Tag: kate shimmin

2020 SSN: Season preview- Adelaide Thunderbirds

AFTER an extended break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season is set to commence on August 1. Draft Central takes a look at each team, starting off with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. 

Coach: Tania Obst
Captain: Layla Guscoth and Chelsea Pitman
2019 finish: 7th 

Breaking their 27 game losing streak in Round 1 against the Fever last year, the Thunderbirds seemed to uncover a new lease on life attacking the ball with intensity. Unfortunately they could not maintain that style of play throughout the season only notching up two more wins. Riddled with injuries, England Roses midcourter Beth Cobden was ruled out early with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and co-captain Layla Guscoth missed the second half of the season after rupturing her Achilles. Sasha Glasgow also went down late in the season with an ACL topping off what had been a trying season for the Thunderbirds. They will be keen to put that to bed in 2020 and put their foot down. Adelaide well and truly proved they have the defensive firepower to change the course of the game, something they will be hoping to build on this season to register more wins. 

2020 predictions/expectations:

With the key loss and retirement of long bomb specialist Maria Folau and uncertainty surrounding Glasgow’s return the Thunderbirds shooting end oozes plenty of youth and inexperience when it comes to connections. Welcoming quickfire goal shooter and Spar Proteas star Lenize Potgieter the Thunderbirds attack will rely heavily on her to deliver while the likes of Samantha Gooden and Charlee Hodges will also have a challenge on their hands stepping into a new-look side. The midcourt remains relatively unchanged with Chelsea Pitman the key through the attacking third with her clever ball placement, speed on the pass, strong circle edge positioning and vision into the circle. Her output will be key to ensuring the goalers get good access. Defensively Adelaide are littered with ball winners, none bigger than Shamera Sterling. The Jamaican goal keeper took the competition by storm last year, using her long arms, speed off the mark and pressure over the shot to win ball back and cause havoc. The versatility of Kate Shimmin also worked wonders for the Thunderbirds while Shadine van der Merwe also slotted into the team seamlessly with her hands over pressure and strength to swing into circle defence or wing defence. The return of Guscoth will also be huge for the Thunderbirds with the England Roses representative able to have an impact with her calming nature, skill to win ball back and tagging style of play. 

Key player to watch:

New to the Thunderbirds this season, Potgieter is a real playmaker and staple hold under the post for any team. She is quick on her feet, able to change up the angles in an instant and more importantly score quickly and accurately. Having played with the Steel in the ANZ Premiership last season and spending time with the Queensland Firebirds midseason the Proteas goal shooter is well aware of what it takes to perform at SSN level. She is unfazed by the physical nature of the game, instead relying on her strong holds, baseline drives and range to do all the talking. She is an exciting prospect for the Thunderbirds this season given it will be her first full SSN season and has proven time and time again on the international stage that she is a true competitor, able to read the play and command the ball. 

Team list:

Sasha Glasgow
Samantha Gooden
Layla Guscoth
Charlee Hodges
Maisie Nankivell
Hannah Petty
Chelsea Pitman
Lenize Potgieter
Kate Shimmin
Shamera Sterling
Shadine van der Merwe

Who will improve the most in 2020?

WITH Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) set to commence on August 1, we take a look at a couple of teams that might rise up the ladder this season after struggling in 2019. The delayed start to the season has gifted some clubs with valuable time when it comes to potentially regaining injured stars and working on connections with new recruits.

Queensland Firebirds:

Unfortunately, last year was not the Firebirds’ year, struggling to win games and play their normal game flamboyant game style, but hopefully 2020 will be a different story. With the likes of dynamic midcourter Lara Dunkley joining the ranks and Spar Proteas goaler Ine-Mari Venter also in the fold, Queensland have more versatility in the squad, giving them more options when things don’t go to plan on court. The Firebirds have a core group of a-list players such as captain Gabi Simpson in wing defence while powerhouse shooting duo Romelda Aiken and Gretel Bueta headline the attacking third. But it is the combinations around them that many can expect to flourish this season with the likes of defensive partners Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe. The young defenders have come along in leaps and bounds already and entering their third season together, could be what sees them win more games. They are strong in the air and apply a wealth of defensive pressure both over the shot and in the third itself, often out hunting for ball. If they can maintain a high level of intensity throughout the matches and stimulate some drive out of defence it will go a long way in pushing the Firebirds to further success this season.

West Coast Fever:

After the highs of 2018, the Fever’s 2019 campaign was a little disappointing, unable to replicate that same intensity and strangle-hold over other teams in the competition. The loss of Nat Medhurst was substantial but with the likes of Kaylia Stanton and Alice Teague-Neeld in the mix for a second season, the Fever will be hoping to find a spark. While Stanton is known more for her goal shooter tendencies her ability to rotate into goal attack was solid, but at times lacked that play-making ability. On the other hand, Teague-Neeld struggled to find consistency in her game play and put up shots ultimately putting pressure on the Fever frontend. While there is no denying that Jhaniele Fowler is the go-to-girl, West Coast will be hoping to have ironed out their attacking issues and come back stronger than ever this season. With extra time to work on their connections in the goal circle the varying styles could be beneficial to the Fever and give them that edge to recapture their dominance.

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

After showing some promise early last season the Thunderbirds were hit with injuries that slightly derailed their season, but will be looking to build on their foundations in 2020. Experienced Roses defender, Layla Guscoth missed the second half of the season but given the extended break could make a comeback this season and have an impact. Her experience down back, pressure over the shot and tagging style of play will pay dividends and add that extra layer of class to the T’birds defensive unit. Her connection with Shamera Sterling, Kate Shimmin and Shadine van der Merwe could cause headaches for opposition attackers. While shooting sensation, Sasha Glasgow sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury late last season, the recruitment of Lenize Potgieter will hopefully fill that hole. The South African goaler is accurate to post, quick on her feet and can hold her own in the goal circle but if Glasgow was to return she could offer another option under the post whether it be goal attack or goal shooter. With more time to develop their connections both in defence and through the midcourt the Thunderbirds will be hoping to use that defensive pressure to bring the ball down court and create attacking forays.

Top 15 SSN training partners: #2 Beth Cobden

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball plate in 2020. Coming in at number two is injured Adelaide Thunderbirds and England Roses midcourter, Beth Cobden. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

While a somewhat contentious and questionable player to not make the top of the list given she has international caps with the Roses, Cobden is only a training partner while she is currently down and out of the squad with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, the likelihood of her making the cut earlier in the Super Netball season is questionable because she is still going through rehabilitation. However, the aim with Cobden being a training partner is to enable her to work back up to match fitness through the Australian Netball League (ANL), which could see her return to the fray at some point during the season. 

A highly talented defensive midcourter, Cobden’s speed and agility allows her to impact both on and off the ball, using her lithe frame and tactical mindset to create plays down the court. With plenty of experience behind her, the 27-year-old midcourter can dominate by shutting down her attacker, not always playing the obvious game by intercepting and deflecting but instead using her body work to block easy drives.

With plenty of versatility to rotate through the midcourt, Cobden is just about a shoe-in to make it onto the Super Netball stage once more in 2020 if a position opens up, able to have an impact in any midcourt position thanks to her clever read of the play and ability to transition between attacking and defensive mindsets.

Thanks to solid Roses partnerships across the court – namely Chelsea Pitman through the midcourt and Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin in defence – not to mention Cobden played and trained with the Thunderbirds before she went down to injury last year, Cobden will well and truly slot right into the side if she is required.


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

Who will replace Geva Mentor in the Roses when she retires?

AT 35-years-old Geva Mentor is heading towards the twilight of her career despite not showing any signs of slowing down. The impressive goal keeper has all the class in the world and has proven time and time again that she has what it takes to compete with the young up-and-coming stars, along with the experienced shooters. Mentor has been a key cog in the England Roses defence unit for roughly a decade, while also being a commanding figure at all domestic leagues. But the question must be asked, when she retires who will take her place? Draft Central take a look at a couple of possibilities.

Summer Artman:

Only at the beginning of her netball career, Artman has showed that she has the firepower to be a contender for a more permanent fixture in the Roses outfit. With tenacity and excitement to boot, Artman could pave the way for the future of the Roses. She is light on her feet and uses her lean over the shot to intimidate goalers. Her quick feet and ability to read the play allows her to have a constant impact on the flow of the game, attempting to disrupt the attacking forays with timely tips.

Already a co-captain with Team Bath in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) the young goal keeper oozes leadership skills and reliability. Artman while she is not the flashiest player, does the little things well, applying a wealth of pressure shutting down options with her precise movement.

Razia Quashie:

The 23-year-old defender burst onto the international scene with her sheer strength the focal point of her game play. Her ability to position cleverly in the goal circle and consistently swat away balls with her quick movement and netball understanding makes her an obvious choice to replace Mentor. Although she is still young and honing in her craft, Quashie boasts a litter of skills ranging from her three-foot marking to intercepting ability. Her commanding presence under the post puts fear into the feeders’ minds and she is not often outmuscled such is her defensive prowess.

Her consistency with the Mavericks at VNSL level proves just how much of a talent she is, notching up 15 intercepts and five deflections in just three games. While she only has 11 caps to her name, her ability to hold her own, back herself in a contest and use her feet to get around the body of an opponent makes her an exciting prospect for the Roses.

Kate Shimmin:

The Australian turned Roses international has plenty of experience at domestic level but is yet to get a real run at it on the big stage. She is one of the most athletic players renowned for her aerial ability and vertical leap. No high ball is safe thanks to her strength in the air, she is deceptively quick and has a high netball IQ. While she is not the tallest defender she makes up for it with her attacking intent and silky footwork to push her opponents up high in the circle.

She is constantly on the prowl for intercepts and covers the court with ease. Shimmin is not afraid to put her body on the line and apply physical pressure to put players off their game. although she has only played five international games, Shimmin knows what it takes to mix it with the best and could bring that experience to the Roses line-up as a more permanent option in years to come.

Top 15 SSN training partners: #11 – Chelsea Blackman

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball plate in 2020, with Adelaide Thunderbirds defender, Chelsea Blackman up next. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

With a few years on the sidelines of the Adelaide Thunderbirds under her belt, Blackman is one to watch for the future with plenty of grit and determination out in defence. Now coming into her third consecutive season as a training partner, Blackman has flourished under the tutelage of the dependable and talented Layla Guscoth, Shamera Sterling and Kate Shimmin through the Thunderbirds camp and, from what we’ve seen so far out on court, has relished the opportunity to learn off the experienced players. The young goal defence has plenty of intensity and strength to hold her ground, able to anticipate the ball well and in turn cause issues for her opposition.

The young defender got the opportunity to take the court on two occasions during the 2019 Super Netball season, making her debut in Round 10 last year against the Melbourne Vixens and was a valuable option on the bench for the Thunderbirds following the resumption of the Super Netball competition after the completion of the Netball World Cup in July. Blackman currently plays for Southern Force in the Australian Netball League (ANL) and plays for Contax Netball Club in the Netball South Australia feeder competition. Valuable court time with the Tbirds has done wonders for her development and with a few more opportunities out on the court the South Australia-born will once again have a chance to build on her skill this year.


#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Compare the Pair: Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing England Roses, Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin.

Two vastly different players with different playing styles and backgrounds, Guscoth and Shimmin have plenty of experience on court together. While Guscoth has been a prominent Roses player, Shimmin has only really played domestically in Australia prior to her selection. Guscoth plays a primarily wear-down role while Shimmin uses her footwork to expose her opposition. The pair do have one major thing in common – their wingspan and ability to deflect and gather crucial loose ball.

Both 28-years-old and consistent to a tee, the defensive pair have plenty left in the tank in the coming years. The pair typically share the defensive bibs for the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball alongside fellow defender Shamera Sterling, though Guscoth’s 2019 Achilles injury threw a spanner in the works throughout the latter stages of the season.

Layla Guscoth

Guscoth may not have many international caps to her name – just the 26 thanks to injury and time away from the sport – but she is one of the most reliable players in the Roses camp thanks to her cool, calm and collected approach to the game.

Her ability to find the ball is second to none, and her versatility is superb. Guscoth’s ability to rotate through goal defence, wing defence and goal keeper is testament to her work ethic. Her lean over the shot is impeccable with balance and long limbs to boot. She forces errors from her opposition to cleanly collect the ball under the post, and runs out for that unexpected intercept to propel the ball back up the court. Her tenacity, strength and drive is crucial for any team. Her cleanliness proves that defenders do not need to be on top of their players to get the job done.

Kate Shimmin

With dual-citizenship and targeted by current England Roses coach, Jess Thirby in 2019, South Australia born Shimmin has finally had an opportunity to collect some international caps and put her extraordinary aerial leap and defensive capabilities to the test for the Roses.

Her anticipation of the ball coming down the court is a crucial part of her game. Shimmin’s quick feet allow her to out-run opposition, and turn something into nothing at the drop of a hat. Her cleanliness to deflect the ball in the air is credit to her timing. Shimmin’s vertical leap and ability to evade her opposition on the landing allows her to defy her goaler an attempt. With an ability to play out in wing defence and goal defence as well as her preferred goal keeper, Shimmin is a real talent with plenty of experience playing against high calibre opposition.

Layla Guscoth
26 caps, 2012-present

Kate Shimmin
5 caps, 2019-present

Which Rose would you take up the defensive end?
Layla Guscoth
Kate Shimmin
Created with QuizMaker

2020 Nations Cup: Team-by-team review

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


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


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

New Zealand

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

South Africa

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

2020 Nations Cup preview: Finals

AN entertaining 2020 Netball Nations Cup has almost come to an end with the final day of action taking place less than 24 hours after the round robin competition concluded. Following three rounds, New Zealand has remained undefeated, while Jamaica picked up two wins against the other two nations to book a spot in the final against the Silver Ferns.

New Zealand vs. Jamaica

These sides faced off in Round 2 of the competition with the Silver Ferns producing a crushing 26-goal defeat over the Sunshine Girls. In that match, New Zealand dominated from start to finish, winning 71-45 in a one-sided affair. Across the four quarters, the Silver Ferns scored 18 or more goals in three quarters, whilst restricting the Sunshine Girls to 11 or less in three of those terms. Both teams are capable of scoring when in form, with a 34-goal final quarter (20-14 New Zealand’s way) a testament to that. It was Maia Wilson who shone brightest with 42 goals from 45 attempts and was too strong for Jamaica’s defensive unit. Shamera Sterling‘s athleticism and X-factor is best used moving around the goal circle, hunting for cross-court balls or influencing play but will have to try and body up on Wilson to throw her off her game. Wilson is far from the only dangerous shooter, with captain Ameliarnne Ekenasio the most damaging shooter in the side. She has been able to continue her role in goal attack with the retirement of Maria Folau, and has not missed a beat so far, able to set up scoring opportunities and go to post when she sees fitting. In the clash between these nations, Ekenasio scored 18 goals from 22 attempts and had 13 goal assists from 16 feeds. Up the other end of the court, Jane Watson will have a massive job trying to quell the influence of super shooter Jhaniele Fowler. The towering goal shooter was at her best in Jamaica’s last round win over England, but will have a greater challenge against Watson and Karin Burger, with Phoenix Karaka likely to spend time on Fowler as well. In the last clash, Fowler scored 38 goals from 40 attempts, but will also likely be double teamed again given her high-volume production. Through the midcourt, Nicole Dixon and Kimiora Poi could have some great battles with Poi earning a start in the Silver Ferns’ win over South Africa and not putting a foot wrong. Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton will aide her in the midcourt, while Shanice Beckford‘s versatility between wing attack and goal attack is important for the Sunshine Girls. Collingwood Magpies fans will be keen to see how Jodi Ann Ward copes in the final with the Jamaican excitement machine to be a top inclusion for the Magpies this year in the Suncorp Super Netball. Overall, the depth of New Zealand should be too much, with star players both on the court and on the bench. Goalers Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Bailey Mes are impact players for the Ferns while Saunders and Karaka are equally important. Although the Sunshine Girls have some good young talents, they rely heavily on their top stars to get the win meaning New Zealand should take home the inaugural Nations Cup crown.

England vs. South Africa

The clash between two the two bottom sides from the tournament will be a fascinating one, with England getting up by five goals, 58-53, in the last clash between the teams in Round 2 of the competition. They were evenly matched for the most part, with only the Roses’ ability to stand up in crunch moments, particularly late in the contest being the key difference. Both sides have shown some strong signs this tournament, with the SPAR Proteas forcing the Silver Ferns onto the back foot in the Round 3 clash at times, but just not being able to produce it for long enough. England is in a similar situation, missing stars like Geva Mentor, Serena Guthrie and Jo Harten in each third of the court, they have had to rely on a lot of fresh faces getting increased roles against more experienced international players. South Africa on the other hand have gone through a little bit of a change, but ultimately have a close to full-strength outfit, and would be a bit disappointed not to pick up a win at this carnival after their World Cup showing by taking it up to the other nations. This game will likely come down to which nation will be able to hold up for long enough and play consistently through the midcourt to give their shooters the best chance of winning. Ine-Mari Venter was terrific in the mid two quarters against New Zealand and should be utilised well on court with Lenize Potgieter, making them a dual threat close to the post. While both prefer the goal shooter bib, their relationship inside the circle is crucial to South Africa putting up a big total here. Lefébre Rademan is another one to watch out for in the goal circle for the Proteas with the goal attack able to inject speed and dynamism to shake the opposition up. England might be missing a few names, but Jade Clarke and Nat Haythornthwaite provide a calming influence through the midcourt, with Haythornthwaite even spending time in goal attack in the absence of Helen Housby. Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin provide an Adelaide Thunderbirds feel to the line-up, while you can never discount the excitement of George Fisher and Amy Carter. The Spar Proteas rely a lot on their attacking end’s flow, and Bongi Msomi is a crucial part of that line-up with her ability to feed through to the circle and provide goal assist opportunities with great leadership on-court. The defensive pairing of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni is one that is always difficult to stop, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning duo consistently imposing themselves on the game and looking for opportunities to get involved. Shadine van der Merwe is the cog between those two and Msomi in the attacking end, and how they all operate on the day will determine their team’s fate. South Africa is a huge chance to win its first game of the tournament given the names on paper, but everything has to go right, and you can never discount England on home soil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 Nations Cup preview: Round 3

ROUND 3 of the inaugural Nations Cup is set to shake things up, with this thee last opportunity for each country to cement their chances in the final series on Sunday. Only New Zealand is undefeated so far, while both Jamaica and England have one win on the board each and South Africa is yet to win a match.

New Zealand vs. South Africa

New Zealand will look to make it a clean sweep heading into this match against South Africa, and while both sides boast a wealth of talent the Ferns are more likely than not to get another solid win on the board thanks to their form and creativity with ball in hand. While South Africa has an impressive lineup, given the physicality of the Silver Ferns they will need to lift their game to not get left behind in this one. The Spar Proteas challenged both England and Jamaica this week already so will have some form behind them coming into this one, but given both sides lost fairly convincingly to the Ferns, New Zealand will be full of confidence. With key cogs across the court for the Proteas, the Ferns will want to use their defensive prowess to hunt every ball, with the likes of Phoenix Karaka and Jane Watson leading the charge from the back end. South Africa will have plenty in their defensive arsenal however, with high flying Karla Pretorius able to create something out of nothing. Through the midcourt, look for an intriguing battle with plenty of players from both sides able to rotate through to have an impact in short spurts, with the likes of Whitney Souness and Gina Crampton able to feed seamlessly for the Ferns, while the speed of Bongi Msomi out in front will help to take the Proteas up to the next level. Both sides have impressive talent at the post, with Ferns captain, Ameliaranne Ekenasio and South Africa’s Lenize Potgieter able to impact wherever required, with accuracy and game smarts to boot. While fellow South African goalers in Ine-Mari Venter and Sigi Burger have plenty of height, what Watson and Karaka lack will be made up by their ability to apply hands  over pressure and deny entry to the goal circle with their respective vision and timing to intercept the ball. 

England vs. Jamaica

With one win apiece for the tournament so far, this is the last opportunity for a side to put a second win on the board to finish well. Both sides were challenged by South Africa but ultimately did not survive the wrath of the Ferns, making for a tighter contest as the winner heads into the finals to take on New Zealand once more. Jamaica have been error-ridden to say the least throughout the series while England are feeling out a relatively inexperienced line-up of players, making for an interesting battle of determination and talent abounds. A player with talent oozing is Jamaica’s Shamera Sterling, but with her long reach and aerial ability comes a massive penalty count that England will want to take advantage of in this matchup. Likely to come up against Sterling are George Fisher and Ellie Cardwell, with both players able to switch up their positioning to create a more versatile line-up, rotating through goal attack with their clever movement despite standing at 188cm and 186cm respectively. Captain, Nat Haythornthwaite will want the Roses to continue their solid run after a good win over the Proteas yesterday, while fellow midcourter Jade Clarke will hope to lead from the front in centre, but will have an interesting time through the midcourt with plenty of inexperienced Jamaican talent able to rotate through where required. The real question for the Roses is if they will be able to stop Jamaican captain and shooting sensation Jhaniele Fowler, whose height and ability to find space in the circle is key for the side’s success. Newly capped Kate Shimmin may be tasked with the goal keeper bib given she has experience against Fowler in the Suncorp Super Netball, and with plenty of talent in Razia Quashie, Stacey Francis and Fran Williams, the side will hope to reign supreme this time around.