Tag: kathryn harby-williams

Compare the Pair: Kathryn Harby-Williams and Karla Pretorius

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from different eras across the netball world, with the next showcasing goal defenders, ex-Australian Diamonds captain Kathryn Harby-Williams and South African superstar, Karla Pretorius.

Two significant names in the netball community, Harby-Williams and Pretorius are formidable defenders with unsuspecting speed, resilience and tenacity with a constant drive to turn over the ball. While neither player is, or was the tallest defender of the bunch, both make up for it with their clean hands and aerial ability, finding the loose ball and creating something out of nothing with unquestionable netball nous. With constant pressing defence and versatility to adapt to the play at hand, both players are well deserving of their accolades.

Tenacious Australian Netball Hall of Famer, Harby-Williams was a threatening defender who was a consistent name for the Diamonds thanks to her ability to create that game-changing turnover and provide a crucial link out of defence. With intensity, speed and an ability to create opportunities down court for her teammates, Harby-Williams was a constant threat in goal defence.

A formidable ex-Diamonds captain, Harby-Williams was unafraid of the whistle, using her bodywork to interfere with clean play to be a constant thorn in the side of any attacker, though that was rivaled by her bounds of experience to exploit holes in game plans and use her leadership to drive home wins. A stellar defender who applied constant and consistent pressure on her opposition, Harby-Williams could never be counted out of a contest thanks to her willingness to enter the fray and propel the ball back up the court.

Arguably the most explosive, dominant and exciting goal defence in the world right now, Pretorius is full to the brim with talent thanks to her impressive elevation, using her aerial ability to pick ball out of the air and turn it over. Pretorius’ skill is such that she makes it look easy, finding the loose ball with ease and picking her battles to stay clean and consistent.

Unafraid of the contest, the threatening defender is a key cog in defence for both the South Africa SPAR Proteas and Sunshine Coast Lightning, plying her trade again and again and shutting down attacking forays. With a strong build and quick feet to be that impact defender intercepting left, right and centre, it is rare that Pretorius is off her game, proving to be a quality defender who can take on almost any opposition and show them up with her dominant approach to the game.

Kathryn Harby-WIlliams

94 caps, 1990-2003

Karla Pretorius

80 caps, 2011-present

Which legendary goal defence of two eras would you pick?
Kathryn Harby-Williams
Karla Pretorius
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Netball fantasy teams: 1999 World Cup All-Stars v. 2015 World Cup All-Stars

OVER the years there have been some a-class players grace the court with them all coming together at the most coveted event in the netball calendar. With so many influential players from varying countries Draft Central has made a team from the 1999 World Cup and 2015 World Cup compiled of star players from the respective tournament.

1999 World Cup team:

GK: Liz Ellis (AUS)
GD: Kathryn Harby-Williams (AUS)
WD: Carissa Tombs (AUS)
C: Julie Seymour (NZL)
WA: Tracey Neville (ENG)
GA: Vicki Wilson (AUS)
GS: Irene Van Dyk (RSA)
BENCH: Sharelle McMahon (AUS), Nadine Bryan (JAM), Sonia Mkoloma (ENG)

Five different nations feature in the 1999 World Cup team with Australia holding a few extra places in the squad after taking out the gold medal. It is no surprise that goal keeper Liz Ellis gets the nod with the Australian defender putting her best foot forward throughout the 1999 World Cup. Her court coverage is impressive with the 183cm defender able to swat away any balls that came her way and propel it back down the court. Joining partner in crime is Kathryn Harby-Williams with the goal defence impressing with her hands over pressure and ability to take a timely intercept thanks to her vision and anticipation.

In wing defence is Australian Diamonds representative Carissa Tombs. The centre court player knows how to block her opponent with her quick footwork and clever body positioning around the circle edge. Through the midcourt versatile Silver Fern, Julie Seymour takes out the centre position. Renowned for her defensive pressure and no-nonsense approach Seymour starred across the court and was more than capable to deliver perfectly weighted passes into the goalers. Tracey Neville could move between both wing attack and goal attack and given the star power throughout the 1999 World Cup found herself out in wing attack in this team. She is crafty with ball in hand and can find space with ease.

Moving into the circle it is headlined by none other than shooting sensation Irene Van Dyk. Although she is more renowned for her time with the Silver Ferns, Van Dyk took charge for the Spar Proteas in 1999 with the goaler able to slot them with ease. Her fancy footwork and accuracy to post is what makes her so hard to stop, able to command the ball and score truly. In at goal attack is Diamonds goaler Vicki Wilson who made her presence felt in the gold medal match with her attacking intent and desire to go to post.

On the bench is Sharelle McMahon who made her World Cup debut in 1999 and proved to be a key cog for the Diamonds attacking unit while Jamaican midcourter Nadine Bryan and England defender Sonia Mkoloma round out the team.

2015 World Cup team:

GK: Laura Geitz (AUS)
GD: Casey Kopua (NZL)
WD: Renae Ingles (AUS)
C: Laura Langman (NZL)
WA: Kim Green (AUS)
GA: Maria Folau (NZL)
GS: Mwai Kumwenda (MAL)
BENCH: Caitlin Bassett (AUS), Erin Burger (RSA), Geva Mentor (ENG)

The team is top heavy in Diamonds players, thanks to Australia taking out the gold medal at the World Cup and Silver Ferns notching up the runners-up trophy. Defensively the 2015 team is quite strong with former Australian Diamonds captain Laura Geitz taking out the goal keeper position given her dominance and impressive on-court leadership. Her ability to make something out of nothing and use her long limbs to get hands to ball made her simply unstoppable throughout the tournament. Joining her down back is Silver Ferns defender Casey Kopua with the goal defence well recognised for her intercepting skill and go-go gadget arms to pick off errant passes.

In the midcourt it is hard to go past the likes of Laura Langman with the talented centre able to run all day and all night. Her endurance base is second to none and is a real barometer for the Ferns with her gut running, impressive ball handling skills and sheer athleticism. The wing defence position goes to Renae Ingles with the quick footed defender able to cover the court with ease and use her speed off the mark to force turnovers. Moving into wing attack is Diamond Kim Green, the electric wing attack simply sliced through the defence with her pin point passes and impressive balance around the circle. Throw in her speed off the mark and dynamic change of direction and Green was an easy choice.

New Zealand specialty long bomb shooter Maria Folau impressed throughout the 2015 campaign with her cool, calm and collected mentality at the forefront of her game play. She is light on her feet and can sink them from anywhere in the circle such is her accuracy and range.  Malawian goal shooter, Mwai Kumwenda took the competition by storm with her accuracy to post and unconventional style of play. The flamboyant goaler showcased her aerial ability throughout the 2015 campaign starring time and time again with her strong hands and balance.

Rounding out the bench is current Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett while South African midcourter Erin Burger is also amongst the mix. The final spot on the bench goes to England Roses star and talented defender Geva Mentor.

Who would win?

Both sides are littered with a host impressive players that are renowned for their game changing abilities and dynamic movement and while it is difficult to decide which team would have more of a competitive edge the 2015 side has that extra touch of class. With stars on the bench the 2015 squad oozes depth and star power with each player able to burst onto the court and have a profound impact.

Netball World Cups 16 years apart, who wins?
1999 NWC All-Stars
2015 NWC All-Stars
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Memorable Matches: New Zealand break Diamonds’ 16 year World Championship run

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is the New Zealand Silver Ferns’ drought-breaking victory over the Australian Diamonds for the 2003 Netball World Cup gold in Kingston, Jamaica.

It was a match of pure physicality and supreme determination from both sides, with the Aussies insistent on continuing their winning streak but the Ferns with a fire in the belly, having not won a World Cup trophy in 16 years. Both teams had some stellar players, with plenty of recognisable names among them. While Australia won the second half, it was New Zealand’s threatening first half that put them in with the lead, able to hold on throughout despite the Aussies’ fight.

New Zealand took an early lead, winning the first quarter thanks to the dominant pairing of Irene van Dyk and Belinda Colling, seemingly one step ahead of the Australians. It was van Dyk’s first World Cup with New Zealand and the South African dual citizen quickly paid dividends for the side, with the accuracy and drive giving the Ferns something they had been missing in previous years. While the likes of Kathryn Harby-WIlliams and Liz Ellis picked up a wealth of loose ball, the Ferns duo were unstoppable at the post, combining well and applying constant scoreboard pressure to put the Aussies on the back foot. 

Up the Australian attacking end, Sharelle McMahon had a constant barricade in Sheryl Clarke blocking easy access into the circle, and while McMahon’s clean footwork and speed allowed her plenty of crucial ball, it was a physical encounter between the two. Clarke’s five intercepts and game changing deflection resulting in a gain in the dying minutes – were critical for the turn of the match, with the final quarter going back and forth as the Diamonds fought to come back. 

Teaming up with Clarke in defence was Vilimaina Davu, who delivered constantly applying pressure on Cynna Neale and McMahon at the post and forcing errors from the likes of Natasha Chokljat and Rebecca Sanders on circle edge, putting doubt in their minds. New Zealand’s typical zoning play was critical throughout, holding onto the ball with ease and denying the Aussie any clean motion or movement through the centre third. Cath Cox joined the fray in Neale’s replacement later in the match, able to apply some extra fancy footwork.

The physicality hit its peak in the final term, with a young Temepara Bailey being sent off – something ultimately unheard of in netball today, but a call which marked Bailey as the first ever player sent off in a World Cup final. It was her tenth contact that saw the call made, forcing Lesley Nicol into the centre bib and enabling two quick goals from the Aussies to draw even with the Ferns down a player on court, but the two minutes on the bench only put more fire in the belly of the New Zealand outfit, with a bigger drive and desire to get that elusive gold medal. 

The dying moments saw deflections aplenty, with neither side able to steal momentum long enough to score, but the Ferns’ early efforts were enough to get the win over a stellar Australian opposition, breaking the drought 49-47.

AUSTRALIA 10 | 12 | 12 | 13 (47)
NEW ZEALAND 14 | 13 | 10 | 12 (49)



GS: Cynna Neele
GA: Sharelle McMahon
WA: Natasha Chokljat
C: Rebecca Sanders
WD: Peta Scholtz
GD: Kathryn Harby-Williams
GK: Liz Ellis

BENCH: Alison Broadbent, Cath Cox, Janine Ilitch, Nicole Richardson, Eloise Southby
COACH: Jill McIntosh

New Zealand

GS: Irene Van Dyk
GA: Belinda Colling
WA: Anna Rowberry
C: Jodi Brown
WD: Lesley Nicol
GD: Sheryl Clarke
GK: Vilimaina Davu

BENCH: Tania Dalton, Leana de Bruin, Temepara Bailey, Anna Scarlett, Adine Wilson
COACH: Ruth Aitken

Memorable matches: 1999 World Netball Championships final – Australia clinches third straight title in come-from-behind win

WITH netball taking a back seat to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. First up is Australia’s come-from-behind win over New Zealand at the 1999 World Netball Championships – now known as the Netball World Cup – in Christchurch, New Zealand, which saw Australia overcome a six-goal three quarter time deficit to reign supreme over the competition favourites. It was Australia’s third straight World Netball Championships victory and eighth title overall.


It was a physical match from the get-go, with both teams coming into the final off the back of a tight semi-final. While New Zealand was expected to come up the goods, the Aussies put up a tough fight early with little separating the sides at quarter time. The Kiwis were clinical in the second, with shooting pair Donna Loffhagen and Belinda Colling just about unstoppable under the post, and unfazed by Liz Ellis and Kathryn Harby in defence. Julie Seymour and Anna Rowberry impressed through the midcourt, with the pair moving well through the pressurised goal third to feed crucial lobs to Loffhagen. 

The third quarter saw the heavens open for the New Zealand outfit, with consistency and cleanliness keeping their heads above water and extending to a six goal lead by the final change. Meanwhile, Australian coach Jill McIntosh was unafraid of switching it up, playing a young Sharelle McMahon in goal attack in the second half and rotating stalwart Jacqui Delaney – who had shot 12 of 18 – to the bench. While McMahon took some time warming into the match, thanks to defensive pressure from Belinda Charteris and Bernice Mene, it was this belief in the then 22-year-old that paid off, with captain Vicki Wilson (15 goals from 26 attempts) hitting the bench in the final quarter – in her final national cap – to make way for Jenny Borlase in goal shooter, with Borlase combining effortlessly with McMahon to shoot the lights out.

Australia was clinical in the final term, blowing New Zealand out of the water with an impressive 14 goal to six effort, levelling the scores midway through the term though New Zealand managed to draw back some of the momentum with the match well and truly coming down to the final seconds. A repeat toss-up in the late stages of the match is one of the more memorable moments, with little calling for a toss-up in today’s game and something that ate up precious time right under New Zealand’s goal post with little more than 40 seconds on the clock. But what the home side didn’t factor into the equation was the tenacity of Ellis, with the goal keeper leaping up to the ball and using her game smarts to propel it back down the other end. One thing Australia hasn’t lost over the past 20 years is its speed down the court, with the likes of Carissa Tombs, Shelley O’Donnell and Peta Squire racing down the court with ball in hand with McMahon fortunately on the end of it and unaware of the clock ticking down. 

It was a real combination of youth and experience that brought home the win, with Ellis dominating with her physicality dialling up a notch in the final quarter, sending Loffhagen flying and using her strength to bat the goalers away for the rebound. While McMahon only shot the six goals from eight attempts, her impact out on court far outweighed her volume and quick hands to feed to Borlase, who shot nine from 13 in the final quarter alone. For New Zealand, Loffhagen was impressive holding up for 30 goals but was unable to maintain accuracy in the last quarter, missing crucial chances to level scores or take the lead. 

This was both Wilson’s and Tombs’ last match for Australia, with both players retiring on the ultimate high following the 1999 victory.

NEW ZEALAND 13 | 10 | 11 | 7 (41)
AUSTRALIA 13 | 8 | 7 | 14  (42) 


New Zealand

GS: Donna Loffhagen
GA: Belinda Colling
WA: Anna Rowberry
C: Julie Seymour
WD: Lesley Nicol
GD: Belinda Charteris
GK: Bernice Mene

BENCH: Adine Harper, Teresa Tairi, Sonya Hardcastle, Lorna Suafoa, Linda Vagana
COACH: Yvonne Willering


GS: Vicki Wilson
GA: Jacqui Delaney
WA: Shelley O’Donnell
C: Carissa Tombs
WD: Peta Squire
GD: Kathryn Harby-Williams (Nee Harby)
GK: Liz Ellis

BENCH: Jennifer Borlase, Sharon Finnan, Janine Ilitch, Sharelle McMahon, Rebecca Sanders
COACH: Jill McIntosh


New Zealand:

Donna Loffhagen 30/42
Belinda Colling 11/20


Vicki Wilson 15/26
Jacqui Delaney 12/18
Jenny Borlase 9/13
Sharelle McMahon 6/8

Top 10 all-time New Zealand and Australian retired greats

IT is hard to narrow down just 10 players from both New Zealand and Australia that have had an everlasting impact on the game with both countries boasting players full of class, star-power and excitement. This list is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration longevity, international caps and perceived impact on-court.

#1 Irene Van Dyk – New Zealand (GS)

There is no denying that Van Dyk is arguably one of the world’s best goal shooters with her silky movement and sheer endurance. The netball superstar played 217 caps of which 74 were with South Africa, and the remainder with the Silver Ferns. Her cool, calm and collected nature steered her side to many victories, allowing her to quickly become one of Australia’s biggest nemeses under the post. She was simply unstoppable, able to turn a game on its head in a blink of an eye credit to her strong holds, perfect placement and most importantly, accuracy, hardly ever missing a shot.

#2 Laura Geitz – Australia (GK/GD)

The former Diamonds captain is nothing but class. All eyes would turn to her knowing something special would happen every time she took the court, credit to her physical presence, impeccable timing and general netball smarts to get around the body of an opponent or do the unthinkable just when her side needed it. She sensed the moment time and time again and was a real inspiration on court, consistently leading from the front and spurring her side on.

#3 Sharelle McMahon – Australia (GA/GS)

The Australian goaler was a true mastermind on the court, able to exploit the space with her dynamic movement. Her movement paired with her impressive accuracy proved to be hard to stop for opposition defenders trying to shut down the talented shooter. McMahon could singlehandedly jolt a side back into action with clever plays and silky connections, forging key partnerships in attack to provide a dangerous attack-line for the Diamonds.

#4 Liz Ellis – Australia (GK)

Ellis is one of the most influential goal keepers in Australian netball history with her attacking flair and willingness to take the game on. She controlled the airways with her intercepting abilities and used her height to swat away passes entering the circle. Ellis was one of a kind, renowned for her pressure over the shot, quick feet and cleanliness at the contest, reigning supreme over key opposition players again and again.

#5 Casey Kopua – New Zealand (GD/GK)

A true leader and inspiration on court, with her defensive prowess constantly on display. Kopua can light a game up with her match-winning style of play, able to take a huge intercept or force a turnover such is her imposing nature. Her competitive spirit and physical style of play turns heads along with her ability to read the play and gobble up any cross-court balls.

#6 Cath Cox – Australia (GS/GA)

She was a staple hold in the Diamonds uniform, playing in 108 tests thanks to her impressive endurance, class and accuracy. Cox was nothing short of consistent and reliable, able to shoot from anywhere in the circle and convert. Her footwork was effortless on the court, able to hold strong under the post or get off the body to find her own space.

#7 Anna Harrison – New Zealand (GD/GK/WD)

The lanky defender was renowned for her defensive antics, especially initiating the chair lift. Despite her slight stature she could impact the contest with ease to become a commanding presence in the defensive circle and would use her aerial skills to force turnovers, deflections and intercepts.

#8 Joline Henry – New Zealand (WD/GD)

She was a key cog in the Ferns defensive line-up, often blocking the wing attack’s drives and movements to the top of the circle. Her physical game style upset many attackers who struggled to combat the intense pressure and shadowing nature of her game play. Her hands over pressure was second to none blocking the vision of her opponents and forcing rushed passes or held balls.

#9 Kathryn Harby-Williams – Australia (GD/WD)

The talented Aussie defender was renowned for making her opponents’ lives hard with her imposing figure and skill to shut them down. She made it hard for the goalers to shoot and enter the circle with her smart movement across the court while applying a wealth of pressure out the front to block her opponents vision.

#10 Temepara Bailey – New Zealand (C/WA)

Bailey was a pocket rocket on court able to feed from all areas of the attacking third thanks to her impressive vision, strength and variety of passes to slice through the opposition defence. She was a real barometer through the midcourt, able to control the flow of the play and work her way through the pressure to deliver well-weighted passes into her goalers.