Tag: jamaica

Memorable Matches: Sunshine Girls defeat Silver Ferns – 2018 Comm Games

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is Jamaica’s bronze medal win over New Zealand at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, after missing out on the gold medal match by the slimmest of margins. 

It was a period of rebuilding for New Zealand, and this loss almost felt like the tail on the end of years of frustration for the nation, which had never failed to make a final before, let alone miss out on a medal overall. But for Jamaica, this was the culmination of years of edging closer to the title, and while it was the nation’s third bronze medal it was the first Commonwealth Games win against the Ferns, proving the Sunshine Girls could push any team to its limit on their day.

The two sides battled mercilessly throughout, with neither really able to snatch onto momentum for the full match. There was arguably a scoring end with majority of both teams’ scoreboard impact hitting in alternating quarters, with Jamaica dominating the first and third, drawing out a strong lead on both occasions, while New Zealand fought back during the second and fourth quarters to no avail. With quality shooting targets up opposing ends with the likes of Maria Folau, Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken finding plenty of the ball, the Jamaicans were a fraction cleaner. Khadijah Williams (20 assists from 31 feeds) zipped around as she does best, with the wing attack using her quick footwork to out-position the likes of Sam Winders and Claire Kersten and open up space for both Shanice Beckford (15 goals, 16 assists) and Adean Thomas. While Ferns goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau was more than up for the challenge lining up on Fowler and Aiken respectively, it was her penalty count that got the Ferns in trouble, racking up 24 penalties (18 contacts) in her 49 minutes on court. Katrina Rore’s respective cleanliness could not make up the numbers, with the usually tenacious defender failing to have her usual impact.

It was inaccuracy that plagued the Ferns throughout, unable to be their typical cool, calm and collected selves under the post thanks to the phenomenal defensive effort from the Sunshine girls. While Jamaica’s shooting was not at 100 per cent either, the side was far cleaner with the ball in the attack and more careful with the shot where New Zealand wasted attempts from further out than they wanted. Young gun Shamera Sterling was well up to the task in defence for the Sunshine Girls, and was still really an unknown quantity, able to cherry pick the ball with ease and slow down the Ferns’ speedy frontline. Despite Sterling’s dominance, Folau still managed to rack up 34 goals but ultimately was unable to hold up the attack end on her own as both Bailey Mes and Ameliaranne Ekenasio failed to make a real threatening impact on the match, both sitting in the 60s for goal accuracy. Grace Kara was electric around the circle, and while she only assisted 24 goals from her 40 feeds into the circle, she provided a consistent effort on the edge to keep Jodi-Ann Ward busy and cause some confusion for defenders. Meanwhile Vangelee Williams started out in wing defence but rotated back to goal defence after the first, adding another element to the defensive circle and certainly a more robust defender at the post. Williams and Sterling combined for 14 gains between them and while five of those were rebounds, it was their positioning and constant pressure that allowed the duo to find that front space to find the loose ball.

While the Ferns sported a high class team, their experience was outweighed by Jamaica’s tried and true connections down the court, firing on all cylinders and using their flair to rack up the deflections and intercepts. While both teams had highly talented defensive attributes, Jamaica collected more gains (21 versus 17) and 13 more deflections than the Ferns. While not all the deflections resulted in gains, every time the Sunshine Girls got hands to ball they put more doubt in the Ferns’ minds, not looking back as they dominated defensively. With two highly strung teams pushing to prove something, all signs of cleanliness went out the window. Both teams racked up over 70 penalties apiece, something almost unheard of especially on the international stage, combining for a whopping 147 penalties throughout.

NEW ZEALAND 11 | 16 | 12 | 16 (55)
JAMAICA 15 | 14 | 17 | 14 (60)

New Zealand

GS: Bailey Mes
GA: Maria Folau
WA: Grace Kara
C: Shannon Saunders
WD: Sam Winders
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

BENCH: Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Kelly Jury, Claire Kersten, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson
COACH: Janine Southby


GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Shanice Beckford
WA: Khadijah Williams
C: Adean Thomas
WD: Vangelee Williams
GD: Stacian Facey
GK: Shamera Sterling

BENCH: Romelda Aiken, Nicole Dixon, Rebekah Robinson, Paula Thompson, Jodi-Ann Ward
COACH: Sasher Henry



Maria Folau 34/44
Bailey Mes 12/20
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 9/13


Romelda Aiken 24/31
Jhaniele Fowler 21/22
Shanice Beckford 15/18

Fantasy teams: New Zealand A v. Jamaica

NEW Zealand have steadily developed the next tier of players over the past couple of years with coach Noeline Taurua taking a clear look to the future of the Silver Ferns as shown with the New Zealand A team. Pitted up against a developing yet strong Jamaican team the battle sees a variety of up and coming stars as well as some experienced and well-versed international players.

New Zealand A:

GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick
GD: Kayla Cullen
WD: Sam Winders
C: Kimiora Poi
WA: Whitney Souness
GA: Tiana Metuarau
GS: Maia Wilson

BENCH: Ellie Bird, Maddy Gordon, Temalisi Fakahokotau

Starting in defence is Pulse premiership player and electrifying goal keeper Sulu Fitzpatrick. The defender is quick on her feet, can leap into action in a heartbeat given her impressive hops and is extremely dynamic both in the air and at ground level. Accompanying her is former Silver Fern and lanky defender Kayla Cullen who oozes nothing but class. She can ply her trade in goal defence, goal keeper or wing defence such is her netball understanding, versatility, strong movement and read of the play making life hard for opposition attackers.

The midcourt is littered with nimble and speedy players that are renowned for their ability to dart around the court and cause havoc. Wing defence, Sam Winders knows what it takes to play at the highest level having stepped out on court for the Ferns multiple times. Her defensive pressure, three-foot marking and ability to shadow attackers makes her a daunting prospect for many as she is constantly on the lookout for her next intercept or tip. Energiser bunny, Kimiora Poi gets the nod at centre with the 168cm nippy midcourter able to exploit every tiny bit of space and use her speed to burn off opponents. Her quick hands into the circle also allows her to catch defenders off guard and deliver pin point passes into the shooters. Partner in crime, Whitney Souness takes out the wing attack position. Although she plays a similar role to Poi given their speed and dynamic movement, her strength around the circle edge and general ball placement to feed into the circle makes her a promising prospect for New Zealand netball.

Looking into the goal circle there is no shortage of talent headlined by the likes of Northern Stars goaler in the ANZ Premiership, Maia Wilson. The 22-year-old has come along in leaps and bounds with her strong holds, and clever footwork, while her impressive rebounding ability, high volume of shorts and accuracy to post are just a couple of key components in her game play. Out in goal attack is Tiana Metuarau who much like her other teammates has developed at a rate of knots with her impressive timing along the baseline and skill with ball in hand. Metuarau has speed to burn, is confident in the attacking third and is not afraid to take the game on.

Rounding out the squad is physical and ball winning defender Temalisi Fakahokotau, speedster Maddy Gordon and holding goaler Ellie Bird.


GK: Shamera Sterling
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
WD: Vangelee Williams
C: Adean Thomas
WA: Nicole Dixon
GA: Shanice Beckford
GS: Jhaniele Fowler

BENCH: Romelda Aiken, Khadijah Williams, Kadie-Ann Dehaney

There is no denying that the Sunshine Girls are bookended with top tier talent, able to turn a game on its head in a matter of seconds. Down in defence, Shamera Sterling leads the way with the long-limbed defender able to get a hand in everything that comes her way. Her ability to read the play, take a screaming intercept and constantly reject the ball from entering the goal circle is second to none. Out in goal defence, Jodi-Ann Ward plays a less flashy role than her defensive counterpart but still has an undeniable influence with her quick footwork, strong hands over pressure and court coverage to force timely turnovers. Ward is also very versatile able to move into wing defence and goal keeper when needed, giving her that competitive edge.

The midcourt is quite dynamic with all three players possessing plenty of speed to run opponents off their feet. The defensive minded Vangelee Williams is constantly on the hunt for an intercept with the wing defence able to read the play effortlessly and drop into the holes across the court. She is strong around circle edge to create tips and block easy access into the attacking third. Moving into centre is Adean Thomas with the 173cm midcourter able to take the ball at full speed and stop on a dime credit to her control and balance. Thomas is an exciting player to watch, able to light up the court with her playmaking style, dynamic footwork and vision into the circle. Similarly, Nicole Dixon plays with plenty of attacking flair able to find her fair share of space around the circle edge and deliver the ball into the goalers. She is quick off the mark and hardly ever stands still, always looking to work the angles and be an option in the attacking third.

Goal attack Shanice Beckford has speed and skill to boot, able to get under the feet of opposition defenders and command the ball despite her small stature. She is not afraid to back herself under or away from the post and is a real playmaker for Jamaica. Standing tall in goal shooter is Jhaniele Fowler with the 198cm goaler a commanding presence under the post. Her strength in the air is almost unmatchable, constantly reeling down any high balls, and using her body to ward off any oncoming defenders. She is hardly ever fazed by the defensive pressure and puts up a high volume of goals at an even higher accuracy.

On the bench is fellow towering goaler Romelda Aiken, along with dynamic midcourter Khadijah Williams and the ever-reliable Kadie-Ann Dehaney.

Who would win?

Boasting a slightly stronger midcourt group the New Zealand A team have the upper hand in the middle third with the likes of Winders, Poi and Souness all strong options. While Jamaica ooze nothing but class in both the goal keeper and goal shooter positions thanks to Sterling and Fowler it comes down to whether or not the Sunshine Girls can get on top of Wilson and Fitzpatrick to really romp it home something they definitely have the capability to do. With speed to boot and an uncanny intercepting ability Jamaica have a clear upper hand when it comes to not only connections across the court but so too scoring prowess.

Fantasy teams: Australia/Jamaica v. New Zealand/England

WITH a wealth of netball talent across the world Draft Central has created two teams based on the current top four nations according to the International Netball Federation rankings. The first team comprises of first and fourth – Australia and Jamaica – while the second team is made up of players from New Zealand and England. The line-ups include injured players that have recently featured in their respective country’s team.

Australia & Jamaica (Diamond Girls)

GK: Shamera Sterling
GD: Jo Weston
WD: Ash Brazill
C: Liz Watson
WA: Kelsey Browne
GA: Gretel Bueta
GS: Jhaniele Fowler

BENCH: Caitlin Bassett, Adean Thomas, Courtney Bruce

The Diamond Girls are bookended by Jamaicans given their height and dominance in those respective positions. The defensive end is set to cause fireworks with the likes of Shamera Sterling taking out the goal keeper position. The exciting Jamaican goal keeper is renowned for her intercepting ability, impressive aerial skills and classy footwork to get up to the high balls and propel it back down the court. Australian Diamond, Jo Weston is set to pull on the goal defence position given her ability to shut down opposition goalers with her tagging style of defence and skill to block vision and space in the defensive third.

Through the midcourt it is Diamonds top heavy with dynamo Liz Watson taking out the centre position. Although she is more commonly seen in wing attack, Watson has proven that she has the endurance and skill to have an influence across all thirds and use her speed and precision passing to deliver into the goalers with ease. Speedster, Kelsey Browne takes out the wing attack position credit to her dynamic footwork to dance around the circle edge and exploit every inch of space. Her impressive vision and skill to vary her passes into the shooters makes her hard to stop when on song. Coming in at wing defence is Ash Brazill, with the Australian Diamond able to move into centre as well when needed. There is no denying that she is one of the most athletic midcourters in netball history with her aerial ability and speed off the mark.

In the shooting circle, it is a combination of twin towers with excitement machine, the unpredictable Gretel Bueta getting the nod at goal attack. She is simply unstoppable both in the air and at ground level able to gobble up everything that comes her way while her increased accuracy makes her even more of a threat. Bueta consistently uses her athleticism and strength to out-position defenders under the post and shoot truly. Jamaican shooting machine, Jhaniele Fowler takes out the goal shooter position thanks to her continued dominance, height, strong holds and high volume. Her ability to use her body and feet to ward off defenders is second to none.

Unlucky not to get the start is Australian captain, Caitlin Bassett who was just pipped at the post by Fowler while the likes of Adean Thomas through the midcourt and defender Courtney Bruce also just missed out.

New Zealand & England (Silver Roses)

GK: Geva Mentor
GD: Katrina Rore
WD: Karin Burger
C: Laura Langman
WA: Nat Haythornthwaite
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
GS: Jo Harten

BENCH: Helen Housby, Serena Guthrie, Jane Watson

There is no shortage of star power across the court for the Silver Roses with key players across each third of the court. Each player oozes class, experience and an innate winning ability. Starting down back is arguably one of the most experienced defenders and goal keepers in the world, Geva Mentor. The England Roses defender is in a league of her own, able to read the play and swat the ball away with her well-timed leaps and pressure over the shot. Moving out into goal defence is versatile New Zealand defender Katrina Rore renowned for her aerial presence and intercepting ability. She is light on her feet able to spring into action at any time and also possesses that attacking element to transition the ball from one end of the court to the other.

The defensive minded Karin Burger is another sure start for the Silver Roses with her impressive wingspan and quick change of direction. Burger proved to be a key cog for New Zealand able to direct traffic down back and can seamlessly switch into circle defence when needed such is her netball IQ. Her balance around circle edge ensures she remains a constant threat to force turnovers while in centre it is hard to go past the services of Laura Langman. The veteran Silver Fern is simply unstoppable able to run all day and everyday using her ball movement to open up the attacking end and deliver pin-point passes. Although she is more defensively minded able to apply pressure on the ball carrier and pick off intercepts her ability to switch into attack makes a never-ending threat. In at wing attack is England Roses midcourter and part-time shooter Nat Haythornthwaite. Although more commonly seen delivering the ball to the goalers with her clever placement around circle edge, quick footwork and hard drive to circle edge Haythornthwaite can slide into goal attack when needed.

The goal circle oozes nothing but class, shooting prowess and versatility with both able to switch between positions. Ameliaranne Ekenasio takes out the goal attack position with her smooth movement constantly on display while her ability to slot them from anywhere makes her an ominous threat for opposition teams. She is cool, calm and collected under the post and is not afraid to re-position to get into a more commanding spot while her ball handling skills is second to none. Much like her fellow goaler, Jo Harten can stand up and deliver long bomb after long bomb. Her ability to shake up her game style from a holding to a moving shooter keeps defenders on their toes.

Rounding out the squad is England Roses goaler Helen Housby along with teammate and defensive midcourter Serena Guthrie while Silver Ferns defender Jane Watson is the final piece of the puzzle.

Who would win?

Given the versatility of the Silver Roses it is fair to say that they have the upper hand over the Diamond Girls with each of their players able to move into another position with ease. The Silver Roses ooze dominance from the defensive unit right through the midcourt to the goalers, able to exploit the Diamond Girls especially through the midcourt.

Top 20 players over 30: #14 Romelda Aiken

THERE are a host of international players across the world that much like fine wine, have simply gotten better with age. With netball on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak Draft Central takes a look at players that fall into the category of over 30 and still have plenty in the tank given their on-court prowess. Coming in at number 14 on the countdown is none other than Jamaican shooting powerhouse and veteran of the Queensland Firebirds Romelda Aiken.

Aiken is entering her twelfth season with the Queensland Firebirds with the 31-year-old shooter simply improving as time goes by. Her ability to read the play and command the ball under the post is second to none. The Jamaican goal shooter is arguably one of the most prominent goalers in the Suncorp Super Netball with her impressive aerial ability and strength. Although she can be shaky on the shot, Aiken is almost unstoppable on the offensive rebound, gobbling up anything that falls short with her long arms and clever positioning.

Standing at 196cm Aiken is hard to beat in the air, able to take the ball at full stretch. Given her height, her balance is highly impressive, able to tiptoe along the baseline and reel in any passes that many players would not be able to control. She is quite agile and nimble able to move her feet with ease and position strongly under the post. She is not often outmuscled by her opponents and has a dash of speed to dart into the circle and demand the ball.

Her game play has only gotten better over the years with her connection with Gretel Bueta simply too hot to handle for many defenders. Aiken’s ability to dish off perfectly timed flick passes in the circle or vision to sight Bueta in the attacking third makes them such a dynamic duo. At 31, Aiken has added a couple more strings to her bow, proving that she can get on the move and draw the defender out of the circle to allow Bueta to take the drive into the circle. Her general netball understanding and movement is what makes her such a damaging prospect for opposition teams.

Although Aiken is renowned for her shooting prowess, the Sunshine Girl has showed her hand as a defender, using her lanky arms to apply pressure over the shot and cause doubt in the feeders’ minds. While still learning the goal keeper position, her ability to switch it up is a testament to the type of a-class player she is, able to be thrown into any position and simply perform. Her netball nous to get ball-side of her opponent and use the outside arm to cause a deflection showcases just how intuitive she is as a player and will only get better with further exposure.

There is no denying that Aiken’s aerial presence is what makes her such a focal point of both the Jamaican international team and Firebirds and while she is heading towards the tail end of her career, Aiken has proven that she can still mix it with the best given her high level of endurance and ball handling skills.


#20 Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever/England)
#19 Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Australia)
#18 Ama Agbeze (Severn Stars/England)
#17 Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning/South Africa)
#16 Jade Clarke (Wasps Netball/England)
#15 Chelsea Pitman (Adelaide Thunderbirds/England)

#14 Romelda Aiken (Queensland Firebirds/Jamaica)

Head 2 Head: Nations Cup – Round 2

THE second day of games is set to be a big one with Jamaica and New Zealand set to face off while the Spar Proteas will be hoping to claim their first win of the Nations Cup. We take a look at one potential matchup from each game and assess the likely outcome.

Shamera Sterling (GK) v. Maia Wilson (GS)

It will be an intense battle with both Jamaica and New Zealand coming off strong wins. Both players are up and coming within their respective countries but have the fire power to make a real difference across the court with their ability to turn it on when it counts. Sterling came off the court with injury late in the Day 1 match but will hope to take the court with a day’s rest behind her.

The Jamaican goal keeper is a real livewire for the Sunshine Girls, able to read the play with ease and use her leap to full advantage to cause disruption in the goal circle. She is deceptively quick for her height and while she is a real presence in the air her skill at ground level is just as impressive credit to her lanky arms. Sterling oozes excitement and unpredictability constantly looking to force a turnover and use her feet to get good elevation for a rebound or intercept. Her movement across the court is dynamic and while she is slight in stature she can mix it with the bigger and more physical bodies. She is often unfazed by the body on body style of defence and can change her game play up to have an impact throughout the match.

Youngster, Wilson is full of potential and growing with confidence. Her footwork is highly impressive, able to sneak closer to the post and open up space with her strong holds. Although she is still developing her craft, Wilson has proved that she has plenty of composure and nous to think her way through the pressure and deliver. She can change up her game style turning from a holding shooter to a moving goaler making her an exciting prospect for the Ferns. She is not afraid to turn to post given her accuracy and volume paired with her commanding presence, making her a real player to watch. Her combination with Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Bailey Mes could prove damaging for the Sunshine Girls if they cannot stop their shooter to shooter interplay.

Wilson is a confidence player so if Sterling can impose herself early and limit the easy transition down the court it will go a long way in getting Jamaica over the line. Sterling is renowned for her physicality and aerial ability meaning Wilson will have to work in overdrive to out think her opposition and ride through the constant body on body defence.

Eleanor Cardwell (GA) v. Karla Pretorius (GD)

South African, Karla Pretorius had a relatively quiet first game and will be looking to return to her dominant form against the less experienced Eleanor Cardwell who has plenty of versatility and skill. Both sides struggled in the opening match unable to find their rhythm, making for an intriguing battle in the circle.

Although she is typically suited to a goal shooter position Cardwell found her feet in goal attack and has shown she has the skillset to have an immediate impact there. Her movement is solid, able to take the hard drive on the baseline or float across the top of the circle depending on the situation while her ability to read the play and rotate through the goal circle with ease makes her a viable option out front. She is not afraid to take the long bomb and use her feet to switch up play.

Pretorius is no stranger to the big stage, able to pull a monkey out of a hat more times than not with her quick feet and nimble hands. She can dart across the court and pick off passes, with her deceptive speed making her a constant threat to any opposition line-up. The goal defence has proven time and time again that she is a real mastermind down back with her hands over pressure and lean over the shot. Pretorius is key through the midcourt playing a crucial role to help move the ball down the court and provide a back-up option on the transverse line. Her ability to confuse the space and force a turnover is second to none, constantly on the prowl to upset the opposition’s flow in attack.

Cardwell is quite tall for a goal attack and therefore will have to use her height against the likes of Pretorius to make the most of her opportunities under the post. But if Pretorius can shut down Cardwell and smother her movement, expect England to struggle to get out of the South African stranglehold.

Head 2 Head: Nations Cup – Round 1

THE first day of the Nations Cup is set to kick off on Sunday with all four nations hoping to get their first win on the board. We take a look at two potential matchups from each game and assess the likely outcome.


Fran Williams (GD) v. Ameliaranne Ekenasio (GA)

In the first international game of 2020, both players will want to have an immediate impact and kick start their campaign on a positive note. New Ferns skipper Ekenasio oozes experience and class while Williams is still perfecting her craft down in defence.

Williams has proven time and time again that she can be a game changer with her read of the play and attacking nature. Her ability to get hands to ball and cause confusion for the feeders is second to none, constantly getting in the way down in defence. Williams is persistent and does not give an inch, riding every bump to remind opponents of her physical nature. Her footwork is highly impressive, able to get around the body and collect a tip or force a turnover making her a constant threat. Although she is still young, she has plenty of drive and determination which is a key element of her game.

After a stellar 2019 at both an international and domestic level Ekenasio has been gifted the captaincy. The new Silver Ferns leader will be chomping at the bit to get on the court and cause havoc in the goal circle. Ekenasio can shoot from anywhere with high release and smooth action a key aspect of her game play. She sweeps across the top of the goal circle with ease but can change up her game play in the blink of an eye not afraid to take the hard drive along the baseline, or become a holding shooter. She does a wealth of transition work to bring the ball down the court and consistently re-offers to help reset play and surge forward. Ekenasio is highly versatile, able to slot into goal shooter when need be and can post a high total of goals credit to her accuracy and high netball IQ.

Ekenasio is a confidence player, so if Williams can get on top early it will go a long way in disrupting the attacking flow of the Ferns especially given the retirement of Maria Folau and the inconsistent form of Bailey Mes. Up against someone with the calibre of Ekenasio, the Roses goal defence will have to work in overdrive to cover her every move and remain a threat for a full four quarters.



Jhaniele Fowler (GS) v. Phumza Maweni (GK) 

There will be plenty of action in this match-up with both players renowned for their dynamic movement and athleticism. Jamaican shooter, Fowler is a mastermind under the post while Maweni is no slouch, often flying under the radar.

Fowler is as impressive as they come, not overawed by the occasion and instead thriving on the opportunity. She is a commanding presence under the post and can vary up her game style as shown in the latter half of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season. Renowned for her typical holding goal shooter style, Fowler has shown that she can get on the move and is not afraid to drive into the circle to create space. She is prolific under the post and remains close by the ring where she does the most damage. Her aerial ability is second to none, getting up high to receive passes while her ball control is just as solid. Despite her height, Fowler is quite light on her feet with balance another important element of her game play.

The South African goal keeper has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years, taking some decent scalps and minimising the impact of star shooters. Maweni does not take a backwards step, consistently working to better herself and frequently injecting herself into the game with her leap. Her read of the play and netball IQ is high, able to get into the right positions quickly and cut off any forward forays by the opposition. What she lacks in bulk and stature, Maweni makes up for in tenacity and skill, able to get timely tips and hunt the ball to take big intercepts. Her footwork is impressive, able to get around the body of her opponents with ease and cause confusion for the feeders with her quick change of direction and long wing-span.

If the Jamaican shooter can make her mark early with her commanding presence and proficiency the Spar Proteas will be on the back foot and forced into catch-up, a position they do not want to be in against Jamaica. It will take more than Maweni’s efforts in goal keeper to shut down Fowler meaning the South African defensive unit in Karla Pretorius and Shadine van der Merwe will have to work together if they are to reign supreme.