Tag: Katrina Rore

2020 ANZ Premiership season review – Central Pulse

IT was an unprecedented season as the ANZ Premiership came to a halt after Round 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but later returned in June to round out the remainder of the season, bar Round 10. The season saw plenty of intriguing battles as teams plied their trade across the court in hope to work their way up the ladder. Draft Central takes a look back at the year that was, with the final team back-to-back premiers, Central Pulse.

Win-loss: 12-2
Ladder position: 1st
Captain: Katrina Rore

Overall season review:

It is hard to fault the Central Pulse’s season after claiming back-to-back premierships thanks to another dominant year. The Pulse starred from start to finish and despite the enforced break they did not skip a beat, managing to string together 11 consecutive wins led by none other than coach Yvette McCausland-Durie who announced she was leaving the Pulse. The Wellington-based side farewelled their coach in style sending her off with another grand final win under her belt.

Aliyah Dunn was influential under the post once again with the towering goal shooter commanding the ball and delivering to keep the scoreboard consistently ticking over while Tiana Metuarau continued to be a super-sub of sorts to come on and ply her trade. Claire Kersten was a real workhorse for the Pulse running hard both in attack and defence, acting as the link between the two ends. In defence the acquisition of Kelly Jury worked wonders with the goal keeper dominating in the air to rack up the intercepts and stop opposition sides in their tracks thanks to her commanding presence. It did not take long for captain Katrina Rore to adapt to her new defensive partner with the duo wreaking havoc and applying pressure over the shot but it was the work out the front that really benefitted the Pulse. Karin Burger was in scintillating form throughout 2020 with the wing defence contesting every single pass and plying her trade to stop the influence of her opponent while also going out hunting for intercepts. The defensive trio were simply on song and were key cogs in transition, using their speed to get the ball into the shooters within a blink of an eye.

Star player:

Goal attack, Ameliaranne Ekenasio was a real barometer for the premiers able to dictate the tempo in the attacking third and using her high netball IQ to work her way through the defensive pressure. Ekenasio oozed nothing but class throughout the season, using her strong goal-line drive to catch defenders off-guard while also showcasing her ability to score from the outskirts of the circle. she was never overawed by the physicality of her opponents instead, often rising to the challenge and taking it up to them. she brought Dunn into the game with her impressive spatial awareness and vision into the circle and was pivotal at the centre pass to bring the ball down court. Her ability to turn on the afterburners when needed also gave her that extra competitive edge.

Surprise packet:

Relishing the extra court time in 2020 speedster Maddy Gordon set tongues wagging with her give and go and sheer dynamism across the court. With Whitney Souness departing the club at the end of 2019, 19-year-old Gordon stepped up to the plate in 2020, often carving up her opposition with her impressive footwork and strong drives. Gordon not only injected speed but plenty of netball smarts into the attacking third, able to weave her way down the court and hit circle edge. Her confidence skyrocketed as the season went on, happy to release the ball from distance into the goalers while her judgement on the pass also increased throughout the season. Gordon’s work at the centre pass was second to none, bursting out of the blocks and then streaming into the attacking third to get involved in the second phase play highlighting her endurance.

2020 ANZ Premiership & SSN: Five talking points – Grand final/Rounds 5/6

LOOKING back on Round 5 and 6 of the Suncorp Super Netball there have been some huge talking points as the Firebirds notched up their first win while a common denominator in rotating shooters has seen the top three spots dominate. Meanwhile over in New Zealand the premiers were decided with Central Pulse going back-to-back to cap off an exceptional season.

Queensland Firebirds notch up first win of 2020
It was a long time coming, but Round 6 marked the Firebirds first win for the season and they did it in convincing fashion. Down at the first break, the Firebirds rallied in the second term with defenders Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner joining forces and taking it up a notch to shut down Alice Teague-Neeld and Kaylia Stanton out in goal attack to subsequently nullify the influence of Jhaniele Fowler at the post. Not only did they lift in defence but the shooter to shooter interplay between Romelda Aiken and Tippah Dwan tore the Fever apart. Aiken seemed to recapture her dominant form, screaming for the ball under the post and most importantly delivering to lead her side to a well-earned victory.

Central Pulse grand final win
It was a historic day for Central Pulse with the team from Wellington securing back-to-back premierships. The ladder leaders were on song from the opening whistle skipping out to an early and never really looked like losing despite a late charge from Mainland Tactix. Their strong connections and seamless transitions down court allowed them to exploit the Tactix and make light work of their defence with Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio having their way in the goal circle. The grand final marked captain Katrina Rore’s 150th game, while the Pulse also farewelled coach Yvette McCausland-Durie in the most perfect send-off you could ask for. Speedster and pocket dynamo Maddy Gordon starred and despite sitting out in the third quarter won MVP honours credit to both her defensive and attacking efforts throughout the match to round out a stellar season for the two-time premiers.

Shooting rotation
The top three teams on the ladder have proven across Round 5 and 6 the importance of having options in attack especially in the goal circle. Sunshine Coast Lightning have benefitted from being able to switch up the shooting combinations with Cara Koenen able to ply her trade both in at goal shooter and goal attack and have an impact while Peace Proscovia can come on and have an impact off the bench as Steph Wood can swing from goal attack to wing attack. Similarly when things are not tracking well for the Swifts the New South Wales side have looked to the bench with Sophie Garbin able to dominate in either shooting position to play alongside Helen Housby and Sam Wallace. The top of the table Melbourne Vixens also boast a stacked shooting line-up with Caitlin Thwaites a mainstay whether it be in goal shooter or goal attack. The ability to rotate fresh legs into the circle has paid dividends with both Tegan Philip and Mwai Kumwenda injecting an element of unpredictability in the goal circle.

Kristiana Manu’a controversial send-off
In arguably one of the most controversial decisions in Super Netball to date, the decision to send-off GIANTS goal defence Kristiana Manu’a caused plenty of conversation throughout the netball world. It was the first time in Super Netball history a player had been sent off and it could be argued that the umpires decision altered the course of the game with Manu’a unable to re-enter the game or be replaced. Manu’a was sent off in the third quarter for two minutes before being officially ruled out of the game in the last quarter after a late contact on Laura Scherian. After holding a handy buffer in the final term the effects of not having a goal defence on court for the final nine and a half minutes were felt as the Lightning pegged the margin back and subsequently won despite the best efforts of Sam Poolman, Amy Parmenter and Jamie-Lee Price in the backend.

Youngsters relishing the extra court time
The condensed season, extended benches and rolling subs has worked wonders for the next generation of players who are soaking up the extra court time. Once again Adelaide Thunderbirds goal attack Georgie Horjus led the way across both rounds with her drive to the post, hot hand and impressive speed while midcourt buddy Maisie Nankivell also plied her defensive trade. As touched on earlier Dwan has been a revelation for the Firebirds in the goal circle, showcasing her vision into the circle and spatial awareness to constantly create space. Fever defenders Olivia Lewis and Sunday Aryang have also stepped up a notch over the past couple of rounds taking full advantage of their extra court time to win ball back while Lauren Moore has set tongues wagging given her tenacity and hunt for the ball in the Swifts defence.

2020 ANZ Premiership – Season stats leaders

THE 2020 ANZ Premiership season has come to a close with Central Pulse claiming back to back premierships after a dominant season. There were plenty of star players across the competition as Draft Central reflects on the top five players in each key performance indicator. Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics impressed throughout the year with a couple of players featuring highly in the top five for their respective areas while Pulse also starred.

GOALS

Grace Nweke (471)
Maia Wilson (461)
Elie Bird (421)
Aliyah Dunn (340)
Kelsey McPhee (270)

It is no surprise that teenage shooting prodigy Grace Nweke tops the table for 2020 with the goal shooter once again starring for the Mystics with her high volume of shots week in week out and accuracy to post. Nweke proved to be a formidable force under the post credit to her sheer athleticism and strength. Hot on her heels in second place is Maia Wilson with the Northern Stars goal shooter guiding her side through the season acting as the go-to girl under the post. Wilson was consistent as ever and diversified her game in 2020 while Ellie Bird found some hot form towards the backend of the season to push her side into the grand final. Aliyah Dunn was influential for the Pulse sitting at the highest accuracy of the top 10 shooters in the league with 91 per cent highlighting just how damaging she was and the reason why the Pulse secured another premiership. The final spot in the top five goes to Kelsey McPhee who had somewhat of an up and down season but still managed to find the net to sink 240 goals for the year for the Magic.

CENTRE PASS RECEIVES

Gina Crampton (319)
Whitney Souness (311)
Grace Kara (250)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit (194)
Erikana Pedersen (182)

It was a testing season for the Southern Steel but that did not stop Gina Crampton with the wing attack plying her trade at the centre pass to receive a wealth of ball and create that flow in attack. Crampton showcased her speed and impressive timing to pop out at the line to take out number one spot while Whitney Souness was a key contributor for Waikato Bay of Plenty using her evasiveness to receive ball at the centre pass. Veteran and Stars captain, Grace Kara was strong at the line while two Mainland Tactix attackers round out the top five. Goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit was a real workhorse often involved in what felt like every second pass, while Erikana Pedersen showed no sign of slowing down, returning from injury this season.

FEEDS

Gina Crampton (434)
Grace Kara (394)
Whitney Souness (393)
Erikana Pedersen (384)
Peta Toeava (368)

Dominating the centre pass receives it is no surprise that Crampton starred around circle edge with her clever feeds credit to her exceptional vision into the circle. Kara was a real barometer for the Stars with the wing attack often controlling the tempo of the game and executing the pass into the shooter while Souness used her speed and give and go to hit circle edge for the Magic time and time again. Pedersen was solid for the Tactix varying her passes into the circle to keep the defenders guessing. Coming in at fifth was Peta Toeava with the speedy wing attack darting around the attacking third and taking advantage of her quick release to rack up the feeds.

REBOUNDS

Sulu Fitzpatrick (23)
Erena Mikaere (21)
Te Huinga Selby-Rickit (18)
Temalisi Fakahokotau  (16)
Katrina Rore (16)

In new colours for season 2020 Sulu Fitzpatrick did not skip a beat with the Mystics goal keeper oozing her class and experience to box out her opponents and gobble up rebounds. She was a tough competitor in the air often reeling in any shot that fell short while Erena Mikaere was also a commanding presence in the defensive third as her long limbs enabled her to collect a wealth of rebounds for Magic. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit toiled hard in defence for the Steel working in overdrive to reclaim possession while Mainland Tactix goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau came out with a point to prove after missing last season through injury. Fakahokotau was a menace on the rebound with her aerial ability and read on the shot while the experience and class of Katrina Rore shone allowing the Pulse defender to pick up plenty of ball.

DEFLECTIONS

Jane Watson (72)
Temalisi Fakahokotau (70)
Sulu Fitzpatrick (58)
Erena Mikaere (53)
Phoenix Karaka (49)

Mainland Tactix captain, Jane Watson led all-comers when it came to deflections with her long arms and read of the play causing a ruckus for opposition teams. Watson’s cleanliness at the contest and speed off the mark allowed her to impact the play. It is no surprise that partner in crime Fakahokotau took out second spot in the top five with the goal keeper injecting herself on the contest thanks to her fancy footwork to manoeuvre around her opponent. Fitzpatrick and Mikaere were consistent performers for their respective teams, often sitting back to read the flow of the game and then go out hunting to disrupt the attack. Captain Phoenix Karaka also proved to be a commanding force out in goal defence for the Mystics able to use her speed and long arms to force tips and chances to regain possession for her side.

INTERCEPTS

Kelly Jury (26)
Temalisi Fakahokotau (22)
Phoenix Karaka (22)
Kate Burley (22)
Karin Burger (22)

Swapping dresses in season 2020 and seeming to have recovered from a niggling shoulder injury, Kelly Jury showcased just how dominant she can be racking up a season high 26 intercepts. Jury was unstoppable in the defensive third, not afraid to go out hunting putting fear into the attackers. Fakahokotau was just as exciting as the goal keeper left no ball uncontested and used her footspeed to get hands to ball while Karaka also recorded 22 intercepts. Kate Burley was a silent achiever for the Stars showcasing moments of brilliance with her tenacity and relative cleanliness. The only non-circle defender, Karin Burger takes out fifth spot with the wing defence often leaving many in awe credit to her work around circle edge to not only stay on side but so too rack up the intercepts.

2020 Silver Ferns squad predictions

ONE day out from the Silver Ferns squad announcement, Draft Central has compiled a team of 16 potential players to don the black dress when the international season commences. We take a look at some new players likely to join the fray after an impressive 2020 ANZ Premiership season along with some familiar names also set to take the court.

Familiar faces:

There will be plenty of fan favourites raring to go for the 2020 international season with Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Katrina Rore and Karin Burger all likely to be named again in this year’s squad. The trio are a formidable force and are in scintillating form coming off a premiership in the ANZ Premiership and will be eager to replicate that level of intensity on the international stage, with Ekenasio the current Ferns captain. Other familiar names in Jane Watson and Te Paea Selby-Rickit have all but secured their spot once again in the Ferns outfit with Watson earning Player of the Year honours in the ANZ Premiership thanks to her dominance and cleanliness in defence while Selby-Rickit consistently showcased her playmaking abilities. Maia Wilson impressed with her accuracy, increased movement in the goal circle and heightened stamina while the midcourt combination of Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders is one of reliability and precision, something the Ferns will be hoping to take advantage of.

Next in line:

After starring throughout the ANZ Premiership season Kelly Jury has well and truly put her hand up for Ferns contention. The goal keeper has gone from strength to strength throughout the season working well with Rore and Burger in defence while her lean over the shot is an incredibly intimidating element to contend with for opposition teams. On the comeback from injury Temalisi Fakahokotau announced herself as a fierce competitor down back with her aerial presence and physicality under the post to win a host of possession and prime herself for selection. Up the other end in goal shooter, expect Aliyah Dunn to reclaim her spot in the black dress given her dominance to post, high volume of shots and increased versatility to come out of the circle and get on the move to shake up from her usual holding style of play.

The midcourt could have a new flavour with Kimiora Poi leading the charge for that starting centre bib thanks to her explosiveness and speed off the mark. She elevated her game to a whole new level throughout the domestic season and will be keen to carry that star power onto the international scene. Another possibility to re-join the Ferns for 2020 is Claire Kersten with the Pulse centre highlighting both her defensive and attacking attributes throughout the season to pick up ball and penetrate the attack. Magic captain, Sam Winders showcased her versatility to swing between wing defence and centre and could be a valuable inclusion into the Ferns midcourt and look to secure a permanent spot in the squad.

Maddy Gordon burst onto the scene in 2020 to well and truly cement her spot in the starting seven for the Central Pulse and put her hand up for Silver Ferns contention. Coming off an MVP performance in the grand final, the speedy midcourter injects enthusiasm and wisdom beyond her years to dart around the court and create space. Ultra-impressive in attack, her defensive efforts are just as captivating, able to track the ball with great ease to pick up intercepts or force deflections thanks to her incredible timing.

Who’s missing:

The Silver Ferns will be without a couple of key contributors, none bigger than veteran Laura Langman who announced on Monday her retirement from international duties. After being a key cog in the Ferns midcourt for the past 15 years it will be a huge loss for New Zealand and incredibly difficult to replace given her star power, gut running and reliability to do the unthinkable time and time again. Another notable absentee is Phoenix Karaka with the defender announcing her pregnancy while Michaela Sokolich-Beatson is also unlikely to be named in the squad, still recovering from injury.

Roughies:

While they might not get the call up to the Silver Ferns for the upcoming international season, Kate Heffernan and Grace Nweke are definitely knocking on the door. Heffernan was a quiet achiever for the Southern Steel across the ANZ Premiership season with the wing defence plying her trade and using her three-foot marking to block her opponents vision into the circle and pick up ball herself. Strong in defence, her work in transition was also impressive re-offering on the transverse line to allow her side to reset in attack. Nweke dominated under the post for the Mystics showcasing her sheer strength and athleticism week in and week out to topscore for her side. Her accuracy was second to none, often sitting in the high 90s and slicing up the defence, and most importantly withstanding the constant barrage of physicality under the post. Recovering from injury, it is yet to be seen whether or not Bailey Mes will be available to wear the black dress this year but if she is fit the experienced goaler will be a great asset to the Silver Ferns.

Predicted squad of 16:

Attack: Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Aliyah Dunn, Maia Wilson, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Bailey Mes
Midcourt: Claire Kersten, Kimiora Poi, Maddy Gordon, Gina Crampton, Shannon Saunders, Sam Winders
Defence: Karin Burger, Katrina Rore, Jane Watson, Kelly Jury, Temalisi Fakahokotau

Pulse send off coach in style to claim back-to-back premierships

CENTRAL Pulse have made it back-to-back premierships defeating the Mainland Tactix in a dominant performance from start to finish (43-31). In coach Yvette McCausland-Durie’s final game and captain Katrina Rore’s 150th match the Pulse stepped it up a gear the minute they took the court ,forcing the Tactix to play catch-up netball credit to their strong structures and star power across the court.

The reigning premiers came out with a real fire in the belly in the opening minutes of the quarter with Kelly Jury making her intentions clear, claiming front position up against Ellie Bird to notch up the first intercept of the game and most importantly score off the Tactix centre pass. The Pulse opened up a handy two goal lead with Aliyah Dunn nailing the first for the evening before Ameliaranne Ekenasio hit the scoreboard moments later. After missing the last round of the home and away season Maddy Gordon was determined to leave nothing to chance, showcasing her defensive attributes to set the tone early and reel in an intercept off the Tactix centre pass. Ekenasio dominated at the post and set up a wealth of play in the attacking third to create a four goal to zero lead.

The first goal for the Tactix came through the hands of Te Paea Selby-Rickit at the eight minute mark of the quarter as the side in red started to find their rhythm sinking consecutive goals. Jury continued to toil away doing a wealth of work in defence especially over Bird’s shot while through the midcourt Kimiora Poi highlighted her defensive prowess and read of the play to regain possession and disrupt passages of play from the Pulse. It was blow for blow once both sides settled into the rhythm of the game and got the nerves out of their system but the Pulse were not content with that, increasing their full court defensive pressure and capitalising off turnovers. Gordon was having a blinder getting hands to ball and using her speed to burn down the court and hurt the Tactix in transition as they pulled away in the final minutes of the term to hold a six goal buffer.

Pulse picked up where they left off with an early win through an errant pass in which they capitalised on through the hands of Ekenasio. Gordon continued to impress, playing out of her skin, collecting yet another intercept off the Tactix centre pass thanks to her hunting style of play. The Pulse kept the Tactix to their lowest quarter time score in the season and were intent in keeping it that way as they skipped out to a 15-6 lead. Jury led the way in defence with another intercept, using her feet to cleanly get hands to ball and stop Mainland in their tracks. Both Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau struggled to contain Ekenasio and Dunn as the two were having a field day under the post unfazed by the physicality of the Tactix defenders and lean over the shot.

It was a bit of a stalemate midway through the quarter with neither side able to easily hit the scoreboard, as the ball travelled up and down the court to no real avail. Ekenasio continued to prove just how influential she is not only in the goal circle but in general play linking up exceptionally well with Gordon around circle edge. The Pulse pushed out to a nine goal lead despite a scrappy couple of minutes as the intensity lifted a notch. Back to back goals from the Tactix allowed them to cut the deficit to seven goals before Pulse centre Claire Kersten showcased her experience and vision to deliver ball into the shooters with precision and create a 10 goal lead.

After starring in the opening half, Gordon found herself on the bench as Tiana Metuarau entered the court in wing attack. A missed shot from the Tactix allowed the Pulse to pounce and score the first goal of the half with Dunn dominating to post. Charlotte Elley plied her trade through the midcourt to dice through the Pulse defence and re-offer at the transverse line while Poi worked exceptionally hard to win ball back and create timely tips. Wing defence, Karin Burger dominated Erikana Pedersen to nullify her influence around the circle, credit to her three-foot marking and quick footwork to constantly get hands to ball. Her defensive efforts worked hand in hand with Jury as the goal keeper endeavoured to make life hard for Bird in the goal circle to contest every single pass.

The change in attack seemed to hinder the Pulse’s second phase play as the physicality stepped it up a notch in the goal circle with Fakahokotau and Watson wearing both Dunn and Ekenasio like a glove to limit them to eight goals for the term. Up the other end, Selby-Rickit and Bird connected well finding each other on the hold as they rallied across the court. Elley picked up ball in defence as the Tactix cut the margin back to eight goals despite the lead being as much as 11 goals. They were not done with yet reducing the deficit to six goals to give them a fighting chance.

With the game on the line Gordon re-entered the match at wing attack as Ekenasio slotted the first of the term. Gordon did not skip a beat, immediately having an influence across the court, however the Tactix were mounting an admirable fightback to get within five goals as their strong defensive zone cut off the Pulse’s options in attack. But the Pulse flicked a switch with Gordon lighting up the court with her speed and Burger inserting herself into the action with a big intercept. With the clock ticking down Pulse ran rampant as their connections across court and silky ball movement enabled them to enhance the lead to 12 goals and gift them back-to-back premierships.

It was a battle of the towering goal shooters with Dunn leading the way under the post for Pulse with 28 goals from 30 attempts while up the other end Bird was the mainstay with 19 goals of her own at 83 per cent. The input from the goal attacks was where the game was won and lost with Ekenasio converting 15 goals and Selby-Rickit managing 12 goals.

It was a defensive masterclass from both sides as Jury proved to be a menace with two intercepts and two gains while Rore and Burger combined for three intercepts and four deflections. Watson led the way for the Tactix with three intercepts and two goal assists, an usual stat for a goal defence. But it was the work of Gordon that stood head and shoulders above the rest and despite only playing three quarters secured player of the match honours thanks to her 13 goal assists and three intercepts to cap off a sensational season for the youngster.

>>> PULSE TEAM PAGE
>>> TACTIX TEAM PAGE
>>> FULL GAME STATS

Central Pulse 12 | 11 | 8 | 12 (43)
Mainland Tactix 6 | 7 | 11 | 7 (31)

STARTING SEVEN:

Central Pulse:

GS: Aliyah Dunn
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA: Maddy Gordon
C: Claire Kersten
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Kelly Jury

Mainland Tactix:

GS: Ellie Bird
GA: Te Paea Selby-Rickit
WA: Erikana Pedersen
C: Kimiora Poi
WD: Charlotte Elley
GD: Jane Watson
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

ANZ Premiership – Head to head: Grand final

IN each round of the ANZ Premiership we will identify one key match-up, provide an in-depth analysis of both players and compare the two styles. This week marks the grand final between the Pulse and Tactix as a host of highly touted players take the court, none more exciting than the battle between a pair of Silver Ferns teammates.

CENTRAL PULSE v. MAINLAND TACTIX
Katrina Rore (GD) v. Te Paea Selby-Rickit (GA)

Both players know each other’s game style extremely well having been around a while and spending time together in the Silver Ferns, making the contest between Katrina Rore and Te Paea Selby-Rickit a hotly contested battle. Rore has been hot and cold in recent weeks while Selby-Rickit has really built into the season and rejuvenated herself in her new colours.

The captain of the Pulse is an inspiration down back with her ball tracking abilities and lean over the shot. Although she has been a bit shaky in her past couple of appearances, throwing away uncharacteristic ball, Rore is no easy beat. She is able to jump into action and provide an element of excitement to the defensive third with her leap and skill to consistently get hands to ball to disrupt the flow of her oppositions attack. Rore is a menace both under the post with her lean but so too out the front with her tagging style of play, to go toe-to-toe with her opposing goal attack and nullify every single one of their drives. Working well with Kelly Jury in the defensive circle, Rore has valued the extra centimetres Jury has to offer able to go out hunting more and look for those cross-court passes, while also collecting tips off the goal keeper. Her partnership with Karin Burger is also important to the Pulse’s set-up with Rore and Burger often working in tandem to shut down the attacking third with their hands over pressure, quick footwork and smothering intensity to clog up space.

Selby-Rickit is a real barometer for the Tactix and can spark her side into action with her attacking forays. The goal attack is crafty with each of her possessions, often receiving every second pass to set up walls in attack and slice through opposition defences. Her fancy footwork and ability to baulk the ball catches defenders off-guard and allows her clear vision into the circle. Her connection with Kimiora Poi and Erikana Pedersen both in the attacking and centre third is crucial to the Tactix game play, feeding off their speed to open space across the court. Selby-Rickit’s ability to get the give and go is another important element for her game play using her clever footwork to manoeuvre around her opponent with ease. Influential with ball in hand to link up with goal shooter Ellie Bird, Selby-Rickit is just as dominant in the goal circle with her ability to go to post from distance and close range. Although she does not put up a wealth of shots it is her composure to stand up and take ownership that often sets the tone for the Tactix in attack.

Selby-Rickit is a confidence player who thrives off having a strong start to any game, meaning if Rore can get in her head early and shut down her drive it will go a long way in tilting the favour towards the Pulse. The goal attacks’ accuracy and movement often suffers when she is down on confidence allowing the Pulse to reap the rewards and subsequently convert. However these two know each other’s game extremely well and know all of the tricks in the book making for an enthralling battle.

Other notable match-ups that should be taken into account is the battle between Temalisi Fakahokotau and Aliyah Dunn while Jane Watson up against Ameliaranne Ekenasio will also draw a lot attention given just how dominant each player is for their respective side.

ANZ Premiership: 2020 Grand final preview

IT all comes down to the final game of the season as the reigning premiers, Central Pulse look to make it two in a row while the Mainland Tactix are on the prowl for their inaugural piece of silverware. The Tactix will be riding a wave of confidence after knocking off the ladder leaders in Round 9 as their speed in transition and defensive efforts stifled the Pulse’s movement. On the other hand the Pulse know what it takes to win on the big stage and withstand the constant forays.

Central Pulse v. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, 23 August

With an extra week off the Pulse will be hoping that speedster Maddy Gordon is raring to go with the wing attack a key cog in attack with her drive, 1-2 punch around circle edge and quick feeds into the goal circle. Partner in crime through the midcourt Claire Kersten is another integral member of the Pulse attack and defensive unit given her skill and netball smarts to transition between the two roles seamlessly. She is often that link from the defensive third into the attacking third and controls the tempo of the game to ensure that possession is treasured for the Pulse. However she will have to compete with the speed of Kimiora Poi who has been in scintillating form towards the back end of the season for the Tactix. Poi has developed into a real barometer for the side, able to hit the circle edge in attack to deliver ball into the shooters while also pick up ball defensively.

Wing defence Charlotte Elley has also flown under the radar in season 2020 with the midcourter able to quell the influence of her opposition with her fancy footwork and intimidating three-foot lean to block their vision. Samon Nathan has also plied her trade in the wing defence position, using her speed and attacking mindset to match up on her opponents. Up the other end for the Tactix, Erikana Pedersen has not skipped a beat since returning from injury this season with the wing attack darting around the circle and using clever baulks to draw the attention of the defender and then release the ball into the circle. She will have her work cut out for her up against Silver Ferns and Pulse wing defence Karin Burger given her impressive footwork, height and deceptive closing speed to hunt the ball 24/7.

This game will be a game of defensive masterclasses with Katrina Rore and Kelly Jury both phenomenal athletes for the Pulse and able to win back a wealth of ball for their side. Jury is incredibly strong on the hold and in the air meaning that Ellie Bird will have to be on her a-game if she is to run a riot under the posts and give the Tactix any chance of winning their first premiership. Bird has shown in recent weeks that she is a real competitor and can adapt her game accordingly to ensure she has a profound impact on the scoreboard. It will also come down to whether or not Rore can nullify the influence of Te Paea Selby-Rickit not only in the goal circle but in the attacking third in general given she is a key playmaker for the Tactix with her crafty passes, vision, and spatial awareness. Selby-Rickit has proven to be a real barometer for her side, able to dictate the flow of in attack and often brings Bird into the game with her ability to draw the attention of the defender and isolate the 196cm shooter under the post.

The battles do not stop there as Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau head the defensive unit for the Mainland Tactix faced with the difficult task of shutting down the prolific Pulse shooting circle. Watson is an integral member of the Tactix line-up with the captain able to cleanly intercept the ball and remain in play to build pressure on the Pulse frontline and cause errors. Her defensive partner in Fakahokotau also builds pressure but through her physicality at the contest, aerial ability and vision to go out hunting and gobble up intercepts. However the Pulse are not without star power of their own in the goal circle with Aliyah Dunn able to hold strong in front position and use her footwork to edge closer to the post time and time again. She is a prominent figure and an easy release target down the line for the Pulse when in trouble something the Tactix will be hoping to shut down. The influence of Ameliaranne Ekenasio is also vital for the Central Pulse with the goal attack able to set the court alight with her silky movement, spatial awareness, and second phase play to continuously create movement in the attacking third. She is also not afraid to take the game on and engage in some body on body contact to win the ball under the post while also back herself from range making her a real threat. The Pulse also have a trump card in Tiana Metuarau with the 19-year-old able to swing between goal attack and wing attack with a blink of an eye and change the outlook of the game with her decision making and composure.

This game will go down to the wire as both sides boast formidable line-ups with game changers across the court. If Pulse regain Gordon and Ekenansio after they missed Round 9 they could be placed in a good stead to claim back-to-back premierships given their impressive connections across the court and quick transition through court.

2020 ANZ & SSN: Five talking points – Rounds 10/4

DESPITE there being no ANZ Premiership over the weekend there was still some big news to come out of New Zealand relating to the upcoming grand final and overall finals series while the Suncorp Super Netball delivered a round of surprises and close contests.

No ANZ Premiership finals play-offs
A change in restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompted the ANZ Premiership to not only cancel Round 10 but so too the playoffs with the only game set to take place – the grand final between Tactix and Pulse next Sunday. With ladder position already secured heading into the round the decision was made to abandon the round allowing Pulse and Tactix an extra week of recovery and preparation ahead of the big dance on Sunday which could play into the hands of the Pulse who were missing Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Maddy Gordon in Round 9 with illness and injury alike. The game will be played in Invercargill however no fans will be able to attend given the heightened restrictions as the Tactix look to pursue their first grand final while the Pulse led by captain Katrina Rore hope to secure back-to-back silverware.

Goal shooters masterclass
It was a tale of dominant goal shooters across the round with Lenize Potgieter sitting at an impressive 100 per cent accuracy for the Adelaide Thunderbirds thanks to her 32 goals straight to guide her side to victory. Jhaniele Fowler also had a similar influence for the Fever converting a whopping 54 goals from 56 attempts at 96 per cent, while fellow Jamaican and opposition shooter Shimona Nelson had a hot hand for the Pies in attack sinking 46 goals from 49 attempts. Romelda Aiken was the most prominent goaler in the Firebirds, GIANTS game top scoring with 49 goals at 86 per cent, while Cara Koenen also impressed in the goal shooter position knocking back 53 of her 58 attempts. The power of tall goalers seemed to be the main method of attack in Round 4 with each team taking advantage of the high pass into the circle and relishing the accuracy at the hands of their respective shooters.

Vixens goal circle looked fatigue
It was an un-Vixens like performance on Sunday with the goalers struggling to worry the scoreboard and slice open the Thunderbirds defence in their normal manner. Playing their second game in as many days Tegan Philip struggled to use her speed to create space, while Caitlin Thwaites floated in and out of the game thanks to the rolling subs. They lacked their usual drive in attack with both Thwaites and Mwai Kumwenda reverting to their holding style of play in the circle allowing easy pickings for Shamera Sterling. The lack of movement in the circle worked in favour for Adelaide as their defenders gobbled up intercepts and forced errors to the normally clinical Vixens.

Kim Jenner and Cara Koenen put their hand up for Diamonds selection
Although Diamonds selection is still a while away, both Queensland products in Kim Jenner and Koenen well and truly put their best foot forward with impressive performances in their respective outings. Jenner single-handedly changed the course of the game with her impressive closing speed, tenacity and willingness to win ball back. Her ability to track the ball in the air and along the ground to force tips and turnovers was second to none racking up four intercepts, three gains, eight deflections and two rebounds in a stats stuffing performance. For the Lighting it was Koenen that delivered the heat under the post with her silky movement, drag and drop in the goal circle, speed along the baseline and aerial ability to reel in ball after ball. She was unfazed by the constant defensive changes and just went about her business both on the shot and rebound to sink 53 goals in her sides win.

Anyone can win the SSN grand final given the amount of young talent
Round 4 of Super Netball proved that this season is about rolling with the punches, utilising the bench and winning ugly given the close rotation of games. After a disappointing Round 3 performance the Lightning came out firing against reigning premiers, NSW Swifts, recapturing their signature ball movement and defensive prowess to blow them out of the water. Meanwhile the Thunderbirds proved they are a team to watch downing the top of the table Vixens by seven goals. Fever held strong despite only winning one quarter while Queensland Firebirds mixed it with the GIANTS to earn the first draw of the season highlighting just how close the competition is and how important each and every win is in season 2020.

ANZ/SSN Stats wrap: Round 9/2,3

LAST week’s stats wrap looked a bit different with both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and ANZ Premiership taking the court, and this week is no different with the SSN having an extra round of competition to add to the wrap. The two competitions saw some huge results over the combined 13 games across the last seven days – with at least one game played every night from Friday through Wednesday – and plenty of top talent stepping up to the plate. Like last week, it is important to take into consideration that the two leagues currently have different rules and matchplay times, with differing stats evident. 

ATTACK

Jhaniele Fowler continues to lead the goaling tally three rounds down and is likely to stay there thanks to her prolific volume and accuracy, combining for 111 goals at 90 per cent across Rounds 2 and 3. Next in line is Cara Koenen with the youngster backing up well between matches shooting 38 goals on the weekend and 30 to finish Round 3, while Caitlin Bassett racked up 47 goals in her 200th national appearance on Tuesday evening. Shimona Nelson took the court for the first time in Round 2, shooting 32 goals before going one better and backing up with 42 more to her tally on Tuesday night. Bassett’s partner in crime Jo Harten continues to have a huge influence on the scoreboard – especially when it comes to the super shot – shooting 20 goals in her first outing and 22 in her second, with 12 super shots converted across the two matches. Meanwhile, Lenize Potgieter sits fourth on the goal tally after three rounds, with 96 to her name from 101 attempts, shooting 43 from 45 in Round 2 but rested in her second match this week with 18 from 19. When it comes to the Vixens and Swifts, their respective rotating shooting trios do not lend to a leading stats performance, but given the two teams sit first and second on the ladder they must be doing something right. 

In the ANZ Premiership, Kalifa McCollin starred once more with a huge 32 goal haul in Southern Steel’s surprise victory over Northern Mystics, backed up with a 19 goal effort in her side’s loss the following day. Ameliaranne Ekenasio was also prolific in her single outing for the round with 19 goals at 95 per cent, while Abigail Latu-Meafou put up 15 from 17 in the Magic’s one goal loss to the Northern Stars. Looking to goal shooters, Maia Wilson was huge under the post as per usual with 37 goals at 90 per cent while her direct opposition in Kelsey McPhee was solid with 27 goals to go with Latu-Meafou’s haul. Of the players that took the court for multiple games, Grace Nweke (combined 78 goals), Ellie Bird (62 goals) and Aliyah Dunn (50 goals) led the tally.

MIDCOURT

A huge few rounds of SSN sees a couple of quality names lead the midcourt tally once more, with consistency coming in droves off the likes of Vixens co-captains Liz Watson and Kate Moloney, though it seemed to be goalers who racked up the assists this round with so many prolific wing defenders plying their trade. Watson and Moloney combined for 33 assists in the first outing and 40 in the second. Some impressive goaler-turned-feeders put on a show with their vision into the circle to spot their partner in crime, with Georgie Horjus, Kiera Austin and Alice Teague-Neeld stepping up across their respective performances. Austin led the assists tally for the week with 30 in her second match but just 10 in her first, coming away with a shooting accuracy of under 50 per cent against the Thunderbirds and only playing through the midcourt in her match against the Fever. Horjus managed 27 assists and 19 goals from 25 attempts across her two games, while Teague-Neeld may have only played 39 minutes in her second game she racked up 22 assists, but hit the scoreboard much better in her first with 11 goals and 20 assists. Mahalia Cassidy was a workhorse in both of her outings, combining for 35 goal assists and three pickups, while Amy Parmenter continued her strong start to the season, making up for a slower Round 2 with a huge seven gains (four intercepts) in her Round 3 outing. 

Peta Toeava and Gina Crampton are the repeat offenders over the past rounds through the midcourt, accounting for 45 and 37 assists respectively across their two games – both racking up 26 in their first match and nullifying each other – while Whitney Souness (19 assists, 33 centre pass receives, two intercepts) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (20 assists, four pickups) both put in solid efforts in their single match against the other. Karin Burger had a solid match with four intercepts in the Pulse’s losing effort, while both Kimiora Poi and Charlotte Elley were also impressive on the defensive front with two intercepts apiece against the Pulse. Claire Kersten also collected two intercepts in her first outing, while Kate Heffernan was influential in the Steel’s finals crushing victory over the Mystics, racking up four intercepts.

DEFENCE

Sarah Klau and Shamera Sterling lead the deflections tally three matches down, with the two even on 22 apiece though their teams mirror each other in second and seventh on the ladder. Sterling’s combined 18 gains saw her rocket up the leaderboard this round, while Klau’s partner in crime Lauren Moore has continued to stun with another six intercepts to her name across Rounds 2 and 3. Kim Jenner had an absolute blinder against the Magpies in Round 3, racking up seven gains (five intercepts) though was quiet in her first outing, while her partner in crime Tara Hinchliffe combined for five gains across the two rounds. With two more wins under their belt this round, Vixens defenders Jo Weston and Emily Mannix were consistent as ever with three gains apiece (one and two intercepts) in the first match while Mannix turned on the afterburners in the second game with eight gains (three intercepts), with both players having breaks off the court. Young defensive duo Olivia Lewis and Sunday Aryang proved they were more than capable of holding up defensively, combining for 15 gains across the two matches, mostly down to Lewis’ rebounding ability but also Aryang’s three intercepts against the GIANTS. The Magpies have continued to rack up the highest amount of penalties across the round with a combined 138 across two matches, with Geva Mentor (41 penalties from two games) leading the charge.

Defensively, there is no surprise that Temalisi Fakahokotau was impressive as ever with her work rate continuously paying off for a combined seven gains across the round (two intercepts) while her partner in crime Jane Watson had a quiet second outing but was influential as ever in the side’s win over the Mystics. Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick combined for 11 gains (five intercepts) across the round, with both Courtney Elliott (two gains, one intercept) and Dani Gray (three gains, one intercept) contributing to the tally. Erena Mikaere pulled off six gains in her standalone game as did Kate Burley (three of which were intercepts), while Kelly Jury racked up four intercepts in her second match but was quiet in her first – the complete opposite of her partner in crime Katrina Rore, who collected four gains in the first but just two in the second. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit had another solid week on the court, combining for four gains (two intercepts) across her two matches.

2020 ANZ Premiership: Round 9 – Player of the Week

EACH week Draft Central will analyse player performances from across the round in the ANZ Premiership and determine a “Player of the Week” based on game day performances. A player can be nominated as many times as deemed necessary given their individual performance across the round.

Central Pulse wing defence Karin Burger proved just what she is capable of in Round 9 picking up a wealth of ball and imposing herself across the court to earn herself Player of the Week honours. Although her side only managed to win one of their two games her performance and output did not waiver in either match as the wing defence went tooth and nail to put up a wall in defence. Her three-foot marking was sublime, making full use of her wingspan to block her oppositions vision into the circle and make life hard in the defensive third.

Burger was on song from the opening whistle against the Southern Steel going toe-to-toe with fellow Silver Ferns midcourter Gina Crampton to all but nullify her influence around circle edge thanks to her close marking and constant niggle. Her ability to cut off her drive and apply hands over pressure sent the Steel attack end into a tizz, unable to work the ball down the court. Burger was rewarded for her efforts throughout the match racking up four gains and two pick-ups credit to her read of the play. While her defensive pressure was immense her work through the centre third to bring the ball down the court did not go unnoticed with the wing defence backing up on the transverse line and using her drive to cut through the defence.

Although the Pulse struggled to have their usual impact in their clash against the Mainland Tactix, Burger did not skip a beat. She injected plenty of spark in the side with her speed off the mark to constantly get hands to ball to disrupt the flow in attack. she was constantly on the lookout for any cross court balls while her quick footwork and long arms caused havoc around circle edge with Burger forcing tips and turnovers. Opposed to speedster Erikana Pedersen and picking up Kimiora Poi in defence, Burger worked in overdrive to limit their space and access to the top of the goal circle and once again collected a wealth of ball with four intercepts and two pick-ups.

Her strong connection with Katrina Rore and Kelly Jury paid dividends with the wing defence able to feed off their energy and positioning to apply a full court press and smother the opposition. Their collective pressure enabled Burger to go out hunting and leave her player unmarked in hope to roam freely and get intercepts. On the taller side for a wing defence, Burger makes the most of her height with her reach over the pass and deceptively quick footwork to shut down space and run her opponent ragged.