Tag: george fisher

Steel star in narrow win over Pulse

WITH finals around the corner it was Southern Steel that stood strong to walk away with a narrow two-goal win over Central Pulse (59-57). In Gail Parata’s final game as head coach, the Central Pulse upped the ante and had their moments of magic but simply could not compete for a full 60 minutes.

It was goal for goal to start the term as George Fisher and Aliyah Dunn opened proceedings for their respective sides. It was a steady start for both sides as they carefully crafted the ball down the court unwilling to cough up possession. Fisher was presenting nicely inside the circle to keep the Steel chugging along. Kate Heffernan was proving to be a nuisance early on with the Steel centre competing for everything that came her way. It was turning somewhat into a battle of the long bombs with both Whitney Souness for the Pulse and Shannon Saunders for the Steel releasing long looping passes into their respective goalers. After a clean opening five minutes of the match both sides threw away a couple of costly passes with the Steel able to capitalise on their chances and go on a string of three goals to open up the largest lead of the afternoon.

Maddy Gordon kept the Pulse in striking distance with a huge intercept around circle edge, testament to her impressive athleticism with Dunn rewarding her for her efforts. Defensively the Steel were putting the clamps on as Te Huinga Selby-Rickit came to life with a nice deflection as they went on another three goal run. All of a sudden the buffer was out to five goals with the Pulse seeming to be on the back foot credit to the dominance of Fisher under the post. Heffernan came blistering through for another intercept with the Steel defence causing all sorts of trouble with their stifling three foot marking. Just as soon as it looked like the Steel had things all their own way the Pulse went on a couple of goal spree as they reduced the deficit to three goals at quarter time.

The Pulse made a couple of defensive changes with Paris Lokotui coming on in goal defence and Kelly Jury slotting back into her traditional goal keeper. The change paid dividends with Jury coming up with an intercept as the Pulse started to gain some momentum. Souness was a real livewire inside attack with her speed and cut and drive to the top of the circle. the Pulse really started to motor cutting the margin to just one goal with Lokotui doing a solid job on Tiana Metuarau. This goal for goal rhythm once again came to the fore with neither side able to break that one goal buffer given their respective conversions off the centre pass.

It was turning into a spectacle of the centres with Heffernan and Claire Kersten leading the charge. Kersten provided a calming head for the Pulse while Heffernan was sending fans into overdrive with her closing speed and sheer athleticism. A costly turnover allowed the Steel to rally as they extended the margin back out to four goals. Te Amo Amaru-Tibble stepped up to the plate for the Pulse with her workload and crafty court play allowing her to carve up the court and hit the scoreboard. Another three goal run in favour of the Pulse enabled them to cull the deficit back to one, as the Steel remained cool, calm and collected to keep their noses in front. Looking for fresh legs in defence Sarahpheinna Woulf came on in goal defence to provide some type of spark and point of difference.

It did not take long for the Steel to add to the scoreboard as they increased the lead back out to a four-goal margin. Gordon made the switch into centre as Kersten slotted back into wing defence to provide a bit of extra defensive coverage against Saunders who was having a field day out on court. Lokotui showcased her class and vision to go back with the flight to send the ball flying back down the court. Fisher hit back with a steadier to re-establish the handy lead they created. It was a tight tussle throughout the third term with Taneisha Fifita coming to life for the Steel, out hunting and picking up a nice intercept as Renee Savai’inaea continued to grind out the game. An offensive contact call against Fisher gave the Pulse a chance to capitalise but Heffernan had other plans as she pickpocketed the ball to keep the Steel in front. Things got a bit willing as the clock ticked down in the third term with cautions handed out as the Steel went into the final break up by two goals.

The Pulse ate into the margin almost instantly in the final term with a quick goal off the hands of Dunn but that was short lived as Fisher answered the call for the Steel. A huge intercept from Jury set the wheels in motion for the Pulse as they levelled the scores but Selby-Rickit showcased her class coming through for her own clean intercept. It was a see-sawing affair as the Pulse won ball back but just as quickly threw it away with the Steel digging deep to grind their way through the physicality and pressure. Abby Erwood was injected into the match momentarily but it did not impact the flow for the Steel as they put the foot down to run out two goal victors.

Fisher was in fine form for the Steel finishing with 42 goals to her name at 93 per cent accuracy. Metuarau was also imperative for the Steel notching up 17 goals along with 19 goal assists. Saunders was electric through the midcourt recording 25 goal assists, as Heffernan racked up three intercepts in the win.  Fifita impressed down in defence with three intercepts deflections as Jury proved to be a game changer for the Pulse with her three intercepts. Dunn was a commanding presence under the ring with her 36 goals from 39 attempts, as Amaru-Tibble starred sitting at 100 per cent thanks to her 21 goals. Souness was crafty with ball in hand leading the way with 22 goal assists.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Round 15

THE final round of the ANZ Premiership is set to have some ladder implications, although the Northern Mystics have already locked up top spot. The Stars and Magic will be battling it out for respect while the Pulse will be hoping to end their season on a high after not making finals for the first time since the competitions inception.

Southern Steel vs. Central Pulse
Saturday, July 24 @5:15pm

The Pulse will be hoping to farewell outgoing coach Gail Parata in style with a huge upset win over the Southern Steel who will be riding a wave of success of their own after toppling the Stars last round and securing a finals berth. It has been a disappointing season for the Pulse who have struggled to hit their straps but will be eager to cause an upset and finish their season on a high, while the Steel will be hoping to gain even more momentum.

The battle between George Fisher and Kelera Nawai will once again be the focal point as the two sides rely heavily on the influence of the aforementioned players. Fisher has well and truly asserted herself on the ANZ Premiership competition with her clever holds and fancy footwork enabling her to dictate the play meaning Nawai will have to be on her toes to stop the ball from entering the circle with any fluidity. The real barometer and concern for the Pulse however is, Tiana Metuarau with the Steel goal attack able to control proceedings credit to her crafty court work and pinpoint ball placement. With speed to burn she is going to be a tough task for Kelly Jury who well and truly has her height but no so much for court coverage. The contest between Shannon Saunders and Maddy Gordon is set to be a good one with the pair at different stages in their career but unrelenting when it comes to their pressure and desperation to impact the play for their respective sides.

It will all come down to whether or not Aliyah Dunn is able to withstand the physical nature of Taneisha Fifita for a full 60 minutes with the goal keeper coming off a dominant performance last round. Dunn does not take well to a bit of argy-bargy under the post meaning Te Amo Amaru-Tibble will have to up the ante inside the circle if the Pulse are any chance of causing an upset. The goal attack has showcased moments of magic but will need a consistent four quarter performance against the experienced head of Te Huinga Selby-Rickit. Speedster Whitney Souness and Claire Kersten will need to be on their a-game in attack if they are to bypass the hands over pressure from Kate Heffernan and Renee Savai’inaea to get easy passage into the circle.

Mainland Tactix vs. Northern Mystics
Sunday, July 25 @4:15pm

In what could be a potential grand final preview the contest between the Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics is set to be an eye catching one to say the least. Both sides are coming in off narrow wins and with the Mystics securing a spot in the grand final it will all come down to bragging rights and confidence as the two sides battle it out in the last game of the home and away season.

It is going to be a battle of the goal shooters with Ellie Bird up one end of the court and Grace Nweke up the other. Bird is a lynchpin for the Tactix in attack with her strong holds and extra centimetres set to be the real kicker when up against the likes of Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kate Burley who are likely to double-team the goal shooter. The Tactix will need the likes of Te Paea Selby-Rickit to be at her damaging best if they are to detract from Bird with the goal attack able to shoot from anywhere inside the circle when given enough time and space. For the Mystics, Nweke is the most prolific goaler in the league and for good reason with her dominance in the air and overall athleticism setting her apart from the rest. She will have wits tested though against Jane Watson and Karin Burger who are both renowned for their constant hustle and tenacity with the latter in career best form. Expect the Mystics to rely on the experience of Bailey Mes to combat the Tactix defensive pressure while Filda Vui is more than capable of holding her own in the circle.

The midcourt is littered with speed as Kimiora Poi headlines the Tactix in attack and defence while Tayla Earle is incredibly dynamic for the Mystics. But it will all come down to the battle between Peta Toeava and Charlotte Elley. Toeava can turn a game on its head within a heartbeat with her pinpoint precision passes into Nweke likely to set the tone for the game. therefore it will be up to Elley to stop the wing attack from finding any freedom and implement some strong hands over pressure to block her vision. For the Tactix if Samon Nathan can break free early then it will go a long way in setting things up for the home side.

Northern Stars vs Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Monday, July 26 @7:15pm

It is going to be a matter of respectability for both sides as the Stars have fallen out of finals contention and the Magic looking to end their year on a high after only securing the one win way back in Round 1. It has been a very different journey for both sides but that will not stop them from putting out a blockbuster clash with the Magic really hitting their stride the last couple of rounds but just falling short.

Maia Wilson has well and truly been off her game the past couple of weeks with her accuracy and volume both down. But she is a true competitor and will be hoping to return back to her dominant ways under the post. If not the Stars will take full confidence in the number of bench options they have with the likes of Monica Falkner and Amorangi Malesala both able to come on and have an impact. Jamie Hume has been in career best form but will have her work cut out for her against the long arms of Erena Mikaere who is likely to be joined by the likes of Temalisi Fakahokotau down in defence. Holly Fowler has not skipped a beat since her return and will need to negate the influence of Gina Crampton if the Magic are to cause an upset.

The midcourt worked wonders last week with the connections between Grace Kara and Sam Winders firing on all cylinders. The duo will need to replicate this form if they are to sight Caitlin Bassett and Khiarna Williams under the post and bypass the pressure from Anna Harrison and Elle Temu. The Magic play their best netball when they release the ball with confidence and accuracy into the circle to allow Bassett to set up nicely inside the circle something they will be aiming to continue from last round. Harrison is a real threat in defence with her closing speed and athleticism as is Temu while throw in the likes of Oceane Maihi and the Stars have choices aplenty.

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 11 and ANZ Premiership Round 14

ROUND 14 in the ANZ Premiership and 11 in the Suncorp Super Netball rolled around and it did not disappoint with a number of players racking up the stats. We take a look at some of the top performers across both leagues.

Goals:

Southern Steel goal shooter, George Fisher was accurate to post nailing 33 goals from 34 attempts, at an impressive 97 per cent accuracy. In fact it was the round of goal shooters as Caitlin Bassett impressed under the post with her 40 goals from 42 attempts, and Ellie Bird did enough to get the Tactix over the line with her 38 from 42 attempts at 91 per cent. Grace Nweke continued to top the table with a round high 52 goals from 61 attempts albeit at a slightly lower conversion rate than she would like at 85 per cent. It was a rough day at the office for Maia Wilson with the Stars captain only managing a mere 11 goals from 21 attempts at a lowly 52 per cent. But that did not stop Jamie Hume from stepping up to the plate nailing 30 from 38. Speaking of goal attacks Tiana Metuarau was as dominant ever for the Steel finishing with 13 goals and 14 goal assists. After a shaky start Te Amo Amaru-Tibble worked herself back into the contest with her 18 goals from 26 attempts as Te Paea Selby-Rickit finished with 10 from 17.

Accuracy proved to be no issue for Shimona Nelson with the Magpies goal shooter sitting at 100 per cent with 37 goals straight. Lenize Potgieter also shot at 100 per cent for the Thunderbirds nailing 26 goals while Jhaniele Fowler was hot on her tail with her 98 per cent accuracy but much higher volume thanks to her 57 goals from 58 attempts. Cara Koenen impressed playing out in goal attack managing 31 goals from 36 attempts as Peace Proscovia held her own in goal shooter with her 17 goals. Romelda Aiken shook off the yips early to nail 40 from 48, as Gretel Bueta imposed herself inside the circle with her 18 from 20 at 90 per cent, while also amassing 12 goal assists. The combination between Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer was on song once again as they shot 33 and 21 respectively with the latter converting at 91 per cent. They also combined for five super shots. For the Swifts, Sam Wallace was down on her accuracy sitting at 81 per cent but still managed to hit the scoreboard in a big way with her 39 goals. Mwai Kumwenda was once again the most dominant shooter for the Vixens scoring 33 from 37 at 89 per cent.

Midcourt:

Peta Toeava was up to her usual tricks for the Mystics amassing 24 goal assists and 17 centre pass receives in her sides win. Whitney Souness was also a commanding force for the Pulse with 24 goal assists and 27 centre pass receives of her own. Teammate Claire Kersten was her reliable self through the centre for the Pulse with her 18 goal assists as Maddy Gordon proved to be a ball magnet in wing defence with her three intercepts and two deflections. Sam Winders was a real maestro for the Magic racking up 19 goal assists as Grace Kara chimed in with 13. Erikana Pedersen found her groove for the Tactix coming on at quarter time with her 13 goal assists. For the Stars it was Gina Crampton that led the charge with her 22 goal assists as Shannon Saunders got busy for the Steel with her 17 goal assists.

West Coast Fever midcourter Verity Charles led all comers with her 27 goal assists as teammate Jess Anstiss chimed in with 15 of her own. The feeding was shared around in the Firebirds camp as Kim Ravaillion topped the table with 17 goal assists as Lara Dunkley managed 10. Paige Hadley was a commanding presence through the centre third racking up 17 goal assists while Maddy Proud found her groove in attack and defence with 11 goal assists and one intercept. Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price were unstoppable for the GIANTS with the former amassing 19 goal assists. Teammate, Amy Parmenter fired on all cylinders in wing defence with eight deflections and two intercepts. Kelsey Browne was an energiser bunny for the Pies in what was a stats stuffing performance racking up 17 goal assists, two deflections and an intercept as Molly Jovic also plied her trade in the Collingwood frontend with her 15 goal assists. Hannah Mundy continued to consolidate her form leading the way for the Vixens with 16 goal assists.

Defence:

Defensively Karin Burger starred for the Tactix as she racked up five intercepts, three deflections and two rebounds in what was an all-round stellar performance from the goal defence. Jane Watson showcased her read of the play racking up four deflections, while former teammate and current Magic goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau was amongst the thick of things with her six gains. Erena Mikaere utilised her long arms to rack up three deflections. Kelly Jury and Kelera Nawai combined for four gains and six deflections as Sulu Fitzpatrick impressed for the Mystics with her three gains. Goal keepers Taneisha Fifita and Anna Harrison imposed themselves racking up eight and seven gains apiece with the latter reeling in five intercepts credit to her go-go gadget arms.

Jodi-Ann Ward was once again at her best for the Magpies collecting nine gains, eight deflections and a couple of intercepts while Geva Mentor also showcased her class in goal keeper registering seven gains. The combination of Jo Weston and Emily Mannix was on full display as they combined for eight gains. Sarah Klau was a pillar of consistency for the Swifts recording four gains and six deflections as crosstown rival Sam Poolman was just as damaging for the GIANTS with her eight gains and four deflections. Adelaide Thunderbirds defender Shamera Sterling impressed with her six deflections, two intercepts as Matilda Garrett got busy with her four deflections. Courtney Bruce got plenty of hands to ball finishing with four intercepts and two deflections as Sunday Aryang took advantage of her long limbs and closing speed to pick up five deflections and four gains. Kim Jenner and Rudi Ellis imposed themselves with a combined 10 deflections.

Photo credit: AAP

2021 ANZ Premiership: Team of the Week – Round 14

THE penultimate round of ANZ Premiership brought plenty of blockbuster results and huge individual efforts to get their respective sides over the line. The Southern Steel collected a huge win and with that had two players make the squad, and while the Pulse and Magic fell short in their matches, they still had a number of key contributors.

GS: Caitlin Bassett (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic)
GA: Jamie Hume (Northern Stars)
WA: Whitney Souness (Central Pulse)
C: Kate Heffernan (Southern Steel)
WD: Maddy Gordon (Central Pulse)
GD: Karin Burger (Mainland Tactix)
GK: Anna Harrison (Northern Stars)

BENCH: George Fisher (Southern Steel), Peta Toeava (Northern Mystics), Taneisha Fifita (Southern Steel)

It was arguably Caitlin Bassett‘s best game to-date since joining the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and the goal shooter did not disappoint. She was an absolute nuisance under the post with her commanding presence, smarts and overall body positioning under the ring allowing her to dictate the flow in attack. The goal shooter was on song from the opening minutes of the quarter and did not relent with her accuracy to post and confidence. Bassett only missed one goal for the entire game and stood up to the continuous physicality, highlighting just how imperative she is to the Magic. Elsewhere, Jamie Hume had a game to remember for the Stars with the goal attack backing herself in from just about anywhere in the circle. Her classy movement and impressive timing was on full show throughout the clash while she also increased her volume to post nailing 30 goals from 38 attempts.

Speedster Whitney Souness found her groove this round hitting circle edge with great conviction and speed. She was a real barometer for the Pulse frontend, setting up the attacking forays and dictating the pace of the game with her nice timing and deft passes. Getting the nod in centre is Kate Heffernan with the Southern Steel midcourter proving to be a crucial cog in both attack and defence. Her two-way running and sheer athleticism consistently sets her apart from the opposition while her long limbs enable her to employ a strong three-foot guard. She is quick on her feet despite her height and has good spatial awareness to deliver the ball into the circle with great precision and timing. Wing defence Maddy Gordon threw herself at absolutely everything that came her way and used her closing speed to shut down the space in a heartbeat. She was a real livewire for the Pulse, able to build pressure with her constant hustle around circle edge and sheer desperation to win ball back. Her tenacity and attacking nous enabled her to cut off drives and get hands to ball to create crucial turnovers.

It was another blistering performance from Karin Burger as the goal defence continued her ball-winning ways for the Mainland Tactix. Burger showcased nothing but class and timing to continuously turn her body inside out and create deflections aplenty. Her cleanliness and attack on the ball gifted the opportunity for the Tactix to win back possession as she continued to stand up in the big moments. Not only did Burger star in defence but so too in transition as she put on an absolutely stellar performance. Joining Burger in the defensive circle is the one and only Anna Harrison with the Stars goal keeper proving to be a real thorn in her opponents’ side. She was never far from the contest, with her long arms and physicality wreaking all sorts of havoc. Harrison continues to prove that age is just a number with her impressive elevation and netball smarts on full show throughout the entire four quarters. Her hunt and tenacity was undeniable earning herself another spot in our Team of the Week.

George Fisher was unlucky not to get the starting goal shooter position given her accuracy to post and volume for the Steel in their win. Also unlucky not to make the starting seven was teammate Taneisha Fifita as the goal keeper proved to be a real menace with her constant niggle and tenacity while the final bench spot goes to Peta Toeava who was once again crafty with ball in hand for the Mystics.

ANZ Premiership Young Guns: Round 14

ROUND 14 of the ANZ Premiership is done and dusted and with that came some scintillating performances from the next generation of players. This series will cast an eye over a host of under 21s players that made their way out on court and the impact they had for their respective sides.

Northern Mystics:

Grace Nweke

The goal shooter continues to grow with confidence week after week and this performance was no different. Able to twist herself inside out and reel in the high looping ball Nweke was once again a great target inside the circle. Although she was down on her usual accuracy her volume did not waver, still managing 52 goals. She was unfazed by the changes thrown at her with both Bailey Mes and Filda Vui spending time out the front as she remained a focal point. Nweke highlighted her ability to just about hold anywhere inside the circle and still somehow remain directly under the post such is her classy footwork and innate timing to get off the hold and pop into the space. Renowned for commanding back space, she also showed her capacity to hold the front space and command the ball adding another bit of diversity to her game. There is no denying that Nweke is just about unstoppable when able to get her arms free and cleanly contest the ball in the air which she did time and time again against the Pulse. She used her improved balance and composure to think her way through the tight one-on-one marking to stand up and lead the way for the Mystics.

Tayla Earle

It was a relatively quiet performance by Earle as the centre dug in and did the one percenters well. She flew under the radar and just plugged away for the Mystics with her cautious approach down the court and smarts to flick the ball around and wait for an opening to present itself. Earle played a clever role in defence to block the middle channel for the Pulse with her quick footwork and hands over pressure while she also helped out in attack to drive through the middle of the court and open things up. combine her turn of speed and excellent spatial awareness and Earle was a key cog in the Mystics’ engine room.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:

Khiarna Williams

Although her shooting accuracy and volume was down, Williams was still a force to be reckoned with for the Magic. Her composure and smarts reaches beyond her years, able to cleverly dance around the circle and present strongly. Not only is she a threat inside the circle but so too with ball in hand, consistently dishing off clever passes into Caitlin Bassett to keep the Magic scoreboard ticking over. The goal attack was in fine form using her split inside the circle to edge closer to the post while her confidence to back herself from anywhere in the circle was also on full display. The youngster presented nicely at the centre pass, coming over the line with some great pace but it did not stop there as she was constantly on the move and did the basics well to open up the circle. Her clever triangle work kept the defenders on her back and while Karin Burger proved to be a tough challenge she continued to find ways to remain in the game and utilised her turn of speed to have an influence on the game.

Central Pulse:

Maddy Gordon

It was another solid performance from Gordon who was tasked with the challenging job of combatting Peta Toeava. Gordon took advantage of her speed and quick change of direction to consistently block the drive of Toeava and wreak havoc in the defensive third. She threw her body on the line time and time again in an attempt to win ball back for the Pulse and was a real catalyst in the final term with her energy and desperation. Not only was Gordon strong in defence, contesting each and every pass around circle edge, but she was also influential in attack, sitting nice and high on the transverse line and providing a helping hand.

Southern Steel:

Tiana Metuarau

The goal attack had a real pep in her step from the opening minute of the game, asserting herself on the contest and using her clever body positioning to command the ball. Her work at the centre pass was impressive as was her endurance to get involved in the second phase in attack to edge the ball closer to circle edge. Metuarau showcased her impressive timing to enter the circle and take the ball at full speed and then stop on a dime. She was never far from the play and proved to be a real barometer for the side. Her strength took centre stage throughout the battle as she wore the physicality stemming from both Anna Harrison and Elle Temu and continued her merry way in the goal circle. It was a complete performance from Metuarau as the goal attack also imposed herself in defence, working hard to slow down the transition and keep the ball trapped in the goal third for the Steel credit to her three-foot marking.

Taneisha Fifita

Fifita refused to give an inch all game to Maia Wilson working the goal shooter in overdrive. Her constant footwork and movement confused the space for both the feeders and Wilson as she imposed herself from the get-go. Fifita pushed Wilson up nice and high and used her body to apply some physical pressure but not too much that she would draw the eye of the umpire. The goal keeper wasted no time defending the shot with her three-foot marking and well-timed jump to get in the head of her opponents. Fifita was not afraid to go out hunting and backed her speed to cut off any cross court ball coming her way. She also showcased her class to read both the high ball and the ground ball to disrupt the flow in attack and win clean possession for her side.

Kate Heffernan

It was a consistent performance from the centre who just flew under the radar for the Steel. She was cool, calm and collected with ball in hand able to work it around and lower the eyes when needed to deliver into the circle. Heffernan had an influence up both ends of the court with her work rate undeniable and overall netball smarts coming to the fore. She consistently re-offered around circle edge and in the attacking third to allow the likes of Metuarau and George Fisher to reset and inch closer to the post. She often held sway at the top of the goal circle and highlighted her ability to swing the ball from one corner of the court to the other.

Renee Savai’inaea

She did not have an overwhelming presence in defence but Savai’inaea definitely left her mark through transition. She worked hard to be an attacking option for the Steel using her speed to slice through the defence and open up the midcourt. She offered plenty of support on the transverse line with her smarts to reset the play coming to the fore time and time again.

Steel survive gutsy Stars comeback to secure finals berth

THE Southern Steel have knocked the Northern Stars out of the ANZ Premiership finals race with a desperate one-goal win last night despite still having one round left (46-45). It was a heart in your mouth game that went right down to the wire with neither side willing to relent on the pressure nor give up due to the high stakes of the contest.

Tiana Metuarau wasted no time opening her account nailing a goal within the first 20 seconds of the game. The ball was moving up and down the court with great speed as Jamie Hume looked to land the first goal of the game for the Stars but missed gifting a chance for the Steel to capitalise and that they did. Holding a handy two goal lead the Northern Stars defence got to work as they won ball back and Maia Wilson rewarded them for their efforts. With the centre pass to follow the Stars started to build some momentum stringing back-to-back goals together and before you knew it the home side had the upper hand – up by a goal. This goal for goal motion continued but it was Metuarau that was doing damage at the post as George Fisher did not get a look in until four and a half minutes had gone by credit to the work of Anna Harrison under the post.

Each time one side would pull ahead marginally the other would find a way to sneak back in and nail consecutive goals to keep things interesting. Gina Crampton was up and about early for the Stars with the wing attack finding good space and using her crafty passes to sight both Wilson and Hume inside the circle. Shannon Saunders was inflicting the same level of pain up the other end of the court with the Steel wing attack confident to release the ball into her shooters. It was turning somewhat into a shootout between the two goal attacks as Hume and Metuarau led the charge for their respective sides with the two holding shooters nullified by their goal keepers. Harrison was proving to be a real nuisance, going out hunting nice and early and cleanly getting hands to ball to create doubt in the feeders mind. But it was not enough to give her side the upper hand, heading into quarter time with 13 goals apiece.

Wilson was struggling to find her momentum under the post missing her first three attempts of the quarter before Hume pounced to mop things up and create a one-goal advantage. Things were going along swimmingly for the Steel as Fisher used her split and smarts to negate the influence of Harrison. The goal for goal battle continued as both sides looked to treasure possession and cleverly work the ball down the court rather than force it. Taneisha Fifita upped the ante down in goal keeper for the Steel using her footwork and body work to contest and force Wilson out of her comfort zone. She was combining seamlessly with Te Huinga Sebly-Rickit to create a strong wall in defence and get in the head of Wilson who simply could not buy a goal.

The midcourt battle between Kate Heffernan and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan intensified as the quarter went on with the pair refusing to give an inch. Saunders and Metuarau were guilty of coughing up a couple of turnovers but their overall work rate was keeping the Steel in contention as the duo dictated the rhythm in attack. Elle Temu upped the ante to try and nullify Metuarau with the goal defence going out hunting to stop the ball from entering the circle and using her long arms over the shot to try and win ball back. A couple of consecutive goals to Hume gave the Stars the lead but Metuarau was not about to be outdone by her fellow goal attack crafting a clever play to gift Fisher with a chance to level the scores at half-time.

Looking for a spark at half time Lisa Mather was injected into the game for Greer Sinclair in hope to stop the dynamic movement of Saunders in attack. But the third term started with a bang as Metuarau and Fisher quickly added to the scoreboard to establish a handy four goal lead. In fact it was not until the three minute mark that the Stars were able to hit the scoreboard as Hume landed a much needed settler. The early flurry of goals proved to be hard for the Stars to comeback from as the Steel continued to plug away. Wilson was virtually rendered ineffective only slotting one goal for the entire term as Hume did the heavy lifting out the front credit to the work of Fifita. Renee Savai’inaea was playing her role around circle edge employing some strong hands over pressure to limit any easy transition into the ring for the Stars as they went into the break down by two goals.

With the game and a finals berth on the line the Steel picked up where they left off piling on the first three goals of the game to create a five goal lead. Monica Falkner was injected into the thick of things and her presence was immediately felt as her and Hume managed three goals to reduce the margin back to three. Crampton upped the ante to give the Stars some hope while the Steel just relied on their strong connections to grind out the game. Harrison and Temu threw themselves at everything that came their way as another string of three goals from Hume cut the margin to one goal. But inaccuracy came back to bite the Stars as Hume was gifted two chances but could not make them sink as they went down by a goal.

It was another strong performance to post for Fisher as the goal shooter managed 33 goals from 34 attempts at 97 per cent. Metuarau was equally as impressive with her 13 goals at 77 per cent accuracy, while also amassing 14 goal assists. Saunders was dynamic racking up a team high 17 goal assists as Fifita proved to be a commanding presence down back with her three intercepts, three deflections and four gains. Wilson’s shooting woes continued only managing a mere 11 from 21 at 52 per cent but that did not stop Hume from leading the charge nailing 30 from 38 at 79 per cent. Falkner also made a handy cameo appearance with four from five. Crampton was crafty recording 22 goal assists but it was Harrison that kept her side in it with her five intercepts, four deflections and two gains.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Round 14 preview

THE penultimate round of ANZ Premiership action kicks off on Sunday with the top three given a huge shake-up over the past week of netball. The Mystics will be eager to bounce back from their shock loss while the Northern Stars are in desperate need of a win if they are any chance of making finals now.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic vs. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, July 18 @4:15pm

It has been a disappointing season for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic who have only secured one win for the season and that was right back in Round 1. On the other hand the Mainland Tactix have found their winning ways with a thumping victory last week and will be eager to continue that level of dominance in this match up.

The combination between Karin Burger and Jane Watson has been on fire with the pair just creating absolute mayhem down in defence with their constant hassle, tenacity and cleanliness to attack the ball no matter where it is in the defensive circle. But they will come up against an a-class shooter in Caitlin Bassett who has really hit her straps in the past few games with her connection with Khiarna Williams starting to come to the fore. Williams can play both a shooting and a feeding role making her an all-round threat and meaning that Watson and Burger will not be able to just isolate Bassett under the post. The Magic play their best netball when Grace Kara is out on court and they will be hoping that she is once again able to stand up to the pressure but will have to combat Charlotte Elley who is an unsung hero in the defensive unit for the tactics.

Looking into the shooting circle for the Tactix and Ellie Bird has been in scintillating form with the goal shooter using every inch of her height to dominate at the post. Even if Te Paea Selby-Rickit is not putting up the goals and shooting at a high accuracy it is her playmaking skills out the front that sets the Tactix up for the win time and time again meaning the constant rotation from the Magic defensive unit will have to be on song. The Tactix will be hoping that Temalisi Fakahokotau is able to return to the court and play a full 60 minutes while they will be needing the likes of Erena Mikaere, Georgia Tong and Holly Fowler to be able to chip in an work in overdrive to stop that ball getting to circle edge. They will also need the likes of Sam Winders to really up her ante through the midcourt to take on Kimiora Poi and Samon Nathan who have been in strong form for the Tactix.

Central Pulse vs. Northern Mystics
Sunday, July 18 @6:15pm

The Pulse snapped a five-game losing streak last round and will be eager to continue that winning way while the Northern Mystics registered their first loss in as many weeks and will be hoping to flip the script in this match up. The Mystics still hold on to top spot on the ladder and with finals insight will be hoping to iron out any kinks in their armour in this clash, while the Pulse will be hoping to add some more respectability to their ladder position.

It will all come down to whether or not Peta Toeava is back to her menacing ways with the wing attack able to carve up the court with her speed while her pinpoint passes into Grace Nweke is what will have the Pulse defence in all sorts of trouble. It will be up to either Maddy Gordon or Claire Kersten to stop Toeava with the Pulse midcourters having to pay her a wealth of attention to keep her away from circle edge. Both Kelly Jury and Kelera Nawai are building a strong partnership in the defensive circle for the Pulse but the Mystics could have the upper hand given how quickly and easily Nweke is able to score. Although Bailey Mes has not been the most reliable to post she is incredibly clever and crafty with ball in hand while the injection of Filda Vui is also highly likely with the goal attack able to go to post or play that additional feeding role.

The Pulse will need Aliyah Dunn to be firing on all cylinders if they are any chance to topple the Mystics who will be raring to go after an uncharacteristic loss. If Dunn is able to find room in the circle and the likes of Kersten and Whitney Souness are up and about early it could spell danger for the Mystics. Te Amo Amaru-Tibble is another one in the Pulse attacking unit that can impose herself with her high accuracy to post meaning the likes of Kate Burley, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Ama Agbeze and now Phoenix Karaka who made her long awaited return after giving birth will have to be on their toes.

Northern Stars vs. Southern Steel
Monday, July 19 @7:15pm

The final game of the round is set to be an absolute cracker and has huge ladder implications as the Stars look for their way back into the top three and the Steel hope to solidify their spot in the finals. The Stars have been in free fall the past couple of weeks dropping three games straight while the Steel will be riding high after knocking off the ladder leaders.

Maia Wilson has not been herself lately but will need to turn it around if she is to drag her side over the line. Only managing a condensed amount of court time last round and only shooting at 50 per cent accuracy, Wilson will be hoping to up the ante while Jamie Hume has been a solid contributor. The Stars have a plethora of shooters to choose from with Monica Falkner back in the mix and Amorangi Malesala a viable option given her accuracy to post. But the Steel have an incredibly strong defence with Taneisha Fifita growing each and every time she steps out on court with Te Huinga Selby-Rickit providing a calming presence out the front. Throw in the likes of Sarahpheinna Woulf and the defensive pressure from Renee Savai’inaea out the front in wing defence and it could be a tough day at the office for the Stars. However both Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan have been in fine form and will need to lead the charge if Wilson is nullified.

Goal shooter, George Fisher has been a revelation since joining the Steel and will have to be at her damaging best against the ball hungry duo in Anna Harrison and Elle Temu. The Stars pair have caused all sorts of havoc but just have not been rewarded for their hard work. Tiana Metuarau has developed at a rate of knots this season with her playmaking skills allowing her to find Fisher with ease while her combination with Shannon Saunders and Kate Heffernan will provide plenty of headaches for the Stars.

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 10 and ANZ Premiership Round 13

IT was another action packed round of Suncorp Super Netball and ANZ Premiership with both competitions playing host to a number of surprise upsets with lower placed teams toppling their higher ranked opponents. We delve into the individual statistical performance of a couple of key cogs across the two leagues.

GOALS

It was dominant shooting display from Ellie Bird with the Mainland Tactix goal shooter slotting an impressive 44 goals from 45 attempts, with her only miss coming in the early stages of the first term. Grace Nweke was another tall timber that fired on all cylinders in Round 13 putting up a round high 50 goals from 57 attempts at 88 per cent accuracy. In terms of accuracy and volume, Aliyah Dunn skyrocketed up the rankings with her 41 goals from 44 attempts in the Pulse’s first win in five games, while George Fisher was back to her best slotting 39 goals from 41 attempts. Partner in crime Tiana Metuarau was also strong to post credit to her 22 goals at 85 per cent, as Magic shooter Khiarna Williams slotted 20 goals from 23 attempts at 87 per cent. Te Amo Amaru-Tibble was in fine form for the Pulse nailing 14 goals while Jamie Hume was consistent for the Stars with her 15 goals from 20 attempts. Although it was not the most accurate shooting performance from Te Paea Selby-Rickit only converting at 57 per cent it was her goal assists that shone recording 30 for the game.

There were a couple of shooters in the SSN that managed to get through the round with an unblemished record as Sam Wallace slotted 33 from 33 and West Coast Fever star Jhaniele Fowler managed 45 straight. Lenize Potgieter was almost a member of the 100 per cent group finishing with 37 goals from 38 attempts at 97 per cent while Gretel Bueta only missed the solitary shot with her 13 from 14 goal performance. Cara Koenen was also in scintillating form for the Lightning slotting 43 from 48 at 90 per cent as Steph Wood also stepped up to the plate nailing 19 goals from 21 attempts while also registering 18 goal assists. Mwai Kumwenda was once again the go to girl for the Melbourne Vixens recording 31 goal with a whopping eight super shots to her name. Firebirds pair Romelda Aiken was high on volume but down on accuracy managing 42 goals at 79 per cent as Shimona Nelson put up 37 goals from 44 attempts. The combination of Sophie Dwyer and Jo Harten was on full display as the pair managed 31 and 24 goals piece.

MIDCOURT

Through the midcourt it was Whitney Souness that led the charge with her 23 goal assists and work at the centre pass to rack up 26 centre pass receives. Peta Toeava was somewhat down on her lofty standards but still managed to record 22 goal assists while also picking up an intercept while Steel stalwart Shannon Saunders also impressed with her 22 goal assists and two intercepts. Renee Savai’inaea was in fine form collecting three gains, two of which were intercepts along with two deflections. Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan shared the load in attack for the Stars with 16 and 15 goal assists respectively. Sam Winders was crafty with ball in hand for the Magic racking up 16 goal assists and collecting an intercept while Tayla Earle was influential credit to her 17 goal assists and intercept.

Maddie Hay was a real livewire out in wing attack for the GIANTS with her 23 goal assists, two intercepts and two deflections. Fellow GIANTS representative Amy Parmenter had a real pep in her step racking up four deflections and two intercepts. Kim Ravaillion continued her hot form with 19 goal assists, three intercepts and two deflections to keep the Firebirds motoring along while in her 50th game Hannah Petty upped the ante with her 20 goal assists and three deflections. Verity Charles controlled proceedings for the Fever with her 24 goal assists and intercept while in the Lightning camp it was speedster Laura Scherian that seemed to have the ball on a string racking up 11 goal assists and two deflections. teammate Mahalia Cassidy also hit her straps in the win amassing 10 goal assists, two intercepts and deflection. Maddy Proud’s season only continues to get better as the NSW Swifts centre recorded 19 goal assists and an intercept as Tayla Fraser plied her trade in wing defence collecting two deflections. Hannah Mundy led the charge for the Vixens topping the table with her 10 goal assists.

DEFENCE

It is hard to go past the performances of Jane Watson and Karin Burger with the two defenders working in overdrive and gathering the stats to prove it. Watson amassed 10 gains in her outing on the weekend including two intercepts along with three deflections. burger took things up another notch with her 12 gains including five intercepts, five rebounds and four deflections. Anna Harrison was a ball magnet in defence collecting eight gains, four intercepts and six deflections as teammate Elle Temu chimed in with five gains and four intercepts. Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick was a force to be reckoned with down back with her four gains and two intercepts as Kate Burley recorded one intercept and four deflections. Kelera Nawai and Kelly Jury combined for six gains and six deflections in the Pulse’s win.

Defensively it is hard to go past the services of Sarah Klau who had a hand in just about everything with her 11 gains and 11 deflections. Fellow goal keeper Courtney Bruce collecting three intercepts and six deflections as Lightning defender Phumza Maweni was on fire with her two intercepts and two deflections. Partner in crime Karla Pretorius was also influential with her four deflections and two gains. Firebirds power duo Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe were back to their usual tricks with a combined six gains and nine deflections highlighting their defensive nous. Shamera Sterling was down on her lofty standards but still managed three intercepts and six deflections as fellow Jamaican Jodi-Ann Ward had a standout performance for the Magpies with her 10 gains including a staggering six intercepts and four deflections.

Photo credit: Paul Kane/Getty images

2021 ANZ Premiership: Young guns – Round 13

ROUND 13 of the ANZ Premiership is done and dusted and with that came some scintillating performances from the next generation of players. This series will cast an eye over a host of under 21s players that made their way out on court and the impact they had for their respective sides.

Northern Mystics:

Grace Nweke
It was a less than accurate performance from Nweke this round with the goal shooter missing a couple of uncharacteristic goals from directly under the post. She still found plenty of room inside the ring and managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over but was down on her lofty standards. The feeders around her were somewhat scared to release the ball into her which stopped Nweke from having her usual dominance despite putting up some strong holds and utilising her clever footwork to keep the defenders at bay. Nweke was still a constant threat in the circle though, and did the heavy lifting with her high volume to post keeping the Mystics in the hunt. She showcased her ability to score quickly putting up consecutive goals while her overall capacity to absorb the physicality and repeatedly take the hits was on full show as she stood up under the pressure.

Tayla Earle
The dynamic midcourter had her work cut out for her up against Kate Heffernan but held her own with her use of speed and spatial awareness allowing her to pave her way forward. Earle lifted the load in attack when Peta Toeava was covered showcasing her ability to switch into a more attacking mode when needed. She was a consistent figure through the midcourt, cutting and driving her way to circle edge while she also helped out in defence to create hands over pressure. Her constant niggle and tight one-on-one marking enabled her to shut down the space and force the opposition to reset and reposition in attack.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:

Khiarna Williams
The goal attack continued to impress with her varied entry into the circle showcasing just how explosive she can be when given space in attack. She was not afraid to take the game on and while she got caught out in passages by the more experienced players out on court, Williams still backed herself in. The goal attack impressed with her composure to step back on the shot when Kelly Jury was marking her while her overall smarts to draw the attention of the defenders allowed Caitlin Bassett to star. Her aerial presence was something to behold as the goal attack commanded the ball and most importantly reeled in the high looping passes time and time again. She used her body very well to keep the defenders on her back and protect the ball while her constant movement and confidence to go from the long bombs was impressive. Despite being one of the shortest players in the circle, Williams impressed with her ability to follow in her shots and gobble up the rebounds, although she did not need to do that too many times given her high accuracy.

Central Pulse:

Maddy Gordon
Gordon got the start out in wing defence and was immediately in the thick of things with her attacking mindset coming to the fore. The speedy midcourter showcased her smarts to sit up on the transverse line and provide that outlet pass for the Pulse attackers when things got stagnant in the forward half. Gordon was constantly on the move throughout the game with her quick footwork and energiser bunny mentality allowing her to cover every single move that Grace Kara made. She was not afraid to throw her body on the line to contest each and every ball that came her way. Although on the smaller side, Gordon used her three-foot marking to try and block the vision of the Magic midcourters while she also took advantage of her closing speed to create deflections. Her versatility was once again on show as she swung into the centre and did not skip a beat hitting circle edge with ease and pace to open up the circle for the Pulse.

Southern Steel:

Tiana Metuarau
It was another strong performance by Metuarau with the goal attack possessing an aura of wisdom and smarts beyond her years. She consistently found a way to step up to the plate when her side commanded her to make something out of nothing. Metuarau showcased her balance to set plays up one foot while she also impressed with her speed along the baseline. The goal attack was not afraid to work the ball around and play a patient brand of netball to wait for the game to open up rather that bomb the ball in and force something to come. Her combination with George Fisher continues to develop at a rate of knots with Metuarau able to dish off precise passes and dictate the space with her movement. The goal attack once again proved her leadership and development to be involved in just about every single attack foray and seemed to have the ball on a string in large passages of play.

Taneisha Fifita
Although statistically speaking Fifita did not have the most impressive performance it was her work off the ball that gave her the upper hand. Her ability to cleanly contest the ball and then just create a wealth of doubt around the ball coming in allowed the goal keeper to wreak havoc. Her closing speed was on full display as she would look to go out hunting and then quickly double-back to attend to Nweke under the post.

Kate Heffernan
The highly athletic centre was at her damaging best finding a wealth of space especially when it came to second phase depth. Her sheer height and long wingspan enabled her to employ some strong hands over pressure through transition which in turn allowed her to pick-up loose ball and create deflections time and time again. Heffernan was able to swing from defence to attack within a heartbeat such is her netball nous and composure. She was a cool, calm and collected customer for the Steel and although she did not rack up a wealth of goal assists her work around circle edge allowed teammate Shannon Saunders to get into commanding positions credit to her smart drives and ability to draw the attention of the defence. She showcased her endurance to go toe-to-toe with Earle for the entire game as the two engaged in a physical battle especially around circle edge to tussle for prime spot.

Renee Savai’inaea
It was by far one of the best games Savai’inaea has played to-date with the wing defence the first wing defence in a while who has been able to effectively shut down Toeava. Her dogged style of defence enabled her to wear down her opponent and steadily grind her out of the game. Savai’inaea was relentless in defence, going toe-to-toe with Toeava for the full 60 minutes and most importantly did not afford her an inch of space. Every time Toeava turned around, Savai’inaea was there with her hands up and blocking her opponents vision. The wing defence played an integral down in defence for the Steel taking away the usual influence of Toeava with her persistent hustle and never say die attitude. Not only was the wing defence impressive down back but also helped out on transition with her turn of speed allowing her to slice through the oppositions zone. Savai’inaea also got plenty of hands to ball proving she can play both a lockdown and hunting role for the Steel.

Steel cause huge upset with a three goal win over top-of-the-table Mystics

SOUTHERN Steel claimed a huge upset win over the top-of-the-table Northern Mystics in the ANZ Premiership by three points last night (61-58). In front of a home crowd, the Steel managed to muster up something special to hand the Mystics their first loss in five games, credit to their full court defensive pressure.

It was the two goal shooters that were dominating early, with George Fisher and Grace Nweke doing the heavy lifting for their respective sides. Kate Heffernan was finding good space in attack for the Steel, hitting circle edge with great conviction to slice through the Mystics’ defence. Both sides had a sense of composure and calmness about them out on court, as they looked to throw the ball around and wait for an opening inside the circle. The Steel went on a mini run with a handy pickup from Tiana Metuarau in the centre third kickstarting a flurry of goals. Despite the Steel going up by three goals, the Mystics found a way to peg the margin back and get onto level pegging highlighting the intensity of the match.

The Steel managed three goals in a row to once again hit the lead but the connection between Nweke and Peta Toeava shone through for the Mystics. The defensive structure from the Mystics increases as they forced a held ball credit to their smothering defence. There were tips and intercepts aplenty of Fa’amu Ioane came to life in defence for the Mystics, while Kate Burley also starred with her fancy footwork to read the play and cleanly intercept the ball. Nweke continued her merry way under the post for the Mystics, rewarding her defenders for their efforts. Costly and uncharacteristic errors from both sides dictated the final few minutes of the term but it was the Steel that still managed to keep their noses in front.

The lead crept out to the highest margin of the night with the Steel establishing a four-goal buffer which quickly pushed out to five-goal lead. The Mystics looked somewhat frazzled out on court, unable to penetrate the defensive unit of the Steel and lacked their usual timing. Shannon Saunders was proving to be a maestro in attack, receiving just about every second pass to create a wealth of attacking forays for her side. the two goal keepers in Sulu Fitzpatrick and Taneisha Fifita that were doing the heavy lifting for their sides as they worked in overdrive to win back possession. The Steel were keen on holding onto their five goal lead constantly hunting for turnover ball to punish in attack.

Another three-goal run for the Steel allowed them to extend the buffer out to six goals, as the Mystics struggled to find answers for Metuarau and Fisher inside the circle. The pair were finding a wealth of space while they also impressed with their accuracy. After a quiet start, Bailey Mes was forced to the bench as Filda Vui came on in goal attack. the Mystics were not the only ones to make a change  as Sarahpheinna Woulf also sprung into action out in goal defence. It was a chaotic final minute of play as Fitzpatrick starred with her athleticism before Heffernan answered the call with her own bit of fancy footwork. Ioane was insistent on not missing out on the party coming through with some real speed to cherry pick a pass as Nweke capped things off with a much needed goal.

Only two goals separated the two sides at half time but that was short lived as the Mystics managed consecutive goals to level the scores. Vui made a good impact since coming onto the court while held ball calls seemed to be the flavour of the match as the ball changed hands time and time again. But every time the Mystics got back within striking distance, the Steel managed to find another gear to kick into going up by three goals.

It was a topsy turvy match as momentum swung back and forth with neither side able to really leave a lasting impact. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit was influential through transition, helping out the transverse line to allow the Steel to reset as the home side once again extended out to a three goal lead after being even. Looking for a spark the Mystics headed to the bench as Ama Agbeze entered the fray in at goal keeper as Fitzpatrick pushed out to goal defence. Ioane was proving to be a real nuisance but a lack of discipline from the visitors continued to cost them important ball.

The final quarter lived up to the hype as Nweke delivered back to back goals to draw level once again. The intensity rose in the arena as the clock ticked down with neither team willing to relent on their pressure given what was at stake. Metuarau stood up for the Steel with Fisher well covered by the Mystics defenders. Despite all the best efforts of the Mystics they simply could not do enough to eat into the two goal buffer. Phoenix Karaka made her long awaited return after giving birth and it did not take long for the goal keeper to make an impact down back. But in the end it was the Steel that walked away with a very important win when it comes to ladder standings.

Fisher was remarkable to post once again finishing with 39 goals from 41 attempts at 95 per cent accuracy, while Metuarau was also in hot form shooting 22 goals at 85 per cent to accompany her 21 goal assists. Speaking of goal assists, Saunders also found her groove for the Steel recording 24 for the game along with two intercepts. Savai’inaea impressed out in wing defence with her two intercepts as Fifita amassed two intercepts. Nweke was down on her accuracy sitting at 88 per cent but still managed 50 goals while Vui shot at 100 per cent for her six goals. Toeava racked up 22 goal assists while Fitzpatrick managed four gains as Burley amassed two deflections.