Tag: geelong cougars

Top 15 SSN training partners: #4 Brooke Allan

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

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

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

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

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

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

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

Top 15 SSN training partners: #6 Allie Smith

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. Coming in at number six is Melbourne Vixens midcourter, Allie Smith. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

A crucial midcourter through the star-studded Victorian Fury outfit which won the Australian Netball League premiership last season and having gone two from two with a Geelong Cougars premiership in the Victorian Netball League, Smith is well and truly used to the winning mentality. A talented speedster with quick feet and impressive agility, the Geelong product is only 20 years old with plenty of star power in the making. Typically a midcourt defender with the ability to drop back into the goal circle, Smith can also take on the centre bib when required to have an impact in attack, with her versatility certainly something the Vixens can build up to be a handy extra cog on court. 

Smith has plenty of potential with her timing and vision down the court, while her speed and constant pressure allows her to be a threat both inside and outside the goal circle. Coming from a defensive background, Smith is able to turn on the defensive gears up the court to turn over the ball with ease, using her speed and game smarts to chase down the loose ball and combine with defenders and attackers alike. Now in her second season training alongside the likes of Kate Moloney, Liz Watson and Jo Weston, Smith has plenty of opportunity to further develop her craft in the coming season.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

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

VIC M-League 2019: Men’s Premier Division Grand Final wrap – St Therese win in overtime

A MASSIVE season of Men’s Premier Division action came to a head on Wednesday night, with premiership favourites, Geelong Cougars challenged every step of the way by St Therese after they finished top of the ladder once more. The Saints chewed up Geelong’s back-to-back finals hopes, however, keeping ahead of the Cougars at every turn and drawing back the margin time and time again to get their first win of the season against the Cougars in the best possible scenario. The two sides were unable to be split on multiple occasions, with the contest ultimately finishing in a draw and two action-packed halves of overtime before the Saints were named well-deserved 2019 premiers.

Geelong Cougars (53) defeated by St Therese (59)

St Therese were in the finest form of their 2019 season when they took on the Cougars, getting off to a fantastic start to lead the Cougars by four goals at the first change. Their speedy start was punctuated by accuracy and volume from goalers, Corey Nexhip (35 goals at 81 per cent accuracy) and Connor Lilly (24 at 75 per cent) who piled on the attacking pressure from the get-go thanks to phenomenal feeds from wing attack Guy Keane, who was awarded Grand Final MVP for his effort. Neither side was willing to bend, giving no leeway down the court and seeing plenty of turnovers from both teams with plenty of haste running down the midcourt. While both sides wasted opportunities and made some uncharacteristic errors across the court it was St Therese that took control to convert, with a zoning defence allowing Dylan Nexhip to pick off vital turnover ball in defence. Geelong’s attack had a slow start, too hasty to feed into the circle and giving Saints plenty of opportunity to turn over the ball. Key goaler Brayden Pastore had a slow start before warming into the match, only putting three on the board in the first before finishing with a tally of 20 while Cameron Allum provided a solid target in at goal shooter (33 goals).

Geelong came back in the second quarter, evening up the ledger early and well and truly putting Saints under the pump, reducing the accuracy of St Therese’ goalers thanks to the defensive prowess of Luke Rawlings who joined the fray to apply the aerial pressure Saints took advantage of early. The Cougars showed plenty more tenacity up the court in the second, splitting the centre court to drive to the circle and breaking away from the Saints’ zoning defence. Gerard Murphy put in the hard yards brimming with experience, calling plays and creating vital opportunities for the Cougars to get back into the game and ultimately evening up the ledger less than five minutes into the quarter. Jed Christian did a good job on speedster, Riley Richardson, forcing some errant passes here and there before the Saints tidied up their act once more, drawing level to finish the first half on 24 goals apiece.

With calls for overtime already being tossed up thanks to the closeness of the match, the third quarter saw both sides continue on their merry way creating an intense contest with plenty of players stepping up. Saints’ Matthew Longhurst was key shutting down easy access through the goal third in at goal defence alongside Dylan Nexhip, seeing the side steal back the contest once more to finish the quarter with the same quarter-time deficit for the sides heading into the final quarter. An injection of youth seemed to be exactly what the Saints needed in the third with Tristan Comans entering the fray, and while neither side could be separated for long it was a goaling showdown with accuracy to post from both teams. Geelong continued to put in the hard yards, rotating players through defence and showcasing both their versatility and individual ability to impact the contest regardless of the combinations. 

With a four goal margin heading into the final term, the last quarter saw St Therese come in ahead with the pace quickening and passes flying down the court. While the Saints were impressive delaying Geelong’s movement down the court, It was a battle of goal keepers with Rawlings and Dylan Nexhip rebounding well and creating opportunities plenty while Geelong’s Alastair Punshon and Jake Dambrauskas switched on to propel the ball up the court. Inaccuracy caused issues for both sides but with the frenetic nature of the game goals were scored back quickly and efficiently, with the two sides going goal for goal to finish. 

Sitting at 47 goals apiece come full time, on came the overtime with two seven-minute halves to decide the 2019 Men’s Premier Division victors. St Therese doubled Geelong in overtime, shooting 12 goals to six to finish off the match on a high with Keane and both Nexhips pulling out all the shots to ensure the Cougars did not go back-to-back. While both sides pulled off some impressive manoeuvres in the extra time it was Saints to played through it better, finding the form to finish well and come away with the elusive grand final victory, 59-53.

 

Grand Final MVP: Guy Keane (St Therese)

Season MVP: Brodie Roberts (Sirens Netball, 18 votes)
Runner up: Alastair Punshon (Geelong Cougars, 17 votes)
Third: Matt Doyle (Melbourne City Blackhawks, 15 votes)
Fourth: Riley Richardson (St Therese, 13 votes)
Fifth: Joshua Burns (Geelong Cougars, 12 votes)

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.