Tag: jodi-ann ward

2020 SSN: Season preview – Collingwood Magpies

AFTER an extended break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season is set to commence on August 1. Draft Central takes a look at each team, with Collingwood Magpies up next on the list. 

Coach: Rob Wright
Captain: Geva Mentor and Madi Browne
2019 finish: 4th

The Magpies had a strange 2019 season, racking up seven wins and two draws. The side found plenty of purchase through the middle of the season and had a stellar patch to finish, making the finals thanks to a magnificent win against the Vixens in the last round, before then falling to the Vixens in the first round of finals. Overall, the Magpies were a force to be reckoned with thanks to their ability to pull out unsuspecting wins but also lost a couple of matches with a lack of consistency and connection down the court and a couple of major injuries putting their season in doubt. With Madi Browne ruled out prior to the season beginning and Kelsey Browne bookending with the same injury towards the end of the season, the side was interrupted but their good patches were better than most and proved that they could make just about any combination work if they were on. Shimona Nelson impressed upon her move to Melbourne, while Nat Medhurst was a crucial cog in attack, playing almost a dual role in and around the goal circle thanks to her wealth of experience to hold up the circle at times.

2020 predictions/expectations:

Collingwood have an entirely new-look team in 2020, with three crucial players in Medhurst, April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion ruled out with pregnancy and midcourt star Ash Brazill out with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury acquired in February. But while the side has lost a wealth of experience, they have brought in some quality talent to replace them with Jamaican Jodi-Ann Ward joining the defensive fray to bolster ranks with Geva Mentor and Matilda Garrett, while Gabby Sinclair and Mel Bragg return to the team for a second season, with Bragg elevated to be a permanent player in 2020. Molly Jovic and Julia Woolley also join the fray for the first time, with the duo both snatched up to provide another option in attack and Woolley an interesting selection to join the goal circle given her lack of experience in the elite pathways. The team will need to ensure its connections are on point if they are to challenge some of the top teams in 2020, especially given the new two goal Super Shot with some inexperienced players in the midst.

Key player to watch:

Nelson had a breakout season last year, increasing her volume and accuracy across the season and will have to do the same in 2020 given the loss of Medhurst in attack. While Medhurst did a wealth of work to get the ball to Nelson in 2019, plying her trade and helping the young goaler develop her craft, Nelson will be the go-to girl this season  but could really lack that backup goaler stepping up that she relied on to generate ball, meaning the Magpies could be in a lot of trouble if she cannot get easy access to the ball under the post. With an impressive aerial ability and accuracy, plus her ability to put pressure on the scoreboard and she will be a real player to watch this season. Her development was second to none last season but will need to step up once again this year as the experienced player at the post, and will want to continue her development to ensure she brings her strong hands from the get-go to be a consistent threat at the post.

Team list:

Madi Browne
Kelsey Browne
Geva Mentor
Gabby Sinclair
Matilda Garrett
Mel Bragg
Jodi-Ann Ward
Shimona Nelson
Julia Woolley
Molly Jovic
Kelly Altmann

Who could lead SSN stats in 2020?

WITH the Suncorp Super Netball set to return in just over a month there is plenty of hype surrounding the season and which team will assert themselves on the competition. Last year the Lightning and Swifts seemed to dominate most areas when it came to statistics, but that did not stop Adelaide Thunderbirds recruit Shamera Sterling from leaving her mark claiming prime position in a couple of crucial stats while West Coast Fever goaler Jhaniele Fowler was also well represented in terms of statistical dominance. Draft Central poses some hypotheticals for the 2020 season, taking into account 2019 form, potential development over the off-season and enforced COVID-19 break.

Defensive rebounds:
Talented goal keeper, Sterling dominated rebounds last year notching up a whopping 35 for the season. Collingwood and England Roses goal keeper Geva Mentor was not far behind with 33, something she will be hoping to build on this season given the young and inexperienced defensive unit behind her heading into 2020. Premiership player Sarah Klau proved to be a force to be reckoned with under the post with her strong positioning and rebounding ability amassing the fourth most with 28 for the season. With Diamonds experience under her belt Klau could be an even bigger threat in the 2020 SSN season. While Emily Mannix did not feature within the top 10 for rebounds last year expect the Melbourne Vixens defender to be around the mark this season, with the defender showcasing a renewed hunger towards the end of last season. 

Goal assists:
It is no surprise that Melbourne Vixens and Australian Diamonds vice-captain Liz Watson took out the number one spot when it comes to goal assists with the wing attack simply unstoppable on circle edge with her pinpoint passes. Watson was quick, precise and accurate, feeding into the circle with a whopping 430 goal assists, 139 more than the next closest in teammate Kate Moloney. The Vixens centre was a key contributor throughout the season and will be around the mark once again in season 2020. The highly anticipated return of Madi Browne could see the speedy midcourter leap into the top five when it comes to goal assists as she will have to lead the attacking end for the Magpies given the wealth of personnel changes. Another possibility to join the top five is Swifts captain Maddy Proud who will hopefully make her return from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the early stages of the season. Renowned for her speed, dynamic movement and quick hands she could have a real impact in the Swifts attacking end. 

Centre pass receives:
Pocket rocket Laura Scherian took out the number one spot when it came to centre pass receives in season 2019, with the nippy wing attack able to burst out over the transverse line and get the ball moving. Her speed off the mark and fancy footwork was one of a couple reasons why the Lightning were so successful with Scherian amassing 428 passes while Watson was not far behind with 375. Often flying under the radar when it comes to her work at the transverse line Gretel Bueta was a prominent threat with 325 receives. Her load may lift even further in 2020 with the retirement of Caitlyn Nevins so expect her to enforce herself in the midcourt. Depending on what position Paige Hadley plays she could be another player that appears within the top 10 while Browne is another possibility.

Goals:
Jamaican powerhouse and West Coast Fever go-to girl Jhaniele Fowler was simply unstoppable under the ring last year and will be hoping to replicate that form again this season. Standing at 198cm the goal shooter is a commanding presence and wowed many with her ability to perform week in week out racking up 709 goals. Fresh off a premiership expect Sam Wallace to pick up where she left off last season with the Swifts goal shooter able to slot them from everywhere no matter the pressure. With a potential increased load in the 2020 season due to pregnancies in the Collingwood camp, Shimona Nelson will have to push herself even further. Slotting 637 goals for the season, Nelson’s numbers could rapidly rise as she becomes an even bigger target for the Pies given the inexperienced attack. While Romelda Aiken did not make it into the top five last year, likely due to missing games for injury, the Firebirds goaler is renowned for her ability to score quickly and at a high volume so expect big things from her this season, while increased court time from Cara Koenen could also see the Sunshine Coast product sneak into the top five. 

Deflections:
Sterling took out the top deflections position with an impressive 120 for the year, a clear testament to her read of the play and ability to impact the contest. She was involved in just about everything and with another pre-season under her belt and more accustomed to the high intensity pace of the game will be raring to go heading into the 2020 season. Klau was another one who impressed last year and will be eager to keep the good times rolling if they are any chance to win back-to-back premierships. Surprisingly, powerhouse defender Karla Pretorius did not feature within the top five when it comes to deflections so expect the tenacious South African to be in the mix while Thunderbirds returnee Layla Guscoth is also renowned for her ability to create tips and turnovers. The development of Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner could see the duo feature within the top five this season while GIANTS wing defence Amy Parmenter is also a threat with her lightning quick pace and slickness on court.

Intercepts:
Although she did not feature in the deflections, Pretorius shone when it came to the intercept category with 69 for the season, one more than Sterling. Pretorius was a game changer for the Lightning, able to spring into action and take a huge intercept with her cleanliness and read of the play. After falling short in the grand final expect that fire in the belly to be evident and for Pretorius to once again be amongst the top echelon of players. Mannix was a prominent threat last year with her history breaking 10 intercepts in one game and ability to read the play. Collingwood newcomer Jodi-Ann Ward has proven on the international stage that she knows how to win ball back with her quick footwork and long reaching arms, while Magpies teammate, Mentor could also be in the top five once again given her strength in the air and skill to float into space and pick off passes. After a quieter 2019 season, West Coast Fever captain Courtney Bruce will be chomping at the bit, looking to assert herself and collect more deflections to rise up the leaderboard. 

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

Jamaica

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

SHOOTING STATS

NEW ZEALAND

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

JAMAICA

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.

Jamaica:

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.

Top 15 SSN training partners: #4 Brooke Allan

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

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

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

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

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

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

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

What if… SSN doesn’t happen in 2020?

WITH the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season postponed until June 30 due to the COVID-19 outbreak there are many question marks surrounding the competition and whether it will actually go ahead at all. Last year marked one of the biggest years of netball with a host of new players joining the SSN to bolster line-ups and bring a more international flavour to the respective teams. The New South Wales Swifts broke their premiership drought with a convincing win over two-time premiership winners Sunshine Coast Lightning. While the season was filled with plenty of intrigue the off season also drew plenty of attention with multiple a-list players retiring and new players entering the system making for an action packed 2020.

So what if SSN does not return in 2020? Who might not return? And what happens to the international players that have returned home but are still signed with SSN clubs?

No netball in 2020 could have a huge impact on the sport itself as it was only just becoming recognised as a professional sport in Australia thanks to the leaps and bounds of SSN in regards to salaries. Many teams across the competition have taken huge strides forward in developing facilities that are adequate to create high performance environments for athletes to train in. Players have already been subjected to a 70 per cent cut in their salary due to the outbreak and may suffer further if the season does not go ahead which is becoming a very real possibility given the importance of public and player safety.

In terms of players it also means we won’t see the likes of new recruits Jodi-Ann Ward and Julia Woolley take the court for the first time since entering the league while the return of injured star Madi Browne and youngsters, Tayla Honey and Teigan O’Shannassy will be postponed until next year if the season does not commence. It also begs the question of retirements. When Geva Mentor joined Collingwood at the end of 2017, the England Roses goal keeper signed a two-year deal to see her in the black and white something that could quite easily come to an end if this season does not ahead.  While we are saying in no means that the highly touted defender is ready for retirement given her uncanny ability to force turnovers and create havoc down back, it is a possibility. Other massive question marks loom around the likes of Caitlin Thwaites who recently retired from international duties, and Laura Langman who signed a one-year deal late in the year last year. Could Thwaites retire if the season does not go ahead? Would Langman return to New Zealand? As a netball spectator, I hope not.

In fact, most of the SSN players are only on contracts for 2020. The least impacted teams if the season was called off would be GIANTS Netball with six players, including shooting trio, Caitlin Bassett, Jo Harten and Kiera Austin all signed up for 2021, as is Rising Star, Amy Parmenter. West Coast Fever have four players – Courtney Bruce, Jhaniele Fowler, Jess Anstiss and Alice Teague-Neeld – on board until 2021, while the Vixens’ Emily Mannix and Kate Moloney, and Swifts’ Helen Housby have also signed deals to take them through until the end of next year. Four sides – Adelaide Thunderbirds, Collingwood Magpies, Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning have not re-signed anyone for the 2021 season to-date.

There are a number of international players on the rosters at each and every club in the SSN with some of the players deciding to stay here in Australia while the outbreak is trying to be managed and others opting to return to their homeland. The likes of South African goaling duo Lenize Potgieter and Ine-Mari Venter both returned home to be with their families but are still contracted to their respective clubs in Adelaide Thunderbirds and Queensland Firebirds. Thus, if the season does kick off at the designated start date it begs the question of whether or not these players will be eligible to return to the country, let alone play in the SSN.

In an update released by the Canberra Times, Suncorp Super Netball chief executive Chris Symington said the competition still intended to go ahead, but where or when was still yet to be decided.

“We are still working to get an understanding of what’s possible from a logistical point of view and also what’s achievable for our teams and our broadcaster,” Symington said. “Given the nature of the sport there is the ability to potentially play mid week so you could condense and run a shorter version of the season – so the same amount of matches but over a shorter time frame. “That could halve our time frame to eight weeks because you could also look at packaging our three weeks of finals into one weekend or sudden death playoffs so that’s also on the table.”

Another suggestion mooted was a World Cup style netball competition played over a couple of months, condensed down.

“That’s something we could potentially do and capture as much content as we could in that time-frame without placing too much load on the athletes,” Symington said. “They would probably all go to a single location – where that is is anyone’s guess at this stage. “But you could take all teams to a single location as you would for a World Cup … and you play a tournament style with multiple matches within a short period of time. “That’s a last resort based on timing toward the end of the year.”

What do you think will happen with the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season?
Cancelled - will return in 2021
Season will start in July as planned
Postponed season - World Cup style competition

Collingwood and Lightning set to face off in practice match

COLLINGWOOD Magpies and the Sunshine Coast Lightning are set to face off in Hobart on Friday night, with both sides preparing for yet another big year of Suncorp Super Netball. It will be the Magpies’ first outing in 2020 since winning the Super Club tournament over in New Zealand, while the Sunshine Coast will be hoping to get on the winners list after going down to the Fever last week in a practice match.

The Magpies will be missing the defensive prowess of Ash Brazill with the dual code athlete unable to make the trip due to her AFL Women’s commitments on Friday night, instead allowing the likes of Sharni Lambden to step up to the plate. It will be a great opportunity for the side to try out new combinations with a 10-player squad filled with new players set to make the trip down south. Replacement player for Nat Medhurst, Victorian Netball League (VNL) premiership star Julia Woolley, will be hoping to make an immediate impact on the court with her strong drives and ability to go to post. Woolley will be a real surprise packet for the Lightning given she has not played at Australian Netball League (ANL) or Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) level before. The clash will provide an opportunity through the midcourt for the likes of Kelsie Rainbow and Molly Jovic to formulate strong connections with the likes of Shimona Nelson with the duo looking to use their dash and clean hands to exploit the Lightning’s weaknesses. Having already played with the Magpies, Mel Bragg will be aiming to impose herself with her defensive style while recruit Jodi-Ann Ward will be hoping to use her long arms to force turnovers. Despite playing in the Bushfire Relief game for the All-Stars, co-captain Geva Mentor will pull on the goal keeper bib for the Pies. Renowned for her quick feet and ability to cause confusion in the circle Mentor will need to be on her A-game and lead from the front being the most experienced player in the Collingwood line-up.

With a loss fresh in their mind, the Lightning will be hoping to rectify their issues and claim an early win over the Magpies. They have a plethora of options in the goal circle with Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia proving to be a damaging duo. In the absence of Steph Wood, Koenen has found herself out of position in goal attack but has not looked uncomfortable using her silky movement and strong drives to full effect. Ugandan shooter, Proscovia is strong under the ring with her accuracy to post and strong holds the key aspects of her game play. Jacqui Russell even showed her hand in goals floating through goal attack highlighting her versatility. With the Bushfire Relief game on Sunday, both Laura Langman and Karla Pretorius may have limited minutes on the court but will be hoping to have an impact with their ball-winning ability. Langman will be hoping to exploit Collingwood’s young and inexperienced midcourt with her gut running, speed and impressive ball placement across the court, while Pretorius is no slouch given her dynamic movement and go-go gadget arms. In her second SSN season, Phumza Maweni will be hoping to build on her form and cement her connections with young up and coming players in the side despite it not changing a whole heap over the off season. Speedster, Laura Scherian will be looking to take the reins in wing attack once again with up the other end expect the combination of Ash Unie and Maddy McAuliffe to be trialled.

It will be a tight battle between both sides but given the Lightning have a relatively unchanged side from last year and are filled with experience expect them to get over the top of Collingwood.

2020 Team Girls Cup fixture announced

THE official 2020 Suncorp Team Girls Cup fixture has been announced with each of the eight teams set to play three games – one Friday and two Saturday – with the finals to be played on Sunday. The grand final will be decided based upon which team claims first spot on the ladder in their respective pools while the other teams will battle it out for early bragging rights.

The clash between the Lightning and Thunderbirds will kick off the tournament with the Sunshine Coast hoping to restore that winning feeling with the Suncorp Super Netball grand final loss still fresh in their mind. On the other hand, expect the Thunderbirds to tinker with their new look line-up in hope to find that winning combination. The Vixens will be looking to make amends for last years’ Team Girls grand final loss against cross-town rivals with a strong showing in the upcoming tournament while West Coast will be hoping to rectify their goal attack issues and become more fluid in attack.

After claiming the inaugural Team Girls Cup title last year, the Pies will be aiming to defend their crown and repeat their efforts once again, but will have their work cut out for them up against the Swifts and Giants. Meanwhile the Firebirds have shown in recent weeks they can mix it with the best crossing the ditch and defeating ANZ Championship premiers, Central Pulse. There will be plenty of exciting clashes over the couple of days with none bigger than the potential grudge match between Collingwood and the GIANTS after the Pies pipped them at the post last year to knock them out of finals contention. The battle of the bridge will be the final game before finals with both sides vying for early bragging rights over their state rivals.

With a host of new faces joining the league expect teams to toy with their starting seven and give players a chance to iron out any kinks. Collingwood newcomers Jodi-Ann Ward and Julia Woolley will be welcomed into the baptism of fire while Firebirds defender Rudi Ellis will be hoping to find her feet. In her new colours Lenize Potgieter will be hoping to make an immediate impact for the Thunderbirds and better her sides position compared to last years Team Girls Cup finish.

Pool A:
NSW Swifts
Collingwood Magpies
GIANTS Netball
Queensland Firebirds

Pool B:
Sunshine Coast Lightning
Melbourne Vixens
West Coast Fever
Adelaide Thunderbirds

Fixture: Friday, March 27

4:40pm Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Adelaide Thunderbirds
5:50pm West Coast Fever v. Melbourne Vixens
7:00pm NSW Swifts v. Queensland Firebirds
8:10pm GIANTS Netball v. Collingwood Magpies

Saturday, March 28

10:00am West Coast Fever v Adelaide Thunderbirds
11:10am Melbourne Vixens v. Sunshine Coast Lightning
12:20pm GIANTS Netball v. Queensland Firebirds
1:30pm NSW Swifts v. Collingwood Magpies
4:00pm Sunshine Coast Lightning v. West Coast Fever
5:10pm Melbourne Vixens v. Adelaide Thunderbirds
6:20pm Collingwood Magpies v. Queensland Firebirds
7:20pm NSW Swifts v. GIANTS Netball

Sunday, March 29

10:40am 4th Pool A v. 4th Pool B
11:50am 3rd Pool A v. 3rd Pool B
1:10pm 2nd Pool A v. 2nd Pool B
2:20pm 1st Pool A v. 1st Pool A

2020 Nations Cup: Team-by-team review

THE New Zealand Silver Ferns continued their strong international form taking out the Nations Cup while South Africa floundered their chances. Jamaica upped the ante with some convincing performances to make it to the finals but fall agonisingly short.

England

The Roses had an up and down Nations Cup but showed moments of magic with crucial wins over South Africa. England donned a very different line-up missing a host of key stars such as Serena Guthrie, Jo Harten, Geva Mentor and Helen Housby instead allowing for the next generation of players to come up through the ranks.  The Roses showed faith in their youngsters with goal shooter George Fisher making her mark on the competition with her accuracy to post. The partnership between Fisher and Eleanor Cardwell developed as the tournament went on but the two struggled with movement in the circle at times given their similar styles. Captain, Natalie Haythornthwaite was an inspiration across the court showcasing her versatility to swing between wing attack and goal attack when needed. They relied on Jade Clarke to stand up through the midcourt but it was not enough at times with Amy Carter and Laura Malcolm still looking to find their feet in the Roses outfit. Goal keeper Razia Quashie was strong throughout the Nations Cup, bodying up on her opposition shooter and hunting the ball while the likes of Stacey Francis and Kate Shimmin both made life difficult in the defensive circle with their aerial ability.

Jamaica

It was a strong showing for the Sunshine Girls who are looking to make amends for a poor international season in 2019. Jamaica announced themselves early in the Nations Cup getting a win over favourites South Africa while also downing hosts England. Defensively they have plenty of talent but will have to rein in the penalties with Shamera Sterling a key offender, often gifting the ball back to the opposition thanks to her ill-discipline. However, she also proved she can turn a game on its head with her impressive leap and defensive prowess. The combination between Sterling and Kadie-Ann Dehaney improved at a rate of knots while Jodi Ann Ward also put her hand up down back winning the ball with her timely tips and quick footwork. Up the other end, Jhaniele Fowler was as solid as ever using her commanding height, strong holds and athleticism to reel in balls and score freely. The combination with Shanice Beckford paid dividends with the two rotating through the goal circle but unfortunately they were a step behind the Silver Ferns throughout the tournament.

New Zealand

The absence of veterans Katrina Rore and Laura Langman seemed to do no damage to the all-conquering Silver Ferns team. With Maria Folau also retiring the Ferns needed a new go to girl in the goal circle which Maia Wilson delivered. New Zealand were hot from the get-go with their strong connections and silky ball movement on full display not skipping a beat winning the inaugural Nations Cup title. New captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio led from the front with the talented goal attack adapting to the players around her while also doing damage with her long-bomb shooting. Defensively the likes of Jane Watson, Phoenix Karaka and Karin Burger shone with the trio posing a dominant threat and picking off any passes that came their way. It was a complete performance by the Ferns who went from strength to strength trying out new connections and dominating. Through the midcourt the inclusion of Kimiora Poi and Whitney Souness provided plenty of excitement with the two offering speed, dynamic movement and good vision into the circle.

South Africa

It was a relatively disappointing Nations Cup for the Spar Proteas who failed to register a win despite having a stacked line-up. South Africa simply could not get going, struggled to capitalise on their opportunities. The attacking end seemed to be a main area of concern with no one able to fulfil the goal attack role despite having a wealth of depth in the goal shooter position. Lenize Potgieter was a standout with the quick fire shooter making the most of her chances and punishing the opposition with her accuracy to post. Ine-Mari Venter was solid when on court but the combination of her and Potgieter lacked movement and while the inclusion of Lefébre Rademan injected some speed into the circle they could not generate enough scoring chances to post a threatening total. Karla Pretorius was down on her lofty standards unable to have the same influence in the defensive third as usual with Phumza Maweni also following suit. Zanele Vimbela showed glimpses of magic in goal keeper while through the midcourt Rome Dreyer and veteran Bongi Msomi plied their trade. Unfortunately, it was inconsistency that really cost the Spar Proteas stringing together a couple of good quarters and then dropping the bundle.

Ferns reign supreme in inaugural Nations Cup

THE Silver Ferns picked up where they left off claiming an 11-goal win (67-58) over Jamaica in the grand final and ultimately securing the inaugural Nations Cup. Meanwhile South Africa and England played it out for third spot with the Roses coming up with the goods.

New Zealand (67) defeated Jamaica (58)

It was a tight opening half with both sides going toe-to-toe and not willing to give an inch before the game really opened up in the second half. Despite missing key players across the court, the Ferns proved they have plenty of depth and a wealth of options no matter what is thrown at them. On the other hand, Jamaica went with consistency hoping to build some type of pressure and allow the players exposure to as much court time as possible.

It is hard to deny that the combination between Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Maia Wilson will be one to watch in future games with the two posing a real threat in the goal circle. Their accuracy to post and sheer understanding is second to none with the two sensing the space and capitalising on every opportunity that came their way only missing two goals in the first term. Wing attack, Gina Crampton was solid for the Ferns identifying the space and delivering well weighted passes into the goalers. Accuracy proved to be the flavour of the quarter with Sunshine Girls shooting duo Jhaniele Fowler and Shanice Beckford sitting at 100 per cent. Fowler was the dominant shooter once again converting 12 goals straight while Beckford did the work out the front to feed the ball into her.

With only one goal separating them at quarter time Jamaica upped the ante in the second to go into half time level. New Zealand made a couple of changes through the midcourt and shuffled the defensive unit around a bit with centre Shannon Saunders pushed into wing defence. Collingwood Magpies recruit Jodi Ann Ward highlighted her impressive skillset with the Jamaican wing defence not skipping a beat, picking up two intercepts and two games in the second quarter alone. The overall defensive pressure increased from the Sunshine Girls while in the attacking end, Khadijah Williams plied her trade delivering crafty passes into the goalers.

Sitting at 30 goals apiece, New Zealand took their foot off the break and threw everything at Jamaica in the third term to take a commanding lead into the final change. The inclusion of Kimiora Poi and Whitney Souness through the midcourt offered plenty of speed and youth with the two darting around and hitting the circle edge with precision. Poi showed her more attacking craft during the third collecting eight goal assists while Souness followed suit with seven. Ekenasio and Wilson found their synergy once again after the captain struggled to have an impact on the scoreboard in the second. Defensively, goal keeper Jane Watson lifted her game, hunting the ball and making life hard for Fowler and Beckford. Watson racked up two gains, two intercepts and one deflection throughout the quarter highlighting her increased tenacity. Although Phoenix Karaka did not feature highly on the stats sheet, it was her work off the ball in the third that proved to be the difference, with the goal defence shutting down any space or avenue to goal.

With the title on the line, Jamaica was not about to go down without a fight with Shamera Sterling leading the way in the defensive circle. The talented defender used her feet and impressive wingspan to get hands to ball and disrupt the attacking play of the Ferns picking up two gains, one intercept and four deflections but it was not enough to change the route of the game. ward continued her strong form with another intercept and gain while Nicole Dixon was strong through the centre but no match for New Zealand. Wilson finished the game with an impressive 44 goals from 47 attempts at 94 per cent accuracy, while partner-in-crime Ekenasio was not far behind with 22 goals from 28 attempts at 79 per cent. For Jamaica, Fowler was a rock under the post once again nailing 46 goals from 47 attempts at a whopping 98 per cent, with goal attack Beckford posting 10 goals from 11 attempts.

 

England (65) defeated South Africa (63)

It was a tale of two halves with England dominating most of the first and second quarter while, South Africa turned the tables in the third and fourth but fell agonisingly short. The Roses went on a scoring rampage of sorts in the second term piling on 19 goals to 14 well and truly taking control of the match with the likes of George Fisher and Eleanor Cardwell. The two have shown they have what it takes to match it with the best and delivered once again. The defensive unit of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni was not up to their usual high standard with two beaten for height in the goal circle. But the inclusion of Zanele Vimbela in the third really opened things up, with the goal keeper getting hands to ball and creating crucial turnover opportunities. The work of sharp shooter Lenize Potgieter was on full display with the goaler owning the circle with her strong movement and accuracy to post to keep her side in the hunt. A big third quarter effort from the Spar Proteas almost saw them steal the win, but the Roses stood strong with the likes of Jade Clarke stepping up through the midcourt while Razia Quashie and Stacey Francis played their role down back with the latter taking a game changing intercept to gift her side the all-important two-goal win.