. “We wish her well in her next venture.”

The talented goal attack was announced later to be the Melbourne Vixens’ seventh signing for the 2022 season, putting pen to paper and looking to start fresh in new club colours.

“I’m really looking forward to my next chapter with the Vixens and the opportunity that comes with a new club and city,” Austin said. “The Vixens have always been a strong team in the competition and with the results of the last couple of years, I know there’s something really special coming in 2022, and I’m excited to be a part of that.

“I do want to thank the GIANTS players and staff for their support of me over the last four years, particularly this year in my recovery. I have loved every minute of my time there and will be forever grateful for the opportunities the club has given me.”

The Adelaide Thunderbirds were next out of the blocks, re-signing talented young Jamaican Latanya Wilson for another two seasons. The versatile goal defence/wing defence impressed throughout her first season at SSN, gradually earning more court time as the season went on and showcasing her athleticism in the process. Adelaide Thunderbirds High Performance Manager, Pitre Bourdon is looking forward to seeing what Wilson can do in the next few years, with the 20-year-old showcasing a high ceiling for improvement.

“We know Latanya has an amazing X-factor about the way she plays and an innate ability to hunt down the ball,” Bourdon said. “She showed great signs in 2021 and we know she’ll only continue to grow going forward.

“She fit in with the playing group incredibly well and will be an asset for our side in 2022 and 23.”

Meanwhile, the Sunshine Coast Lightning have managed to lour exciting defender Tara Hinchliffe up the coast from the Queensland Firebirds, where the goal keeper/goal defence has held down a starting role since 2019. Hinchliffe explained that the Lightning team culture was a big grab for her, especially with the defender set to continue rehab following an injury to her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the latter stages of the 2021 season, and also in part due to her twin sister Maddie, who pulled on the Lightning dress this year.

“I’m really excited for a new challenge, and to immerse myself within the Lightning team and culture,” Hinchliffe said. “It was obviously a tough decision, but the opportunity to play with, and learn from, new players with different skills and international experience was hard to turn down.

“The unique experience of my first ‘major’ injury gave me time to reflect on my four years with the Firebirds, and how I could reenergise myself and my netball and chatting to Kylee (Byrne) made me really excited about new possibilities up the Coast.

“I’ve also watched [my twin] Maddie thrive at Lightning – the way she talks about the culture, the girls, the coaches and performance staff, was a big reason why I chose to sign with this club.”

The Firebirds announced their fourth signing, with club stalwart and captain Gabi Simpson officially locked in for her ninth season in purple. Simpson said the decision was an easy one, with full belief in the squad currently being assembled as the Firebirds continue their way up the ladder.

“Since I first moved up when I was 20, the club has been my home, so now to be signing up for my tenth (national league) season here is extremely special,” Simpson said. “We’ve worked really hard this year and done a lot of groundwork to set a foundation that can put out really good performances, and I think what we learnt will be absolutely vital. “And this group, I have never seen a group more driven to get the success that we want for this club.”

 

2021 SSN signing update: 20/9

2021 SSN signings: Week one

Picture credit: IMAGO / AAP

2021 SSN: Season review – Queensland Firebirds

THE 2021 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season has come to a close with the focus now on the off-season and next year. Draft Central takes a look at each teams respective season with the next team under the microscope the Queensland Firebirds.

Ladder: 5th
Win-loss: 6-8
Percentage: 100.8%

Touted as potential grand final favourites at the start of the 2021 season, Queensland Firebirds unfortunately did not live up to the hype taking a while to settle into their changes and find that level of consistency. With a new coach at the helm and the welcomed return of some Firebirds favourites in Gretel Bueta and Kim Ravaillion the Queensland based side showed glimpses of what they could do putting some of the top teams to the sword, but their momentary lapses against their lower ranked opponents really cost them, falling just short of finals once again.

What worked well?

It is fair to say that the Firebirds engine room was through the midcourt with both Gabi Simpson and Ravaillion proving they can run all day every day. Ravaillion provided that much needed link between attack and defence while Simpson offered the added bit of a leadership to a young defensive structure. Lara Dunkley and Jemma Mi Mi both rotated strike in that wing attack role to provide a point of difference in the frontend with Dunkley boasting a more conservative and cautious approach as opposed to Mi Mi’s run and gun style. Their Firebirds played with great flair and dare right across the court with the defensive end willing to go out hunting and the attacking unit tapping into their athleticism making them a very unpredictable team to come up against.

What went wrong?

Inconsistency was a key issue for the Firebirds as they struggled throughout the season to implement a strong four quarter performance. Although they were able to display strong patches in the game they fell away at costly moments often forfeiting the lead. The other main area of concern for the Firebirds was their high penalty count especially down in defence with the likes of Rudi Ellis, Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner often giving away high totals and subsequently gifting opposition teams with free shots on goal, an area they will want to address heading into next season.

Most valuable player?

Jamaican shooting sensation Romelda Aiken was a key pillar in attack for the Firebirds throughout their 2021 campaign. The goal shooter was nothing short of consistent to post with her ability to twist herself inside out on constant display. Aiken impressed with her capacity to go up and contest for the high ball while she also added a couple more tricks to her game to get on the move and open up the space. Standing tall under the post made her an easy target for the Firebirds while her accuracy and volume to post made her difficult to stop when things got going in attack. Her connection with Bueta, Tippah Dwan and Ravaillion in attack was second to none as they carved up the court with their explosive and creative style of play.

Most improved player? 

It was a breakout year for Hinchliffe with the goal keeper shining down back with her improved level of movement and overall defensive nous coming to the fore. Although her year was soured with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and she is likely to miss most of next season the young defender impressed each time she stepped out on court. Often living behind the shadows of Jenner, Hinchliffe found her own voice and dominance out on court this season with her attack on the ball and clever movement around the body often catching the eye.

Photo credit: Queensland Firebirds

2021/2022 Diamonds and Ferns: Ins and Outs

BOTH the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns squads have been announced with a couple of notable outs and surprise inclusions. We delve into both nations’ rosters and discuss the choices.

Australia:

Ins:

There are two new faces set to join the green and gold with Sunday Aryang and Amy Parmenter getting the call-up to the Diamonds squad. After putting in a stellar effort with the Fever throughout the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season Aryang was elevated to the squad with the 19-year-old showcasing her wares in all three defensive positions. Parmenter has been close the past couple of international campaigns but the wing defence finally cracked the squad this season thanks to her impressive work rate, defensive nous and overall netball IQ.

Although she was named in the last international tournament, Gretel Bueta did not play but this time around the goal attack is raring to go as shown throughout her season with the Firebirds in the SSN. Speaking of returns fan favourite Ash Brazill is set to pull on the Diamonds dress once again with the athletic midcourter fully recovered from her knee injury and more than capable of swinging between wing defence and centre within a blink of an eye. Another returnee is Maddy Turner with the Swifts goal defence likely to team up with partner in crime Sarah Klau.

Surprise omissions:

After returning from giving birth Kim Ravaillion well and truly hit her straps in season 2021 for the Queensland Firebirds and was a notable omission from the Diamonds squad. A key cog through the centre and boasting plenty of international experience it is fair to say her omission set many tongues wagging. Her exclusion was not the only one that drew attention with Kelsey Browne also not making the Diamonds squad after putting together a solid season with the Magpies after returning from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Named last season in the squad and shaping to be one of the more experienced heads in the young group, Gabi Simpson was also left off the Diamonds list for the 2021/2022 side.

New Zealand:

Ins:

The Ferns have a completely different looking frontend for the upcoming international series with three new fresh faces included in the squad. After a dominant performance with the Northern Stars throughout the ANZ Premiership season, it is no surprise that Jamie Hume got the nod set to join partner in crime Maia Wilson. But Wilson’s spot could be up for grabs given her recent form and the dominance of fellow newcomer Grace Nweke with the goal shooter proving to be a commanding force under the post. Nweke has grown with confidence throughout the domestic season and will be hoping to bring that form into the international environment. With Nweke comes Peta Toeava who has been recalled to the black dress after a couple of years away from international selection. The wing attack has been in scintillating form with her speed off the mark and vision just about unstoppable.

Also set to get their first international caps if they step out on court are Under 21s stars and Southern Steel teammates Tiana Metuarau and Kate Heffernan. The pair have developed their craft at a rate of knots throughout the year with Metuarau relishing her extra court time and perfecting the balance of playmaking and shooting while Heffernan can run all day and is not afraid to throw her body on the line to win ball back.

Surprise omissions:

Although she did not completely miss the boat, named in the Development squad it was a surprise to not see speedster Kimiora Poi get the nod in the official Ferns squad. She was a key cog in the last Constellation Cup series and continue that form throughout her time with the Tactix this season. Another surprise omission was Bailey Mes who despite playing the ANZ Premiership season was sidelined for international duties touting her knee rehab as priority. Although stalwart and captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio has been named she will be missing from action, out on maternity leave.

Photo credit: Collingwood Magpies

2021/2022 Australian Diamonds squad announced

A COUPLE of fresh faces are set to join the 2021 Australian Diamonds squad, with the squad named on Sunday morning. Some familiar names return to the fold ahead of the upcoming international season, with the Development Squad also named boasting a number of young up and coming players.

Youngsters Amy Parmenter and Sunday Aryang have made their way into the 21-player Diamonds squad for the first time with the pair proving to be lynchpins for their respective Suncorp Super Netball sides. In fact, West Coast Fever have four players named in the squad including defensive stalwart Courtney Bruce and midcourters Jess Anstiss and Verity Charles.

After giving birth at the start of the year, shooting dynamo Gretel Bueta is set to pull on the green and gold dress. She is not alone when it comes to returning favourites with Ash Brazill also named while Maddy Turner has enjoyed a rise in the ranks this season, returning to her damaging best for the Swifts down back credit to her connection with fellow Diamonds star Sarah Klau.

Playing over in New Zealand with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic did not stop Caitlin Bassett from being selected, with the talented and experienced goal shooter getting the nod once again. There is a good mix of youth and experience inside the goal circle with Cara Koenen, Sophie Garbin, Steph Wood, Bueta and Bassett all named, highlighting the depth and versatility at the hands of selectors and wealth of options come game day.

With plenty of options in attack, the midcourt is also brimming with talent with NSW Swifts powerhouse duo Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud included in the 21-player squad alongside the defensive-minded Jamie-Lee Price and Kate Moloney. Speaking of defence, Kim Jenner has retained her spot in the squad while the ever-reliable Jo Weston is once again amongst the mix.

Many will keep an eye on a couple of injured stars that have been named in the squad with Kiera Austin on the mend from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury while Liz Watson is still recovering from foot surgery. There were a couple of notable omissions through the midcourt however, with Kelsey Browne, Kim Ravaillion and Gabi Simpson not named in the squad after the trio had impressive seasons for the Magpies and Firebirds respectively. April Brandley did not put her hand up for selection despite having a stellar season with the GIANTS.

 

2021/2022 Australian Diamonds squad

Jess Anstiss – West Coast Fever
Sunday Aryang – West Coast Fever
Kiera Austin – GIANTS Netball
Caitlin Bassett – Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Ash Brazill – Collingwood Magpies
Courtney Bruce – West Coast Fever
Gretel Bueta – Queensland Firebirds
Verity Charles – West Coast Fever
Sophie Garbin – NSW Swifts
Paige Hadley – NSW Swifts
Kimberley Jenner – Queensland Firebirds
Sarah Klau – NSW Swifts
Cara Koenen – Sunshine Coast Lightning
Kate Moloney – Melbourne Vixens
Amy Parmenter – GIANTS Netball
Jamie-Lee Price – GIANTS Netball
Maddy Proud – NSW Swifts
Maddy Turner – NSW Swifts
Liz Watson – Melbourne Vixens
Jo Weston – Melbourne Vixens
Steph Wood – Sunshine Coast Lightning

Looking at the Development squad and after her first season of Suncorp Super Netball, Hannah Mundy has secured a spot amongst the ranks while fellow youngsters Georgie Horjus and GIANTS shooting sensation Sophie Dwyer have also been named, with Dwyer earning a train-along position for the Diamonds squad camp. In terms of more experienced heads Melbourne Vixens defender Emily Mannix has earned a call-up, as has Alice Teague-Neeld.

Five Queensland Firebirds players were named in the Development squad with Jemma Mi Mi, Tara Hinchliffe – both of whom are injured – Lara Dunkley, Tippah Dwan and Rudi Ellis making the cut after solid seasons. The Thunderbirds are also well represented with Horjus, Matilda Garrett and Maisie Nankivell getting recognition for their seasons. There were a couple of surprise outs with neither Molly Jovic or Tayla Fraser named in the Development squad despite starring throughout the SSN season.

 

2021/2022 Australian Development squad:

Mahalia Cassidy – Sunshine Coast Lightning
Lara Dunkley – Queensland Firebirds
Tippah Dwan – Queensland Firebirds
Sophie Dwyer – GIANTS Netball
Kate Eddy – Melbourne Vixens
Rudi Ellis – Queensland Firebirds
Matilda Garrett – Adelaide Thunderbirds
Sasha Glasgow – West Coast Fever
Maddie Hay – GIANTS Netball
Tara Hinchliffe – Queensland Firebirds
Georgie Horjus – Adelaide Thunderbirds
Olivia Lewis – West Coast Fever
Emily Mannix – Melbourne Vixens
Matilda McDonnell – GIANTS Netball
Jemma Mi Mi – Queensland Firebirds
Lauren Moore – NSW Swifts
Hannah Mundy – Melbourne Vixens
Maisie Nankivell – Adelaide Thunderbrids
Alice Teague-Neeld – West Coast Fever

Photo credit: Netball Australia

Queensland Firebirds end their season on a high against struggling Vixens

WITH both sides unable to make Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) finals it was a matter of pride as the Queensland Firebirds just snuck over the line against the Melbourne Vixens (62-58). It was a see-sawing battle to say the least as they traded the lead back and forth credit to the high intensity out on court.

Defensively the Firebirds were depleted, missing Tara Hinchliffe and the late withdrawal of captain Gabi Simpson, something the Vixens looked to pounce on nice and early. They skipped out to a handy two-goal buffer with Mwai Kumwenda posting up strongly against Rudi Ellis to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Up the other end of the court, the Firebirds were a bit more laboured in attack, unable to find their way to post with the same level of ease in which the Vixens were. The Vixens were playing with great fluidity in attack as they extended their lead to four goals before the Firebirds started to motor in defence with their hands over pressure. Kaylia Stanton had a real pep in her step for the Vixens with the goal attack imposing herself both under the post and in the attacking third to split the Firebirds defenders.

The cogs started to tick over for Queensland as they managed three goals in a row to eat into the deficit and get back within a goal. Kim Jenner and Ellis started to turn the screws in defence with the pair contesting the high ball coming in but the Vixens did not seem fazed as they continued their merry way. Neither team was able to capitalise on the super shot before Kumwenda stole the show to increase the Vixens’ lead to three goals. It was goal for goal to end the final term as both teams worked in overdrive to claim the ascendancy heading into the final term.

Kim Ravaillion was proving to be a menace for the Vixens with the Firebirds centre impressing with her speed to burn and three-foot marking both in defence and attack. An early defensive win from Queensland gifted them possession but the Vixens were not about to roll over with Emily Mannix getting hands to ball herself and giving a chance for the Vixens to capitalise. The defensive combination between Jenner and Ellis started to purr as they won ball back and got within striking distance. In her first game of the season, Hulita Veve made her presence felt with a huge deflection and intercept to spark her side into the action. With 10 minutes left in the quarter, the Firebirds levelled the score prompting a timeout. Both teams came out of their huddles a little bit shaky with turnovers aplenty as the ball rocketed up and down the court.

Every time the momentum swung the way of the Firebirds, the Vixens found another gear to kick into as Kumwenda slotted back to back goals to reverse the lead create a one-goal buffer. A huge held ball call against Kate Moloney once again saw momentum shift as the Firebirds continued to build. They also tinkered with their defensive structure as Jenner pushed into goal keeper as Ruby Bakewell-Doran entered the contest in goal defence. The hustle and desperation intensified for Queensland as they pounced on any loose ball, establishing a three-goal lead. Lara Dunkley found her rhythm around circle edge in the final minutes of the term as the Firebirds played possession netball to head into half-time up by five goals.

The combination between Gretel Bueta and Aiken was firing on all cylinders with Kadie-Ann Dehaney injected into the thick of things after half time to provide some real defensive energy – and that she did. Dehaney was immediately into the contest while down the other end of the court Hannah Mundy showcased her dare. The changes continued to happen for the Vixens as Ruby Barkmeyer entered the fray in goal attack replacing Stanton with her silky movement coming to the fore. The Vixens started to plug away at the deficit as the ball started to fall the way of the reigning premiers. The five-goal lead disappeared in front of the eyes of the Firebirds as the Vixens rallied.

Bakewell-Doran dazzled with her footspeed to reel in a huge intercept. Looking for a spark Tippah Dwan made her way onto the court replacing Bueta who was struggling to have her usual impact. Jo Weston did not make life easy for Dwan collecting a huge rejection on the shot. Jenner came screaming through for a huge intercept on full stretch as the Firebirds stole back the lead and so too momentum. With the clock ticking down the Vixens brought on Allie Smith in wing defence but it did not seem to worry Queensland as they monopolised play.

With it all to play for in their final game of the season neither side were willing to take a backwards step. A flurry of goals from the Vixens saw them get back to within a goal as this blow-for-blow style of netball took centre stage. There was no easy pass across the court with each and every player contesting hard as the Firebirds turned the after burners on capitalising on the turnover to establish a two goal lead which they steadily increased to a winning four goal buffer.

After a shaky performance last week, Kumwenda returned to her best slotting 48 goals from 52 attempts. Stanton increased her accuracy to post sitting at 86 per cent accuracy, and also had an influence out the front with her 10 goal assists. Mundy also impressed around circle edge racking up 13 goal assists which was rivalled by Ravaillion as she amassed 15 goal assists and one intercept. Aiken was a strong target under the post with her 52 goals at 90 per cent, as Bueta chugged along slotting nine goals from 13 attempts. Down back Mannix registered one deflection and two intercepts as Jenner worked in overdrive for her four deflections and two intercepts.

MELBOURNE VIXENS 16 | 11 | 15 | 16 (58)
QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 13 | 19 | 14 | 16 (62)

STARTING SEVEN:

Vixens:

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Kaylia Stanton
WA: Hannah Mundy
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Emily Mannix

Firebirds:

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Bueta
WA: Lara Dunkley
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Hulita Veve
GD: Kim Jenner
GK: Rudi Ellis

Photo credit: SSN

2021 SSN Preview: Round 14

THE dust from Round 13 of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) action has barely settled, and seven of the eight teams are raring to go again in the final round of the home and away season. While Collingwood Magpies’ season officially came to a close on Tuesday night, and the remainder of the bottom four in Queensland Firebirds, Adelaide Thunderbirds and Melbourne Vixens are no longer in with a chance to make finals, the top four order and final positions are still in question with all four finals-bound teams still in with a chance to take out the minor premiership.

NSW Swifts vs. Adelaide Thunderbirds
Wednesday, August 4 @3:30pm

The only team that is set to play twice this round, the NSW Swifts will want to first assert themselves on the contest, but also ensure they keep something in the tank with another big clash to come later in the week. That being said, they cannot underestimate a confident-looking Thunderbirds outfit, which has dealt some real upsets over the past few rounds with teams underestimating their ability to impact the contest. Expect plenty of intensity to be on show as the Thunderbirds look to force errors and shake the Swifts to finish their season on a high.

There are a number of fascinating matchups in this clash with the most significant one coming in one end of the goal circle with Shamera Sterling taking on Sam Wallace. While both players have been in scintillating form over the last few weeks, both have also had moments of shakiness meaning there is plenty in this individual match up, especially given this will be Sterling’s last outing for the season. Matilda Garrett and Helen Housby will go head to head while there is plenty of intrigue about who will take the court in wing attack and wing defence for their respective sides with both teams shaking up their line-ups depending on who they play. 

Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud are likely to be the major feeders for the Swifts in wing attack and centre respectively, while at the other end, it is safe to say that Maisie Nankivell will earn a starting position for the Thunderbirds alongside captain Hannah Petty. Swifts’ Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner have been in excellent form but will be taking on a fired up Thunderbirds front end in Georgie Horjus and Lenize Potgieter, with the duo coming in off an influential performance on Monday night so sure to be fighting the whole way. Expect both sides to make ample use of their benches with both the Swifts and Thunderbirds unafraid to ring in the changes when required, with livewires such as Sophie Garbin and Latanya Wilson able to have a real impact.

Melbourne Vixens vs. Queensland Firebirds
Wednesday, August 4 @6:30pm

The Vixens may have already earned the wooden spoon for the season, but they have surely not forgotten that one of their two wins this year came against the Firebirds, so could be in with a chance here especially given the Firebirds will be without Tara Hinchliffe, speedster Jemma Mi Mi who went down with injury last round, and captain Gabi Simpson. While the Firebirds have had a topsy-turvy season to say the least, there is no doubt the side has been much more consistent than the lowly Vixens, and should realistically finish off their season on a high here, despite their big omissions.

While neither the Firebirds or the Vixens will make finals it is safe to say that both teams have everything to play for in this clash. One of the major issues for the Vixens this season has been in their front end with a lack of leadership inside the goal circle, and while Mwai Kumwenda has had a solid season, the lack of consistent impact from both Kaylia Stanton and Ruby Barkmeyer has really hurt the Vixens. While the Firebirds will miss Hinchliffe and her ball-winning ways, Kim Jenner and Rudi Ellis will be fired up to stop the Vixens in their tracks, especially with the Vixens’ secret weapon in Rahni Samason unable to play given her training partner status. The absence of Simpson will really hurt the Firebirds who benefit a lot from her leadership, with Hannah Mundy looking to exploit that missing link down back for the Firebirds. 

Expect an intriguing one-on-one between Kim Ravaillion and Kate Moloney with both players complete livewires in their own right with some huge influence behind their individual performances. While the Vixens have struggled in attack this season their defence has not let up and this last match will be no different with a trio of defenders in Jo Weston, Emily Mannix and Kadie-Ann Dehaney all likely to take the court against the Firebirds’ three-pronged attack in Romelda Aiken, Gretel Bueta and Tippah Dwan. Elsewhere, expect a tight one-on-one in the Firebirds front-end between Lara Dunkley and Kate Eddy with the two players having plenty of experience against the other, with Dunkley hoping to tire out the wing attack who has grown accustomed to switching out for Mi Mi on occasion.

NSW Swifts vs. Sunshine Coast Lightning
Saturday, August 7 @12:30pm

The Swifts will take on the Lightning in the first of two potential finals previews for the weekend, with everything on the line for the two teams which will want to ensure a good finals placing to earn a second chance week. Donning their heritage dresses for the second time this week, the Swifts will be hoping to finish on a high against an injury-riddled Lightning outfit which will be hoping for the return of Steph Wood to the fray. Expect a hard-fought clash here with plenty of intensity, as two of the past premiers fight for a valuable finals opportunity to finish off solid seasons.

It is safe to say that both teams will come in with ample recovery time following their past matchups this week, and there is no doubt that everything will be left on the court in this encounter. For the Lightning, Mahalia Cassidy is coming in off the back of an excellent outing on Tuesday night and will look to team up with Laura Scherian, Cara Koenen and potentially Wood once more to really fire up that attack line. The Swifts have a number of viable wing defence options to shut down Scherian with the obvious recent choice in Tayla Fraser highly likely, while Lauren Moore and Hadley are also viable options but could leave holes elsewhere if they take the court in wing defence.

If the Lightning are without Wood, Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia will have their work cut out for them taking on Turner and Klau, with especially Koenen needing to up her game out in goal attack to provide much more of a playmaking role than she is used to. In the Lightning backend there is little doubt of who will start the game in defence with Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni the clear leaders down back, and looking to really test the combination of Wallace and Housby from the get-go. Garbin’s recent form will see her more than likely take the court if one of the aforementioned goalers is not quite firing, although the smothering defence from the Lightning could very well force the Swifts into errors and too much time working the ball around, with their patience sometimes putting them on the back foot.

West Coast Fever vs. GIANTS Netball
Saturday, August 7 @2:30pm

Expect an intriguing clash between the Fever and GIANTS to finish off the season, with their last encounter coming down to just one goal as the Fever pipped the GIANTS at the post. But away from the Fever’s hungry home crowd, the GIANTS could be in with a real chance of shaking up the table here, despite falling to the Lightning on Tuesday, and will be fighting to deny the Fever top spot on the leaderboard. The GIANTS will be hoping for the return of April Brandley who went down with an ankle injury against the Lightning, with the defender critical in their hunt for success.

There will be plenty of feeling in this matchup between the GIANTS and Fever with a couple of significant one on ones sure to set the tone for the match. Jo Harten has been in excellent form willing her side to fire up time and time again this season, with the matchup between the goal shooter and Courtney Bruce ultimately the one to watch in this match – whoever can take control in this one-on-one will likely lead their respective side to victory. The Fever cannot afford to underestimate youngster Sophie Dwyer who has really impressed this season and has continuously stepped up out the front. To make things even more interesting, Dwyer will take on fellow teenager Sunday Aryang, with neither player likely to give into a tight contest and Aryang just as likely to take charge in the back-end.

At the other end, the real test for the GIANTS will be stopping the impact of both Jhaniele Fowler and Alice Teague-Neeld with Teague-Neeld in particular able to create attacking forays seamlessly out the front and propel the ball to Fowler. Expect Verity Charles and Amy Parmenter to test one another the entire way with their respective intensity, while through the midcourt it is sure to be a physical battle between two never-say-die centres in Jess Anstiss and Jamie-Lee Price, with no love lost between the duo and neither afraid of a little niggle or whistle. Potentially missing Brandley, it is safe to say that Sam Poolman will have her work cut out for her, and while Kristiana Manu’a is more than capable of holding down the goal defence position, she has missed the spark that earned her the starting position last year.

 

Picture credit: James Worsfold/Getty Images

Magpies’ excellent form continues as they close in on top sides

THE Collingwood Magpies have swooped on the Suncorp Super Netball competition, clinching two huge wins in as many days to give themselves a fighting chance of making the finals, downing the Queensland Firebirds in a competition-first Pride Match at Nissan Arena on Thursday night. The Firebirds suffered some key losses over the past week and it showed on the court, as the renewed Magpies came out blazing, holding on in a tight final quarter to claim the 66-59 victory.

It was a tight start between the two sides, as both teams came out firing and not giving an inch throughout the contest. Whilst it was the Romelda Aiken show out the front for the Firebirds, with the Jamaican finding plenty of space early on despite the tight marking from Geva Mentor, a shared effort from Shimona Nelson and Gabby Sinclair seemed to do the trick as the Magpies’ goalers worked seamlessly to create chances out the front, with Sinclair’s long range shooting ability on full show with a couple of early super shots on the board allowing the Magpies to get the upper hand. Kim Ravaillion worked in overdrive to find entry into the goal circle as Gretel Bueta was kept quiet by an in-form Jodi-Ann Ward, with the goal defence relentless from the opening whistle and showing no signs of stopping. While Ravaillion fired out the front, her direct opposition in livewire Molly Jovic was no slouch and wreaked havoc of her own out the front, teaming well with Kelsey Browne to find Nelson and Sinclair with ease. A Sinclair super shot put a nail in the coffin of the first quarter, as the Magpies came away with a 19-13 lead at the first break.

The Magpies had a couple early chances to pile on the pressure in the second, missing a couple opportunities with three shots within the opening minute and sinking just one as the Firebirds made them pay with three straight off the hand of Aiken. An unprecedented change was made as Sinclair was forced off the court momentarily with a dislocated finger – but fortunately was back later in the quarter – but the Magpies took hold of every opportunity that came their way as Kalifa McCollin was injected into the fray. Nelson continued to rule the roost though, working around Rudi Ellis seamlessly to find and slot into the back space, as the Firebirds made the switch in the front-end with Tippah Dwan entering the contest to create a moving circle. But every time the Firebirds looked like they were getting going, it was the Magpies that found a way, as Ward continued to be a threat in the back-line, while Ruby Bakewell-Doran tried her hand on Browne and picked up an intercept for her troubles as aa tight second quarter saw the Magpies add a goal to their lead with a 34-27 scoreline at the main break.

A goal for goal start to the second half did not last long, as Nelson continued to assert herself on the contest and wreak havoc under the post with her great reach and accuracy. Ellis worked hard to limit Nelson’s impact while Sinclair did not put up a wealth of shots but ensured she kept Kim Jenner busy and away from the action, as the goal attack fired pass after pass into the circle. A couple of Magpies runs kept the Firebirds at an arm’s length, and the Firebirds were laboured in attack as Lara Dunkley and Ravaillion continued to work in overdrive but to no avail as Ash Brazill, Mentor and Ward asserted their dominance in the backline. While the Magpies pulled away in patches, putting up two goals for each Firebirds shot, two late super shots from Dwan pulled back the margin to eight goals, and another could have chipped back the margin even further as a miss allowed the Magpies to finish off on a high with a 10-goal lead heading into the final change.

Inaccuracy was an issue for the Firebirds as the final quarter began, with Aiken returning to the fray and putting up three goals from five attempts in the opening minutes to pin back the margin slightly, as the Magpies made them pay for it with five straight to show how it was done, with Nelson’s three book-ended by Sinclair’s goals. Another miss from Aiken proved how much of an impact Mentor and Ward were having down back, as Bueta cleaned up the scraps to continue her solid outing. But while the Magpies had all the momentum early, the Firebirds clicked into gear as the quarter went on, lacking the hunt of Gabi Simpson but with Jenner and Ellis imposing themselves well. But it was too little, too late, as the Firebirds looked to the super shot to get them over the line, with a couple of chances going missing as Aiken looked to post from all around the circle, but missed six of her last 10 attempts of the match as the Magpies outlasted the Firebirds comeback to claim a seven-goal victory, 66-59.

For the in-form Magpies, Nelson impressed once more firing with 49 goals from 51attempts, as Sinclair’s hot start was hampered by her finger injury but still finished with 14 goals from 19 attempts and 18 goal assists. Browne (22 assists) and Jovic (16 assists and one intercept) were also hard to stop, while Ward was fired up finishing with five gains (two intercepts), as Mentor picked up two gains and four pickups. For the Firebirds, it was an inaccurate showing from Aiken who seemed shaky with 29 goals from 42 attempts, including two super shots, as Bueta (18 from 21) and Dwan (seven from 10) held up well. Ravaillion finished with 17 assists to lead all comers with Dunkley next in line with 12 and two gains, while Ellis held up well to record five gains (one intercept). Jenner, Dwan and Bakewell-Doran all collection one intercept apiece.

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS | 13 | 14 | 14 | 18 (59)
COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES | 19 | 15 | 17 | 15 (66)

STARTING SEVENS

Firebirds

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Bueta
WA: Lara Dunkley
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Kim Jenner
GK: Rudi Ellis

Magpies

GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Gabby Sinclair
WA: Kelsey Browne
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Ash Brazill
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor

 

Picture credit: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

2021 SSN: Round 13 preview

WITH the condensed Suncorp Super Netball fixture in full swing, Round 13 rolls around just as quickly as Round 12 finishes with Collingwood and the Firebirds only given a days rest before taking the court once again. In fact the Magpies will play twice this round, while the NSW Swifts will not take the court.

Queensland Firebirds vs. Collingwood Magpies
Thursday, July 29 @6:00pm

With only a day between games expect fatigue to be a potential problem for both the Firebirds and Magpies – the latter in particular given they did not make a single change in their Round 12 clash. In saying that the Firebirds have also been heavily hit by injury with Jemma Mi Mi going down with a suspected Achilles injury. With both teams finals hope all but gone it will be a battle of respect and desire as they look to round out the season on a high.

Shimona Nelson is coming off the best performance of her career after slotting 69 goals from 71 attempts, and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into this clash. Without the services of Tara Hinchliffe with the goal keeper sidelined it will once again be up to Rudi Ellis to nullify the influence of the Jamaican gold shooter and really contest her hands if the Firebirds are any chance of claiming a win. Gabby Sinclair has been in fine form the past couple of weeks and while she is not overly potent on the scoreboard her work out the front is sublime meaning Kim Jenner will have to negate her influence with her strong hands over pressure and niggling style of defence. Another player in hot form for the pies is that of Kelsey Browne with the wing attack incredibly silky around circle edge and set to engage in an enthralling battle with Gabi Simpson. Coming up against her old side Kim Ravaillion will be keen to assert herself through the centre with the gut running with the midcourter able to grind out games and run her opposition into the ground something she will hoping to implement against the likes of Molly Jovic.

Looking into the shooting circle for the Firebirds there is no denying that the combination between Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken is hard to stop went up in firing on all cylinders. Bueta is a real playmaker in that attacking third with her speed and athleticism able to carve up the defence however she will have her work cut out for her against an equally as nimble Jodi-Ann Ward who can turn the game on its head in a second. Geva Mentor is always a great match for the likes of Aiken with the experienced goal keeper able to position strongly and take away the space under the ring which is exactly what the Pies will need to do if they are to walk away with the win.

Adelaide Thunderbirds vs. Melbourne Vixens
Monday, August 2 @ 7:30pm

The Adelaide Thunderbirds and Melbourne Vixens have been given a little bit more time to rest but that will not deterred the Thunderbirds from putting out another strong performance. The Thunderbirds are coming off the back of a stellar one goal victory over the Lightning and will be eager to use that confidence heading into this clash against the last place Melbourne Vixens who have struggled to hit their strides all throughout this season.

Lenize Potgieter has been in dominant form under the post, only missing the one goal last match and will be hoping to replicate those efforts against the long arm brigade of Emily Mannix and Jo Weston. Not only has Potgieter being in fine form, but so too youngster Georgie Horjus who has hit her straps towards the end of the season with her accuracy to post increasing and her overall playmaking skills out the front paying dividends. All eyes will turn to the battle between Maisie Nankivell and Kate Eddy with Nankivell really finding her groove in that new wing attack roll while Eddy will be hoping to enforce her long arms to block any easy transition into the goal circle. The Thunderbirds have options aplenty through the midcourt with the likes of Latanya Wilson able to slot into that wing defence role alongside Shadine van der Merwe. The intrigue will lie around who gets the nod in centre with Hannah Petty a strong option while Elle McDonald proved that she is more than capable of starring. For the Vixens it would more than likely be the experienced captain Kate Moloney that gets the nod in centre with her leadership and attacking prowess key.

If Shamera Sterling is able to get hands to ball early and get in the head of Mwai Kumwenda then it could spell real danger signs for the Vixens. Sterling is an attacking and defensive option for Adelaide with her long limbs and rejection over the shot becoming a key characteristic in her game plan. Kumwenda will need support from the likes of Kaylia Stanton and Ruby Barkemeyer if the Vixens are able to collect an upset win. Hannah Mundy will also be the key for the Vixens with the wing attack finding some good space around circle edge however Matilda Garrett is renowned for her hunting ability out in goal defence.

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. GIANTS Netball
Tuesday, August 3 @ 3:30pm

The Lightning have suffered back-to-back defeats and will be eager to put that to bed with a convincing performance against the GIANTS who have kicked things up a gear in the past couple of outings. Sunshine Coast are steadily slipping down the ladder in that top four position while the GIANTS on the other hand are climbing up it towards the tail end of the season.

With Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer more than willing to take the super shot it will be up to Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius to put an end to their confidence and really create some doubt in their minds. One player that will be eager to continue her upwards trajectory is Maddie Hay with the wing attack a real quiet achiever in the GIANTS frontend, able to dig in and hit circle edge with great conviction and timing. The GIANTS are also at their best when Jamie-Lee Price is up and raring to go with the centre a real barometer for them given her hunt, tenacity and all-round physicality. The Lightning have a plethora of midcourt options with Kate Shimmin able to slot into wing defence while Maddy McAuliffe, Mahalia Cassidy and Laura Scherian can all rotate through centre, throw in the likes of Binnian Hunt and the options are endless for the Lightning.

In attack, Cara Koenen will be hoping to bounce back after a quiet performance by her lofty standards and really impose herself along the baseline against Sam Poolman. If the GIANTS are not able to nullify the shooter to shooter combination between her and Steph Wood then it could give the home side the upper hand. But April Brandley has proven to be a real ball winner in the past couple of weeks while Matilda McDonell is a livewire down back for the GIANTS with her closing speed and aerial ability impressive.

West Coast Fever vs. Collingwood Magpies
Tuesday, August 3 @ 6:30pm

It is going to be an action packed couple of days for the Magpies as they front up for their third game in six days and the challenge does not get any easier coming up against the Fever. West Coast has proven to be a real powerhouse this season and will be hoping to exploit its couple of extra days rest to claim a win over the Pies.

It will all come down to whether or not the Magpies are able to defeat Jhaniele Fowler with the goal shooter a commanding presence under the post. She can single-handedly lead her side to victory given her accuracy and volume to post while both Sasha Glasgow and Alice Teague-Neeld have proven to be handy options in attack. the real key to success for the Fever is Verity Charles with the dynamic wing attack able to release ball into the shooters either from circle edge or further away. Collingwood will need the highly dynamic Ash Brazill to fire on all cylinders in this clash if they are any chance of causing an upset.

Defensively the Fever are littered with options but are headlined by the services of Courtney Bruce with the goal keeper in career best form and ready to take on Nelson under the post. the Fever will be hoping that Sunday Aryang can double down on Sinclair while Stacey Francis-Bayman will likely get the job on Browne in order to stop the speed of the ball heading into the circle. Do not be surprised if Kalifa McCollin gets a run out on court for the Pies given the heavy workload.

Photo credit: SSN

Fever down niggling Firebirds to solidify spot in top four

MISSING a couple of key cogs the Queensland Firebirds had their work cut out for them against the West Coast Fever as the visitors powered home for a 10-goal win, 79-69. It was a tight tussle for majority of the game but the Fever showcased their class to get down to business when it counted.

It only took a couple of seconds for the Firebirds to hit the scoreboard with Romelda Aiken opening the account before her Jamaican counterpart Jhaniele Fowler replicated the same feats with a goal of her own. It was blow for blow to start the term with the physicality up from both sides and no pass left uncontested. Gretel Bueta’s workrate was up and about early with the goal attack running rings around Sunday Aryang to set up the attacking forays for the Firebirds. The high ball into Fowler was working wonders to start the game with Verity Charles more than happy to release the long bomb from miles away. A rare mistake from the Firebirds gifted possession back into the hands of the Fever as they stole the lead and within a blink of an eye went two goals up. The tables started to turn further in favour of the Fever as they skipped out to a three0goal lead. Kim Ravaillion employed some strong hands over pressure to come up with a much needed turnover and was quickly back into the action with another pickup.

Down by a couple of goals the Firebirds rallied with consecutive scores as Aiken impressed with her fingertip control and Bueta starred with her razzle dazzle. But every time the Firebirds managed to get on a run the Fever found a way to hit back with Fowler impressing and Courtney Bruce coming to life with her elevation over Aiken allowing them to win ball back. Rudi Ellis was making a real nuisance under the post contesting each and every pass that came Fowler’s way but that did not seem to faze the Fever as they held onto a four-goal lead.

Fowler wasted no time, picking up where she left off at quarter time to extend the lead to six goals. Back to back goals to Bueta got the Firebirds back within striking distance but the class of the Fever continued to come to the fore as they went on a string of three goals to re-assert themselves on the contest. Bruce continued to be a pest in goal keeper, pushing Aiken every step of the way while up the other end Ellis was receiving a wealth of attention from the umpire. Lara Dunkley was starting to come into the action for the Firebirds with her clever feeds and vision into the circle.

A huge win from Ellis and a Bueta super shot got the Firebirds back to within three goals and with the centre pass to follow they managed to cull the margin to two. Stacey Francis-Bayman and Aryang were working in overdrive to stop the ball from entering the circle with any type of speed. With the Firebirds tails well and truly up Alice Teague-Neeld came along and stole it back with a huge super shot to re-establish a four goal lead. Gabi Simpson was doing a mountain load of work in transition to bring the ball down the court but an errant pass off the hands of Aiken cost them the momentum.

It was goal for goal to start the third before Kim Jenner came to life with a clever chase down but the Firebirds simply could not convert. Bruce came up big with a nice intercept as the Fever continued to motor along and really punish the Firebirds. There was no easy pass for Queensland with the Fever riding them every step of the way. The Firebirds started to rally with the combination of Bueta and Aiken coming to the fore too as they strung together four goals in a row to reduce the margin to four goals. With the Firebirds upping the ante in defence and attack Sasha Glasgow entered the fray.

The Firebirds cut the deficit to four goals as Jenner sprung into action. Within the blink of an eye the home side were back within a goal as Bueta continued to lead the charge down in attack receiving just about every second pass. A huge super shot from Glasgow gave the Fever some breathing room heading into the final change as they blew the buffer back out to five goals.

Jemma Mi Mi made her way onto the court for the Firebirds and did not skip a beat with her speed and dynamism coming to the fore. Simpson sparked up with an intercept as the Firebirds once again ate back into the deficit but the Fever were able to maintain that level of continuity and composure to work the ball around the court, but then injury struck with Mi Mi forced from the court clutching the back of her leg. The tension was palpable as the clock continued to tick down but West Coast were unflappable holding onto that six-goal lead. There was simply nothing Queensland could do as the Fever powered home to win by 10 goals.

It was a battle of the Jamaican goalers with Fowler finishing with 64 goals at 97 per cent while Aiken slotted 41 goals from 49 attempts. Bueta had a game to remember for the Firebirds slotting 25 goals from 29 attempts along with 11 goal assists and 32 centre pass receives. Ravaillion was in fine form through the middle racking up 24 goal assists and an intercept while Charles led the charge for the Fever with her 25 goal assists. Aryang and Bruce managed a combined 10 deflections while Jenner finished with three intercepts to her name.

WEST COAST FEVER 20 | 21 | 17 | 21 (79)
QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 15 | 20 | 18 | 16 (69)

STARTING SEVEN

Fever:

GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Alice Teague-Neeld
WA: Verity Charles
C: Jess Anstiss
WD: Stacey Francis-Bayman
GD: Sunday Aryang
GK: Courtney Bruce

Firebirds:

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Bueta
WA: Lara Dunkley
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Kim Jenner
GK: Rudi Ellis

Photo credit: Jono Searle

2021 SSN Round 12 preview

AFTER a week off given continued COVID-19 restrictions, Round 12 of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) returns in what is going to be a condensed final couple of weeks of netball action. The finals are just around the corner and with the top four still not set, every win counts.

Collingwood Magpies vs. NSW Swifts
Tuesday, July 27 @ 3:30pm

The contest between the Magpies and Swifts is going to be an enthralling one with the latter hoping to notch up another victory and continue to build some form heading into the back-end of the season. Currently in second spot on the ladder, the Swifts will be hoping to inch their way to the top of the table and create some separation while Collingwood will be hoping to keep their slim finals chances alive.

The battle between goal shooter Sam Wallace and goal keeper Geva Mentor will be one to keep an eye on with the two players real barometers for their respective sides. Wallace has proven to be a key contributor for the Swifts time and time again but needs the likes of Helen Housby and Sophie Garbin to provide that supplementary support. Housby is incredibly crafty with ball in hand but will have her work cut out for her against the likes of Jodi-Ann Ward who has been in scintillating form with her closing speed and tenacity on full display.

The midcourt is the real point of intrigue for both the Swifts and Magpies given just how many options they have. The Swifts are not afraid to throw around the magnets with Tayla Fraser, Maddy Proud, Paige Hadley and Nat Haythornthwaite all able to rotate through that midcourt role and ply their trade with great efficiency and effectiveness. For Collingwood the move of Kelsey Browne into centre has provided that extra level of spark and class to transition the ball down court with great ease, while both Molly Jovic and Ash Brazill are more than capable of filling that centre role or playing in other midcourt positions to combat the Swifts’ moves. It will all come down to whether or not Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner are able to stop that high ball going into Shimona Nelson and really contest the hands of the Jamaican goal shooter. If they are able to do that then it will go a long way in favouring the Swifts and setting them up for the win.

West Coast Fever vs. Queensland Firebirds
Tuesday, July 27 @ 6:30pm

There is no love lost between the West Coast fever and Queensland Firebirds and it is fair to say that this game is set to be a cracker as the Firebirds look to keep their finals hopes alive. Unfortunately, Queensland will be without the services of key defender Tara Hinchliffe who has ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and will be out for the remainder of the season leaving a huge dent in their defensive structure. This will provide an opportunity for the Fever to really romp home a win.

Without Hinchliffe for the Firebirds it will be up to the likes of Rudi Ellis and Kim Jenner to take on and nullify the influence of Jhaniele Fowler under the post. Fowler is one of, if not the most dynamic and potent shooter in the SSN with her ability to hold space under the ring and score at a great speed. Both Alice Teague-Neeld and Sasha Glasgow have proven to be dynamic options out the front despite not putting up a wealth of shots. The real kicker for West Coast is the workload of Verity Charles with the wing attack able to slice and dice with great ease meaning that Gabi Simpson will have to be on her A-game to stop her. She will also need support from the likes of Kim Ravallion in centre to stop that easy ball into Fowler.

There is no denying that the combination between Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken is one to watch out for with the pair able to create so much movement and use their athleticism to their full advantage to keep Courtney Bruce and Sunday Aryang on the back foot – but all eyes will turn to whether or not Aiken is fully fit, having limped off the court in the previous round with an ankle injury. The Firebirds will also still be without the services of Tippah Dwan with the goal attack having to endure a 14 day quarantine, meaning Queensland’s frontend could be under plenty of duress.

GIANTS Netball vs. Melbourne Vixens
Wednesday, July 28 @ 3:30pm

Sitting in first place on the ladder the GIANTS will be hoping to continue their winning ways and put Melbourne Vixens to bed with a strong win. It has been a disappointing season for the Vixens and they will be eager to gain some respectability with an improved effort here but will have their work cut out for them against a firing GIANTS outfit.

There is no denying that Mwai Kumwenda is the lynchpin in attack for the Vixens with the goal shooter providing both  a calming and demanding presence inside the circle. Her athleticism and smarts is what sets her apart but she will not have things all her own way with the GIANTS goal keeper in Sam Poolman a real warrior. If the Vixens are to put up a worrying total they will need either Kaylia Stanton or Ruby Barkmeyer to up the ante and put up a couple more goals. But that is no easy feat with April Brandley in fine form out in goal defence for the GIANTS, with her closing speed and spatial awareness enabling her to win back a wealth of ball.

The real battle is going to be penetrating through the midcourt with Jamie-Lee Price and Amy Parmenter proving to be a damaging duo. Parmenter will be up against the likes of Hannah Mundy who despite finding her form in the past couple of weeks will have to bring her A-game to combat the constant niggle of the wing defence. Speaking of midcourt battles, Kate Eddy will have to employ her strong hands over pressure to upset Maddie Hay around circle edge who has proven she can deliver into both Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer with her eyes closed. It does not matter where she is in the attacking third, but Hay has an uncanny ability to sight either shooter and release pinpoint passes with the pair nine times out of 10 up to the task. The Vixens will be hoping that Jo Weston and Emily Mannix are able to offset the GIANTS goalers early with their one-on-one defence under the ring while Kadie-Ann Dehaney is another option if they need to win ball back given her long limbs and read of the play.

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. Adelaide Thunderbirds
Wednesday, July 28 @ 6:30pm

The Sunshine Coast Lightning will need to secure a win against Adelaide Thunderbirds if they are to stay within striking distance of the top two on the letter. All eyes will turn to whether or not they are at full capacity given how many players went down in their previous outing while the Thunderbirds will be hoping to bounce back after a very disappointing performance.

Lightning fans and players alike will be hoping that Steph Wood is up and raring to go in this clash with the goal attack an integral part in the Lightning outfit with her class and silky movement, not only inside the ring but outside it, often dictating the way the game goes. It will also be interesting to see whether or not Laura Scherian is ready to take the court with the wing attack hitting the deck and forced to the sideline in her last game. But the Lightning will take full confidence in both Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia inside the ring with Koenen proving she is more than capable of playing extended minutes out in her non-preferred position of goal attack. However, the Lightning will have to be wary of the likes of Shamera Sterling with the goal keeper a real menace in the air for the Thunderbirds while Matilda Garrett is an unassuming goal defence able to niggle away at her opponent and create tips and deflections aplenty.

It is going to be a South African filled circle down with Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni for the Lightning and Lenize Potgieter for the Thunderbirds. The trio all know each other’s games exceptionally well meaning the likes of Maisie Nankivell and Hannah Petty will have to be creative upon delivery into the circle. But the Lightning are littered with classy midcourters as Kate Shimmin can play that negating wing defence role along with the likes of Mahalia Cassidy and Maddy McAuliffe. Youngster Georgie Horjus will be hoping to have more of an impact on the goal scoring front while Sam Gooden has proven to be an impact player when needed especially when the super shot is in play for the Thunderbirds.

Photo credit: Collingwood Magpies