Tag: kelly altmann

2020 SSN: Season preview – Collingwood Magpies

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, with Collingwood Magpies up next on the list. 

Coach: Rob Wright
Captain: Geva Mentor and Madi Browne
2019 finish: 4th

The Magpies had a strange 2019 season, racking up seven wins and two draws. The side found plenty of purchase through the middle of the season and had a stellar patch to finish, making the finals thanks to a magnificent win against the Vixens in the last round, before then falling to the Vixens in the first round of finals. Overall, the Magpies were a force to be reckoned with thanks to their ability to pull out unsuspecting wins but also lost a couple of matches with a lack of consistency and connection down the court and a couple of major injuries putting their season in doubt. With Madi Browne ruled out prior to the season beginning and Kelsey Browne bookending with the same injury towards the end of the season, the side was interrupted but their good patches were better than most and proved that they could make just about any combination work if they were on. Shimona Nelson impressed upon her move to Melbourne, while Nat Medhurst was a crucial cog in attack, playing almost a dual role in and around the goal circle thanks to her wealth of experience to hold up the circle at times.

2020 predictions/expectations:

Collingwood have an entirely new-look team in 2020, with three crucial players in Medhurst, April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion ruled out with pregnancy and midcourt star Ash Brazill out with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury acquired in February. But while the side has lost a wealth of experience, they have brought in some quality talent to replace them with Jamaican Jodi-Ann Ward joining the defensive fray to bolster ranks with Geva Mentor and Matilda Garrett, while Gabby Sinclair and Mel Bragg return to the team for a second season, with Bragg elevated to be a permanent player in 2020. Molly Jovic and Julia Woolley also join the fray for the first time, with the duo both snatched up to provide another option in attack and Woolley an interesting selection to join the goal circle given her lack of experience in the elite pathways. The team will need to ensure its connections are on point if they are to challenge some of the top teams in 2020, especially given the new two goal Super Shot with some inexperienced players in the midst.

Key player to watch:

Nelson had a breakout season last year, increasing her volume and accuracy across the season and will have to do the same in 2020 given the loss of Medhurst in attack. While Medhurst did a wealth of work to get the ball to Nelson in 2019, plying her trade and helping the young goaler develop her craft, Nelson will be the go-to girl this season  but could really lack that backup goaler stepping up that she relied on to generate ball, meaning the Magpies could be in a lot of trouble if she cannot get easy access to the ball under the post. With an impressive aerial ability and accuracy, plus her ability to put pressure on the scoreboard and she will be a real player to watch this season. Her development was second to none last season but will need to step up once again this year as the experienced player at the post, and will want to continue her development to ensure she brings her strong hands from the get-go to be a consistent threat at the post.

Team list:

Madi Browne
Kelsey Browne
Geva Mentor
Gabby Sinclair
Matilda Garrett
Mel Bragg
Jodi-Ann Ward
Shimona Nelson
Julia Woolley
Molly Jovic
Kelly Altmann

2020 Suncorp Super Netball team lists finalised

THE finalised team lists for the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season have now been announced, with most sides sticking to a similar lineup to their 2019 list in a bid for consistency after an abundance of changes over the 2018/2019 off-season.

While plenty of changes have occurred and replacement players are still yet to be announced, the 2019/20 signing period closed at 5pm Monday evening with 10 2019-listed players not returning in 2020: Maria Folau, Beth Cobden and Kelly Altmann (Thunderbirds), Kim Green (GIANTS), April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion (Magpies), and Caitlyn Nevins, Laura Clemesha and Tippah Dwan (Firebirds).

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS
Shamera Sterling
Hannah Petty
Kate Shimmin
Sasha Glasgow
Cody Lange
Chelsea Pitman
Layla Guscoth
Maisie Nankivell
Shadine van der Merwe
Lenize Potgieter

GIANTS NETBALL
Caitlin Bassett
Jamie-Lee Price
Jo Harten
Matilda McDonell
Teigan O’Shannassy
Kiera Austin
Sam Poolman
Kristiana Manu’a
Amy Parmenter
Madeline Hay

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES
Ash Brazill
Geva Mentor
Molly Jovic* injury replacement for Kelsey Browne
Matilda Garrett
Nat Medhurst
Shimona Nelson
Gabrielle Sinclair
Melissa Bragg
Madi Browne
Jodi-Ann Ward

MELBOURNE VIXENS
Emily Mannix
Kate Moloney
Liz Watson
Jo Weston
Kadie-Ann Dehaney
Caitlin Thwaites
Tegan Philip
Kate Eddy
Mwai Kumwenda
Tayla Honey

NSW SWIFTS
Sophie Garbin
Maddy Proud
Maddy Turner
Sam Wallace
Helen Housby
Lauren Moore
Paige Hadley
Nat Haythornthwaite
Sarah Klau
Kayla Cullen

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS
Gabi Simpson
Gretel Tippett
Kim Jenner
Tara Hinchliffe
Romelda Aiken
Ine-Mari Venter
Rudi Ellis
Jemma Mi Mi
Macy Gardner
Lara Dunkley* injury replacement for Mahalia Cassidy

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING
Laura Scherian
Cara Koenen
Steph Wood
Annika Lee-Jones
Peace Proscovia
Phumza Maweni
Karla Pretorius
Maddy McAuliffe
Laura Langman
Jacqui Russell

WEST COAST FEVER
Alice Teague-Neeld
Courtney Bruce
Ingrid Colyer
Jess Anstiss
Jhaniele Fowler
Olivia Lewis
Shannon Eagland
Stacey Francis
Verity Charles
Kaylia Stanton

2019 SSN season team review: Adelaide Thunderbirds

WITH a new coach at the helm, the Adelaide Thunderbirds kicked the year off in style, breaking the winless drought of the previous season with an emphatic win over the West Coast Fever in Round 1. But their season was plagued with inconsistency, unable to string together four quarter performances, while also being struck with multiple injuries to key players across the court.

Position: 7th
Percentage: 88.17%
Win-loss: 3-2-9

Overview:

After a hot start to the year the Thunderbirds faded in and out, showing glimpses of brilliance on the court. The newly formed side took some time to gel and were forced to bring in injury replacement players with England Roses pair Beth Cobden and Layla Guscoth both struck down with season-ending injuries. The recruitment of Shamera Sterling in the off-season brought plenty of excitement to the team with the Jamaican international renowned for her aerial ability and hands over pressure. She paired well with veteran Kate Shimmin who proved she still has plenty in the tank, running hard and regaining possession for her side. The Thunderbirds fought hard, challenging some of the top teams with Maria Folau and Chelsea Pitman showcasing their experience and composure in the front end with their silky movement and clever ball placement. The midcourt was subject to a lot of change throughout the course of 2019 with Shadine Van der Merwe brought into the squad for Cobden while Kelly Altmann and Hannah Petty rotated through centre providing good bursts of speed. Young up and coming goaler Sasha Glasgow also flexed her muscles in the circle with her silky footwork.

Shining light:

21-year-old goal shooter Glasgow really came into her own this season but unfortunately did not get the finish she would have liked, rupturing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in Round 13. Glasgow relished the opportunity of having Folau out the front, making full use of her shooting counterpart’s experience, ball placement and general netball know how. The goal shooter grew in confidence as the season went on, developing her movement in the circle and accuracy to post, often displaying impressive rebounding ability for a shorter goal shooter. She backed herself from range and worked the circle well to edge closer to the post, displaying her quick feet and connection with the midcourt. Although she will be sidelined next year with injury, Glasgow showed plenty of promise absorbing the pressure and owning the space with her strong holds.

2020 predictions:

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have secured the services of South African shooter Lenize Potgieter for next season and while her fellow starting goaler is still unknown, she will provide a good target under the post. Potgieter will offer good stability under the post with her accuracy and clever movement a real feature of her game. If the Thunderbirds retain long bomb specialist Folau the two could create a damaging duo given their experience, accuracy and movement.

Lightning storm home to claim minor premiership

SUNSHINE Coast Lightning secured the minor premiership after a dominant performance against Adelaide Thunderbirds in the final game of the home and away season (58-37). Lightning walked away with seven points to snatch top spot from the NSW Swifts and claim rights to a home final while restricting the Thunderbirds to their lowest score to date.

The opening couple of minutes was played at a frenetic pace with the ball flying up and down the court before the Thunderbirds settled into a routine. With both Emma Ryde and Sasha Glasgow out with knee injuries, Cody Lange got the nod at goal shooter and did not look back. Lange was composed at the post and made the most of her opportunities with two goals straight, albeit playing second fiddle to New Zealand international, Maria Folau who slotted 13 goals at 100 per cent. Adelaide were determined not to go down without a fight, striking first and establishing a four goal lead in the opening term thanks to Shamera Sterling putting on a show in defence with her impressive aerial skill. Sterling put on a clinic denying easy entry into the circle with five gains; three intercepts, two deflection and one rebound. But Karla Pretorius proved that anything you can do I can do better, taking her fair share of intercepts in the first quarter to keep the Lightning in the match and create doubt in Adelaide’s minds. With two minutes left in the quarter Cara Koenen made her way onto the court replacing Peace Proscovia who struggled to make an impact in the goal circle only registering five goals. Sunshine Coast were not the only side to make changes with Maisie Nankivell replacing Shadine Van der Merwe.

Down by four goals at quarter time the Lightning well and truly flipped the script, piling on the pain both in attack and defence. Although they did not post a huge total they kept the Thunderbirds to a mere seven goals highlighting their defensive prowess and pressure to limit their transition and impact under the post. Koenen made her presence felt in the goal circle with eight goals straight while Laura Langman lifted her intensity, hitting the circle edge repeatedly with pace and precision. Her offensive work was just as impressive as her defensive efforts amassing one gain, one intercept and one pick-up. Goal keeper Phumza Maweni also upped the ante applying strong hands over pressure, clogging up space and forcing errors in the defensive third. After a solid start Lange struggled to find the net, not sinking a single shot from her three attempts and forcing Folau to carry the load in the circle. Tania Obst rung in the changes with Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin making their way to the bench while Hannah Petty switched into wing attack. Kelly Altmann also entered the game in centre while Van der Merwe took the court once more in goal defence in hope to reclaim their first quarter form.

The Lightning continued to go from strength to strength, unphased by Adelaide’s wholesale changes. Former training partner, Charlee Hodges made her way onto the court but simply could not find the post, struggling to have an impact under the post with one goal from three attempts. Folau continued on her merry way but Pretorius outshone her with an impressive four gains and three intercepts credit to her defensive nous and cleanliness to win ball back. Up the other end, Steph Wood took control in the circle for Sunshine Coast with her cuts and drives on full display. Meanwhile, her ability to turn and shoot created headaches for the Thunderbirds with the goal attack scoring seven goals at 100 per cent. Sunshine Coast won their second bonus point thanks to an 18 goal to eight third quarter.

With one hand on top spot and the minor premiership crown, the Lightning pushed hard to end their home and away season on a high. Annika Lee-Jones replaced Maweni in goal keeper while Proscovia also re-entered the game late in the final quarter. Maddy McAuliffe donned the centre bib with Langman heading to the bench. Even with the changes the Lightning were slick with ball in hand while the Thunderbirds simply looked out of sorts across the court. Folau finished the match with 33 goals from 39 attempts at 85 per cent while Koenen topscored for the Lightning only missing two of her attempts to finish with 30 goals.

STARTING LINE-UP:

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

GS | Peace Proscovia
GA | Steph Wood
WA | Laura Scherian
C | Laura Langman
WD | Maddy McAuliffe
GD | Karla Pretorius
GK | Phumza Maweni

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS | Cody Lange
GA | Maria Folau
WA | Chelsea Pitman
C | Hannah Petty
WD | Shadine Van der Merwe
GD | Kate Shimmin
GK | Shamera Sterling

SSN: Possible trade options heading into 2020

WITH the end of the season quickly approaching and the list of uncontracted players from each team officially announced we analyse what each side may look for heading into 2020 and which players could fill that role.

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Adelaide Thunderbirds:

Beth Cobden
Maria Folau
Kelly Altmann
Chelsea Pitman
Layla Guscoth

Five players are out of contract for the Adelaide Thunderbirds who steadily built into the season, showcasing glimpses of brilliance throughout the year. The Thunderbirds have already signed South African international Lenize Potgieter for 2020 with the goal shooter no stranger to the Suncorp Super Netball stage after coming in as a replacement player with the Firebirds. Sasha Glasgow has already committed to the club however will not take the court next season after suffering an ACL injury in Round 13 meaning the Thunderbirds could be looking for another shooter if Folau does not sign on. The Thunderbirds will be wanting to top up their stocks and retain players through the middle third with Altmann, Pitman and Cobden all out of contract at season’s end. The midcourt has been the Achilles heel for Adelaide throughout the season, unable to transition the ball down the court with ease, making this a likely focal point heading into next season.

GIANTS Netball:

Amy Parmenter
Kristiana Manu’a
Sam Poolman
Matilda McDonell

The GIANTS had a major shakeup at the end of 2018 and are still in an adjustment period but have plenty of star power across the court despite Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett still finding their feet in the circle. But with all four defensive players out of contract they could be searching for someone like April Brandley to provide that experience down back. Brandley is out of contract with the Magpies and could be a crucial member in the GIANTS defence if she was to defect to NSW, given her read of the play and impressive timing. The GIANTS have struggled with consistency through the midcourt during the season but given Amy Parmenter’s exciting start to her career she could be one the GIANTS look to quickly sign on once more for coming seasons.

Collingwood Magpies:

April Brandley
Gabrielle Sinclair
Kim Ravaillion
Madi Browne

With a relatively inconsistent season in 2019 the Collingwood Magpies will be looking to build consistency and narrow the gap between their best and worst form. Although Madi Browne has been out for the season with an ACL injury she could be a key cog in attack for the Magpies next season given her experience and class with ball in hand. That being said, Kelsey Browne has been a key player this season in the Magpies lineup and has resigned to the Pies, meaning there could be some intteresting news to come. With Matilda Garrett on the bench and Brandley out of contract the Magpies could have a new look defensive line-up if Brandley moves on, allowing the youngster to take the starting position in front of Geva Mentor.

Melbourne Vixens:

Caitlin Thwaites
Tegan Philip
Ine-Mari Venter
Mwai Kumwenda
Renae Ingles (retired)
Kadie-Ann Dehaney

The Melbourne Vixens have maintained a relatively steady line-up but could be hit hard during the trade period with five players out of contract – and none of their four current goalers signed back to the club as of yet. The Vixens are on the brink of farewelling fan favourite Renae Ingles after announcing her retirement, meaning the wing defence position has well and truly opened up. With the Vixens searching for someone to fill the void Swift, Kate Eddy could be a shoe in. The former Victorian Fury player offers plenty of skill and versatility – something that the Vixens have lacked at times throughout the season and ultimately something they will need to address.

NSW Swifts:

Kate Eddy
Sarah Klau

The Swifts’ main aim heading into season 2020 will be to retain their key players, with each member of the squad playing an integral role in their rise to the top. Newly appointed Australian Diamond, Sarah Klau will be a hot commodity but given her connection with the Swifts she could be hard to lure across. Sophie Garbin and Natalie Haythornthwaite have signed back with NSW showing their commitment to the club meaning their front end will stay relatively the same, while the Swifts’ youth they have weaned up in 2019 could make a case for regular starting positions.

Queensland Firebirds:

Tippah Dwan
Jemma Mi Mi
Laura Clemesha (retired)
Caitlyn Nevins (retired)

In what has been a relatively disappointing season for the Firebirds they will be wanting to reinvigorate themselves heading into 2020, ultimately with the hope of making their way back into finals contention next year. Queensland will be wanting to add more depth to their defensive end with Clemesha retiring and young guns Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe still developing their craft. Jamaican and Melbourne Vixens goal keeper Kadie-Ann Dehaney is out of contract meaning she could be a plausible option for the Firebirds who lack an imposing defensive figure as well as height in the ring. While Erin Burger has recently been released from her contract she could return for 2020 to replace the retired Caitlyn Nevins and injured Mahalia Cassidy while Jemma Mi Mi could still sign on with Queensland.

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

Phumza Maweni
Karla Pretorius
Madeline McAuliffe
Jacqui Russell
Laura Langman

With three of their key players out of contract the Lightning will be looking to secure their services quick smart. Both Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni have proven to be a dynamic duo in the circle, causing all sorts of headaches for opposition attack and if Lightning want to maintain their winning legacy they must secure them quicksmart. It is hard to see them leaving the club given their dominance however both Klau and Dehaney could be handy inclusions if they do not stay with their current teams or find alternative clubs. All eyes will turn to Laura Langman and whether or not she will stay given coach Noeline Taurua announced that she will not be with the Lightning in 2020.

West Coast Fever:

Kaylia Stanton

After a flash in the pan season in 2018 the West Coast Fever failed to live up to the hype this year and will be wanting to make amends heading into 2020. With only Stanton out of contract, expect the Fever to have a very settled line-up and build on their inconsistent form in hope to get back to their best. Jhaniele Fowler was a standout under the post once again while they lacked versatility and excitement at times across the court. They have plenty of young up and coming players with Olivia Lewis and Jess Anstiss both a shining light down in defence.

Half-dozen Vixens lead Super Netball list of uncontracted players

SIX Melbourne Vixens are yet to be signed for the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) Season, named among a list of 36 uncontracted players on SSN lists announced by the league.

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Three of those 36 players – Queensland Firebirds’ Laura Clemesha and Caitlyn Nevins as well as Melbourne Vixens’ Renae Ingles – have announced their retirements, leaving 34 players available to move clubs – or potentially to another league, if they wish to do so. The Vixens have been one of the most stable teams in recent years, but their two recruits from last off-season, shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Ine-Mari Venter both come out of contract, as does Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip with all four deserving of starts but only two able to do so in the goaler positions. It means a club seeking a shooter could well enquire about one of their services. Up the other end of the court, Sunshine Coast Lightning’s three international stars in Laura Langman, Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius all come out of contract, as well as Madeline McAuliffe and Jacqui Russell. Considering Queensland’s retirements, in particular the loss of Clemesha and her experience in defence, the Firebirds could look at the defensive pairing of Maweni or Pretorius if either could be prised from the club. Though the Vixens’ other uncontracted player is up the the defensive end in Kadie-Ann Dehaney who might look to start at an SSN club.

Adelaide Thunderbirds have their fair share of uncontracted international stars, with Silver Ferns’ shooter Maria Folau, and English trio, Beth Cobden, Layla Guscoth and Chelsea Pitman all out of contract. Cobden and Guscoth are currently out on long-term injuries which makes their futures one to watch, while Kelly Altmann is also out of contract. At Collingwood, they do not have the same numbers of uncontracted players that the Vixens do, but injured co-captain Madi Browne, and Diamonds April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion are on the list, as is talented shooter Gabrielle Sinclair.

With the Magpies’ need for an extra shooter and a raft of midcourt options, a club like the GIANTS might look to add another star to its books, with Brandley giving them greater experience and certainly to team with Sam Poolman or Kristiana Manu’a in defence. In saying that, both those defenders are uncontracted, along with the rapidly improving Amy Parmenter and Matilda McDonell. Their neighbours the NSW Swifts have just the two players yet to sign, with Australia’s newest Diamond Sarah Klau no doubt a hot property on the market, and could be another target for Queensland, or perhaps GIANTS, while Kate Eddy is another important player who is yet to sign. West Coast Fever have a stable list and just have Kaylia Stanton who remains uncontracted, and with the addition of Alice Teague-Neeld this year, it will be interesting to see if another club can offer Stanton a starting spot. The other two players yet to be signed by their SSN club are Firebirds’ Jemma Mi Mi and the injured Tippah Dwan.

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS: [5]

Kelly Altmann
Beth Cobden
Maria Folau
Layla Guscoth
Chelsea Pitman

GIANTS NETBALL: [4]

Kristiana Manu’a
Matilda McDonell
Amy Parmenter
Sam Poolman

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES: [4]

April Brandley (pregnant missing 2020)
Madi Browne (re-signed)
Kim Ravaillion
Gabrielle Sinclair (re-signed)

MELBOURNE VIXENS: [6]

Kadie-Ann Dehaney
Renae Ingles (retired)
Mwai Kumwenda
Tegan Philip
Caitlin Thwaites
Ine-Mari Venter

NSW SWIFTS: [2]

Kate Eddy
Sarah Klau (re-signed)

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS: [4]

Laura Clemesha (retired)
Tippah Dwan
Jemma Mi Mi
Caitlyn Nevins (retired)

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING: [5]

Laura Langman
Phumza Maweni (re-signed)
Madeline McAuliffe
Karla Pretorius (re-signed)
Jacqui Russell

WEST COAST FEVER: [1]

Kaylia Stanton (re-signed)

Vixens too strong for forceful Thunderbirds

LAST time the Adelaide Thunderbirds and Melbourne Vixens met saw a comfortable win by the Vixens and a 16-goal margin that the Thunderbirds were unwilling to submit to again. The six-goal victory this time around was not the margin the Vixens wanted for Tegan Philip’s milestone game – overtaking Bianca Chatfield for the most games at the club – but it was a win all the same, which the Vixens needed coming back from the Netball World Cup, sitting in third on the ladder.

A big late exclusion for the Thunderbirds saw Maria Folau pulled out of the lineup ahead of the match, with Victorian Fury’s Emma Ryde pulled into the fray. Meanwhile, Vixens fan favourites Mwai Kumwenda and Kim Commane were selected for the side’s extended lineup, though neither player took the court. It was a very defensive first half, with the Vixens getting a handy lead early in the first before the Thunderbirds found some form thanks to the defensive prowess and long arms of Kate Shimmin and Shamera Sterling. While it did not look it on the scoreboard, the Thunderbirds made the Vixens work for every ball into the circle, finding difficulty using the space and giving away too many easy balls. Down the other end, despite the late exclusion of star goaler, Folau, it seemed to be business as usual in attack for the Thunderbirds with Sasha Glasgow rotating well with Cody Lange. However despite relative ease getting into the circle, the likes of Jo Weston and Emily Mannix did their best to cause issues, forcing the Thunderbirds to shoot from distance and denying easy rebounds.

With a four-goal margin at the end of the first, the Vixens had the lead but were unable to extend it to their full capacity with the relatively young Thunderbirds side unwilling to let the game slip away. The two sides went goal for goal in the second, with both sides capitalising off their own centre passes and turnover after turnover denying opportunity to both extend and reduce the lead. Late replacement and ex-Vixens training partner Ryde took the court in goal shooter and proved an instant threat to the Vixens, with her height and strength making her a difficult target to stop at the post, forcing a final minutes change to the Vixens lineup with Kadie-Ann Dehaney taking the court in goal keeper. While the ball started moving more smoothly in attack for the Thunderbirds, it was another story altogether for the Vixens whose movement seemed stilted, with hesitance letting go of the ball a big issue with the likes of Sterling and Shimmin finding plenty of air ball. While the Vixens’ telltale cleanliness and patience eventually worked the ball into the circle, the side was fortunate that the Thunderbirds were not scoring well off turnover opportunities. The mostly even quarter saw the Vixens finally break away towards the end of the term, extending the margin to six goals thanks to the defensive effort of Dehaney on Ryde, with the pair teammates in the Australian Netball League. While the Vixens had more scoring opportunities, the Thunderbirds shot true with 100 per cent accuracy in the second compared to the Vixens’ 86 per cent.

The second half saw the two sides equalise, with the Vixens unwilling to let go of their lead but the Thunderbirds matching them almost goal for goal, with no bonus points handed out. The third quarter saw a flurry of changes across the court, with both sides fighting for control. The Thunderbirds took a chance on the youth coming through the ranks, with Maisie Nankivell taking the court in wing defence on fresh legs to make work harder for the ailing Liz Watsonin wing attack, while Glasgow put on a show in the goal circle shooting from all over the circle while out in the unfamiliar position of goal attack. The Vixens produced some great turnovers with the help of Renae Ingles using her strength and speed to corner Chelsea Pitman and send the ball back up the court, while Dehaney put out a stellar performance forcing Ryde away from the post and over the goal line time and time again, working well with Mannix and Weston to confuse the space. A tactical timeout with four minutes left in the quarter saw Kelly Altmann take the court for Hannah Petty with Shadine Van Der Merwe re-taking the court in goal defence, while the Vixens made an unprecedented change in attack with Caitlin Thwaites switching into goal attack as Philip sat back in goal shooter, with the aim to use Philip’s stellar footwork to open up the circle and run Sterling off her feet in defence. A last ditch effort from Dehaney denied a bonus point to the Thunderbirds, with the Vixens scraping by with the narrowest of saves before the whistle.

The final quarter saw the Thunderbirds get so close yet so far once more, unable to steal away a bonus point once more, with the clinical Vixens going back to basics to scrape the win. The Thunderbirds continued their form in getting young players out on court, emptying their bench with young defender Chelsea Blackman taking on Thwaites for the final five minutes, looking to win the bonus point rather than the match but unable to finish with the win or bonus point. Player of the Match in her milestone game, Philip lead the goaling tally with 33 goals from 40 attempts, almost matched by Thwaites with 30 from 33. Despite a quiet game for the most part, Watson came away with 27 assists from 43 feeds and 31 centre pass receives, combining well with captain, Kate Moloney who finished with 25 assists from 34 feeds and three pickups. Defensively, Ingles and Dehaney starred with three intercepts apiece, combining for 10 deflections and followed closely by Mannix with two intercepts. For the Thunderbirds, Glasgow (28 goals from 32) and Ryde (28 goals from 30) paired well to combine for 90 per cent accuracy, fed well by Pitman (18 assists from 29 feeds, 30 centre pass receives). Sterling finished with seven gains and three intercepts, while Nankivell also came up with three gains in her 30 minutes on court.

STARTING SEVEN

MELBOURNE VIXENS
GK | Emily Mannix
GD | Jo Weston
WD | Renae Ingles
C | Kate Moloney
WA | Liz Watson
GA | Tegan Philip
GS | Caitlin Thwaites

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS
GK | Shamera Sterling
GD | Kate Shimmin
WD | Shadine Van Der Merwe
C | Hannah Petty
WA | Chelsea Pitman
GA | Sasha Glasgow
GS | Cody Lange

Thunderbirds and Swifts draw even

ROUND 9 saw yet another draw with the Adelaide Thunderbirds and NSW Swifts unable to be split with 51 goals apiece. After a week full of controversy, Maria Folau had the opportunity to steal the win with a shot after the siren but the ball fell agonisingly short hitting the rim and bouncing out.

It was a hot start from the Thunderbirds with Sasha Glasgow and Folau on song early. Glasgow’s confidence was up and about slotting long bombs from just inside the circle mirroring that of her shooting counterpart. The attack end was firing on all cylinders with the young goaler showcasing her hot hand nailing six goals straight while experienced wing attack Chelsea Pitman commanded the ball and dictated the space in the attacking third. She worked overtime to hit the circle edge with precision and deliver ball into the shooters accumulating seven goal assists from 11 feeds. Up the other end for the Thunderbirds, Shamera Sterling was having a day out. Her go-go gadget arms and ability to cleanly contest from behind was second to none picking up four gains and three intercepts while her general netball smarts to get into the right positions at the right time put her in good stead to win the ball back for Adelaide. The Swifts had a shaky start making uncharacteristic errors with 10 turnovers in the opening term. Sam Wallace got the nod once again at goal shooter but she did not last the whole 15 minutes coming off at the 13-minute mark with a suspected knee injury but made her presence felt with five goals from seven attempts before Sophie Garbin pulled on the goal shooter bib. Defensively both Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner did a wealth of work, getting hands to ball and confusing the space with four gains and three deflections collectively but the Thunderbirds showed great patience with to work the ball around the circle edge.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds headed into the break up by five but the second quarter brought a whole new level of intensity with the Swifts working hard in transition to win the ball and capitalise on turnover opportunities. Wing attack Elle Bennetts lifted her intensity in attack driving hard and taking the ball with strength. Though at times she faded into the pockets her quick release and good vision allowed her to feed easily into Garbin who found good space under the post sinking 11 goals straight. Without Maddy Proud, Paige Hadley shouldered a lot of the load in attack running hard through the midcourt to provide an option and deliver into the circle with the centre amassing four feeds. She also showcased her defensive abilities and clever footwork to pick up two gains and two intercepts. Even though the attack end kicked into gear, Sterling still posed a dominant threat collecting another three intercepts and four gains showcasing her impressive read of the play and attacking intent. Through the midcourt Tania Obst made a change bringing Kelly Altmann on to replace Hannah Petty who did a wealth of work early on but was getting lost on transition.

The half time break served the Swifts well winning their first bonus point for the game. Looking for a spark in attack and more drive Hadley moved into wing attack while Sophie Halpin made her way onto the court in centre. She injected speed and dynamism both in attack and defence working hard across the court to re-offer and apply hands over pressure. The move also brought goal attack Helen Housby into the game after a relatively quiet first half. The English international nailed seven goals from eight attempts while her body positioning under the ring was impressive getting a clever rebound to edge them closer. But the Thunderbirds did not back down with Glasgow and Folau swapping positions but still showing their dominance to post.

With the game on the line the NSW Swifts proved that they have what it takes, wrestling back the lead and pushing out to four goals. The connections down court all seemed to click in to gear with Kate Eddy applying strong defensive pressure picking up an intercept to help surge the Swifts forward. Although both Shadine Van de Merwe and Layla Guscoth struggled to make an impact on the game they did their job to tag their opposition out of the game and block their space in the attacking third. Youngster Charlee Hodges was injected into the game in the opening few minutes of the quarter sweeping across the circle and drawing the attention of the defender. She found the net with ease slotting two goals but was costly with ball in hand with two turnovers and quickly made her way back to the bench. The Thunderbirds rallied in the final minutes of the quarter to draw it back and with a shot after the whistle Folau was unable to capitalise marking the fifth draw of the season.

STARTING LINE-UPS:

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS | Sasha Glasgow
GA | Maria Folau
WA | Chelsea Pitman
C | Hannah Petty
WD | Shadine Van de Merwe
GD | Layla Guscoth
GK | Shamera Sterling

NSW Swifts:

GS | Sam Wallace
GA | Helen Housby
WA | Elle Bennetts
C | Paige Hadley
WD | Kate Eddy
GD | Maddy Turner
GK | Sarah Klau

West Coast Fever claim thrilling one-goal victory over Adelaide Thunderbirds

AFTER a difficult start to the season, the West Coast Fever claimed a season-defining win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds prevailing by one goal, 53-52. It was a hot contest with both sides jostling hard to secure the four points but in the end after weeks of close calls the Fever just did enough to hold off the Thunderbirds.

Adelaide had it all their way in the opening term with their clever ball placement and dynamic movement creating space across the court. The combination between experienced shooter Maria Folau and Sasha Glasgow was exciting to watch with the two taking it in turns to pile on scoreboard pressure. Glasgow was accurate to post and showcased her range scoring nine goals from 10 attempts while her body positioning under the ring allowed her to gather strong rebounds making her a real threat in the goal circle for the Thunderbirds. With the attack end piling on plenty of scoreboard pressure, defensively the Thunderbirds were on song with Shamera Sterling showcasing her trademark intercepting ability with two intercepts, three gains and one deflection. She worked overtime on Jamaican powerhouse goal shooter and Fever go-to girl Jhaniele Fowler limiting her to six goals for the term. Thunderbirds goal defence, Layla Guscoth also played her role nullifying the influence of Kaylia Stanton tagging her out of the game, blocking her entrance into goals and applying good hands over pressure to restrict her vision. Credit to their hard work in defence and ability to treasure the ball in attack, Adelaide jumped out to an early nine-goal lead to set them up for the rest of the match.

It took a while for the connections in defence to click for the West Coast Fever with Shannon Eagland getting the nod at goal defence pushing former England international, Stacey Francis out to wing defence while captain Courtney Bruce retained her goal keeper position. The defensive trio gelled more in the second term with Bruce out hunting any and every cross-court ball with two gains and two deflections meanwhile Eagland highlighted her read of the play picking up an intercept. Struggling to fire in attack, Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich brought goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld on who had an immediate impact with her vision and feeds into the circle with 11 goal assists. Teague-Neeld’s placement into the circle really brought Fowler into the game with the 196cm shooter scoring 17 goals straight bringing the game back onto a more even playing field. With the Fever controlling the tempo of the game, Thunderbirds wing attack Chelsea Pitman utilized her experience and patience to work her way through the defence and hit the circle edge with precision to feed into the shooters with five goal assists and seven centre pass receives.

Only up by two goals the third term was neck and neck with both sides scoring four goals apiece and putting their bodies on the line. After a big collision with Fowler, Thunderbirds keeper left the court in discomfort forcing Kate Shimmin to pull on the goal keeper bib for the remaining minutes of the third quarter. Sterling was not the only injury scare this time Fever were dealt a worrying blow with shooting machine Fowler suffering a knee injury midway through the term. The goal shooter received some strapping but continued her hot form under the post with Verity Charles and Ingrid Colyer finding good feeding space in the attacking third. Colyer had the ball on a string with seven feeds, six centre pass receives and showed her handy work in defence with one gain and one intercept. Bruce also lifted her intensity limiting the impact of Glasgow picking up three gains and one intercept. Folau shouldered the load in attack for the Thunderbirds in the third term with the goal attack nailing 11 goals straight to keep them in the hunt. Kelly Altmann also worked tirelessly through both attack and defence with two important pick-ups and clever delivery into the circle with four goal assists. Though the transition down the court for both teams was messy at times with errant passes allowing for turnovers the Thunderbirds sustained their two goal lead.

With the Fever looking for a spark through the midcourt Jess Anstiss made her way from the bench into centre and injected some more defensive pressure with a timely deflection. Thunderbirds wing defence Shadine van de Merwe struggled to leave her impact on the game but did a wealth of work to slow down the transition down the court and applied good hands over pressure. With the game hanging in the balance it was the composure and accuracy to post that proved to be the difference with both Fowler and Teague-Neeld capitalising on their opportunities under the post sitting at 100 per cent compared to Folau and Glasgow who missed four shots in the last term.

STARTING LINE-UPS:

West Coast Fever:

GS | Jhaniele Fowler
GA | Kaylia Stanton
WA | Verity Charles
C | Jess Anstiss
WD | Stacey Francis
GD | Shannon Eagland
GK | Courtney Bruce

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS | Sasha Glasgow
GA | Maria Folau
WA | Chelsea Pitman
C | Hannah Petty
WD | Shadine van de Merwe
GD | Layla Guscoth
GK | Shamera Sterling

Thunderbirds challenge Lightning in Top End battle

THE first match at Territory Netball Stadium almost saw the Adelaide Thunderbirds get a win at their home away from home, before a final quarter burst from Sunshine Coast Lightning saw the top four side fight for their fifth win of the season to secure second on the ladder in Round 7 of the Suncorp Super Netball competition in a 59-53 victory.

It was an intriguing contest from the get-go seeing both Karla Pretorius and Shamera Sterling start hard and fast after respective sub-standard matches last round to finish this match back on top. The Thunderbirds came out strong to prove their place in the competition, winning the first bonus point by one after sitting seven points up midway through the first term. The Thunderbirds appeared to have upped their connection across the court, with the likes of Hannah Petty zipping around the court and causing chaos in both attack and defence as she found good space wherever she landed. Sasha Glasgow and Maria Folau were on fire early, only missing one goal apiece on their way to a lead and shooting the lights out despite the strength of Lightning’s Pretorius and Phumza Maweni, who finished with a combined 12 gains, seven intercepts and six deflections. Folau was in a world of her own, finding separation with ease from her opposition in Layla Guscoth and showcasing her ability to turn and shoot from a distance.

For the Lightning, Cara Koenen (30 goals from 32 attempts at 94 per cent) got the start in goal shooter for a change, meaning Steph Wood got a break from feeding to turn and shoot herself, with 14 from 19. Koenen and Wood were well fed by the likes of Laura Scherian, who was on fire as she fed bullet feeds into the circle with 23 assists from 36 feeds, though coming up with five turnovers courtesy of the defensive prowess of Sterling and Guscoth. Shadine Van de Merwe worked tirelessly against the Lightning speedster applying good hands over pressure and using her vision to get timely tips to try and disrupt the attacking flow of the Sunshine Coast. Also in wing attack was English Roses’ Chelsea Pitman, who put on the accelerator this match to dominate the Thunderbirds attack with 19 assists from 28 feeds. Though the second quarter saw the Lightning fight back to lead at half time (25-29), an 18 goal to 13 third term saw the lead once again change as the Thunderbirds fought to stay in contention. Defensively, the efforts of Sterling were strong though still not at her Round 1 form, picking off eight gains and five intercepts but pinged with 10 penalties to be the most penalised on the court.

Laura Langman was the player to watch, coming up against two skilled but inexperienced centres in Petty and Kelly Altmann and coming out on top. Langman put her defensive prowess to the test, leaving the attack work around the circle to Scherian as she picked off the loose ball through the midcourt. Langman finished with four gains, three intercepts and only three penalties, a testament to the skill and cleanliness she put on display as she composedly led her team to victory.

The final quarter saw Peace Proscovia take the court as Sterling was rested, giving the Lightning an opportunity to fight back in the early minutes before winning the final bonus point to win the game. Despite the body on body skill and vertical jump of Kate Shimmin in goal keeper, Shimmin gave away a lot of height to Proscovia before Sterling took back her spot on court to attack the hands, managing two gains and an intercept in the final quarter alone as she fought for dominance of the goal circle.

This match will be a wakeup call for the Lightning, who lost to the Vixens last week and ultimately should have dominated this match given their connection and speed across the court. Next round both sides face their Round 1 opposition once more, seeing the Lightning host Collingwood Magpies on Saturday afternoon before the Thunderbirds travel to play West Coast Fever on Saturday night.

STARTING LINE-UPS:

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS | Sasha Glasgow
GA | Maria Folau
WA | Chelsea Pitman
C | Hannah Petty
WD | Shadine Van de Merwe
GD | Layla Guscoth
GK | Shamera Sterling

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

GS | Cara Koenen
GA | Steph Wood
WA | Laura Scherian
C | Laura Langman
WD | Madeline McAuliffe
GD | Karla Pretorius
GK | Phumza Maweni