Tag: kadie-ann dehaney

2020 SSN: Season preview – Melbourne Vixens

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 Melbourne Vixens up next on the list. 

Coach: Simone McKinnis
Captain: Kate Moloney
2019 finish: 3rd

A solid season culminated in a finals berth for the Vixens, with a close miss in 2018 pushing the side to the next level in 2019. With a quality pickup over the 2019 off-season in Caitlin Thwaites – along with South African talent Ine-Mari Venter – the Vixens lifted their intensity and pressure last year and were ultimately uninterrupted in their connections and season bar the break in the middle of the season for the Netball World Cup. The return of Mwai Kumwenda from injury added an extra string to the Vixens’ bow, with the Malawi goal shooter rotating seamlessly with Thwaites and Tegan Philip. Meanwhile, the hardworking midcourt of the Vixens worked wonders, though their predictability left something to be desired when it came to finals time, unable to compete off the bench as easily as some of their opposition could.

2020 predictions/expectations:

Well equipped to take advantage of the two goal super shot thanks to the versatile shooting trio of Thwaites, Kumwenda and Philip, the Vixens will hope to go one better than last year. While they lost Venter, young gun Lara Dunkley and powerhouse wing defence Renae Ingles over the off-season, the Vixens have more than enough talent to replace them, it is more about whether they have had the time to forge the connections needed to go far this season. Young talent Tayla Honey had a shaky start in 2018 with injury putting off her first season at SSN level, but she is back in business this season and surely raring to go. Joining an already quality midcourt of Liz Watson and Kate Moloney, the Vixens are not short of talent and experience making them a real force to be reckoned with. The Vixens will be hoping to build off their bench a bit more to provide a constant buffer and pressure through the contest. There is no denying that the Vixens have been a top team throughout the SSN and will be eager to assert themselves on the competition once again with their ability to treasure ball in offence and win ball back in defence. 

Key player to watch:

Kate Eddy is a quality pickup for the Melbourne side, which had a gaping hole at the end of last season given Ingles’ imminent retirement. Her versatility will allow her to slot in where required, likely playing in wing defence but with an ability to rotate further back with Emily Mannix and Jo Weston. With a season under her belt at the Swifts in 2019, Eddy has proved her growth defensively to provide a quality rotation through all three defensive positions. While she did not play in the 2019 grand final thanks to injury, the talented defender adjusted well to the top level and more than handled the job of holding down attackers. What’s more, Eddy is a former Vixens training partner meaning she already has forged connections with a number of players, something that will certainly come in handy given the side’s lack of time together prior to the season starting.

Team list:

Kate Moloney
Tegan Philip
Liz Watson
Caitlin Thwaites
Emily Mannix
Jo Weston
Kadie-Ann Dehaney
Mwai Kumwenda
Tayla Honey
Kate Eddy

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: #7 Jacqui Newton

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. Sitting at number seven on the countdown is Melbourne Vixens training partner Jacqui Newton. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration 2019 form, individual potential and future development.

At only 23, Newton has already tasted success thanks to her defensive prowess and impressive skillset. In 2018 the interchangeable goal keeper, goal defender played in the grand final and took out the premiership title in the Victorian Netball League (VNL) with the City West Falcons. She followed up those efforts, going one better in 2019 helping to guide the Victorian Fury to title glory in the Australian Netball League (ANL).

Her ability to have a profound impact at both levels of netball is a testament to her commitment while her desire for success and to push herself further shows her dedicated mentality. She is not afraid to put her body on the line and throw herself at the ball passing by. Newton is an exciting player to watch, quick on her feet and offers consistency when on court. Standing at 185cm she is not the tallest defender but makes up for it with tenacity and quick footwork to get around the body of her opponents and remain in the hunt for the ball.

Newton has had limited exposure to the Suncorp Super Netball level playing just a couple of games but is yet to really crack into the market and showcase her array of talents. Surrounded by the likes of Australian Diamonds duo Jo Weston and Emily Mannix, Newton is aware of the workload and defensive attributes needed to make a splash at international level. Throw in Jamaican up and coming star Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Newton has no shortage of defensive masterminds to learn from, when it comes to perfecting her craft whether it be pressure over the shot or movement inside the circle.

While she is still developing, Newton has showed that she can hold her own up against some talented young guns in the ANL. The more suited goal defence is light on her feet, able to dart around the court and put in the blocks at the top of the circle to stop her opposing shooter from entering the circle with ease. She works hard on transition, constantly looking to re-offer across the court and bring the ball down to deliver to the attackers. Her strong ball movement and accuracy with ball in hand also puts her in good stead for a potential step up to SSN level.

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)

Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown – #9/#8

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 25 players under 25-years-old across the netball world. Moving into the top 10 is a couple of former Melbourne Vixens teammates Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Ine-Mari Venter. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

Coming in at nine is Kadie-Ann Dehaney with the Jamaican defender taking her game to another level in recent months. Dehaney has showcased that she can be an impact player able to burst onto the court and cause her havoc with her long limbs and ball winning skills. Her aerial presence is a key feature of her game able to get up to the high balls and create turnovers or take impressive intercepts. Although costly at times when it comes to penalties, Dehaney works hard to create pressure with her hands over pressure and quick feet to confuse the space. Her connection with both Emily Mannix and Jo Weston enables her to go out hunting for cross-court balls and stop the ball from coming into the circle. Although she does not record a lot of court time for the Vixens, she displays enough skill to earn herself a consistent spot in the Sunshine Girls line-up. Her ability to have an impact at an international level and ply her trade up against some of the worlds best netballers is credit to her high netball IQ and desire to have an impact on the court.

Much like Dehaney, Ine-Mari Venter has struggled to register court time in Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) but has shown that she has plenty to offer with her well-timed drives, strong hands and spatial awareness. Discovering a new position in 2019 pushed out to goal attack, Venter added another string to her bow. The typical goal shooter showcased her ability to feed the ball into the circle and transition the ball down the court throughout last season while also backing herself in the goal circle. Although she does not put up a wealth of shots, her accuracy and precise movement in the circle is what makes her such an exciting prospect both at SSN level but so too for the Spar Proteas. The 192cm shooter is a real threat to be reckoned with, thanks to her strong holds, nifty footwork and ability to change up her game style. Coming into the prime of her career at 25, Venter has learnt off some of the best such as Caitlin Thwaites at the Vixens and Lenize Potgieter at an international level and will want to make herself a permanent fixture in the Proteas starting line-up.

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Top 25 so far:

25. Latanya Wilson (Jamaica)
24. Summer Artman (England)
23. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (England)
22. Matilda Garrett (Australia)
21. Razia Quashie (England)
20. Sophie Garbin (Australia)
19. Imogen Allison (England)
18. Kelly Jury (New Zealand)
17. Tara Hinchliffe (Australia)
16. Aliyah Dunn (New Zealand)
15. Whitney Souness (New Zealand)
14. Amy Parmenter (Australia)
13. Cara Koenen (Australia)
12. Kate Eddy (Australia)
11. Kiera Austin (Australia)
10. Grace Nweke (New Zealand)
9. Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Jamaica)
8. Ine-Mari Venter (South Africa)

Melbourne Vixens impress with back-to-back wins in Trans-Tasman Challenge

THE Trans-Tasman Challenge brought plenty of intrigue with both the Melbourne Vixens reigning supreme against ANZ Premiership sides, Northern Stars and Northern Mystics. The tournament proved to be a good opportunity for new recruits and young up and coming players to get some court time and iron out any issues ahead of the season.

Northern Mystics (51) defeated by Melbourne Vixens (61)

The Vixens made no mistake against the Mystics with a strong showing across the ditch. The battle between Mystics goal shooter Grace Nweke and goal keeper Kadie-Ann Dehaney lived up to the hype with the two renowned for their aerial ability but in the end it was the Vixens full court defence that paid dividends limiting any easy entrance into the goal circle. Former Swift, Kate Eddy got her time to shine on the big stage and made no mistake in her new dress using her hands over pressure, quick footwork and deceptive speed consistently throughout the Trans-Tasman Challenge. She paired well with Emily Mannix and Jo Weston down back with the trio working well to cause confusion and run out with an easy 10-goal win 61-51.

Northern Stars (44) defeated by Melbourne Vixens (71)

In their second game of the Trans-Tasman Challenge the Melbourne Vixens really showed who’s boss, flexing their muscles at every turn against a depleted Stars team with a whopping 27-goal victory. They were simply too good across the court with their precise ball movement and strong connections. Recovering from an Achilles injury midcourter Tayla Honey rose to the occasion with her quick ball movement, drive to the top of the circle and transition play while veteran Caitlin Thwaites found herself out of position in goal attack. The 33-year-old paired seamlessly with the likes of Mwai Kumwenda in the goal circle with the two rotating well and most importantly shooting accurately. Youngster Sacha McDonald also got her time to shine with the goaler making her presence felt under the post with her silky movement, accuracy to post and impressive timing. They seemed no match for the Stars defensive end with Oceane Maihi and Kate Burley struggling to combat their experience.

Vixens, assistant coach, Sharelle McMahon was pleased with the natural progression of the side over the weekend and their ability to combat the New Zealand style defence.

“It’s been a great trip from yesterday to today the girls have taken a step up which has been really nice,” she said on the Vixens’ website. “I think the way they brought the ball through court, probably just getting our heads around the zone defence and that different style of marking was a little bit better today.”

In the absence of Tegan Philip the Vixens resorted to a different attacking line-up, one in which McMahon believes will set her side in good stead heading into the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season.

“They coped really well today with all the different changes and that’s going to be important for the season because of our rolling subs, we need to get our heads around being able to come on and off so that’s been really good,” she said.

While it was good to get early wins on the board the assistant coach is more focused on trying out new connections and creating a cohesive group of players.

“I think for us we wanted to get a lot of different things out of this trip part of it was combinations, part of it was just working into things but we want to be successful every time we step out,” she said. “To have those two wins against some really tough opposition was really great.”

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.

Sunshine Girls survive Roses fourth quarter comeback to book Nations Cup final spot

JAMAICA Sunshine Girls have turned around the disappointment of missing out on the 2019 Netball World Cup by reaching the 2020 Netball Nations Cup final yesterday. Defeating England Roses on their home court 70-66, the Sunshine Girls now advance through to the final to try and find a way to take down the undefeated New Zealand Silver Ferns.

The match started out on fairly even terms with England going all-out to try and gain the win and book a spot in the final on January 26. The winner of the game would advance through and both sides knew it with the Sunshine Girls making a move late in the first quarter to lead by three goals at the first change. The Roses got a huge roar when Kadeen Corbin drew the side within a goal and a minute on the clock, but it was Jhaniele Fowler who scored immediately and then a Roses rushed pass saw an intercept and Fowler double up, then capitalise on three attempts in the dying seconds to push it out to an 19-15 advantage.

The Roses were looking the less sharp of the sides with some errors in attack and the extra experience of Chelsea Pitman came onto the court in the second, while Natalie Haythornthwaite moved from the wing into goal attack. Fowler was prepared for the double-team against Stacey Francis and Kate Shimmin, and adjusted accordingly, having to allow Shanice Beckford to carry some of the load in the goal circle. The huge amount of pressure being applied by the Sunshine Girls’ defence of Shamera Sterling and Kadie-Ann Dehaney was telling as they extended the lead out to seven goals at the main break, 39-31.

The Roses made some more changes in the third as the crowd tried to get them up and about as Amy Carter came on for a chance in center having played a small portion at wing attack in the first half. The experienced Jade Clarke was sent to wing defence, while Pitman – who had made way for Carter late in the term – returned to wing attack. With Haythornthwaite at goal attack she was solid alongside Eleanor Cardwell, but they were not able to match it with super scoring machine, Fowler up the other end and the visiting side posted 18 goals to 13 to lead by what looked to be an unbeatable 13-goal lead.

Despite the clear deficit, the undermanned Roses side was not going to throw in the towel, ready for one last effort in the last term with the huge sold out crowd behind them. The last 15 minutes of the match gave fans a glimpse of what an England side missing the likes of Geva Mentor, Jo Harten and Serena Guthrie was capable of, roaring to life to score a massive 22 goals – half of what they had scored in the first three quarters – to Jamaica’s 13 – only just falling short of a huge comeback, going down 66-70. In the term, George Fisher got a shot at goal shooter, while Cardwell moved to goal attack and it was Fisher who managed to dig into the lead with some neat shooting under pressure.

The game was not without some aggression as Sterling and Cardwell clashed in the third term, but the high pressure stakes made it for entertaining netball with the full-strength Jamaican side doing what it had to do against an England side giving valuable court minutes to a lot of its future stars. Now the Sunshine Girls head to the Nations Cup final to face the Silver Ferns, while the Roses look to repeat their effort against the Spar Proteas from earlier in the week with a victory in the Bronze Medal final.

New Zealand flexes muscles against misfiring Jamaica

THE New Zealand Silver Ferns showed why they are the team to beat with a convincing performance against Jamaica 71-45. The Sunshine Girls simply had no answers for the Ferns who moved the ball with pace and precision, really exploiting their opposition through the midcourt.

New Zealand dominated the first quarter with both Maia Wilson and Ameliaranne Ekenasio doing a wealth of damage under the post only missing a combined two goals. The two were in perfect harmony rotating through the circle with ease and using all the tricks in the book to have an impact on the scoreboard. The work out the front from wing attack Gina Crampton was impressive slicing through the defence. Crampton used her experience and high netball IQ to weave around the court and hit the circle edge with intent racking up four goal assists in the opening quarter. For Jamaica, Jhaniele Fowler was a dominant force once again with the tall shooter commanding the ball and capitalising nailing 10 goals from 11 attempts. But it was the lack of scoreboard presence from Shanice Beckford that really halted the Sunshine Girls ability to have an influence or dictate the game.

The second quarter followed a similar vein but Jamaica upped the ante only out scored by three goals.  The increased defensive pressure through the mid court with Shadian Hemmings coking on at wing defence made a real difference when it came to the speed of the ball down the court. Hemmings was not the only change with Sterling pushed out to goal defence and Kadie-Ann Dehaney pulling on the goal keeper bib. The trio worked tirelessly to shut down the Ferns attacking forays using their read of the play and three foot marking to cause a ruckus. Despite an increased presence by the Sunshine Girls, the Ferns continued their merry way unfazed by the changes and maintaining the same line up.

The half time break proved to be handy for the Ferns who went on a scoring spree in the third quarter piling on 19 goals to Jamaica’s nine. Fresh legs helped to run the Sunshine Girls off their feet with Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Whitney Souness doing the damage in the third. In hope to get back within reach of the Ferns, Shannika Johnson made her way onto the court in goal keeper but appeared to be no match for Wilson who had well and truly settled into her scoring rhythm. Wilson continued her range shooting 12 goals straight while defensively New Zealand took it up a notch led by Phoenix Karaka. The goal defence showed her speed and agility picking off passes and interrupting the flow of Jamaica who simply could not enter the attacking third with ease. Despite not registering a whole lot on the stats sheet the work Jane Watson did off the ball was impressive, working in overdrive to confuse the space and use her feet to consistently get around the body of Fowler. Jamaica really laboured down the court with centre, Latanya Wilson unable to feed into the circle meaning wing attack Nicole Dixon had to lift the load to deliver into the goalers. On the other hand, Shannon Saunders put out an impressive display running hard both ways and using her skill to deliver well-weighted passes into the circle notching up nine feeds and seven goal assists.

By the fourth quarter, New Zealand all but had the win under their belt thanks to a dominate third quarter forcing Jamaica into a chase position. But they did not rest on their laurels scoring their highest quarter score for the game with 20 goals keeping their opposition to 14 goals. New Zealand showcased more of their depth with Kimiora Poi pulling on the centre bib and not skipping a beat with the speedster getting her hand in everything. Poi highlighted both her attacking and defensive abilities managing four deflections, two pickups and four goal assists. Watson’s departure allowed Fowler more freedom with the goal shooter adding 14 goals to the total and while Gezelle Allison had no scoreboard impact she provided another feeding option but it was little too late for Jamaica.

Ill-discipline ultimately cost Jamaica the game with Sterling giving away a whopping 26 penalties, more than the entire Ferns team across four quarters. Wilson proved too strong under the post only missing three of her 45 attempts at 93 per cent accuracy, Ekenasio was deadly too nailing 18 goals at 82 per cent, while Selby-Rickit also impressed, piling on 11 goals from 13 attempts. Fowler was the shining light for Jamaica rock solid under the post with 38 goals from 40 attempts.

2020 Nations Cup preview: Round 2

DAY 2 of the Nations Cup is set to be a big one at Arena Birmingham, seeing Day 1 winners Jamaica and New Zealand try to go two from two, while England take on South Africa. Only one side will be left undefeated heading into the third match and ‘finals’ series over the weekend.

Jamaica vs. New Zealand

An interesting battle will ensue, with both teams reigning supreme on Day 1 though New Zealand ultimately are the favourites after a complete domination over England. Jamaica may have only beaten South Africa by five goals, but will be raring to go with a wealth of talent and experience against the Ferns. With a late injury to Jamaica’s Shamera Sterling on Day 1, the Sunshine Girls will be hoping the day off has an impact given her impressive form and stellar reach against South Africa which ultimately closed out the win. With a handy rotation of viable options in goals, New Zealand are sure to throw everything out there to continue on their stellar start to the tournament, with the likes of captain, Ameliaranne Ekenasio and youngster Maia Wilson both able to apply defensive pressure to turn over vital ball and find the post with ease despite the smarts of their opposition. New Zealand’s attacking defensive pressure is second to none but will be tested by the Sunshine Girls, with the Jamaican line-up featuring a number of impact players who can give the Ferns a real run for their money. If Sterling does not take the court, look to Kadie-Ann Dehaney to hold up the fort in defence, who has proved she has the smarts to get the job done when given the opportunity and making for a tough battle if she gets the nod, given New Zealand will not have loads of experience against her. Jhaniele Fowler could be a tough ask for the Ferns with her height likely to cause some upsets, though with Jane Watson and Phoenix Karaka in the defensive mix there could be a real battle for dominance in the goal circle. Watson has the aerial elevation and strong arms to make a difference, but a 17-centimetre height difference could be the coach killer in this one. Karaka is a real physical player, so will look to deny speedy shooter Shanice Bedford any access to the goal circle with her quick feed and bodywork.

England vs. South Africa

While neither side won the first match of the series, both nations could be feeling quietly confident with similar form in the lead-up. While England certainly have a better record against South Africa in recent times, they have a very young and inexperienced lineup taking the court in comparison to the Spar Proteas who are just about full strength and challenged Jamaica all the way on the first day. The Proteas also have a recent win behind them against England leading into the tournament, making for an exciting battle with plenty of impact players gracing the court. South Africa have a stacked line-up with Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni likely to start in defence once more, while a wealth of impact goalers in Lenize Potgieter, Ine-Mari Venter and Sigi Burger are sure to apply the pressure against England’s defensive unit. While England’s defence has some impressive names among it in Fran Williams, Razia Quashie, Kate Shimmin and Stacey Francis, they haven’t had a lot of time together so could get lost among the experienced teamwork of the Proteas, especially with captain Bongi Msomi leading from the front in wing attack, though Laura Malcolm is sure to give her a real run for her money with speed and tagging ability to boot. Nat Haythornthwaite will want to do the same out the front for the Roses, aided by the likes of Jade Clarke to find space in attack and work around the Proteas defensive unit. With plenty of shooting options to rotate through the circle, the real key for the Roses will be to find a strong pairing and stick to it this time around. While both sides are sure to come into this match with a fire in the belly, look to South Africa who will want to get one more over an inexperienced England side.

 

2020 Nations Cup: Jamaica stuns a stacked South African side

South Africa (54) defeated by Jamaica (59)

It was a frantic final minute with South Africa looking to do the unthinkable and snatch victory from Jamaica, but the Sunshine Girls stood strong securing a four-goal win to kick start their international campaign. Jamaica flew out of the blocks early pushing their opposition into chase position from the get-go thanks to their slick and patient ball movement.

The Spar Proteas were not afraid to play around with positions, with Lenize Potgieter donning the goal attack bib in the first quarter. Although it took her some time to find her feet Potgieter built into the game, using her netball nous and strong holds to hit the scoreboard. Paired with Ine-Mari Venter, the two showed they have plenty of skill but at times struggle with movement in the goal circle given their holding tendencies. The defensive combination of Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Shamera Sterling was near on unstoppable given their prowess in the air and at ground level. Renowned for their ability to read the play and take an intercept the two consistently delivered, using their feet to get around the body of the opponent and use their long reach over the shot to cause doubt. The Proteas struggled to combat the speed and decision making of Jamaica, constantly on the back foot and unable to find their normal rhythm across the court. Jamaica established a six-goal lead heading into quarter time credit to their clever play and strong defensive play setting them up for a dominant game.

With the defence end, solid Jhaniele Fowler upped the ante under the goal post with the towering goal shooter making light work of Phumza Maweni. The South African goal keeper was on the receiving end of a lot of whistle, bodying up on Fowler and causing contact which ultimately gifted the Sunshine Girls with any easy passage to goal. The work of Nicole Dixon and Khadijah Williams through the midcourt was impressive, constantly identifying the space and delivering the ball into Fowler time and time again. Their turn of pace helped to give them that edge against South Africa with both players driving hard to create space. The connection between the Spar Proteas defensive trio was solid with Shadine van der Merwe plying her trade through the midcourt and down back using her speed to fly through for an intercept. As the game went on the partnership of Venter and Potgieter blossomed with the two rotating through with more ease and choosing the right time to hold or move, while also showcasing that accuracy was not an issue capitalising on their opportunities. Despite the attack end stabilizing, Jamaica were still in full control using the angles to transition down the court and ball speed.

Despite a commanding lead Jamaica made a couple of changes with Sterling switching into her preferred position of goal keeper and Latanya Wilson coming on in goal defence. Ward had an immediate impact, getting involved in the transition and applying strong hands over pressure to block Potgieter’s view. South Africa also rung in the changes with Potgieter dropping back into goal shooter while Lefébre Rademan pulled on the goal attack bib. Rademan offered speed and agility in the goal circle forcing the new Jamaican defensive unit to rethink their approach. Wing attack and speedster Bongi Msomi was crucial through the midcourt for the Proteas, working the ball down the court and weaving in and out of the pocket to make space in the attacking third. But Jamaica was unfazed by the changes, sticking to the basics and thinking through everything their opposition threw at them. By three quarter time the Sunshine Girls held a 12-goal lead credit to their dominant performance across each third.

After a disappointing third term, South Africa came out with a fire in the belly and increased intensity. Goal defence and live wire Karla Pretorius upped the ante hunting the ball at every opportunity and limiting the movement of Shanice Beckford who had the best of her in the previous quarters. Through the midcourt Rome Dreyer lifted her game, using her precision passing and vision to deliver pin point passes into Potgieter and Rademan. The increased movement in the goal circle opened up more options for the Proteas with the two shooters relishing the extra space and causing headaches for the Jamaican defenders. Up the other end, Jamaica brought on Shimona Nelson with the young shooter making the most of her opportunities, holding strong and using her aerial ability to reel in passes. But despite the moment being well and truly with South Africa they left their run too late, with Jamaica running out comfortably.