Tag: gretel bueta

What player changes could we see amongst SSN clubs?

WITH the 2021 free agency period officially open for business today, we pose the question of what kind of players each of the eight Suncorp Super Netball clubs need ahead of season 2022.

The Vixens are the easiest club to spot the hole in, with the goal attack position the clear area to switch up over the off-season. The Vixens confirmed yesterday that Kaylia Stanton would not be staying on with the club, which opens up a starting position for one of a number of viable options. The most likely choice looking at season 2021 would be Tippah Dwan, with the talented goal attack seeing very little court time throughout the year following the return of Gretel Bueta, and the type of player who would slot in nicely alongside Mwai Kumwenda. The Vixens and Firebirds could effectively do a straight swap between them with the Firebirds realistically needing a goal keeper for the upcoming season given the lateness of Tara Hinchliffe‘s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury this season, with Kadie-Ann Dehaney one who could benefit from further court time and could head north to achieve that.

With Sam Poolman‘s retirement announced yesterday and Kristiana Manu’a heading across the ditch to the ANZ Premiership, the GIANTS are also in need of a defender to fill the gap. While April Brandley has been in career-best form of late and Tilly McDonell has proved capable of holding strong in goal keeper, the club will certainly be looking for at least one more head to help lead the charge down back. Dehaney could be a viable option here, unless the GIANTS put their trust in McDonell and bring up a developing talent from the pathway to fill their last defensive position. The other big question for the GIANTS will be whether Kiera Austin will be right to play from Round 1 next season, because that will dictate whether they retain both Austin and Sophie Dwyer, or allow one to look elsewhere for a starting spot with the Vixens the clear option there.

Something needs to change in the Adelaide Thunderbirds lineup with no Suncorp Super Netball finals berths as yet, with the midcourt most likely to change given their strong options across the court. Maisie Nankivell did a solid job out in wing attack for much of the season, but given her defensive nous and the likes of Hannah Mundy potentially up for grabs, it would be smart for the Thunderbirds to push Nankivell into centre and put time into Mundy out the front, with a potential combination between Mundy and Georgie Horjus too good to pass up.

With an improved structure in 2021 and a head coach players seem to love, it does not look like the Collingwood Magpies will experience wholesale changes ahead of the 2022 season, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning looking to be in a similar position. For the Magpies, the initial thought is further bolstering their attack, with the likes of Kalifa McCollin rarely used this season for various reasons and a potential to jump ship. The Trinidad and Tobago international could hop over to the Lightning as an extra prong to the Cara Koenen and Steph Wood goal circle following the departure of Peace Proscovia and Binnian Hunt, while the Magpies may choose to elevate Nyah Allen in McCollin’s place. Phumza Maweni‘s departure from the club was somewhat expected, potentially heading back home to South Africa after a couple years away from family, with Ash Unie most likely to plug that hole on return from injury.

When looking at the likes of NSW Swifts and West Coast Fever, neither team needs anyone per se, but it is safe to say a couple of the players may be hoping to jump ship for more court time this season which means they may need to top up their current list accordingly. Sophie Garbin and Lauren Moore could be two Swifts premiership players looking to step up to starting roles, while Fever’s Olivia Lewis may be looking for a fresh start after sitting behind Courtney Bruce for a number of years. Rumours continue to put doubt upon the return of English internationals Nat Haythornthwaite (Swifts) and Stacey Francis-Bayman (Fever), with both more than capable of owning a starting spot if they stay.

 

Picture credit: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images

Top of the tables: Who are the top international goaling prospects?

WITH the three major netball competitions – Suncorp Super Netball (SSN), ANZ Premiership and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) – done and dusted for the year, it is time to delve into the top prospects from around the grounds. In the first edition, Draft Central will look into the most threatening goalers from the three major competitions and who will be the top options to take the starting bibs across a range of nations.

Note: All three competitions played a different number of games, meaning goals scored and match averages are not comparable across varying leagues

* Missing from upcoming international series’ due to pregnancy, injury or leave

Australia

Likely starters: Cara Koenen, Steph Wood

Depth: Sophie Garbin, Gretel Bueta

Kiera Austin, Caitlin Bassett*

There is no doubt that the Australian Diamonds have a plethora of talented players to choose from for the upcoming international series’, with ongoing injuries to Kiera Austin and Caitlin Bassett making it easy to rule out two of Australia’s six goaling options. With the likes of Bassett already out of action that puts talented youngster Cara Koenen straight into the goal shooter position with a couple of international caps to her name already proving she is capable of starting in the upcoming tournaments, while the real question for the Diamonds will be their starting goal attack. Both Gretel Bueta and Steph Wood had up and down seasons, both hugely threatening and reliable but having spent significant time out of the international fray with pregnancy and leave, respectively. Realistically, Wood is most likely to start given her tried and tested connection with Koenen, although Bueta is a key versatile option who could rotate between both goal attack and goal shooter where required. Sophie Garbin is the remaining goaler on the list, with her versatility impressive despite her preferred role in goal shooter, but is unlikely to earn that starting role with Koenen around.

Interestingly, not one of the five goalers – four if you factor in Austin’s Round 1 injury – finished the season within the SSN top five for goals scored or attempts, though Koenen led all-comers from the above group with 517 goals at 90 per cent for the season. Wood assisted well with 209 goals to her name, while Bueta finished with 243 for the season and Garbin put up 152 goals during her limited court time. Bassett finished with 474 goals from her 15 outings with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in the ANZ Premiership.

New Zealand

Likely starters: Maia Wilson, Grace Nweke, Te Paea Selby-Rickit

Depth: Jamie Hume, Tiana Metuarau

Ameliaranne Ekenasio*

The Silver Ferns squad has a heap of depth in attack, with the focus clearly on building up the nation’s attacking combinations in the absence of Ameliaranne Ekenasio. It is safe to say that given the lack of international experience of the likes of Jamie Hume and Tiana Metuarau, it is most likely that Te Paea Selby-Rickit will earn the starting goal attack bib for the Ferns, at least for the first few outings at the nation’s upcoming test matches. The big question will be around the form of Maia Wilson, with the goal shooter undoubtably one of the biggest individual threats across the world, but having had shaky form during the 2021 ANZ season head coach Noeline Taurua could opt for the likes of tall timber Grace Nweke under the post instead, with the talented teen enjoying a rapid rise over the past 18 months. The catch though is Nweke’s lack of experience, as she looks to earn her first official senior caps against England and Australia in the coming months.

Looking to the stats, Nweke is the clear leader with 852 goals at 90 per cent for the season, over 200 more goals and attempts than the next best and a whopping 369 more than fellow Fern, Wilson. Hume leads the charge for goal attacks with 244 goals to her name at 74 per cent accuracy, followed by Metuarau (221 goals) and Selby-Rickit (207) who sat out the first few matches of the season.

England

Likely starters: Jo Harten, Helen Housby

Depth: George Fisher, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Ellie Cardwell, Ella Clark, Rhea Dixon

The England Roses are another nation that appears to be looking to the future, with a heap of exciting goaling options at their disposal. Realistically, the  nation is most likely to play the reliable combination of Jo Harten and Helen Housby with the two match-winners as good as they get. England’s depth is where things get interesting though, with George Fisher having an outstanding season in the the ANZ Premiership with a couple of caps already under her belt and a great connection with fellow developing talent and playmaker Sophie Drakeford-Lewis. Both Ellie Cardwell and Ella Clark have proved to be gamechangers for their respective VNSL sides and are great versatile options despite preferring goal shooter and goal attack, respectively, while newcomer Rhea Dixon rounds out the goaling group after an excellent VNSL season with the Leeds Rhinos, with her versatility adding another string to the Roses’ bow.

Harten was influential with 525 goals at 82 per cent throughout the 2021 SSN season, as Housby plied her trade with 191 to her name while Fisher impressed in her maiden ANZ season, piling up 585 goals at 91 per cent for the season, factoring in a couple of missed outings with concussion. Cardwell shot 377 goals at 89 per cent for the season, while Drakeford-Lewis (285), Clark (177) and Dixon (194) all plied their trade effectively.

South Africa

Likely starters: Lenize Potgieter, Ine-Mari Venter

Depth: Sigi Burger, Lefebre Rademan, Jessica Du Plessis, Elmere Van Der Berg

The South African goaling list is an intriguing one, with somewhat of a changing of the guard in progress. Lenize Potgieter is the clear starting goal shooter with her impressive workrate and footwork, while Ine-Mari Venter may be a typical goal shooter, but has transitioned into a part-time goal attack over the poas few seasons to add another string to her bow, and has a bit more international experience than talented goal attack Lefebre Rademan which earns Venter the expected starting bib, at least at first. Sigi Burger and Rademan forged an impressive connection throughout the 2021 VNSL season with London Pulse, with the former a more traditional holding shooter role to replace Potgieter, though the duo’s connection could tip them to playing some time together. Squad newcomers Jessica Du Plessis and Elmere Van Der Berg are a couple of developing goal attacks looking to showcase their wares and earn some vital elite training experience.

Potgieter leads all comers on the stats sheet, firing 453 goals at an impressively accurate 95 per cent in the SSN, while Burger put up 281 goals from her 16 appearances for Pulse as Rademan was solid with 147 goals at 82 per cent with both players sharing their respective positions as the season went on. Venter piled on 368 goals, while Du Plessis and Van Der Berg do not have stats available, playing in the Telkom Netball League in South Africa.

Jamaica

Note: The most recent iteration of the squad is yet to be announced, with the listed players confirmed in late 2020 for the postponed Vitality Netball Legends Series 

Likely starters: Jhaniele Fowler, Shanice Beckford

Depth: Gezelle Allison, Rebekah Robinson

Romelda Aiken, Shimona Nelson*

Jamaica has undoubtedly one of the greatest individual goalers in the world, with Jhaniele Fowler a constant threat with little defenders who can contain her. She is the clear focal point of this Sunshine Girls squad with her winning ability and volume to post, with Shanice Beckford likely to earn the goal attack bib for not only her experience, but willingness to shoot from range and impressive ability to find Fowler at the post, Both Gezelle Allison and Rebekah Robinson gained crucial experience at VNSL this season and will be looking to earn some valuable court time with the Sunshine Girls squad. With Jamaica has some formidable attacking talent at their disposal, a couple of tall timbers are potentially sitting out of coming international events with Romelda Aiken residing in Australia and now a dual-citizen, while Shimona Nelson is a future star of the side but may not participate either despite the 2021 SSN season being done and dusted for the year.

The SSN trio all put up hefty totals, with Fowler leading all comers with 883 goals from 917 attempts, while Nelson had a real breakout season with 614 goals to her name and Aiken was threatening as ever finishing with 531. Both Robinson and Allison played key roles for their respective VNSL sides in 2021, putting up 180 and 78 goals, respectively, sharing the load with their franchise’s other goalers, while Beckford does not play in any of the aforementioned major leagues meaning stats are unavailable.

It is also worth quickly touching on players outside the top five nations, with Malawi’s Mwai Kumwenda and Joyce Mvula both accurate and agile in the goal circle, while Trinidad and Tobago duo Sam Wallace and Kalifa McCollin have both become consistent threats. Ugandans Peace Proscovia and Mary Cholhok have impressed in recent years with their ability to stay consistent and strong at the post, while Bethan Goodwin, Lynsey GallagherNiamh McCall and Emma Barrie (Scotland), Georgia Rowe and Betsy Creak (Wales) and Emma Magee (Northern Ireland) are some of the other talented names playing in the VNSL.

 

Picture credit: John Davidson/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 Stats wrap: SSN Round 12 and ANZ Premiership Round 15

ROUND 15 marked the final home and away round in the ANZ Premiership with a number of players upping the ante while Round 12 of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) rolled around after a COVID-19 enforced break with a couple of players breaking individual records.

Goals:

The goal shooters once again dominated in Round 15 of the ANZ Premiership, with Grace Nweke pouring on the pressure inside the ring nailing 49 goals from 51 attempts. She was not the only one firing on all cylinders as Ellie Bird managed 42 goals from 44 attempts at 96 per cent accuracy, while George Fisher was up and running with her 42 goals from 45 attempts at 93 per cent. Aliyah Dunn was a commanding presence for the Pulse with her 36 goals at 92 per cent but the most accurate shooter of the lot was Te Amo Amaru-Tibble with the goal attack converting at 100 per cent and finishing with 21 goals to her name. Caitlin Bassett sat in the 90s with her 32 goals from 35 attempts as both Jamie Hume and Monica Falkner were strong for the Stars recording 26 and 20 goals apiece but at a lower percentage. Maia Wilson’s shooting woes continued sitting at a lowly 59 per cent with 17 from 29.

It was a good week to be a Jamaican goal shooter in the SSN, with Shimona Nelson starring under the post for the Magpies slotting a whopping 69 goals from 71 attempts at 97 per cent. Jhaniele Fowler was also damaging with her 64 from 66 at 97 per cent as Romelda Aiken finished with 41 from 49. In terms of accuracy though Lenize Potgieter continued her merry way with her first miss not coming until the dying seconds of the game to finish with 40 from 41, while partner in crime Georgie Horjus was accurate to post sitting at 95 per cent. Cara Koenen was confident to post with her 27 goals from 29 attempts, while Peace Proscovia had an impact in her 15 minutes of court time slotting seven from seven while Steph Wood nailed 22 from 28 including four super shots. Jo Harten led the way with her 30 goals albeit at 79 per cent as Mwai Kumwenda was down on her accuracy and volume recording 34 goals from 43 attempts at 79 per cent. Gretel Bueta was impressive for the Firebirds with her 25 from 29 as Sophie Garbin dominated for the Swifts recording 34 goals from 36 attempts.

Midcourt:

Gina Crampton was a real workhorse through the midcourt for the Stars racking up 24 goal assists along with 27 centre pass receives. Teammate Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was in commanding form through the centre recording 20 goal assists the highest of any centre this round with the next closest Tayla Earle with 15 goal assists and two gains. Shannon Saunders was her ever-reliable self in attack for the Steel with her 25 goal assists, while Whitney Souness showcased her speed and dynamism for the Pulse finishing with 22 goal assists and 31 centre pass receives. Kate Heffernan was down on her feeding load with just six goal assists but made up for it in defence with three intercepts. Erikana Pedersen and Kimiora Poi shared the load in attack for the Tactix with 15 goal assists each while Charlotte Elley was imperative in wing defence collecting a gain and two deflections. Sam Winders did the heavy lifting for the Magic with her 10 goal assists and three gains as Tori Kolose found her groove with 11 goal assists.

Maisie Nankivell had a game to remember amassing a whopping 32 goal assists with the next best Verity Charles with 26 and 23 centre pass receives. Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion was in fine form racking up 24 goal assists and an intercept as teammate Lara Dunkley also found her groove with 16 goal assists. Maddy Proud was a lynchpin through the midcourt for the Swifts collecting 23 goal assists and one deflection as Kelsey Browne dazzled for the Pies amassing 21 goal assists, 31 centre pass receives and an  intercept. Ash Brazill was also up and about for Collingwood registering two intercepts and three deflections in the win as Lauren Moore got busy with her three intercepts. Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price shared the workload for the GIANTS with 12 and 10 goal assists respectively while in a half of netball Amy Parmenter racked up two intercepts and four deflections. for the Lightning it was Laura Scherian that led the charge with her 20 goal assists.

Defence:

Northern Stars goal defence Anna Harrison seemed to have the ball on a string as she racked up a whopping eight intercepts along with five gains. It did not stop there as she also accumulated six deflections. Elle Temu was a force to be reckoned with for the Stars amassing five intercepts and three gains. Jane Watson plied her trade for the Tactix recording two gains while Karin Burger continued her merry way picking up another two intercepts and three deflections. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit was in fine form for the Steel producing four deflections and four gains as Kelly Jury also asserted herself on the contest for the Pulse with three intercepts.

Shamera Sterling’s defensive beast mode was activated as the Thunderbirds goal keeper managed three intercepts, two deflections and a couple of rebounds. Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni combined for nine gains including four intercepts from Pretorius. Sam Poolman was solid for the GIANTS with her six gains while in her 15 minutes of court time, Matilda McDonell proved to be a nuisance picking up two intercepts and two deflections. April Brandley had a hand in just about everything with her eight deflections as both Emily Mannix and Jo Weston registered a combined 12 gains. It was a quieter performance by Courtney Bruce who finished with seven deflections while Kim Jenner notched up three intercepts. It was the Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward show as the duo registered 11 gains and 13 deflections.

Photo credit: SSN

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