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2021 ANZ Premiership: Round 15

THE final round of the ANZ Premiership is set to have some ladder implications, although the Northern Mystics have already locked up top spot. The Stars and Magic will be battling it out for respect while the Pulse will be hoping to end their season on a high after not making finals for the first time since the competitions inception.

Southern Steel vs. Central Pulse
Saturday, July 24 @5:15pm

The Pulse will be hoping to farewell outgoing coach Gail Parata in style with a huge upset win over the Southern Steel who will be riding a wave of success of their own after toppling the Stars last round and securing a finals berth. It has been a disappointing season for the Pulse who have struggled to hit their straps but will be eager to cause an upset and finish their season on a high, while the Steel will be hoping to gain even more momentum.

The battle between George Fisher and Kelera Nawai will once again be the focal point as the two sides rely heavily on the influence of the aforementioned players. Fisher has well and truly asserted herself on the ANZ Premiership competition with her clever holds and fancy footwork enabling her to dictate the play meaning Nawai will have to be on her toes to stop the ball from entering the circle with any fluidity. The real barometer and concern for the Pulse however is, Tiana Metuarau with the Steel goal attack able to control proceedings credit to her crafty court work and pinpoint ball placement. With speed to burn she is going to be a tough task for Kelly Jury who well and truly has her height but no so much for court coverage. The contest between Shannon Saunders and Maddy Gordon is set to be a good one with the pair at different stages in their career but unrelenting when it comes to their pressure and desperation to impact the play for their respective sides.

It will all come down to whether or not Aliyah Dunn is able to withstand the physical nature of Taneisha Fifita for a full 60 minutes with the goal keeper coming off a dominant performance last round. Dunn does not take well to a bit of argy-bargy under the post meaning Te Amo Amaru-Tibble will have to up the ante inside the circle if the Pulse are any chance of causing an upset. The goal attack has showcased moments of magic but will need a consistent four quarter performance against the experienced head of Te Huinga Selby-Rickit. Speedster Whitney Souness and Claire Kersten will need to be on their a-game in attack if they are to bypass the hands over pressure from Kate Heffernan and Renee Savai’inaea to get easy passage into the circle.

Mainland Tactix vs. Northern Mystics
Sunday, July 25 @4:15pm

In what could be a potential grand final preview the contest between the Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics is set to be an eye catching one to say the least. Both sides are coming in off narrow wins and with the Mystics securing a spot in the grand final it will all come down to bragging rights and confidence as the two sides battle it out in the last game of the home and away season.

It is going to be a battle of the goal shooters with Ellie Bird up one end of the court and Grace Nweke up the other. Bird is a lynchpin for the Tactix in attack with her strong holds and extra centimetres set to be the real kicker when up against the likes of Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kate Burley who are likely to double-team the goal shooter. The Tactix will need the likes of Te Paea Selby-Rickit to be at her damaging best if they are to detract from Bird with the goal attack able to shoot from anywhere inside the circle when given enough time and space. For the Mystics, Nweke is the most prolific goaler in the league and for good reason with her dominance in the air and overall athleticism setting her apart from the rest. She will have wits tested though against Jane Watson and Karin Burger who are both renowned for their constant hustle and tenacity with the latter in career best form. Expect the Mystics to rely on the experience of Bailey Mes to combat the Tactix defensive pressure while Filda Vui is more than capable of holding her own in the circle.

The midcourt is littered with speed as Kimiora Poi headlines the Tactix in attack and defence while Tayla Earle is incredibly dynamic for the Mystics. But it will all come down to the battle between Peta Toeava and Charlotte Elley. Toeava can turn a game on its head within a heartbeat with her pinpoint precision passes into Nweke likely to set the tone for the game. therefore it will be up to Elley to stop the wing attack from finding any freedom and implement some strong hands over pressure to block her vision. For the Tactix if Samon Nathan can break free early then it will go a long way in setting things up for the home side.

Northern Stars vs Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Monday, July 26 @7:15pm

It is going to be a matter of respectability for both sides as the Stars have fallen out of finals contention and the Magic looking to end their year on a high after only securing the one win way back in Round 1. It has been a very different journey for both sides but that will not stop them from putting out a blockbuster clash with the Magic really hitting their stride the last couple of rounds but just falling short.

Maia Wilson has well and truly been off her game the past couple of weeks with her accuracy and volume both down. But she is a true competitor and will be hoping to return back to her dominant ways under the post. If not the Stars will take full confidence in the number of bench options they have with the likes of Monica Falkner and Amorangi Malesala both able to come on and have an impact. Jamie Hume has been in career best form but will have her work cut out for her against the long arms of Erena Mikaere who is likely to be joined by the likes of Temalisi Fakahokotau down in defence. Holly Fowler has not skipped a beat since her return and will need to negate the influence of Gina Crampton if the Magic are to cause an upset.

The midcourt worked wonders last week with the connections between Grace Kara and Sam Winders firing on all cylinders. The duo will need to replicate this form if they are to sight Caitlin Bassett and Khiarna Williams under the post and bypass the pressure from Anna Harrison and Elle Temu. The Magic play their best netball when they release the ball with confidence and accuracy into the circle to allow Bassett to set up nicely inside the circle something they will be aiming to continue from last round. Harrison is a real threat in defence with her closing speed and athleticism as is Temu while throw in the likes of Oceane Maihi and the Stars have choices aplenty.

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 11 and ANZ Premiership Round 14

ROUND 14 in the ANZ Premiership and 11 in the Suncorp Super Netball rolled around and it did not disappoint with a number of players racking up the stats. We take a look at some of the top performers across both leagues.

Goals:

Southern Steel goal shooter, George Fisher was accurate to post nailing 33 goals from 34 attempts, at an impressive 97 per cent accuracy. In fact it was the round of goal shooters as Caitlin Bassett impressed under the post with her 40 goals from 42 attempts, and Ellie Bird did enough to get the Tactix over the line with her 38 from 42 attempts at 91 per cent. Grace Nweke continued to top the table with a round high 52 goals from 61 attempts albeit at a slightly lower conversion rate than she would like at 85 per cent. It was a rough day at the office for Maia Wilson with the Stars captain only managing a mere 11 goals from 21 attempts at a lowly 52 per cent. But that did not stop Jamie Hume from stepping up to the plate nailing 30 from 38. Speaking of goal attacks Tiana Metuarau was as dominant ever for the Steel finishing with 13 goals and 14 goal assists. After a shaky start Te Amo Amaru-Tibble worked herself back into the contest with her 18 goals from 26 attempts as Te Paea Selby-Rickit finished with 10 from 17.

Accuracy proved to be no issue for Shimona Nelson with the Magpies goal shooter sitting at 100 per cent with 37 goals straight. Lenize Potgieter also shot at 100 per cent for the Thunderbirds nailing 26 goals while Jhaniele Fowler was hot on her tail with her 98 per cent accuracy but much higher volume thanks to her 57 goals from 58 attempts. Cara Koenen impressed playing out in goal attack managing 31 goals from 36 attempts as Peace Proscovia held her own in goal shooter with her 17 goals. Romelda Aiken shook off the yips early to nail 40 from 48, as Gretel Bueta imposed herself inside the circle with her 18 from 20 at 90 per cent, while also amassing 12 goal assists. The combination between Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer was on song once again as they shot 33 and 21 respectively with the latter converting at 91 per cent. They also combined for five super shots. For the Swifts, Sam Wallace was down on her accuracy sitting at 81 per cent but still managed to hit the scoreboard in a big way with her 39 goals. Mwai Kumwenda was once again the most dominant shooter for the Vixens scoring 33 from 37 at 89 per cent.

Midcourt:

Peta Toeava was up to her usual tricks for the Mystics amassing 24 goal assists and 17 centre pass receives in her sides win. Whitney Souness was also a commanding force for the Pulse with 24 goal assists and 27 centre pass receives of her own. Teammate Claire Kersten was her reliable self through the centre for the Pulse with her 18 goal assists as Maddy Gordon proved to be a ball magnet in wing defence with her three intercepts and two deflections. Sam Winders was a real maestro for the Magic racking up 19 goal assists as Grace Kara chimed in with 13. Erikana Pedersen found her groove for the Tactix coming on at quarter time with her 13 goal assists. For the Stars it was Gina Crampton that led the charge with her 22 goal assists as Shannon Saunders got busy for the Steel with her 17 goal assists.

West Coast Fever midcourter Verity Charles led all comers with her 27 goal assists as teammate Jess Anstiss chimed in with 15 of her own. The feeding was shared around in the Firebirds camp as Kim Ravaillion topped the table with 17 goal assists as Lara Dunkley managed 10. Paige Hadley was a commanding presence through the centre third racking up 17 goal assists while Maddy Proud found her groove in attack and defence with 11 goal assists and one intercept. Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price were unstoppable for the GIANTS with the former amassing 19 goal assists. Teammate, Amy Parmenter fired on all cylinders in wing defence with eight deflections and two intercepts. Kelsey Browne was an energiser bunny for the Pies in what was a stats stuffing performance racking up 17 goal assists, two deflections and an intercept as Molly Jovic also plied her trade in the Collingwood frontend with her 15 goal assists. Hannah Mundy continued to consolidate her form leading the way for the Vixens with 16 goal assists.

Defence:

Defensively Karin Burger starred for the Tactix as she racked up five intercepts, three deflections and two rebounds in what was an all-round stellar performance from the goal defence. Jane Watson showcased her read of the play racking up four deflections, while former teammate and current Magic goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau was amongst the thick of things with her six gains. Erena Mikaere utilised her long arms to rack up three deflections. Kelly Jury and Kelera Nawai combined for four gains and six deflections as Sulu Fitzpatrick impressed for the Mystics with her three gains. Goal keepers Taneisha Fifita and Anna Harrison imposed themselves racking up eight and seven gains apiece with the latter reeling in five intercepts credit to her go-go gadget arms.

Jodi-Ann Ward was once again at her best for the Magpies collecting nine gains, eight deflections and a couple of intercepts while Geva Mentor also showcased her class in goal keeper registering seven gains. The combination of Jo Weston and Emily Mannix was on full display as they combined for eight gains. Sarah Klau was a pillar of consistency for the Swifts recording four gains and six deflections as crosstown rival Sam Poolman was just as damaging for the GIANTS with her eight gains and four deflections. Adelaide Thunderbirds defender Shamera Sterling impressed with her six deflections, two intercepts as Matilda Garrett got busy with her four deflections. Courtney Bruce got plenty of hands to ball finishing with four intercepts and two deflections as Sunday Aryang took advantage of her long limbs and closing speed to pick up five deflections and four gains. Kim Jenner and Rudi Ellis imposed themselves with a combined 10 deflections.

Photo credit: AAP

2021 ANZ Premiership: Team of the Week – Round 14

THE penultimate round of ANZ Premiership brought plenty of blockbuster results and huge individual efforts to get their respective sides over the line. The Southern Steel collected a huge win and with that had two players make the squad, and while the Pulse and Magic fell short in their matches, they still had a number of key contributors.

GS: Caitlin Bassett (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic)
GA: Jamie Hume (Northern Stars)
WA: Whitney Souness (Central Pulse)
C: Kate Heffernan (Southern Steel)
WD: Maddy Gordon (Central Pulse)
GD: Karin Burger (Mainland Tactix)
GK: Anna Harrison (Northern Stars)

BENCH: George Fisher (Southern Steel), Peta Toeava (Northern Mystics), Taneisha Fifita (Southern Steel)

It was arguably Caitlin Bassett‘s best game to-date since joining the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and the goal shooter did not disappoint. She was an absolute nuisance under the post with her commanding presence, smarts and overall body positioning under the ring allowing her to dictate the flow in attack. The goal shooter was on song from the opening minutes of the quarter and did not relent with her accuracy to post and confidence. Bassett only missed one goal for the entire game and stood up to the continuous physicality, highlighting just how imperative she is to the Magic. Elsewhere, Jamie Hume had a game to remember for the Stars with the goal attack backing herself in from just about anywhere in the circle. Her classy movement and impressive timing was on full show throughout the clash while she also increased her volume to post nailing 30 goals from 38 attempts.

Speedster Whitney Souness found her groove this round hitting circle edge with great conviction and speed. She was a real barometer for the Pulse frontend, setting up the attacking forays and dictating the pace of the game with her nice timing and deft passes. Getting the nod in centre is Kate Heffernan with the Southern Steel midcourter proving to be a crucial cog in both attack and defence. Her two-way running and sheer athleticism consistently sets her apart from the opposition while her long limbs enable her to employ a strong three-foot guard. She is quick on her feet despite her height and has good spatial awareness to deliver the ball into the circle with great precision and timing. Wing defence Maddy Gordon threw herself at absolutely everything that came her way and used her closing speed to shut down the space in a heartbeat. She was a real livewire for the Pulse, able to build pressure with her constant hustle around circle edge and sheer desperation to win ball back. Her tenacity and attacking nous enabled her to cut off drives and get hands to ball to create crucial turnovers.

It was another blistering performance from Karin Burger as the goal defence continued her ball-winning ways for the Mainland Tactix. Burger showcased nothing but class and timing to continuously turn her body inside out and create deflections aplenty. Her cleanliness and attack on the ball gifted the opportunity for the Tactix to win back possession as she continued to stand up in the big moments. Not only did Burger star in defence but so too in transition as she put on an absolutely stellar performance. Joining Burger in the defensive circle is the one and only Anna Harrison with the Stars goal keeper proving to be a real thorn in her opponents’ side. She was never far from the contest, with her long arms and physicality wreaking all sorts of havoc. Harrison continues to prove that age is just a number with her impressive elevation and netball smarts on full show throughout the entire four quarters. Her hunt and tenacity was undeniable earning herself another spot in our Team of the Week.

George Fisher was unlucky not to get the starting goal shooter position given her accuracy to post and volume for the Steel in their win. Also unlucky not to make the starting seven was teammate Taneisha Fifita as the goal keeper proved to be a real menace with her constant niggle and tenacity while the final bench spot goes to Peta Toeava who was once again crafty with ball in hand for the Mystics.

ANZ Premiership Young Guns: Round 14

ROUND 14 of the ANZ Premiership is done and dusted and with that came some scintillating performances from the next generation of players. This series will cast an eye over a host of under 21s players that made their way out on court and the impact they had for their respective sides.

Northern Mystics:

Grace Nweke

The goal shooter continues to grow with confidence week after week and this performance was no different. Able to twist herself inside out and reel in the high looping ball Nweke was once again a great target inside the circle. Although she was down on her usual accuracy her volume did not waver, still managing 52 goals. She was unfazed by the changes thrown at her with both Bailey Mes and Filda Vui spending time out the front as she remained a focal point. Nweke highlighted her ability to just about hold anywhere inside the circle and still somehow remain directly under the post such is her classy footwork and innate timing to get off the hold and pop into the space. Renowned for commanding back space, she also showed her capacity to hold the front space and command the ball adding another bit of diversity to her game. There is no denying that Nweke is just about unstoppable when able to get her arms free and cleanly contest the ball in the air which she did time and time again against the Pulse. She used her improved balance and composure to think her way through the tight one-on-one marking to stand up and lead the way for the Mystics.

Tayla Earle

It was a relatively quiet performance by Earle as the centre dug in and did the one percenters well. She flew under the radar and just plugged away for the Mystics with her cautious approach down the court and smarts to flick the ball around and wait for an opening to present itself. Earle played a clever role in defence to block the middle channel for the Pulse with her quick footwork and hands over pressure while she also helped out in attack to drive through the middle of the court and open things up. combine her turn of speed and excellent spatial awareness and Earle was a key cog in the Mystics’ engine room.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic:

Khiarna Williams

Although her shooting accuracy and volume was down, Williams was still a force to be reckoned with for the Magic. Her composure and smarts reaches beyond her years, able to cleverly dance around the circle and present strongly. Not only is she a threat inside the circle but so too with ball in hand, consistently dishing off clever passes into Caitlin Bassett to keep the Magic scoreboard ticking over. The goal attack was in fine form using her split inside the circle to edge closer to the post while her confidence to back herself from anywhere in the circle was also on full display. The youngster presented nicely at the centre pass, coming over the line with some great pace but it did not stop there as she was constantly on the move and did the basics well to open up the circle. Her clever triangle work kept the defenders on her back and while Karin Burger proved to be a tough challenge she continued to find ways to remain in the game and utilised her turn of speed to have an influence on the game.

Central Pulse:

Maddy Gordon

It was another solid performance from Gordon who was tasked with the challenging job of combatting Peta Toeava. Gordon took advantage of her speed and quick change of direction to consistently block the drive of Toeava and wreak havoc in the defensive third. She threw her body on the line time and time again in an attempt to win ball back for the Pulse and was a real catalyst in the final term with her energy and desperation. Not only was Gordon strong in defence, contesting each and every pass around circle edge, but she was also influential in attack, sitting nice and high on the transverse line and providing a helping hand.

Southern Steel:

Tiana Metuarau

The goal attack had a real pep in her step from the opening minute of the game, asserting herself on the contest and using her clever body positioning to command the ball. Her work at the centre pass was impressive as was her endurance to get involved in the second phase in attack to edge the ball closer to circle edge. Metuarau showcased her impressive timing to enter the circle and take the ball at full speed and then stop on a dime. She was never far from the play and proved to be a real barometer for the side. Her strength took centre stage throughout the battle as she wore the physicality stemming from both Anna Harrison and Elle Temu and continued her merry way in the goal circle. It was a complete performance from Metuarau as the goal attack also imposed herself in defence, working hard to slow down the transition and keep the ball trapped in the goal third for the Steel credit to her three-foot marking.

Taneisha Fifita

Fifita refused to give an inch all game to Maia Wilson working the goal shooter in overdrive. Her constant footwork and movement confused the space for both the feeders and Wilson as she imposed herself from the get-go. Fifita pushed Wilson up nice and high and used her body to apply some physical pressure but not too much that she would draw the eye of the umpire. The goal keeper wasted no time defending the shot with her three-foot marking and well-timed jump to get in the head of her opponents. Fifita was not afraid to go out hunting and backed her speed to cut off any cross court ball coming her way. She also showcased her class to read both the high ball and the ground ball to disrupt the flow in attack and win clean possession for her side.

Kate Heffernan

It was a consistent performance from the centre who just flew under the radar for the Steel. She was cool, calm and collected with ball in hand able to work it around and lower the eyes when needed to deliver into the circle. Heffernan had an influence up both ends of the court with her work rate undeniable and overall netball smarts coming to the fore. She consistently re-offered around circle edge and in the attacking third to allow the likes of Metuarau and George Fisher to reset and inch closer to the post. She often held sway at the top of the goal circle and highlighted her ability to swing the ball from one corner of the court to the other.

Renee Savai’inaea

She did not have an overwhelming presence in defence but Savai’inaea definitely left her mark through transition. She worked hard to be an attacking option for the Steel using her speed to slice through the defence and open up the midcourt. She offered plenty of support on the transverse line with her smarts to reset the play coming to the fore time and time again.

Tactix topple gallant Magic outfit

MAINLAND Tactix survived a huge scare against the last placed Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic to claim a narrow two-goal victory 49-47 in the ANZ Premiership. It was not all smooth sailing for the Tactix as the Magic held sway for large passages of the game and forced the visitors to work in overdrive to collect the win.

A turnover from the centre pass gifted the Tactix the upper hand within seconds of the whistle as Te Paea Selby-Rickit made the Magic pay for their shortcomings. It did not take long for their goal shooter in Ellie Bird to get in on the action as the visitors had two goals in less than a minute signalling their clear intent. The Magic were struggling to find their way into the circle as Sam Winders worked in overdrive to reset time and time again. Caitlin Bassett’s hot form carried into this match with the goal shooter utilising her height and smarts to create space inside the circle. It was a bit of a scrappy start to the match from both sides as they tried to settle into the fast paced nature of the game. The Tactix started to find some real momentum across the court with their silky transition from defence to attack on show. Karin Burger was proving to be a thorn in the Magic’s side reeling in intercept after intercept and not allowing any room for Bassett or Khiarna Williams to breathe.

The Tactix opened up a handy five-goal buffer before the Magic mounted somewhat of a comeback with Winders proving to be the maestro. Two goals in a row to the home side saw them reduce the deficit to three goals. But the Tactix remained controlled and calm to keep their noses in front. Despite a huge height differential, Georgia Tong inserted herself into the play against Bird to compete in the air and follow up with her pace but the Magic simply could not capitalise. A flurry of goals from the Magic and a big defensive win from Erena Mikaere gifted Bassett with a chance to level the scores with three minutes left to play. The momentum completely swung in favour of Waikato Bay of Plenty as they hit the front for the first time in the game signalling a tit-for-tat type of shooting rhythm.

Down by two goals at quarter time the Tactix made a change in attack with Erikana Pedersen injected into the action replacing Samon Nathan. The Magic continued their merry way with their defensive structure really stepping up to the plate. Consecutive held ball calls from both sides saw possession change hands but it was the Magic that maintained their handy two-goal buffer. Williams and Winders were finding Bassett with ease under the post while up the other end the Tactix were having to work the ball around, waiting for an opening to emerge. Grace Kara upped the ante in attack with the wing attack using her body positioning and smarts around circle edge to keep Charlotte Elley at arm’s length.

Pedersen proved to be the spark the Tactix needed with her short sharp passes not allowing Mikaere or Tong a chance to get hands to ball. A misplaced pass into Bassett gifted the Tactix a chance to capitalise and that they did as the visitors managed to slot two in a row to steal back the lead. The partnership between Jane Watson and Burger was starting to come to fruition in the latter stage of the second term as they caused confusion and forced Bassett to run out of room. A run of three goals from the Tactix saw them arrest momentum and while Selby-Rickit was struggling to find her radar, her playmaking skills were second to none. Temalisi Fakahokotau made her way onto the court in goal keeper as Mikaere swung into goal defence with the Magic relishing the change. Sophia Fenwick made a real impact getting hands to ball as the Tactix momentarily pushed out to a four goal lead.

It did not take long for scores to be levelled with inaccuracy from both goal attacks costing their respective sides. The hustle inside the circle from Fakahokotau was never ending as the goal keeper forced Bird to work for every pass. The lead continued to ebb and flow as the Tactix opened up a two-goal lead before they were run down once again with Mikaere swatting away a huge ball and Bassett rewarding her down the other end of the court. Kimiora Poi was doing a truck-load of work out the front having to contend with Winders who was proving a nuisance both in attack and defence.

Every time either side had a sniff of momentum the other would spark up as a game of tug of war ensued. The combination between Kara and Bassett was on fire as they continued to plug away for the Magic. Up the other end of the court Selby-Rickit could not buy a goal for the Tactix as the Magic pushed out to a three-goal lead. The Tactix made a huge change with Bird moving out to goal attack as Amelia Walmsley entered the fray in goal shooter.

With the game on the line it was Burger that stepped up to the plate winning ball back as they slotted a couple of early goals to wrestle back control. But Kara was not about to be undone with the wing attack kicking things up a notch with an intercept of her own to keep the Magic in front. Inaccuracy started to creep in for both sides as did sloppy turnovers as the tides slowly started to turn. It was a frantic couple of minutes of netball with bodies flying across the court but the Tactix had taken control and refused to give up their two goal buffer.

It was arguably Bassett’s best game to-date nailing 40 goals from 42 attempts at 95 per cent. Williams was down on her accuracy only managing seven from 12 but collected 10 goal assists while Winders led the troops in attack with 19 goal assists. Fakahokotau was back to her best recording six gains as Mikaere finished with four. Bird was solid under the post for the Tactix slotting 38 from 42 at Selby-Rickit upped the goal scoring ante thanks to her 10 from 17 and 22 goal assists. Burger continued her scintillating form with a whopping five intercepts, three deflections and three gains.

2021 ANZ Premiership: Round 14 preview

THE penultimate round of ANZ Premiership action kicks off on Sunday with the top three given a huge shake-up over the past week of netball. The Mystics will be eager to bounce back from their shock loss while the Northern Stars are in desperate need of a win if they are any chance of making finals now.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic vs. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, July 18 @4:15pm

It has been a disappointing season for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic who have only secured one win for the season and that was right back in Round 1. On the other hand the Mainland Tactix have found their winning ways with a thumping victory last week and will be eager to continue that level of dominance in this match up.

The combination between Karin Burger and Jane Watson has been on fire with the pair just creating absolute mayhem down in defence with their constant hassle, tenacity and cleanliness to attack the ball no matter where it is in the defensive circle. But they will come up against an a-class shooter in Caitlin Bassett who has really hit her straps in the past few games with her connection with Khiarna Williams starting to come to the fore. Williams can play both a shooting and a feeding role making her an all-round threat and meaning that Watson and Burger will not be able to just isolate Bassett under the post. The Magic play their best netball when Grace Kara is out on court and they will be hoping that she is once again able to stand up to the pressure but will have to combat Charlotte Elley who is an unsung hero in the defensive unit for the tactics.

Looking into the shooting circle for the Tactix and Ellie Bird has been in scintillating form with the goal shooter using every inch of her height to dominate at the post. Even if Te Paea Selby-Rickit is not putting up the goals and shooting at a high accuracy it is her playmaking skills out the front that sets the Tactix up for the win time and time again meaning the constant rotation from the Magic defensive unit will have to be on song. The Tactix will be hoping that Temalisi Fakahokotau is able to return to the court and play a full 60 minutes while they will be needing the likes of Erena Mikaere, Georgia Tong and Holly Fowler to be able to chip in an work in overdrive to stop that ball getting to circle edge. They will also need the likes of Sam Winders to really up her ante through the midcourt to take on Kimiora Poi and Samon Nathan who have been in strong form for the Tactix.

Central Pulse vs. Northern Mystics
Sunday, July 18 @6:15pm

The Pulse snapped a five-game losing streak last round and will be eager to continue that winning way while the Northern Mystics registered their first loss in as many weeks and will be hoping to flip the script in this match up. The Mystics still hold on to top spot on the ladder and with finals insight will be hoping to iron out any kinks in their armour in this clash, while the Pulse will be hoping to add some more respectability to their ladder position.

It will all come down to whether or not Peta Toeava is back to her menacing ways with the wing attack able to carve up the court with her speed while her pinpoint passes into Grace Nweke is what will have the Pulse defence in all sorts of trouble. It will be up to either Maddy Gordon or Claire Kersten to stop Toeava with the Pulse midcourters having to pay her a wealth of attention to keep her away from circle edge. Both Kelly Jury and Kelera Nawai are building a strong partnership in the defensive circle for the Pulse but the Mystics could have the upper hand given how quickly and easily Nweke is able to score. Although Bailey Mes has not been the most reliable to post she is incredibly clever and crafty with ball in hand while the injection of Filda Vui is also highly likely with the goal attack able to go to post or play that additional feeding role.

The Pulse will need Aliyah Dunn to be firing on all cylinders if they are any chance to topple the Mystics who will be raring to go after an uncharacteristic loss. If Dunn is able to find room in the circle and the likes of Kersten and Whitney Souness are up and about early it could spell danger for the Mystics. Te Amo Amaru-Tibble is another one in the Pulse attacking unit that can impose herself with her high accuracy to post meaning the likes of Kate Burley, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Ama Agbeze and now Phoenix Karaka who made her long awaited return after giving birth will have to be on their toes.

Northern Stars vs. Southern Steel
Monday, July 19 @7:15pm

The final game of the round is set to be an absolute cracker and has huge ladder implications as the Stars look for their way back into the top three and the Steel hope to solidify their spot in the finals. The Stars have been in free fall the past couple of weeks dropping three games straight while the Steel will be riding high after knocking off the ladder leaders.

Maia Wilson has not been herself lately but will need to turn it around if she is to drag her side over the line. Only managing a condensed amount of court time last round and only shooting at 50 per cent accuracy, Wilson will be hoping to up the ante while Jamie Hume has been a solid contributor. The Stars have a plethora of shooters to choose from with Monica Falkner back in the mix and Amorangi Malesala a viable option given her accuracy to post. But the Steel have an incredibly strong defence with Taneisha Fifita growing each and every time she steps out on court with Te Huinga Selby-Rickit providing a calming presence out the front. Throw in the likes of Sarahpheinna Woulf and the defensive pressure from Renee Savai’inaea out the front in wing defence and it could be a tough day at the office for the Stars. However both Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan have been in fine form and will need to lead the charge if Wilson is nullified.

Goal shooter, George Fisher has been a revelation since joining the Steel and will have to be at her damaging best against the ball hungry duo in Anna Harrison and Elle Temu. The Stars pair have caused all sorts of havoc but just have not been rewarded for their hard work. Tiana Metuarau has developed at a rate of knots this season with her playmaking skills allowing her to find Fisher with ease while her combination with Shannon Saunders and Kate Heffernan will provide plenty of headaches for the Stars.

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 10 and ANZ Premiership Round 13

IT was another action packed round of Suncorp Super Netball and ANZ Premiership with both competitions playing host to a number of surprise upsets with lower placed teams toppling their higher ranked opponents. We delve into the individual statistical performance of a couple of key cogs across the two leagues.

GOALS

It was dominant shooting display from Ellie Bird with the Mainland Tactix goal shooter slotting an impressive 44 goals from 45 attempts, with her only miss coming in the early stages of the first term. Grace Nweke was another tall timber that fired on all cylinders in Round 13 putting up a round high 50 goals from 57 attempts at 88 per cent accuracy. In terms of accuracy and volume, Aliyah Dunn skyrocketed up the rankings with her 41 goals from 44 attempts in the Pulse’s first win in five games, while George Fisher was back to her best slotting 39 goals from 41 attempts. Partner in crime Tiana Metuarau was also strong to post credit to her 22 goals at 85 per cent, as Magic shooter Khiarna Williams slotted 20 goals from 23 attempts at 87 per cent. Te Amo Amaru-Tibble was in fine form for the Pulse nailing 14 goals while Jamie Hume was consistent for the Stars with her 15 goals from 20 attempts. Although it was not the most accurate shooting performance from Te Paea Selby-Rickit only converting at 57 per cent it was her goal assists that shone recording 30 for the game.

There were a couple of shooters in the SSN that managed to get through the round with an unblemished record as Sam Wallace slotted 33 from 33 and West Coast Fever star Jhaniele Fowler managed 45 straight. Lenize Potgieter was almost a member of the 100 per cent group finishing with 37 goals from 38 attempts at 97 per cent while Gretel Bueta only missed the solitary shot with her 13 from 14 goal performance. Cara Koenen was also in scintillating form for the Lightning slotting 43 from 48 at 90 per cent as Steph Wood also stepped up to the plate nailing 19 goals from 21 attempts while also registering 18 goal assists. Mwai Kumwenda was once again the go to girl for the Melbourne Vixens recording 31 goal with a whopping eight super shots to her name. Firebirds pair Romelda Aiken was high on volume but down on accuracy managing 42 goals at 79 per cent as Shimona Nelson put up 37 goals from 44 attempts. The combination of Sophie Dwyer and Jo Harten was on full display as the pair managed 31 and 24 goals piece.

MIDCOURT

Through the midcourt it was Whitney Souness that led the charge with her 23 goal assists and work at the centre pass to rack up 26 centre pass receives. Peta Toeava was somewhat down on her lofty standards but still managed to record 22 goal assists while also picking up an intercept while Steel stalwart Shannon Saunders also impressed with her 22 goal assists and two intercepts. Renee Savai’inaea was in fine form collecting three gains, two of which were intercepts along with two deflections. Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan shared the load in attack for the Stars with 16 and 15 goal assists respectively. Sam Winders was crafty with ball in hand for the Magic racking up 16 goal assists and collecting an intercept while Tayla Earle was influential credit to her 17 goal assists and intercept.

Maddie Hay was a real livewire out in wing attack for the GIANTS with her 23 goal assists, two intercepts and two deflections. Fellow GIANTS representative Amy Parmenter had a real pep in her step racking up four deflections and two intercepts. Kim Ravaillion continued her hot form with 19 goal assists, three intercepts and two deflections to keep the Firebirds motoring along while in her 50th game Hannah Petty upped the ante with her 20 goal assists and three deflections. Verity Charles controlled proceedings for the Fever with her 24 goal assists and intercept while in the Lightning camp it was speedster Laura Scherian that seemed to have the ball on a string racking up 11 goal assists and two deflections. teammate Mahalia Cassidy also hit her straps in the win amassing 10 goal assists, two intercepts and deflection. Maddy Proud’s season only continues to get better as the NSW Swifts centre recorded 19 goal assists and an intercept as Tayla Fraser plied her trade in wing defence collecting two deflections. Hannah Mundy led the charge for the Vixens topping the table with her 10 goal assists.

DEFENCE

It is hard to go past the performances of Jane Watson and Karin Burger with the two defenders working in overdrive and gathering the stats to prove it. Watson amassed 10 gains in her outing on the weekend including two intercepts along with three deflections. burger took things up another notch with her 12 gains including five intercepts, five rebounds and four deflections. Anna Harrison was a ball magnet in defence collecting eight gains, four intercepts and six deflections as teammate Elle Temu chimed in with five gains and four intercepts. Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick was a force to be reckoned with down back with her four gains and two intercepts as Kate Burley recorded one intercept and four deflections. Kelera Nawai and Kelly Jury combined for six gains and six deflections in the Pulse’s win.

Defensively it is hard to go past the services of Sarah Klau who had a hand in just about everything with her 11 gains and 11 deflections. Fellow goal keeper Courtney Bruce collecting three intercepts and six deflections as Lightning defender Phumza Maweni was on fire with her two intercepts and two deflections. Partner in crime Karla Pretorius was also influential with her four deflections and two gains. Firebirds power duo Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe were back to their usual tricks with a combined six gains and nine deflections highlighting their defensive nous. Shamera Sterling was down on her lofty standards but still managed three intercepts and six deflections as fellow Jamaican Jodi-Ann Ward had a standout performance for the Magpies with her 10 gains including a staggering six intercepts and four deflections.

Photo credit: Paul Kane/Getty images

2021 ANZ Premiership – Team of the Week: Round 13

ROUND 13 of the ANZ Premiership saw a number of upsets with the Mainland Tactix and Southern Steel securing wins over their higher ranked opponents. This resulted in a number of players from both the Steel and Tactix staring in Draft Central’s Team of the Week.

GS: Ellie Bird (Mainland Tactix)
GA: Khiarna Williams (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic)
WA: Whitney Souness (Central Pulse)
C: Kate Heffernan (Southern Steel)
WD: Renee Savai’inaea (Southern Steel)
GD: Karin Burger (Mainland Tactix)
GK: Jane Watson (Mainland Tactix)

BENCH: Aliyah Dunn (Central Pulse), Shannon Saunders (Southern Steel), Anna Harrison (Northern Stars)

The goal circle consists of a couple of sharp shooters with Ellie Bird getting the nod in at goal shooter for her efforts. There was no stopping her with her only miss coming midway through the first quarter as Bird strung together 44 goals from 45 attempts. Her strong holds, aerial smarts and footwork enabled her to dictate the space well. Joining her in the circle is youngster Khiarna Williams who impressed despite playing in a losing side. Williams showcased her versatility to play both a shooting and feeding role as she nailed 20 from 23 while also dishing off 12 goal assists. Her ability to play a moving and holding shooter also came to the fore throughout her Round 13 outing as she used her timing and speed to dart into the circle.

Speedster Whitney Souness was in fine form for the Central Pulse on the weekend with the wing attack carving up the court with her dynamic movement and quick hands. She has proven to be deadly when her eye is in and this performance was a testament to that as she racked up 23 goal assists and set the court alight with her crafty movement and silky drives. Steel centre Kate Heffernan was in fine form through the middle with her composure and smarts enabling her to weave the ball down court and into attack. She utilised her quick hands and overall netball smarts to hit circle edge while also impressed with her defensive capabilities to get hands to ball and cause turnovers. It was arguably one of the best games to-date for Renee Savai’inaea with the wing defence putting in the hard yards and using her netball nous to constantly get in clever positions around circle edge. She played a very crucial role in the Steel’s win, with her hands over pressure and read of the play allowing her to rack up the intercepts and deflections. Savai’inaea finished with three gains to her name and was also influential through attack with her 11 centre pass receives.

Defensively there is no way to ignore the star duo of Karin Burger and Jane Watson with the pair combining for a staggering 22 gains in Round 13, therefore it is no surprise they take out the goal defence and goal keeper bibs respectively. Burger put on an absolute clinic down back with her fancy footwork, timing and elevation to consistently get hands to ball and be a real nuisance for the opposition. She alone finished with 12 gains including five intercepts, five rebounds and four deflections. Watson was also in scintillating form with the goal keeper picking up 10 gains, two of which were intercepts, plus three rebounds and three deflections in an all-round dominant performance.

Aliyah Dunn returned to her best but just fell short of a starting spot despite her 41 goals from 44 attempts. Joining her on the bench is Shannon Saunders with the Steel wing attack finding a wealth of space around circle edge and using her precision passing to keep heads turning while the final spot fell to Anna Harrison who racked up four intercepts, three pickups and six deflections.

Tactix steal second spot on the ladder with emphatic win

THE Mainland Tactix caused a huge boilover in the ANZ Premiership on Sunday afternoon with a scintillating win over Northern Stars, who have fallen off the wagon in recent weeks (52-39). The win bumped the Tactix up into second spot on the ladder as the loss sees the Stars fall to fourth.

An early miss to Maia Wilson gifted the Tactix the upper hand nice and early with Karin Burger picking up the crumbs. It was a messy start to the game with both attacking ends giving away ball nice and early but it was the Tactix that settle first. Burger proved that she came to play with the goal defence disrupting play twice in a row with Ellie Bird delivering the goods in the frontend for the home side. Kimiora Poi had a spring in her step down in the defensive third as she collected an impressive deflection as the transition down court caught the Stars off guard. Burger was in just about everything using her turn of speed and read of the play to cause a ruckus. The Tactix opened up a nice handy four goal lead with their defensive nous forcing the Stars to cough up ball with mis-directed passes.

It was an incredibly scrappy couple of minutes of play with neither side able to consolidate on the amount of defensive ball being won. Errant passes and bad hands were dictating the play but luck was proving to be on the Tactix side. Jamie Hume slotted her first goal of the game with a tick under six minutes to play after missing her first two shots of the game. The Stars managed to dwindle the deficit back to three goals before the Tactix defence once again kicked it up a gear. There was plenty happening out on court with Anna Harrison leaving the court with a blood rule albeit momentarily, while Hume was called for an offensive contact as the Stars struggled to find their mojo.

Wilson was up against it down in the circle for the Stars. It took just over a minute for the first goal of the second quarter to be scored with both sides struggling to hit their straps. Poi was working a million miles an hour as was Te Paea Selby-Rickit with the goal attack not only finding a wealth of space but dishing off pinpoint passes. With Wilson sitting at a mere 50 per cent, Monica Falkner made her way onto the court in goal shooter in hope to shake things up in the goal circle. Jane Watson did not have a bar of Falkner with the goal keeper imposing herself and winning a holding the ball call the minute she came out onto the court. The Tactix opened up a handy seven-goal lead before the Stars piled on two straight to eat into the deficit.

Gina Crampton upped the ante in attack for the Stars controlling proceedings with her bullet like passes into Falkner and Hume as the Stars got back to within two goals. Harrison and Elle Temu started to come to life but Burger said “anything you can do, I can do better” as she gifted the home side with a huge intercept. The Tactix midcourt became somewhat stagnant and unable find circle edge until Erikana Pedersen was injected into the thick of things with her speed coming to the fore. Greer Sinclair was working in overdrive to match her new opponent in Pedersen as the pair went toe-to-toe around the perimeter edge. It was turning into a goal for goal slog with neither side able to break stride and just managing to score off their own centre passes such was the intensity.

Only up by two goals to start the quarter the Tactix came out with some real venom. They slotted five goals straight with Burger putting on a show down in defence with her quick reflexes and overall netball smarts. although Selby-Rickit was not having an overly huge impact on the board it was her ability to flick the ball around the court that impressed and kept the defenders guessing. Wilson re-entered the fray for the Stars but it made little to no difference as the Tactix defence including Charlotte Elley out the front put up a strong wall and did not allow for any easy passage of play.

The lead skipped out to seven goals in the backend of the quarter with the Tactix controlling the momentum but the Stars throwing absolutely everything they had at them. The Stars got on a roll with two goals and while they were looking for their third it was Watson that once again stood up with a huge intercept. Moments later Burger got involved in the thick of things somehow flicking the ball back to Poi as they pushed the lead out eight goals.

Struggling to score Amorangi Malesala was deployed out in goal shooter and impressed from the moment she stepped out on court with two goals in a row. But the Tactix showed their level of composure and class to ride through the wave and stand up tall to forge ahead. It was turning into somewhat of a shootout as Malesala and Selby-Rickit went blow for blow for their respective sides. Pedersen and Poi were doing a mountain load of work out the front for the Tactix as Crampton plied her trade for the Stars. A couple of goals in a row for the Stars gave them some hope but the Tactix were intent on grinding out the game as they ran home with a 13-goal win.

Wilson had a game she would rather forget with the goal shooter only managed eight from 16 at 50 per cent leaving Hume to lead the way with her 15 goals from 20 attempts. Falkner enjoyed 16 minutes of court time slotting eight from nine the most accurate Stars shooter on court as Malesala managed eight from 11 in her quarter of netball. Crampton amassed 16 goal assists while down the other end of the court Harrison and Temu were up to their usual tricks with eight and five gains a piece including eight intercepts. Bird was unstoppable under the post with her 44 goals from 45 attempts as Selby-Rickit slotted eight at 57 per cent but did a mountainload of work out the front credit to her 30 goal assists. Burger and Watson had a field day with a staggering 22 gains. Burger finished with five intercepts and five rebounds as Watson recorded two intercepts and three deflections.

Tactix overcome half-time deficit to steal pulsating win

THE Mainland Tactix claimed their second consecutive win against the Central Pulse with a narrow three-goal win (52-49). Kelly Jury was back in the mix for the Pulse after missing last week with a calf strain, and while it reduced the deficit, it did not change the outcome.

After only playing a quarter of netball last week Te Amo Amaru-Tibble showcased her star power sinking the first two goals of the game for the Central Pulse. Moments later Aliyah Dunn opened her account to slot another goal for the home side keeping the Mainland Tactix goalless in the first two and a half minutes of play. it was not until Ellie Bird found some space inside the ring that she was able to score for the Tactix. A goal for goal pattern ensued with both sides unable to break each other’s centre pass credit to the lift in intensity and desire to be clean with ball in hand. However it was the Pulse that still held a handy three-goal lead. Defensively Kelera Nawai looked more at home with Jury out the front as she got hands to ball with a couple of intercepts to her name early to stamp her foot down on Bird in the circle.

A flurry of goals midway through the term from Dunn was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Pulse as they steadily extended their lead. Dunn was finding good space against the likes of Jane Watson while the likes of Whitney Souness and Claire Kersten were finding good space around circle edge to feed in. Up by five goals, the Pulse seemed to be in control of the game with their silky smooth transition down court causing all sorts of headaches. But the Tactix were not about to give up as Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit rallied in the final three minutes of the game to sink three straight to reduce the lead to just two at quarter time.

The tables started to slowly turn in favour of the Tactix as the visitors looked to up the ante. They went on another three-goal shooting spree to not only level the score early on in the piece but steal the lead. Samon Nathan had a hot hand around circle edge with her innate timing, drive and spatial awareness allowing her to wreak havoc up against Maddy Gordon. The game was going in spurts of scoring as Dunn answered the call to slot three straight as the lead changed hands once again as the Pulse went up by four goals midway through the term. Karin Burger tried to spark something for the Tactix as she got hands to ball and propelled it up the other end of the court for Bird to finish.

The Pulse tinkered with their line-up in the latter stage of the quarter with Souness forced to the bench and Gordon swinging into wing attack. this move allowed youngster Paris Lokotui to gain some extra valuable court time. The Pulse were not the only ones making changes as Charlotte Elley moved to the bench with Sophia Fenwick springing into action. The alterations seemed to favour the Pulse as they went into half-time up by a goal.

The ball ebbed and flowed up and down the court with neither side able to capitalise on their chances. In fact it took just a tick under two minutes for the Pulse to land the first goal of the quarter with Dunn missing her first attempt and then getting a chance later on to redeem herself which she did. Two goals in a row from Selby-Rickit and one from Bird gave the Tactix the upper hand as Kimiora Poi shared the role with Nathan around circle edge. The Tactix started to find more fluidity in attack with Nawai and Jury caught on the backfoot unable to stop the ease in which the ball was entering the circle.

Scoring became hard for the Pulse as they only slotted four in the final five minutes of the quarter as the Tactix had things their own way,  With Burger continuing to play a lockdown role of Amaru-Tibble the Pulse were forced to make a change as Ivana Rowland made her way out onto the court but did not have an overwhelming impact.

Down by two goals at three quarter time, the Tactix continued to push their case as Bird wasted no time extending the lead to three. intensity rose in the final term with Souness leading the charge in attack for the Pulse as Selby-Rickit impressed with her court craft. A surge from the Pulse with just over seven minutes played in the quarter sent the Tactix into panic stations as Dunn and Amaru-Tibble went on a goal shooting spree. The Pulse pair piled on five goals straight to tie things up with 11 and a half minutes left to play. but the Tactix showed their composure and class to ride through the wave and dig deep with Bird holding strong inside the circle.

Dunn returned to her accurate ways slotting 35 goals from 38 attempts at 92 per cent accuracy, while Amaru-Tibble managed 12 goals from 18 attempts. Bird was reliable to post with her 41 goals at 93 per cent as Selby-Rickit played a handy supplementary role with her 11 goals from 14 attempts. Nathan was influential with ball in hand registering 20 goal assists as Souness topped the table for the Pulse. Defensively Burger was a commanding force with her three intercepts and three deflections with Nawai also amassing three intercepts.