Tag: janine ilitch

Netball fantasy teams: Melbourne Kestrels All-Stars v. Melbourne Phoenix All-Stars

THERE is no denying that Victoria has been home to some A-class talent throughout the years. Prior to the inception of both the ANZ Championship and Suncorp Super Netball, the Commonwealth Bank Trophy existed in which both the Melbourne Kestrels and Phoenix were a dominant force. But as netball developed the two Melbourne teams amalgamated to form the Vixens. We take a look back at the talent to grace each team and create an all-star team.

Melbourne Kestrels:

GK: Amy Steel
GD: Rebecca Bulley
WD: Julie Corletto
C: Shelley O’Donnell
WA: Madi Browne
GA: Ashlee Howard
GS: Caitlin Thwaites

BENCH: Cynna Kydd, Chelsey Tregear, Janine Ilitch

Starting in the goal circle it is hard to go past the likes of Australian Diamond and current Melbourne Vixens goaler, Caitlin Thwaites. The rangy goal shooter can score from just about anywhere in the goal circle and has accuracy to boot. Her strength on the take and positioning under the post makes her a challenging prospect for any defender. In at goal attack is Ashlee Howard with the goal attack acknowledged for her timing and accuracy to post.

There was no shortage of options through the midcourt given the amount of talent that worked its way through the Kestrels doors. Starting at wing attack is speedster Madi Browne. The talented midcourter is renowned for her pinpoint precision with ball in hand and attacking mentality, constantly looking to deliver the ball on a silver platter to her goalers. Centre, Shelley O’Donnell is another star to play for the Kestrels. She played a whopping 84 international caps for the Diamonds and was captain for the Kestrels while also making two comebacks her 10-year stint at the club. She was a key contributor with ball in hand able to drive the attacking plays and create defensive pressure. The wing defence bib goes to Julie Corletto with the versatile defender able to clog up space and cause turnovers with her timely tips and speed.

Down in the defensive circle, retired GIANTS star Rebecca Bulley takes out the goal defence slot. Bulley is a workhorse on the court, not often known for doing the flashy things but instead recognised for her dogged style of defence and tagging abilities. She wears players down with her constant nagging and physicality while her pressure over the shot caused plenty of headaches. In at goal keeper is the forgotten about Amy Steel. Although goal defence is her preferred position the highly skilled defender showed plenty of versatility and tenacity, willing to hunt the ball and cause a turnover.

Unlucky not to get a start was goaler, Cynna Kydd who was applauded for her efforts under the post and accuracy. Former captain Chelsey Tregear also earned herself a spot on the bench along with defender Janine Ilitch.

 

Melbourne Phoenix:

GK: Bianca Chatfield
GD: Fiona Themann
WD: Renae Ingles
C: Natasha Chokljat
WA: Wendy Jacobsen
GA: Sharelle McMahon
GS: Eloise Southby

BENCH: Abby Sargent, Sarah Wall, Jo Curran

The Melbourne Phoenix were littered with stars throughout their history and the attacking third is a testament to that. Australian Diamonds duo Eloise Southby and Sharelle McMahon take out the positions under the post. Across her 132 games for the Kestrels, Southby was cool, calm and collected under the post able to hit the scoreboard effortlessly. Her connection with McMahon was effortless with the two able to rotate through the circle with ease and cause all sorts of confusion for opposition defence units. Out in goal attack, McMahon was a real playmaker able to set plays up, deliver the ball into Southby and most importantly back herself from range in the circle.

Through the midcourt vice-captain Wendy Jacobsen takes out the wing attack position. Jacobsen was a key cog through the centre court with her quick footwork, ability to drive into the space and quick delivery into the circle. Teammate Natasha Chokljat pulls on the centre bib in the Phoenix all-star team thanks to her impressive contributions across the court. Her ability to run both ways and have an influence while also controlling the tempo of the game made her an easy selection.  It is no surprise that Renae Ingles takes out the wing defence position with the fancy footed centre court player making that position her own. Her strong hands over pressure, speed off the mark and ability to disrupt the attacking flow of the opposition made her a shoe in for the all-star team.

Moving down into the defensive unit in at goal defence is Fiona Themann. The highly skilled defender and Scottish Thistles representative took everything in her stride and used her lean over the shot to put doubt in the mind of the goalers. Her ability to swing around the body of her opponent and confuse the space allowed her to create turnovers and win ball back for her side. The final spot on the starting line-up goes to none other than Bianca Chatfield, with the defensive powerhouse and co-captain of the Phoenix a mastermind down back. Her skill to read the play and go out hunting for the intercept, intimidated plenty of shooters while her cleanliness also made her a daunting prospect.

On the bench is midcourter and slick ball user, Sarah Wall while versatile defender Jo Curran also earned herself a spot thanks to her defensive pressure and three-foot marking while Abby Sargent rounds out the all-star team.

Who would win?

While both teams boast some strong line-ups the Melbourne Phoenix seem to have the upper hand when it comes to the goal circle with both Southby and McMahon on their side. the shooting duo are arguably one of Australia’s most dominant combinations while they have a wealth of talent in the defence end. Although the Kestrels have some x-factor players across the court they lack that extra layer of class that the Phoenix squad seems to have given their international experience.

Who would reign supreme in Melbourne?
Kestrels All-Stars
Phoenix All-Stars
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Diamonds H2H Battle: 2000s vs 2010s

WITH the upcoming Netball World Cup looming, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and come up with our definitive Diamonds of the 2000s side and Diamonds of the 2010s (so far) side. Both sides consist of some familiar names, with players put in a specific side based on when they played the brunt of their international netball career.

The 2000s side consists of a number of household names in Australian netball, with three of Australia’s elite most-capped players taking the court. Sharelle McMahon, Liz Ellis and Cath Cox have almost 350 caps between them, more than half the amount of the entire 2010s’ starting seven. Shooters Cox and McMahon dominated in goals together for the majority of the 2000s, while Ellis, with the help of key defenders through the years, Mo’Onia Gerrard and Peta Squire, remained the stalwart backend goal keeper throughout her ten years in the side. Though Gerrard and Squire played majority of their respective careers in goal defence, both players took the court in wing defence towards the later end of their time as Diamonds. Natalie Bode stole the top spot of centre, with 76 caps to her name and captaining the side from 2010 – 2012. Lauren Nourse took the last starting position on court at wing attack. Despite only 25 caps for the Diamonds, Nourse was clinical at circle edge when paired with Bode.

More familiar names line the bench, with the likes of defenders, Bianca Chatfield, Susan Fuhrmann, Alison Broadbent and Janine Ilitch all in the side based on their respective successful stints in the Diamonds throughout the course of the 2000s. Eloise Southby-Halbish was the only other shooter to be named in the 2000s list, playing second fiddle to the dominant pairing of Cox and McMahon throughout her career and collecting 34 caps to her name.

 

Diamonds team of 2000s:

GS: Cath Cox (2002 – 2014), 108 caps
GA: Sharelle McMahon (1998 – 2011), 118 caps
WA: Lauren Nourse (2007 – 2011), 25 caps
C: Natalie Bode (nee von Bertouch) (2004 – 2013), 76 caps
WD: Peta Squire (1999-2004), 54 caps
GD: Mo’Onia Gerrard (2004 – 2013), 68 caps
GK: Liz Ellis (1993 – 2007), 122 caps

BENCH:

Bianca Chatfield (2001 – 2009), 42 caps
Eloise Southby-Halbish (1998 – 2006), 34 caps
Janine Ilitch (1995 – 2006), 51 caps
Susan Fuhrmann (2006 – 2011), 33 caps
Alison Broadbent (2001 – 2006), 28 caps

 

The Diamonds of the 2010s (so far) is just as star-studded as the 2000s list, with a number of familiar faces in the line-up; some retired but some still taking the court. Champion, Laura Geitz has been selected in goal keeper, seamlessly taking over from the likes of Ellis through the late 2000s. Joining Geitz in defence is Bec Bulley and Renae Ingles, who were both first named in the Diamonds line-up in the late 2000s, but were pivotal in the early 2010s. Taking the court in goals is speedster Nat Medhurst and current Diamonds captain, Caitlin Bassett, who is already at 90 caps for her career and showing no signs of slowing down, sitting in the top ten most capped Australian players alongside Ellis, McMahon, Cox and Medhurst. Nabbing centre and wing attack are Kim Ravaillion and Kim Green, respectively. Ravaillion applies plenty of defensive pressure throughout the centre court and her effective ball movement helps produce turnovers, while Green’s speed and grit through the midcourt and attacking third helped to boost goal shooting opportunities.

On the bench are some well-known players who just missed out on a starting position due to the number of caps they have played. Goal attack Susan Pettitt has shared the role with Medhurst and McMahon throughout the years, with Medhurst pipping her at the post this time with more caps to her name. Caitlin Thwaites has also been effective on the Diamonds stage, but with a number of dominant goalers shooting at high accuracy throughout the past 20 years, has been overshadowed on court by the likes of Cox and Bassett. Defenders Sharni Layton and Julie Corletto also dominated while on the court, narrowly missing out on a starting positions. The final player in the 2010 side is Madi Robinson who stepped up in the absence of Kim Green, with her ability to get ball to post quickly and use the angles to set up clever plays.

 

Diamonds team of 2010s:

GS: Caitlin Bassett (2008 – present), 90* caps
GA: Natalie Medhurst (2007 – 2017), 86 caps
WA: Kim Green (2008 – 2015), 74 caps
C: Kim Ravaillion (2013 – present), 57* caps
WD: Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan) (2009 – 2017), 57 caps
GD: Bec Bulley (2005 – 2015), 42 caps
GK: Laura Geitz (2008 – 2018), 71 caps

BENCH:

Sharni Layton (2009 – 2017), 46 caps
Julie Corletto (nee Prendergast) (2007 – 2015), 42 caps
Susan Pettitt (2006 – 2018), 71 caps
Caitlin Thwaites (2012 – present), 47* caps
Madi Robinson (nee Browne) (2009 – 2018), 61* caps

*At time of publish