Tag: karla pretorius

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 12 and ANZ Premiership Round 15

ROUND 15 marked the final home and away round in the ANZ Premiership with a number of players upping the ante while Round 12 of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) rolled around after a COVID-19 enforced break with a couple of players breaking individual records.

Goals:

The goal shooters once again dominated in Round 15 of the ANZ Premiership, with Grace Nweke pouring on the pressure inside the ring nailing 49 goals from 51 attempts. She was not the only one firing on all cylinders as Ellie Bird managed 42 goals from 44 attempts at 96 per cent accuracy, while George Fisher was up and running with her 42 goals from 45 attempts at 93 per cent. Aliyah Dunn was a commanding presence for the Pulse with her 36 goals at 92 per cent but the most accurate shooter of the lot was Te Amo Amaru-Tibble with the goal attack converting at 100 per cent and finishing with 21 goals to her name. Caitlin Bassett sat in the 90s with her 32 goals from 35 attempts as both Jamie Hume and Monica Falkner were strong for the Stars recording 26 and 20 goals apiece but at a lower percentage. Maia Wilson’s shooting woes continued sitting at a lowly 59 per cent with 17 from 29.

It was a good week to be a Jamaican goal shooter in the SSN, with Shimona Nelson starring under the post for the Magpies slotting a whopping 69 goals from 71 attempts at 97 per cent. Jhaniele Fowler was also damaging with her 64 from 66 at 97 per cent as Romelda Aiken finished with 41 from 49. In terms of accuracy though Lenize Potgieter continued her merry way with her first miss not coming until the dying seconds of the game to finish with 40 from 41, while partner in crime Georgie Horjus was accurate to post sitting at 95 per cent. Cara Koenen was confident to post with her 27 goals from 29 attempts, while Peace Proscovia had an impact in her 15 minutes of court time slotting seven from seven while Steph Wood nailed 22 from 28 including four super shots. Jo Harten led the way with her 30 goals albeit at 79 per cent as Mwai Kumwenda was down on her accuracy and volume recording 34 goals from 43 attempts at 79 per cent. Gretel Bueta was impressive for the Firebirds with her 25 from 29 as Sophie Garbin dominated for the Swifts recording 34 goals from 36 attempts.

Midcourt:

Gina Crampton was a real workhorse through the midcourt for the Stars racking up 24 goal assists along with 27 centre pass receives. Teammate Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was in commanding form through the centre recording 20 goal assists the highest of any centre this round with the next closest Tayla Earle with 15 goal assists and two gains. Shannon Saunders was her ever-reliable self in attack for the Steel with her 25 goal assists, while Whitney Souness showcased her speed and dynamism for the Pulse finishing with 22 goal assists and 31 centre pass receives. Kate Heffernan was down on her feeding load with just six goal assists but made up for it in defence with three intercepts. Erikana Pedersen and Kimiora Poi shared the load in attack for the Tactix with 15 goal assists each while Charlotte Elley was imperative in wing defence collecting a gain and two deflections. Sam Winders did the heavy lifting for the Magic with her 10 goal assists and three gains as Tori Kolose found her groove with 11 goal assists.

Maisie Nankivell had a game to remember amassing a whopping 32 goal assists with the next best Verity Charles with 26 and 23 centre pass receives. Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion was in fine form racking up 24 goal assists and an intercept as teammate Lara Dunkley also found her groove with 16 goal assists. Maddy Proud was a lynchpin through the midcourt for the Swifts collecting 23 goal assists and one deflection as Kelsey Browne dazzled for the Pies amassing 21 goal assists, 31 centre pass receives and an  intercept. Ash Brazill was also up and about for Collingwood registering two intercepts and three deflections in the win as Lauren Moore got busy with her three intercepts. Maddie Hay and Jamie-Lee Price shared the workload for the GIANTS with 12 and 10 goal assists respectively while in a half of netball Amy Parmenter racked up two intercepts and four deflections. for the Lightning it was Laura Scherian that led the charge with her 20 goal assists.

Defence:

Northern Stars goal defence Anna Harrison seemed to have the ball on a string as she racked up a whopping eight intercepts along with five gains. It did not stop there as she also accumulated six deflections. Elle Temu was a force to be reckoned with for the Stars amassing five intercepts and three gains. Jane Watson plied her trade for the Tactix recording two gains while Karin Burger continued her merry way picking up another two intercepts and three deflections. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit was in fine form for the Steel producing four deflections and four gains as Kelly Jury also asserted herself on the contest for the Pulse with three intercepts.

Shamera Sterling’s defensive beast mode was activated as the Thunderbirds goal keeper managed three intercepts, two deflections and a couple of rebounds. Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni combined for nine gains including four intercepts from Pretorius. Sam Poolman was solid for the GIANTS with her six gains while in her 15 minutes of court time, Matilda McDonell proved to be a nuisance picking up two intercepts and two deflections. April Brandley had a hand in just about everything with her eight deflections as both Emily Mannix and Jo Weston registered a combined 12 gains. It was a quieter performance by Courtney Bruce who finished with seven deflections while Kim Jenner notched up three intercepts. It was the Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward show as the duo registered 11 gains and 13 deflections.

Photo credit: SSN

2021 SSN: Round 13 preview

WITH the condensed Suncorp Super Netball fixture in full swing, Round 13 rolls around just as quickly as Round 12 finishes with Collingwood and the Firebirds only given a days rest before taking the court once again. In fact the Magpies will play twice this round, while the NSW Swifts will not take the court.

Queensland Firebirds vs. Collingwood Magpies
Thursday, July 29 @6:00pm

With only a day between games expect fatigue to be a potential problem for both the Firebirds and Magpies – the latter in particular given they did not make a single change in their Round 12 clash. In saying that the Firebirds have also been heavily hit by injury with Jemma Mi Mi going down with a suspected Achilles injury. With both teams finals hope all but gone it will be a battle of respect and desire as they look to round out the season on a high.

Shimona Nelson is coming off the best performance of her career after slotting 69 goals from 71 attempts, and will be riding a wave of confidence heading into this clash. Without the services of Tara Hinchliffe with the goal keeper sidelined it will once again be up to Rudi Ellis to nullify the influence of the Jamaican gold shooter and really contest her hands if the Firebirds are any chance of claiming a win. Gabby Sinclair has been in fine form the past couple of weeks and while she is not overly potent on the scoreboard her work out the front is sublime meaning Kim Jenner will have to negate her influence with her strong hands over pressure and niggling style of defence. Another player in hot form for the pies is that of Kelsey Browne with the wing attack incredibly silky around circle edge and set to engage in an enthralling battle with Gabi Simpson. Coming up against her old side Kim Ravaillion will be keen to assert herself through the centre with the gut running with the midcourter able to grind out games and run her opposition into the ground something she will hoping to implement against the likes of Molly Jovic.

Looking into the shooting circle for the Firebirds there is no denying that the combination between Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken is hard to stop went up in firing on all cylinders. Bueta is a real playmaker in that attacking third with her speed and athleticism able to carve up the defence however she will have her work cut out for her against an equally as nimble Jodi-Ann Ward who can turn the game on its head in a second. Geva Mentor is always a great match for the likes of Aiken with the experienced goal keeper able to position strongly and take away the space under the ring which is exactly what the Pies will need to do if they are to walk away with the win.

Adelaide Thunderbirds vs. Melbourne Vixens
Monday, August 2 @ 7:30pm

The Adelaide Thunderbirds and Melbourne Vixens have been given a little bit more time to rest but that will not deterred the Thunderbirds from putting out another strong performance. The Thunderbirds are coming off the back of a stellar one goal victory over the Lightning and will be eager to use that confidence heading into this clash against the last place Melbourne Vixens who have struggled to hit their strides all throughout this season.

Lenize Potgieter has been in dominant form under the post, only missing the one goal last match and will be hoping to replicate those efforts against the long arm brigade of Emily Mannix and Jo Weston. Not only has Potgieter being in fine form, but so too youngster Georgie Horjus who has hit her straps towards the end of the season with her accuracy to post increasing and her overall playmaking skills out the front paying dividends. All eyes will turn to the battle between Maisie Nankivell and Kate Eddy with Nankivell really finding her groove in that new wing attack roll while Eddy will be hoping to enforce her long arms to block any easy transition into the goal circle. The Thunderbirds have options aplenty through the midcourt with the likes of Latanya Wilson able to slot into that wing defence role alongside Shadine van der Merwe. The intrigue will lie around who gets the nod in centre with Hannah Petty a strong option while Elle McDonald proved that she is more than capable of starring. For the Vixens it would more than likely be the experienced captain Kate Moloney that gets the nod in centre with her leadership and attacking prowess key.

If Shamera Sterling is able to get hands to ball early and get in the head of Mwai Kumwenda then it could spell real danger signs for the Vixens. Sterling is an attacking and defensive option for Adelaide with her long limbs and rejection over the shot becoming a key characteristic in her game plan. Kumwenda will need support from the likes of Kaylia Stanton and Ruby Barkemeyer if the Vixens are able to collect an upset win. Hannah Mundy will also be the key for the Vixens with the wing attack finding some good space around circle edge however Matilda Garrett is renowned for her hunting ability out in goal defence.

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. GIANTS Netball
Tuesday, August 3 @ 3:30pm

The Lightning have suffered back-to-back defeats and will be eager to put that to bed with a convincing performance against the GIANTS who have kicked things up a gear in the past couple of outings. Sunshine Coast are steadily slipping down the ladder in that top four position while the GIANTS on the other hand are climbing up it towards the tail end of the season.

With Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer more than willing to take the super shot it will be up to Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius to put an end to their confidence and really create some doubt in their minds. One player that will be eager to continue her upwards trajectory is Maddie Hay with the wing attack a real quiet achiever in the GIANTS frontend, able to dig in and hit circle edge with great conviction and timing. The GIANTS are also at their best when Jamie-Lee Price is up and raring to go with the centre a real barometer for them given her hunt, tenacity and all-round physicality. The Lightning have a plethora of midcourt options with Kate Shimmin able to slot into wing defence while Maddy McAuliffe, Mahalia Cassidy and Laura Scherian can all rotate through centre, throw in the likes of Binnian Hunt and the options are endless for the Lightning.

In attack, Cara Koenen will be hoping to bounce back after a quiet performance by her lofty standards and really impose herself along the baseline against Sam Poolman. If the GIANTS are not able to nullify the shooter to shooter combination between her and Steph Wood then it could give the home side the upper hand. But April Brandley has proven to be a real ball winner in the past couple of weeks while Matilda McDonell is a livewire down back for the GIANTS with her closing speed and aerial ability impressive.

West Coast Fever vs. Collingwood Magpies
Tuesday, August 3 @ 6:30pm

It is going to be an action packed couple of days for the Magpies as they front up for their third game in six days and the challenge does not get any easier coming up against the Fever. West Coast has proven to be a real powerhouse this season and will be hoping to exploit its couple of extra days rest to claim a win over the Pies.

It will all come down to whether or not the Magpies are able to defeat Jhaniele Fowler with the goal shooter a commanding presence under the post. She can single-handedly lead her side to victory given her accuracy and volume to post while both Sasha Glasgow and Alice Teague-Neeld have proven to be handy options in attack. the real key to success for the Fever is Verity Charles with the dynamic wing attack able to release ball into the shooters either from circle edge or further away. Collingwood will need the highly dynamic Ash Brazill to fire on all cylinders in this clash if they are any chance of causing an upset.

Defensively the Fever are littered with options but are headlined by the services of Courtney Bruce with the goal keeper in career best form and ready to take on Nelson under the post. the Fever will be hoping that Sunday Aryang can double down on Sinclair while Stacey Francis-Bayman will likely get the job on Browne in order to stop the speed of the ball heading into the circle. Do not be surprised if Kalifa McCollin gets a run out on court for the Pies given the heavy workload.

Photo credit: SSN

Thunderbirds set tongues wagging with upset win over Lightning

ADELAIDE Thunderbirds caused an almighty Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) upset against Sunshine Coast Lightning by one goal (61-60). It was a heart in your mouth finish, with the winner not decided until the final five seconds of the game with Lenize Potgieter prevailing as the match winner.

It was goal for goal to start the term, and while both teams did not necessarily treasure possession to start the game they managed to convert off their centre pass. Mahalia Cassidy had some real energy out on court winning ball back but simply could not capitalise with Potgieter imposing herself under the ring. An errant pass from Laura Scherian handed possession back to the Thunderbirds but they lacked fluidity down the court throwing away ball as soon as they got it. Shamera Sterling showcased her aerial presence and tenacity with an early intercept as the Thunderbirds skipped out to a three goal lead. Getting the nod in at wing defence with Shadine van der Merwe rested with a lower leg injury, Latanya Wilson rewarded her coach for the start with a huge intercept highlighting her speed and dynamic movement. the Thunderbirds were in complete and utter control pushing out to four-goal lead and most importantly made the Lightning pay shooting at 100 per cent.

With the timeout called the Lightning came out with a point to prove nailing the first goal as Cara Koenen upped the ante after being well and truly outdone by Sterling. Maisie Nankivell seemed to have the ball on a string with her bullet like passes into Potgieter and Georgie Horjus. The Thunderbirds’ tails were up as the attack end fired on all cylinders with the super shot working wonders and extending their lead to six goals. But Steph Wood said replied with a huge super shot of her own to reduce the deficit to four goals.

Potgieter was carving up the Lightning defence with Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius out of answers for her silky footwork and strong holds. But Maddy McAuliffe displayed her class and niggle around circle edge to pick up ball and then send it firing down the other end of the court. Sunshine Coast kicked up a gear eating into the margin but Sterling was not about to be outdone with the goal keeper out roaming and picking up a huge intercept. It was turning into a goal keeper’s game as Maweni racked up a rejection on the shot to hand possession back to the Lightning. The defensive nature of the game stepped up with Pretorius utilising her go-go gadget arms to wrangle an intercept with Koenen rewarding her for her efforts. Scores were level with just over five minutes played as Sunshine Coast started to use their speed to dart across the court and steal the lead.

The tussle from both sides was impressive but the Lightning managed to keep their noses in front. A timeout shifted momentum back in favour of the Thunderbirds as they slotted back to back goals to get back within striking distance. Horjus was proving to be a real livewire as Adelaide stole back the lead credit to their new found level of confidence. Wood nailed a much needed settler while the battle between Cassidy and Elle McDonald continued to heat up as the pair engaged in plenty of argy-bargy around circle edge. Once again it was Wood that sealed the deal with only seconds left on the clock with a super shot to hold a three-goal lead at half-time.

It took less than 20 seconds for Potgieter to add to the scoreboard as the Thunderbirds clawed their way back into the contest. It was turnover central to start the game as both attacking ends coughed up ball as they looked to re-settle back into the pace of the game. Sterling picked up where she left off with another huge rejection on the shot to spur the side into action. Within the blink of an eye the Thunderbirds had pegged the margin back and this goal for goal rhythm ensued. Horjus scrapped hard at the transverse line to win ball back as the tables started to turn and Adelaide re-established a two-goal lead.

The Lightning tinkered with the midcourt as Scherian swung into centre and Binnian Hunt pulled on the wing attack bib in hope to use her extra height to their advantage. There was an aura of confidence for the Thunderbirds as Hannah Petty picked off intercepts while Wilson used her aerial smarts to chase down the loose ball after replacing Matilda Garrett in goal defence. Adelaide flipped the script from half time to go into the final change up by three thanks to a six goal turnaround.

Looking down the barrel of a loss the Lightning looked to the bench as Peace Proscovia entered the game in goal shooter while Kate Shimmin got the nod in at wing defence prompting a midcourt re-shuffle. The Lightning rallied with a couple of big defensive wins as they levelled the scores once again before they hit the lead by a goal. It was a pulsating quarter as the lead ebbed and flowed with neither side able to assert their dominance. as the clock ticked down, Adelaide dug deep pulling a rabbit out of the hat to steal a one goal win off the hands of Potgieter.

Koenen finished with  27 goals from 29 attempts, while Wood also chimed in with 22 goals and 15 goal assists. Scherian was once again a livewire in the frontend racking up 20 goal assists. For the Thunderbirds, Potgieter was the go-to girl with her 40 goals from 41 attempts while Horjus slotted 20 goals. Nankivell impressed around circle edge for the Tbirds with a whopping 35 goal assists while defensively Pretorius starred with her four intercepts and six deflections as Sterling dazzled credit to her three intercepts and three gains.

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 14 | 17 | 12 | 17 (60)
ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 18 | 10 | 18 | 15 (61)

STARTING SEVEN

Lightning:

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Mahalia Cassidy
WD: Maddy McAuliffe
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

Thunderbirds:

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Maisie Nankivell
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Latanya Wilson
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

Photo credit: AAP

2021 SSN Round 12 preview

AFTER a week off given continued COVID-19 restrictions, Round 12 of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) returns in what is going to be a condensed final couple of weeks of netball action. The finals are just around the corner and with the top four still not set, every win counts.

Collingwood Magpies vs. NSW Swifts
Tuesday, July 27 @ 3:30pm

The contest between the Magpies and Swifts is going to be an enthralling one with the latter hoping to notch up another victory and continue to build some form heading into the back-end of the season. Currently in second spot on the ladder, the Swifts will be hoping to inch their way to the top of the table and create some separation while Collingwood will be hoping to keep their slim finals chances alive.

The battle between goal shooter Sam Wallace and goal keeper Geva Mentor will be one to keep an eye on with the two players real barometers for their respective sides. Wallace has proven to be a key contributor for the Swifts time and time again but needs the likes of Helen Housby and Sophie Garbin to provide that supplementary support. Housby is incredibly crafty with ball in hand but will have her work cut out for her against the likes of Jodi-Ann Ward who has been in scintillating form with her closing speed and tenacity on full display.

The midcourt is the real point of intrigue for both the Swifts and Magpies given just how many options they have. The Swifts are not afraid to throw around the magnets with Tayla Fraser, Maddy Proud, Paige Hadley and Nat Haythornthwaite all able to rotate through that midcourt role and ply their trade with great efficiency and effectiveness. For Collingwood the move of Kelsey Browne into centre has provided that extra level of spark and class to transition the ball down court with great ease, while both Molly Jovic and Ash Brazill are more than capable of filling that centre role or playing in other midcourt positions to combat the Swifts’ moves. It will all come down to whether or not Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner are able to stop that high ball going into Shimona Nelson and really contest the hands of the Jamaican goal shooter. If they are able to do that then it will go a long way in favouring the Swifts and setting them up for the win.

West Coast Fever vs. Queensland Firebirds
Tuesday, July 27 @ 6:30pm

There is no love lost between the West Coast fever and Queensland Firebirds and it is fair to say that this game is set to be a cracker as the Firebirds look to keep their finals hopes alive. Unfortunately, Queensland will be without the services of key defender Tara Hinchliffe who has ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and will be out for the remainder of the season leaving a huge dent in their defensive structure. This will provide an opportunity for the Fever to really romp home a win.

Without Hinchliffe for the Firebirds it will be up to the likes of Rudi Ellis and Kim Jenner to take on and nullify the influence of Jhaniele Fowler under the post. Fowler is one of, if not the most dynamic and potent shooter in the SSN with her ability to hold space under the ring and score at a great speed. Both Alice Teague-Neeld and Sasha Glasgow have proven to be dynamic options out the front despite not putting up a wealth of shots. The real kicker for West Coast is the workload of Verity Charles with the wing attack able to slice and dice with great ease meaning that Gabi Simpson will have to be on her A-game to stop her. She will also need support from the likes of Kim Ravallion in centre to stop that easy ball into Fowler.

There is no denying that the combination between Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken is one to watch out for with the pair able to create so much movement and use their athleticism to their full advantage to keep Courtney Bruce and Sunday Aryang on the back foot – but all eyes will turn to whether or not Aiken is fully fit, having limped off the court in the previous round with an ankle injury. The Firebirds will also still be without the services of Tippah Dwan with the goal attack having to endure a 14 day quarantine, meaning Queensland’s frontend could be under plenty of duress.

GIANTS Netball vs. Melbourne Vixens
Wednesday, July 28 @ 3:30pm

Sitting in first place on the ladder the GIANTS will be hoping to continue their winning ways and put Melbourne Vixens to bed with a strong win. It has been a disappointing season for the Vixens and they will be eager to gain some respectability with an improved effort here but will have their work cut out for them against a firing GIANTS outfit.

There is no denying that Mwai Kumwenda is the lynchpin in attack for the Vixens with the goal shooter providing both  a calming and demanding presence inside the circle. Her athleticism and smarts is what sets her apart but she will not have things all her own way with the GIANTS goal keeper in Sam Poolman a real warrior. If the Vixens are to put up a worrying total they will need either Kaylia Stanton or Ruby Barkmeyer to up the ante and put up a couple more goals. But that is no easy feat with April Brandley in fine form out in goal defence for the GIANTS, with her closing speed and spatial awareness enabling her to win back a wealth of ball.

The real battle is going to be penetrating through the midcourt with Jamie-Lee Price and Amy Parmenter proving to be a damaging duo. Parmenter will be up against the likes of Hannah Mundy who despite finding her form in the past couple of weeks will have to bring her A-game to combat the constant niggle of the wing defence. Speaking of midcourt battles, Kate Eddy will have to employ her strong hands over pressure to upset Maddie Hay around circle edge who has proven she can deliver into both Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer with her eyes closed. It does not matter where she is in the attacking third, but Hay has an uncanny ability to sight either shooter and release pinpoint passes with the pair nine times out of 10 up to the task. The Vixens will be hoping that Jo Weston and Emily Mannix are able to offset the GIANTS goalers early with their one-on-one defence under the ring while Kadie-Ann Dehaney is another option if they need to win ball back given her long limbs and read of the play.

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. Adelaide Thunderbirds
Wednesday, July 28 @ 6:30pm

The Sunshine Coast Lightning will need to secure a win against Adelaide Thunderbirds if they are to stay within striking distance of the top two on the letter. All eyes will turn to whether or not they are at full capacity given how many players went down in their previous outing while the Thunderbirds will be hoping to bounce back after a very disappointing performance.

Lightning fans and players alike will be hoping that Steph Wood is up and raring to go in this clash with the goal attack an integral part in the Lightning outfit with her class and silky movement, not only inside the ring but outside it, often dictating the way the game goes. It will also be interesting to see whether or not Laura Scherian is ready to take the court with the wing attack hitting the deck and forced to the sideline in her last game. But the Lightning will take full confidence in both Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia inside the ring with Koenen proving she is more than capable of playing extended minutes out in her non-preferred position of goal attack. However, the Lightning will have to be wary of the likes of Shamera Sterling with the goal keeper a real menace in the air for the Thunderbirds while Matilda Garrett is an unassuming goal defence able to niggle away at her opponent and create tips and deflections aplenty.

It is going to be a South African filled circle down with Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni for the Lightning and Lenize Potgieter for the Thunderbirds. The trio all know each other’s games exceptionally well meaning the likes of Maisie Nankivell and Hannah Petty will have to be creative upon delivery into the circle. But the Lightning are littered with classy midcourters as Kate Shimmin can play that negating wing defence role along with the likes of Mahalia Cassidy and Maddy McAuliffe. Youngster Georgie Horjus will be hoping to have more of an impact on the goal scoring front while Sam Gooden has proven to be an impact player when needed especially when the super shot is in play for the Thunderbirds.

Photo credit: Collingwood Magpies

Five things we learnt: Round 11

ROUND 11 of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) saw the competition take a trip across the border to South Australia as Victoria headed back into lockdown, with rescheduled matches and team lists impacted long the way. In this series, Draft Central will look at five key learnings from the round whether it be consistent themes or standout performances.

The SSN is more than equipped to handle last-minute changes

Netball Australia pulled all the strings it was capable of last week to keep the 2021 season alive, and while the situation may still not be ideal, with four of the eight teams – NSW Swifts, GIANTS Netball, Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies – forced to relocate once more to keep the season alive, it is a result that everyone is grateful for purely because of the quick thinking and actions surrounding it. With a new CEO in Kelly Ryan at the helm ensuring transparency across fans and the media, as well as things clicking into place prior to Victoria’s late lockdown announcement last Thursday afternoon, Netball Australia proved it has the capacity to pull the trigger and make those hard decisions to ensure the season can be finished. With fresh restrictions across the nation and players like Tippah Dwan impacted, forced to go into 14-day quarantine, it is safe to say there are still more decisions to be made and jobs to be done, especially now that Adelaide has been confirmed to go into lockdown from tonight onwards.

What if the season has to be condensed once more?

It is safe to say that the season has ben dealt its fair share of fallbacks this season, starting out nation-wide, before heading to Queensland, Victoria, and now south Australia, will all three states suffering lockdowns of some sort. With the latest move – to Adelaide, where they have now announced further restrictions – the question has been posed about whether the remainder of the season should be condensed to ensure the season is complete and that players left in limbo can head home as soon as possible. Something we learnt last year was that players are certainly up to the tough task, however it took extra hands on deck, namely an extra two players on the bench, to do so. If there is anything we have learnt this season, it is that younger, developing players are more than capable of stepping up – think Sophie Dwyer and Rahni Samason – with depth appearing to be no issue for some sides, for example Lightning, with Peace Proscovia and Kate Shimmin on the bench with both capable of holding down a starting position, and Firebirds’ Rudi Ellis who played out her first full SSN game on Monday and was hard to stop when she got going. While it would not necessarily be ideal to condense the season once more, it may be the best possible decision at this point in time with so many changes still happening around the country.

Weekend of SSN derbies provides the goods

Four huge matches played out across a rescheduled round of action with Victorian and NSW derbies played back-to-back on Saturday with four-goal deficits apiece, and the Queensland derby playing out on Monday night in the sunshine state. While the South Australian-West Australian rivalry did not play out quite as tightly as hoped after a huge first quarter from Shamera Sterling, and the Queensland Battle of the Bruce saw injuries mount up – both prior to and during the match – there was plenty to take out of the action-packed round. The ladder was shaken up once more, with the Firebirds keeping their finals hopes alive and the GIANTS earning a critical win to take top spot of the ladder once more. Percentage is sure to play a vital role once finals come around with GIANTS and Swifts going toe-to-toe, and if the Firebirds can rack up a couple more wins they could claim a big scalp of the Lightning who have a lower percentage. It is safe to say that Round 11 was a huge one in terms of the final finish, with everything on the line heading into the final stretch.

Who is Australia’s leading goal defence right now?

Defensively, the Suncorp Super Netball is no slouch when it comes to producing stellar defenders with international and domestic players alike sharing the spotlight. But all that is to say, who would be the Diamonds’ starting goal defence? Starting with the current starter in Jo Weston, it is clear the Vixens’ lack of success this season is not because of the side’s defensive issues, but rather their offensive prowess. But at the same time, Weston certainly has not been at her most potent this season, likely down to a lot of positional switches around her, and ultimately opening up chances for other Australian defenders to get a look in at that starting goal defence position. If April Brandley were to put her hand up for selection, it is safe to say the former Diamond has been one of the most reliable and impactful defenders this season with a renewed confidence and willingness to contest. Sunday Aryang would also be a viable option, now earning the starting goal defence bib at Fever almost every round, but could perhaps be pegged as too inexperienced, while Kim Jenner has been nowhere near her typical ball-hunting self this season, but was part of the Diamonds’ extended bench during the Constellation Cup earlier this year. Further on the outer would be Maddy Turner – who is definitely in better form than last season but not quite at her peak 2019 form – and Matilda Garrett, who had a stellar start to the season but appears to have fatigued as the season has gone on. Two clubs in Magpies (Jodi-Ann Ward) and Lightning (Karla Pretorius) have international starters in goal defence.

Steph Wood is key to Lightning success

It is safe to say that when Steph Wood is not on, both physically and mentally, the Lightning struggle to win games. With a couple of knee niggles over the past year or so keeping Wood from performing at her best, the goal attack has been creating a starring role out the front for the Lightning this season with her workhorse attitude and renewed winning mentality. With fresh confidence to go to post and an excellent combination with Koenen, Wood’s form is a huge part of the Lightning’s success and potent front-end, but whether she is taken out of the game by a rogue knock – like during the Queensland derby on Monday night, only taking the court for 11 minutes – or taken out mentally by a zoning defender such as Weston, the Lightning’s confidence and winning attitude seems to fade entirely. Realistically, it is not ideal for so much of the success of the team to be focused on one player, with so much heat directed on Wood’s shoulders as a goaler already, however there is no denying that when Wood steps up and takes control, the entire team rallies and looks the better for it. In the case of this round, the loss of Wood certainly took the wind out of the sails, and even though they still kept close to the Firebirds throughout the contest, struggled to generate that momentum in the final quarter with both Wood and Laura Scherian on the sidelines.

 

Picture credit: Jono Searle/Getty Images

Firebirds take off despite missing pieces

QUEENSLAND Firebirds have kept their season and finals hopes live with a huge 10-goal win over Sunshine Coast Lightning to finish off Suncorp Super Netball Round 11, claiming a 59-49 victory and not relenting throughout a highly physical matchup. While the Firebirds were notably without key defender Tara Hinchliff and impact goaler Tippah Dwan, the side rallied in their absence to shake up the competition.

it was Gretel Bueta who drew first blood before Cara Koenen piled three straight goals on, with both sides providing plenty of dash and dare in both the front and back-ends early as pressurised defence from the midcourts made it a tough battle through the centre. Romelda Aiken had the early yips credit to the long arms of Phumza Maweni, missing a couple of chances but gobbling up her own rebounds while Steph Wood was forced off the court within the opening minutes after a fall stuck her on the sidelines and Peace Proscovia holding ground in goal shooter. Elsewhere, Laura Scherian was firing early, piling on the offensive pressure with her smooth feeds into the goal circle, while Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion was front and centre with her defensive nous through the centre third paying off as she snatched an intercept. A couple of late – but justifiable – challenges from Rudi Ellis ensured the Firebirds goal keeper would be eyed off throughout the contest as she relished the extra court-time in Hinchliffe’s absence. But that did not seem to be an issue for the Lightning who held onto a lead for majority of the opening term, with Koenen sinking a super shot to finish the first on a high and claim an early two-goal lead (16-14).

Gabi Simpson fired up as the second quarter got going, making her intents clear as she snatched a critical intercept early to spur her side into action. But every time the Firebirds looked like they had a chance to pull away, the Lightning ensured it did not happen as they put their full-court athleticism to good use with Maddy McAuliffe and Mahalia Cassidy working hard to negate the workrate of Ravaillion and Lara Dunkley. While the Firebirds got showy, especially in the front-end, the Lightning ticked away at the scoreboard. Wood returned to the court out in wing attack, firing pinpoint passes into the circle, but defensively the firepower did not appear to be there as Aiken and Bueta gained confidence and appeared to lap the defensive pursuits of Maweni and Karla Pretorius. Accuracy was no issue for either team as Koenen worked in overdrive to defy Kim Jenner, with a couple late goals from Aiken sealing the deal as the two sides sat on 28 goals apiece at half-time.

A hug second half was set with both sides contesting hard and unwilling to give up the fight, but while it was Koenen who once again started off proceedings to post as the two teams went goal for goal, it was the Firebirds that managed a seven-goal run, credit to defensive pressure forcing a Proscovia miss. But a six-goal buffer did not seem to worry the Lightning too much as the physicality continued, with the combination of Maweni and Pretorius pulling off another excellent defensive get to ensure the Lightning piled some scoreboard pressure back on again. The Firebirds continued to do anything physically possible to win ball back as the Lightning threw up the bibs, with Kate Shimmin taking the court in wing defence for some fresh hands over pressure and Scherian moved to the bench for the remainder of the match. A couple of Bueta super shot attempts went astray, and a Proscovia super shot miss on the three-quarter time siren ensured the Firebirds headed into the last with a two goal buffer, leading 43-41.

A huge final term opened up as neither side relented, with the Firebirds piling on seven of the first 10 goals of the quarter to take a seven-goal lead. Defensively, the Firebirds fired up with Jenner in particular working her way into the game with a couple of gains, as Ravaillion continued to work in overdrive. An Aiken ankle roll could have turned the tides but the goal shooter remained on court, easing her way back into the contest as the Firebirds pulled out to  nine-goal lead. Misses started to pile up for the usually accurate Lightning goalers and it was a game of risk versus reward for Lightning as they turned to the super shot, but consecutive misses handed the Firebirds a 12-goal buffer with less than two minutes on the clock. Two more goals went the way of the Lightning as Pretorius stepped up defensively to finish things off, going down by 10 goals with their shaky 16-8 last quarter pulling the pin on what had been a tight game.

Despite registering eight misses, it was Aiken who led the charge with 40 goals at 83 per cent, as Bueta ticked along nicely with 18 goals from 20 attempts and 12 goal assists. Ravaillion (17 assists, two intercepts) was a livewire, while Simpson registered one goal assist from wing defence to go with her intercept and four pickups. Jenner and Ellis impressed combining for 10 deflections. For the Lightning, Koenen (31 from 36) and Proscovia (17 from 22) worked in overdrive while Scherian led the assists chart for the side with 10 despite only playing 28 minutes, with McAuliffe and Cassidy working hard to make up the lost offensive workrate with Wood also only playing 11 minutes total. McAuliffe (two intercepts) impressed defensively, as Pretorius (two intercepts, both in the final term) and Maweni (two gains) were tested all night.

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS | 14 | 14 | 15 | 16 (59)
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING | 16 | 12 | 13 | 8 (49)

STARTING SEVENS

Firebirds

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Bueta
WA: Lara Dunkley
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Kim Jenner
GK: Rudi Ellis

Lightning

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Maddy McAuliffe
WD: Mahalia Cassidy
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

 

Picture credit: Jono Searle/Getty Images

2021 SSN Preview: Round 11

IT has been a whirlwind 24 hours in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) with the COVID-19 restrictions throwing a spanner in the works and forcing wholesale fixture changes. South Australia will now form a hub with five of the eight clubs taking up residence with only the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning unable to enter the state and West Coast Fever fortunate to remain at home for the time being. Two consecutive losses from the Fever has kept the finals door ajar for the Firebirds while the GIANTS have re-kindled their winning ways.

Melbourne Vixens vs. Collingwood Magpies
Saturday, July 17 @1:00pm

The Melbourne Derby will once again be played outside of Victoria with the Melbourne Vixens taking on Collingwood. It has been a disappointing season for the Vixens while the Magpies have shown glimpses of magic but are just lacking that final level of finesse to really compete with the best in the competition.

The Vixens have found it incredibly difficult to penetrate in attack despite having the likes of Mwai Kumwenda at their disposal down in goal shooter. Neither Hannah Mundy or Kaylia Stanton have really been able to impose themselves week in week out which will allow the likes of Jodi-Ann Ward to really inflict some severe pain. Ward has been in scintillating form for the Magpies consistently getting hands to ball and combining nicely with stalwart and veteran Geva Mentor down in defence. Throw in the likes of Ash Brazill in wing defence and the Magpies may have the upper hand given just how quickly Brazill can change the course of a game with her dynamic movement and sheer athleticism.

Magpies fans will be hoping that Kelsey Browne returns to the court after missing last week with a concussion. Brown offers plenty of speed and excitement into this attacking unit headlined by Shimona Nelson in goal shooter and Gabby Sinclair out in goal attack. Molly Jovic is also another one that really relishes the presence of Browne out on court meaning that the Vixens will be hoping that Kate Moloney is able to combat that presence through the midcourt. Defensively the Vixens have been relatively strong with Jo Weston, Emily Mannix, Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Kate Eddy all able to ply their trade but will need a full 60 minutes if they are to get over the top of Collingwood.

NSW Swifts vs. GIANTS Netball
Saturday, July 17 @3:00pm

The battle between NSW Swifts and the GIANTS is going to be an exciting one with both sides coming off big wins. The Swifts toppled the Vixens in what was a one-sided affair while the GIANTS monopolised the play against the Pies. This contest however will throw up another lot of challenges as the two sides need a win to really secure their spot in the top four.

Sam Wallace only played a half of netball last week but showcased just how much damage she can do shooting at 100 per cent with 33 goals to her name and will be eager to replicate that performance in this clash. The GIANTS defence will need to really unify if they are to stop the Swifts from scoring with Helen Housby and Sophie Garbin both viable options as well. The GIANTS will need to put on a full court defensive press to stop the ball from transitioning into the hands of either Wallace, Garbin or Housby given how accurate they are to post. April Brandley will be one to watch for the GIANTS with her quick feet and tenacity while Sam Poolman will have to really contest and body up on the likes of Wallace if they are to upset the Swifts frontend. The battle between Amy Parmenter and any number of Swifts midcourters in Paige Hadley, Maddy Proud or Nat Haythornthwaite will also garner plenty of attention given just how dynamic and integral they are to their respective sides.

Up the other end of the court Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer are proving to be a match made in heaven with the pair able to rotate seamlessly through the circle and most importantly attack the goals from just about anywhere in the circle. The two ooze nothing but confidence and smarts meaning both Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau will have to be on their A-game to shut down the space and go out hunting early to send some fear into the GIANTS attackers. Maddie Hay has been somewhat of an unsung hero for the GIANTS with her crafty court play while Jamie-Lee Price is just a pillar of consistency. But one thing is for sure and that is that the Swifts are littered with versatility in the form of Lauren Moore, Hadley and Tayla Fraser who can all push into wing defence.

West Coast Fever vs. Adelaide Thunderbirds
Saturday, July 17 @8:00pm

The Fever are coming into this clash off the back of two consecutive losses and will be hoping to change their fortunes against the Thunderbirds if they are to remain in the hunt for finals. While the competition has been moved to South Australia, the Thunderbirds will travel to Perth to play as one of the only traveling teams this round.

It is going to be a battle between the two Jamaican with Jhaniele Fowler holding down the fort for the Fever and Shamera Sterling tasked with stopping the goal shooting machine. Fowler has been nothing but consistent throughout her time in the SSN with her high volume and accuracy to post something to behold meaning the Thunderbirds defence in Sterling and Matilda Garrett are going to have their work cut out for them. Luckily enough the Thunderbirds have a couple of options in defence with Latanya Wilson and Shadine van der Merwe also able to ply their trade whether it be out in goal defence or in wing defence in order to stop the Fever. West Coast also have the options of Sasha Glasgow and Alice Teague-Neeld to create a moving circle if need be which we have seen in the past couple of rounds.

The midcourt for the Fever is the real engine room as they have the likes of Verity Charles, Jess Anstiss and Emma Cosh all able to effectively ply their trade while the Thunderbirds are littered with a lot more inexperienced players. Hannah Petty notched up her 50th game last weekend and will be eager to continue that leadership role through the centre while in the attacking end for the Thunderbirds it will be up to Lenize Potgieter to really steer the ship to combat that physical presence from Courtney Bruce, Sunday Aryang and Stacey Francis-Bayman. Potgieter will need Maisie Nankivell to be firing on all cylinders in wing attack to give the T’birds a chance to score with any form of fluidity.

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. Queensland Firebirds
Monday, July 19 @7:00pm

The Lightning are at the top of their game at the moment with their clean and clinical style of netball coming to the fore on the other hand the Firebirds have just lacked that consistency and four quarter ability to really grind out games. It is arguably a do or die clash for the Firebirds if they are hoping to make finals while Sunshine Coast are hoping to build some real momentum to solidify their standings in the top four.

There is no denying that the partnership between Cara Koenen and Steph Wood is one of the most damaging duos out on court and the pair found their groove well and truly last week. Given just how prolific the pair are to post it will be up to Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe to put in the ground work and upset the Lightning frontend with their constant niggle and physicality under the post. In fact if the Firebirds are any chance to win they will need a full court defence to stop the ball from firing into Koenen with Gabi Simpson and Kim Ravaillion likely to apply that strong hands over pressure through the midcourt.

All eyes will turn to the battle between Phumza Maweni and Romelda Aiken with both players barometers for their respective sides. Aiken is the tall timber under the post for the Firebirds and she plays some of her best netball when Gretel Bueta is up and about with the goal attack a real livewire credit to her athleticism and smarts. Maweni on the other hand is a real ball winner and can change the course of a game within an instant credit to her aerial ability and long limbs. Maweni and Karla Pretorius have been impressive throughout this season with the pair renowned for their ball winning ways and will need to stop the shooter to shooter connection if they are to upset Queensland. The Firebirds also have a great level of depth through the wing attack role with Jemma Mi Mi and Lara Dunkley viable options as for the Lightning they have Laura Scherian, Maddy McAuliffe and Mahalia Cassidy who are able to lead the charge.

Photo credit: Jason McCawley

Lightning strikes against Fever

WEST Coast Fever were handed their second consecutive loss last night in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) going down to Sunshine Coast Lightning by four goals (65-61). It was a complete turnaround from the Lightning who suffered a surprise loss last round to the Vixens but came out with a renewed sense of passion and determination against the Fever.

Verity Charles got things underway with a quick centre pass before Jhaniele Fowler delivered the goods under the post. Cara Koenen dipped into her bag of tricks to use her fancy footwork to evade the body of Courtney Bruce to level the scores. It was turning into a goal for goal slog early before a miss-directed pass from Alice Teague-Neeld gifted possession back to the Lightning  as Karla Pretorius pounced and sent the ball down the other end. The visitors skipped out to a handy two =-goal lead with Koenen and Steph Wood combining nicely to find space. Teague-Neeld came up with a huge deflection before Maddy McAuliffe replicated the same thing for the Lighting. It was turnover central for both sides as the ball continued to change hands.

A timeout was called with just over six minutes left to play with the Lightning employing some really patient play in attack. Laura Scherian was proving to be a maestro in wing attack, working the circle with great ease and receiving just about every second pass. Sunshine Coast pushed out to a five-goal margin but with the super shot period in play, Teague-Neeld pegged the margin back for her side. Bruce came to life with a nicely timed intercept as the Fever levelled the scores with less than two minutes on the clock. A quickfire goal from Koenen right on the buzzer gave them the upper hand heading into quarter time.

The intensity was up nice and early for both sides as the two sides went back and forth trading blows. The Lightning continued to find ways to goal with Koenen utilising her footwork and baseline drive to keep Bruce at bay while Stacey Francis-Bayman was struggling to combat the playmaking skills of Wood. Charles started to increase her workload to find Fowler under the post as the Fever plugged away at the scoreboard to stay within striking distance. A breaking call against Wood gifted possession to the Fever and within a matter of moments the Fever were level once again at 25 goals apiece.

The speed from the Lighting started to cause issues in attack but any time they got any form of control the Fever hit back. Francis-Bayman sent the crowd into raptures with a huge intercept while Teague-Neeld slotted a huge super shot to cap off a stellar 30 seconds of play. Sunday Aryang rolled on in goal defence as the Fever put the foot down to create a three-goal lead. But just as you would expect the Lightning came up big in defence with Phumza Maweni and Pretorius combining to get hands to ball and send it into attack.

With scores tied up at half-time the Fever made a couple of changes with Jess Anstiss pushing into centre and forcing Charles into wing attack to replace Emma Cosh. Fever were not the only ones who re-jigged their midcourt with McAuliffe slotting into wing defence and Mahalia Cassidy swinging into centre. Neither side broke stride when in attack, hitting the scoreboard with great ease as Koenen impressed inside the circle as Teague-Neeld paved the way for the Fever given Fowler was double-teamed. Scherian and Koenen were playing with an overwhelming sense of confidence while up the other end Maweni impressed with her aerial commitment. Aryang showed wisdom beyond her years for the Fever following up her deflection to keep West Coast’s noses just in front.

Looking for a way to combat Koenen on the baseline, the Fever pushed Aryang back into goal keeper but it did not faze the shooter. There were super shots aplenty with Wood showcasing her range and accuracy to create a five-goal buffer. Sasha Glasgow entered the fray for the Fever but took a while to work her way into the game as Pretorius made her pay.

Up by six at three quarter time the Lightning continued to play their patient approach in attack to craft the ball into the goal circle as Wood extended the lead to seven. A couple of big defensive wins looked to inspire the Fever but uncharacteristic errors forced them to cough the ball up. The Lightning frontend was humming along nicely establishing a nine-goal lead while defensively the visitors were forcing West Coast to work in overdrive. After a quiet three quarters Bruce came to life as the Fever swindled the margin to six goals but the Lightning kept their cool. Sunshine Coast just played the clock down unfazed by the defensive pressure applied despite some big super shots to ride it home and win.

Koenen was in strong form for the Lightning sinking 44 goals from 48 attempts at 92 per cent accuracy as partner in crime, Wood also showed her class to finish with 16 goals and 17 goal assists. Scherian had speed to burn with her 13 goal assists while defensively Maweni and Pretorius were up to their ball winning ways with a combined six gains and four deflections. Fowler was sensational as usual sitting at 100 per cent thanks to her 44 goals straight while Teague-Neeld managed 10 from 13 plus 16 goal assists. Charles was the one with the hot hand for the Fever amassing 25 goal assists while down back it was the efforts of Bruce that stood out as the captain racked up three intercepts and six deflections.

 

WEST COAST FEVER 16 | 17 | 14 | 14 (61)
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 17 | 16 | 20 | 12 (65)

STARTING SEVEN: 

Fever:

GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Alice Teague-Neeld
WA: Emma Cosh
C: Verity Charles
WD: Jess Anstiss
GD: Stacey Francis-Bayman
GK: Courtney Bruce

Lightning:

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Maddy McAuliffe
WD: Mahalia Cassidy
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

Photo credit: Paul Kane

2021 SSN Preview: Round 10

A HUGE round of Suncorp Super Netball action is up this weekend with Round 10 looking like one for the books. With milestones and potential final clashes alike, this round of netball has everything as teams come in off the back of some intriguing results last weekend.

Melbourne Vixens vs. NSW Swifts
Saturday, July 10 @3:00pm

Expect a huge clash between the Vixens and Swifts with both sides coming off unprecedented Round 9 wins last week. But while the Vixens certainly have their confidence up after a win over Sunshine Coast Lightning, the Swifts have everything to prove after a win over Fever and everything to gain as they look to secure the Sargent-McKinnis Cup. Expect the Swifts to come out with a hot start but they will need to do everything in their power to limit the Vixens after half-time with the Melbourne-based side’s second half proving to be their strong suit this season.

It is safe to say that the matchup between Emily Mannix and Sam Wallace is the one to watch in this one with both players having viable replacements if one or the other is not firing on all cylinders. Sophie Garbin has proven to be a huge drawcard for the Swifts this season and it is much the same for Jamaican import Kadie-Ann Dehaney as the Vixens goalkeeper can switch up her side’s backline within the blink of an eye, while Jo Weston will need to keep an eye out for a resurgent Helen Housby. Through the centre expect the matchups between Paige Hadley, Kate Eddy, Kate Moloney and Maddy Proud to play a significant role, while Hannah Mundy has really stepped up into the role of centre in the past few rounds so will look to have an impact from the get-go and Tayla Fraser has provided a valuable impact option off the bench. At the other end, Mwai Kumwenda and Sarah Klau are sure to go toe-to-toe, while Kaylia Stanton is coming off one of her best performances all season and will want to assert herself against an in-form Maddy Turner.

West Coast Fever vs. Sunshine Coast Lightning
Saturday, July 10 @8:00pm

This second matchup between the Fever and the Lightning should be a real cracker with both sides coming in with a fire in the belly after losses last week. The Fever dismantled the Lightning earlier on in the season so will surely be coming back for seconds, however the Lightning have proved their best performances do have the capacity to individually beat players, they just need to all combine seamlessly to earn the win. Expect the Fever’s confidence and consistency to win out once more, however you can never underestimate the Lightning.

It will be very interesting this week to see who earns the starting goal attack position for Fever with Sasha Glasgow getting the start last week but Alice Teague-Neeld providing that spark alongside with Jhaniele Fowler and wreaking havoc on the front end. Meanwhile, Karla Pretorius had a huge start last round so could be key here, while Phumza Maweni may not play a whole game after coming off injured last week. That being said, they certainly have no slouch in their back pocket with Kate Shimmin more than capable of holding ground in goal keeper. At the other end, Courtney Bruce has been in sparkling form for the Fever and will look to wreak havoc on goal shooter Cara Koenen, with Peace Proscovia a viable option to come on as an impact player for the Lightning. Steph Wood’s speed and run of form will prove very interesting coming up against young gun Sunday Aryang or Stacey Francis-Bayman, while this match could realistically be won through the midcourt with Laura Scherian, Jess Anstiss, Verity Charles, Mahalia Cassidy and Maddy McAuliffe all set to go head to head to head. 

Adelaide Thunderbirds vs. Queensland Firebirds
Sunday, July 11 @1:00pm

Another two sides coming off wins last round, this one could be a huge do or die clash for the Firebirds and Thunderbirds who are really vying for that last-ditch finals attempt. While it is probably unlikely either side could make finals with their up and down form, both have shown glimpses of what they are capable of this season and could certainly shake things up if they were to make a strong run home from here. Last time they met it was the Firebirds that reigned supreme, but you can never underestimate this Thunderbirds side especially when they have confidence behind them.

It will be a battle of the Jamaicans as Shamera Sterling and Romelda Aiken go head-to-head underneath the goals with both players serious firepowers for their respective teams. Sterling’s ability to spur her side into action is second-to-none, while Aiken’s excellent connection with Gretel Bueta constantly leaves the opposition with headaches. Matilda Garrett has been in excellent form while Shadine van der Merwe is also coming in off a great outing last week and will look to force changes in the Firebirds attack. The battle between Gabi Simpson and Maisie Nankivell is sure to set tongues wagging the both with both players in great spirits at the moment, while elsewhere Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus have been fine-tuning their connection over the past few rounds. That being said, Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner have been hard to stop when they get going and will take advantage of any loose ball that comes their way, making for a huge contest.

Collingwood Magpies vs. GIANTS Netball
Sunday, July 11 @3:00pm

The final match of the round sees the biggest milestone of the round, as Geva Mentor suits up for her 200th national league game against the GIANTS. But while the Magpies have showcased some great form over the past few rounds, the GIANTS are an entirely different kettle of fish despite their current slump and inconsistency, and will be looking to bounce back against this Collingwood side which is also coming in off a loss, however must keep in mind the last time they played the Magpies, Mentor was missing from the fray. 

It is safe to say the match up to watch in this clash is the battle between Mentor and Jo Harten. The two England internationals know each other’s games inside and out, and both have had topsy-turvy seasons so far meaning whoever gets the upper hand early will most likely be able to retain control. Meanwhile, Jodi-Ann Ward and Ash Brazill have been in scintillating form for the Magpies and will want to utilise that to shut down the likes of Sophie Dwyer and Maddie Hay who have both shown glimpses of brilliance. Elsewhere through the midcourt is Magpies livewire Kelsey Browne who will take on Amy Parmenter and be looking to improve on her effort last week, while GIANTS’ Jamie-Lee Price is also a viable option to slip back into wing defence as she has done throughout the past couple of rounds. Both sides have looked slightly fatigued over the past few rounds, especially through the midcourt, so will need to assert dominance early and retain some real consistency to win that midcourt battle. The real test for the Magpies will be whether Gabby Sinclair is back in goal attack following a niggle last week, with her connection with Shimona Nelson really missed.

 

Picture credit: Collingwood Magpies Netball

2021 Stats wrap: SSN Round 9 and ANZ Premiership Round 12

THERE was no shortage of impressive individual and team efforts across both the ANZ Premiership and Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) this week. Round 9 of the SSN rolled around with some upsets headlining the round while across the ditch the Northern Mystics consolidated their spot atop of the ladder.

GOALS:

It is becoming a weekly occurrence in the ANZ Premiership with Grace Nweke once again topping the table for the number of goals scored slotting 54 goals from 65 attempts to convert at 83 per cent, lower than her usual accuracy but still dominant to post. Maia Wilson increased her load for the Stars nailing 40 goals from 46 attempts while Caitlin Bassett showcased just what she is capable of with an impressive 34 goals from 35 attempts at 97 per cent. It was arguably Bassett’s best game to-date with the goal shooter starring under the post with her accuracy while Pulse goal shooter Aliyah Dunn was also accurate to post but was down on her volume finishing with 21 goals from 22 attempts. In terms of goal attacks, Khiarna Williams had a game to remember with her 20 from 23 while Tiana Metuarau also imposed herself for the Steel sinking 15 goals at 75 per cent. Ivana Rowland enjoyed her time out on court nailing 11 goals from 13 attempts for the Pulse while Te Paea Selby-Rickit was solid with her 16 goals but lacked accuracy. Speaking of lacking accuracy, Jamie Hume struggled to find her radar with 20 goals from 33 attempts at 61 per cent.

There were a number of strong performances across the board in the goal circle with West Coast Fever goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler impressing with her 47 goals from 48 attempts at 98 per cent. She was not alone when it came to accuracy with Sophie Garbin starring in her 39 minutes out on court with 31 goals at 94 per cent while Adelaide Thunderbirds shooter Lenize Potgieter upped the ante finishing with 42 goals from 45 attempts. The combination of Romelda Aiken and Gretel Bueta was back to its damaging best with the pair scoring 39 and 23 goals respectively at a combined 87 per cent. Helen Housby had a hot hand from super shot range sinking four of her five attempts while also shooting at 100 per cent from the one zone. Cara Koenen was a strong force under the post for the Lightning sinking 26 goals from 30 attempts while Steph Wood also found her groove shooting at 94 per cent. Meanwhile Kaylia Stanton arguably had her best game to date finishing with 18 goals from 21 attempts as Mwai Kumwenda was up to her usual tricks with 34 goals.

MIDCOURT:

Northern Stars wing attack Gina Crampton led the competition for goal assists this round racking up 35 with her precise ball placement consistently coming to the fore, as did Peta Toeava with the Northern Mystics wing attack amassing a team-high 26. Whitney Souness was the go-to girl for the Pulse finishing with 21 goal assists while Sam Winders led the charge for the Magic with 21 of her own. Shannon Saunders was electric with ball in hand for her 19 goal assists as Kate Heffernan impressed both in defence and offence with her nine assists and two gains. Both Kimiora Poi and Tayla Earle had strong performances through the centre with seven goal assists and two intercepts for Poi and 14 goal assists and an intercept for Earle. There is no denying that Charlotte Elley was the pick of the crop in wing defence with the Tactix speedster collecting an intercept and two deflections.

It was a standout performance from Maisie Nankivell with the Adelaide Thunderbirds wing attack amassing 31 goal assists with the next closest Queensland Firebirds centre Kim Ravaillion with 29. It did not stop there for Ravaillion as she also picked up three deflections and a gain. Verity Charles proved to be the go-to girl for the Fever collecting 23 goal assists and two deflections while in her milestone 100th game Maddy Proud made her presence felt racking up 18 goal assists, three deflections and an intercept. For the Lightning it was Laura Scherian that paved the way with her 12 goal assists meanwhile Hannah Mundy and Kate Moloney recorded 15 and 10 respectively. Kelsey Browne led the charge for the Pies with 14 while Ash Brazill got plenty of hands to ball with her two gains and four deflections. Speaking of wing defences and both Shadine van der Merwe and Kate Eddy had impactful games for their respective sides with the former registering two intercepts and three deflections while Eddy managed three gains. Jamie-Lee Price also racked up the defensive stats with her two gains and four deflections.

DEFENCE:

Defensively the Tactix had the run of the mill with Jane Watson and Karin Burger impressing down back. Watson finished with four intercepts, a pickup and a rebound as Burger collected two intercepts and three gains. Kelera Nawai was strong for the Pulse with her two intercepts and three rebounds while Sulu Fitzpatrick showcased her wares both in goal keeper and goal defence for the Mystics to accrue five gains. Anna Harrison was a shining light for the Stars picking up four deflections and three gains as Erena Mikaere run amuck for the Magic finishing with eight gains including two intercepts. Teammate Georgia Tong also got hands to ball with her three gains.

It is hard to go past the efforts of Shamera Sterling with the Thunderbirds goal keeper picking up a whopping eight intercepts to accompany her five gains and six deflections. Geva Mentor also imposed herself with six deflections and three gains as the Firebirds duo in Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe ran riot combining for 11 deflections, four intercepts and five rebounds. Courtney Bruce was at her damaging best for the Fever continuously getting hands to ball credit to her nine deflections and three intercepts as Lightning’s Karla Pretorius showcased her star power with seven gains. Emily Mannix did not skip a beat upon her return with four intercepts and two gains as partner in crime Jo Weston also got busy with her three deflections.

Photo credit: SSN Twitter