Tag: kelsey browne

Constellation Cup: Game 1 preview

GAME one of the Constellation Cup between the Diamonds and Silver Ferns is set to kick-off on Sunday, in New Zealand with both nations vying to claim the first win. Australia will be searching for vengeance after going down in the World Cup Gold Medal Match, whereas the Ferns will be hoping to start a dynasty of dominance against their old foes. There are some notable outs for the Diamonds with April Brandley announcing her pregnancy while speedster Kelsey Browne will miss out with an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury. But these absences have forged a way for up-and-coming Swifts defender Maddy Turner,Sunshine Coast Lightning speedster Laura Scherian and Collingwood star Ash Brazill. For the Ferns, Casey Kopua has hung up the netburners and left a big defensive hole in her wake.

Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston will be hoping to have an immediate impact with their physical nature and ability to go out hunting down in the defensive circle. New inclusion, Turner will pair nicely with fellow Swifts premiership winner Sarah Klau who showed her defensive prowess on the international scene in the World Cup. The duo have proven they have what it takes to shut down dominant shooting partnerships with their smothering pressure, making for an interesting contest up against the likes of Maria Folau, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Bailey Mes and Maia Wilson. All four New Zealand shooters pose a dominant threat with their rangy shots, athleticism and strong connections while their ability to rotate through goal attack and goal shooter makes them somewhat unpredictable.

The Diamonds have a wealth of options inside the circle with Caitlin Bassett and Caitlin Thwaites damaging prospects under the post. With Steph Wood taking time off from the big stage expect Gretel Tippett to get the start given her scintillating international and domestic form over the past 18 months. Tippett is not afraid to take the game on with her athletic and unpredictable game play making her a challenging prospect for the Ferns defenders. However, the Ferns have no shortage of star defenders with the likes of superstar Katrina Rore who just recently won another premiership with the Swifts along with Karin Burger, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, Phoenix Karaka and Jane Watson all of whom have proven to have the class to stop the Diamonds shooting end.

Fan favourite, Brazill has also made her way back into the Diamonds side for the first time since debuting back in 2016. With a relatively new-look side Australia will be hoping to flex their muscles to outsmart and outplay their opposition. Brazill offers plenty of excitement with her dynamic movement, defensive pressure and versatility, able to switch between centre and wing defence – something the Diamonds sorely lacked in their World Cup campaign. Through the midcourt the Diamonds have plenty of options with Liz Watson deadly around circle edge with her precision passing, slick movement and strength while Paige Hadley has had a season to remember. Despite coming into the Diamonds for the first time, Scherian has an established connection with the Australian captain having played together in the Suncorp Super Netball in recent years, making her a real prospect to get a start if Watson pushes out to centre. Jamie-Lee Pricehas shown she oozes versatility, able to move between wing defence and centre with ease where required. The match up in the midcourt will provide plenty of interest with energiser bunny Laura Langman owning the centre third with her impressive endurance, strength and netball nous. Meanwhile, Gina Crampton is pivotal in the attacking third with her timely feeds while Shannon Saunders is crafty with ball in hand.

2019 SSN season team review: Sunshine Coast Lightning

THE Sunshine Coast Lightning almost made history in 2019, making it to their third consecutive grand final but falling at the last hurdle. They farewelled coaching mastermind Noeline Taurua while the future of Laura Langman is still unknown.

Position: 1st
Percentage: 112.65%
Win-loss: 12-2

2019 Overview:

The Lightning were dealt a relatively big blow over the off season with star goaler and Diamonds captain, Caitlin Bassett departing the club along with Geva Mentor and Kelsey Browne. But that did not seem to faze the Lightning who established themselves as fierce competitors once more, welcoming Phumza Maweni, Peace Proscovia and the returning Langman. All three players had a profound impact with Langman providing her telltale drive and dynamic movement across the court, accompanied by her experience and match winning ability. Maweni posed a dominant threat in the defensive circle, pairing well with fellow international Karla Pretorius to send any ball that came their way back up the court and picking off a host of intercepts. The wing defence bib rotated between Maddy McAuliffe and Jacqui Russell with the pair providing good coverage and hands over pressure. Through the midcourt, speedster Laura Scherian came into her own, relishing the reduced space that allowed her to perfect her feeds into the circle and build her connection with Proscovia. The Ugandan shooter displayed her strength, holding well and bodying up to take the ball on the baseline while Steph Wood continued on her merry way with her quick hands, netball nous and footwork on full display.

Shining light:

Cara Koenen elevated to a whole new level throughout the latter half of the season, absorbing every bit of pressure and commanding the ball time and time again. she continuously showcased her explosiveness with both her speed and strength while her versatility was crucial for the Lightning’s finals assault. The 23-year-old shooter made the goal shooter bib her own, working with Wood and Proscovia with ease and displaying her silky footwork to drive along the baseline or sweep across the top of the circle. Her ability to read the play, get up high and have a presence whenever the ball came her way enabled her to stay in the game and cause plenty of havoc. As she grew with confidence, the goal shooter backed herself from range proving accuracy and volume was no issue.

Predictions 2020:

With a couple of years under Silver Ferns coach and extraordinaire Noeline Taurua, newly appointed coach Kylee Byrne has plenty to offer when she takes the reins in 2020. Byrne has seen first-hand what it takes to match it with the best in the business and definitely has the clientele to replicate a similar outcome once again next year. She oozes experience and knowledge having been in the coaching game for the past 10 years, making her a key figure for the side going forward if they are to continue to succeed.

2019 SSN season team review: Collingwood Magpies

AFTER a dominant pre-season tournament the Magpies looked in good stead to take the competition by storm. Collingwood notched up a convincing Round 1 win before faltering as the season went on, struggling to find consistency but hitting their straps at the right time to sneak into the finals.

Position: 4th
Percentage: 102.2%
Win-loss: 7-2-5

Overview:

The Pies were a player down from the get go with co-captain Madi Browne ruled out for the season after tearing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). In her place New Zealand Silver Fern Kimiora Poi found her way into the black and white dress playing her part in the latter half of the season and using her speed to full advantage. New recruit Geva Mentor had an immediate impact down back, winning ball back with her tenacity and cleanliness while speedster Kelsey Browne worked her way into the Collingwood line-up. Browne struggled to assert herself straight away but steadily built into the season with her dynamic movement and clever ball placement. Shimona Nelson had a breakout season at her new club showcasing her strong holds and good hands, pairing well with veteran Nat Medhurst who found her feet straight away. Staple hold April Brandley worked hard in defence applying smothering pressure but the biggest surprise came after the World Cup with Ash Brazill pushing into centre and Kim Ravaillion into wing defence with the switch up proving masterful. The Magpies showed glimpses of pure brilliance outclassing their opponents with their ball speed but were unable to maintain that intensity long enough, knocked out in the elimination final.

Shining light:

Brazill went to another level this season showcasing her sheer athleticism and running opponents into the ground with her high endurance and aerial ability. The wing defence turned centre highlighted her versatility able to play both positions effortlessly and have a profound impact. Renowned for her defensive efforts with her three-foot marking and smothering pressure she displayed another element to her game, able to hit circle edge with pace and precision which proved to be crucial in Collingwood’s surge into finals.

2020 predictions:

Nelson has come along in leaps and bounds during season 2019 and will be looking to further develop her skills, game sense and accuracy to post to have a more profound impact under the post next year. While criticised at times for her hands, Nelson has made noticeable inroads with her ability to rein in loose ball and could be a focal point for the Pies in 2020 with her agility. Paired with the likes of Medhurst, the Jamaican goal shooter could really develop into something special if she is able to maintain her composure, holds and movement in the circle. Her confidence has steadily grown throughout the year and with another pre-season under her belt she could pose a commanding threat.

Who replaces Brandley at the Magpies?

WITH April Brandley announcing her pregnancy and subsequent time off netball who will the Magpies look for to replace her? Brandley has been a great contributor to the club working hard in defence and absorbing the pressure throughout her tenure. She has provided stability in the defensive end throughout Collingwood’s short history with Sharni Layton retiring and Geva Mentor only joining this year. But with the goal defence position up for grabs the Magpies will have to assess their options with Matilda Garrett already committed to the club we look at other possible options ahead of the trade period.

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Karla Pretorius: Sunshine Coast Lightning

The Lightning goal defence is no stranger to the big stage dominating both on the international and national stage. The dynamic defender is out of contract at the end of season and if Collingwood want to bolster their defensive stocks should look to the lanky goal defence who oozes class and composure with ball in hand. Pretorius has played with both Mentor and Kelsey Browne throughout their time at Sunshine Coast making her a viable option given the connections and understandings. The South African international offers plenty of skill, pressure and an uncanny ability to make something out of nothing. Her defensive pressure is undeniable, smothering her opponents every move while providing a strong drive through the midcourt to surge the ball forward. She can quite easily turn a game on its head and knows what it takes to work her way back into the match. With the Magpies prized as a premiership favourite filled with plenty of stars gaining Pretorius would be a huge coup for the club and could help push them one step closer to a grand final.

Kristiana Manu’a: GIANTS Netball

The goal defence has had a stand out season for the GIANTS this year but is out of contract and may be looking for a new home. She has really come into her own relishing the court time and standing up to the occasion more than once throughout the year. Though she is not the tallest defender her aerial ability is highly impressive, able to read the high ball and contest them while her tagging style of defence can nullify her opponent. Her speed is a huge asset of her game able to make up space effortlessly. She could be a great acquisition for the Magpies who will be looking for someone to replace Brandley. Manu’a is not afraid of the contest throwing herself into every situation and working hard to win the ball one on one. With the guidance of Mentor down back the combination between the two could cause real headaches given their ball winning ability and defensive intent.

Layla Guscoth: Adelaide Thunderbirds

Despite the England Roses international injuring her achilles at the World Cup, she could still play a role next year for a Suncorp Super Netball club and given her connection with Collingwood goal keeper Mentor could find herself at the Magpies. The uncontracted co-captain did not have the impact she would have wanted, forced to the sidelines in the latter part of the season but has plenty to offer with her experience and defensive pressure. She knows how to win and already has an imposing connection with Mentor making it a logical move if she was to jump ship. The Adelaide Thunderbirds goal defence is strong around the contest and reads the play well while her teamwork with Mentor could be what the Magpies are looking for ahead of season 2020. With injury to consider the Magpies might search for someone else but Guscoth has plenty of class around the court making her a real possibility next year.

Player Focus: SSN Semi-Final – Melbourne Vixens vs. Collingwood Magpies

IN the big match that decided who goes forth to the preliminary final next Saturday, the Melbourne Vixens and Collingwood Magpies had a battle for state netball bragging rights and a spot in finals. We attended the match and took notes on two players from each side, analysing their impact on the match.

Jo Weston (GD) v. Nat Medhurst (GA)

Melbourne Vixens: Jo Weston

The Vixens were off to a flying start, with Weston leading the charge defensively. Her drive down the court transitioning back to attack was second to none, flying down court with Renae Ingles and producing plenty of options to reset throughout. With only two penalties to her name in the first, her work was not done so much on the ball but instead creating issues for Nat Medhurst both in and outside the circle to block drives. The second quarter saw much the same with Weston and partner in crime Emily Mannix working overtime to confuse the space and attack the hands. Their ability to switch in the circle provided plenty of turnover ball, racking up 11 turnovers from the Magpies attack end by half time. Despite some soreness during the third term after a collision with Magpie Kimiora Poi, Weston continued to find space and opportunity to create turnovers and apply hands over pressure on Medhurst, who was then forced to take shots she may have usually passed off. Weston’s cleanliness in the circle did not go amiss, picking up only 13 penalties for the match and three gains (two intercepts, one deflection to advantage), while her clever timing keeping Medhurst away from the ball and circle meant Mannix had a much more straightforward task in the circle.

Collingwood Magpies: Nat Medhurst

With issues across the court and playing with a couple of cracked ribs the goal attack struggled to have her usual impact both in the circle and across the court. With speedster Kelsey Browne out of the side and Poi in wing attack, the Vixens exploited Medhurst’s game-making outside the circle from the get-go, denying her dynamic drive into the circle and limiting her to only seven goals at 78 per cent for the match. While Medhurst’s ability to play a similar role to a wing attack and still be accurate to post is second to none, she was unable to find as much of the ball as she would have liked and found herself losing valuable ball, unable to find a free player in attack. Despite her silky footwork and speed darting around the court, her precision was impaired by the Vixens’ hands over pressure and blocking of channels all down the court. However, Medhurst still put on a show credit to her cleanliness with ball in hand and timing of the drive, feeding effortlessly to Shimona Nelson at the post and using her game smarts to evade her defenders. While she also picked up 11 centre pass receives and only the one penalty to her name, it was the 10 general play turnovers and loss of ball that left Medhurst and ultimately the Magpies wanting more.

Caitlin Thwaites (GS) v. Geva Mentor (GK)

Melbourne Vixens: Caitlin Thwaites

The Melbourne Vixens recruit did not put a foot wrong, finding plenty of ball from the get-go to pair with Tegan Philip at the post. The shooting duo well and truly won the battle in the goal circle making the most of their opportunities. Finishing with 29 goals from 33 attempts at 88 per cent, Thwaites was impeccable using her body to control space in the circle, holding her ground to receive feeds and create space for Philip to drive into. Her long reach came in handy against the skill and experience of Geva Mentor, rebounding precious ball to put her side in front again and again. While used to staying inside the circle and waiting for the ball, Thwaites used her game smarts to switch up gameplay and turn the circle on its head with her drive out of the circle, opening up space at the post to allow Philip to take control. Thwaites missed four attempts but won back ball picking up two rebounds, giving Philip the security to shoot from range with Thwaites strong at the post. Her clever timing on the shot and low release ensured Mentor and fellow circle defender April Brandley could not deflect or defend the ball with ease, while her speed off the mark allowed her to drive to get the rebound or loose ball when required.

Collingwood Magpies: Geva Mentor

With the Vixens starting strong it was always going to be a tough contest, and while Mentor certainly imposed herself from the get-go, she did not have the desired impact with the Vixens clearly having done their homework after last week’s loss to the Pies. Mentor was slow to start, with plenty of work done by her fellow defenders to create opportunities early. However once the Vixens took control of the attack they did not look back, with Mentor and Brandley unable to stop the attacking movement and momentum from the Vixens. Though Mentor was quiet in the first half, she well and truly came out of the gates in the second half to find valuable ball and spur her side into action down the court. Her teamwork with Brandley did not seem to falter despite the Vixens’ ease in the goal circle, switching up their movement and using clever footwork to even up the goal count after half time. Mentor’s hands over pressure was phenomenal, keeping the Vixens on their toes and deflecting any wayward ball and with the match all but done and dusted, she created turnovers aplenty to help her side win the second half. While she racked up a whopping eight deflections the Vixens seemed to be there at every turn with Mentor unable to gather any to advantage, only picking up two intercepts and one rebound stat to her name along with an uncharacteristic 17 penalties.

SSN: Finals game changers

WITH finals around the corner each side in the top four have shown they have what it takes to mix it with the best on their day. Each team has won against each other throughout the course of the season showcasing just how close the competition is heading into the pointy end of the season.

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

Position:1st
Win-loss: 12-0-1
Percentage: 112.85%

It has never been done before but if any team could do it, it would be the Sunshine Coast Lightning. Since Suncorp Super Netball was established no team has won the premiership after claiming the minor premiership but the Lightning could quite possibly break that hoodoo given their plethora of stars both on and off the court. In what will be her last matches with the side, Noeline Taurua has proven to be a coaching mastermind and will be looking to push her side once again to go back-to-back-to-back.

Game changer:
The Lightning have plenty of game changers across the court but none bigger than South African Karla Pretorius who continues dominate for the Sunshine Coast with her explosive speed, tenacity and netball nous. Pretorius is renowned for her ability to will herself to contests, win ball back from unthinkable positions and turn the game on its head in an instance. She has racked up a whopping 63 intercepts for the season and has single handedly dragged her team back into the contest when the chips were down. Her combination with Phumza Maweni has developed at a rate of knots meaning the duo pose a damaging threat come finals.

NSW Swifts:

Position:2nd
Win-loss: 10-1-3
Percentage: 111.92%

After an impressive start to the season the Swifts faltered at the wrong time of year, losing top spot and their right to host a home semi-final. NSW have been hit with plenty of injuries throughout the year with Maddy Proud going down with an ACL, Kate Eddy out for the remainder of the season and both Natalie Haythornthwaite and Helen Housby relegated to the bench with injury but have shown plenty of spirit. They have taken the competition by storm with their ability to treasure possession and capitalise under the post.

Game changer:
With Eddy out for the season, Trans-Tasman rival Katrina Rore made her way across the ditch and could prove to quite possibly be the game changer for the Swifts. Rore oozes class and defensive pressure credit to her experience and general netball understanding. Though she has not been with the team long, her injection into the side has been seamless while her versatility is equally as important for NSW proving that she can float between circle defence and midcourt defence in the blink of an eye and with ease. She can win ball back time and time again with her timely tips and well executed intercepts.

Melbourne Vixens:

Position: 3rd
Win-loss: 8-1-5
Percentage: 107.87%

The Melbourne Vixens are no strangers to the finals, having been there on occasion in their history but failing to make an impact in recent years, making this year all the more important. The Vixens have struggled with consistency throughout the season unable to string four quarter performances together but have shown that they have the fire power to do plenty of damage when on song. Emily Mannix, Jo Weston and Renae Ingles have proven to be hard to combat given their defensive prowess while since making the switch from the Magpies Caitlin Thwaites has not skipped a beat, owning the circle with her holds and accuracy.

Game changer:
Tegan Philip has been a real barometer for the Vixens throughout the year and has the skill to cause havoc in the goal circle if given enough time and space. The goal attack is renowned for both her work out the front and in the goal circle. Her ability to read the play and inject herself into the game is second to none, using her vision and well-timed sweeps to receive the ball in prime position in the circle.

Collingwood Magpies:

Position: 4th
Win-loss: 7-2-5
Percentage: 102.2%

Collingwood have well and truly had one hell of a month, snatching fourth spot in the final game of the home and away season by a mere 0.6 per cent. The Magpies have had an inconsistent season to date, struggling to build momentum and live up to the hype but have shown they have the class and know how to win when it counts. The black and white have been dealt their fair share of injuries with both Madi Browne and Kelsey Browne rupturing their ACLs, leaving a big hole in the Collingwood midcourt and forcing the Pies to stand up in their absence.

Game changer:
English international Geva Mentor can turn a game on its head with her intense defensive pressure and composure. Mentor is no stranger to the big stage having won two premierships with the Lightning credit to her ball winning attributes, netball smarts and dynamic footwork to get to the ball cleanly and contest. She is a key player for the Magpies with her ability to cause confusion in the defensive circle and pick off passes as she pleases, making her a huge threat for opposition teams going into the finals.

SSN Round 14 Preview – Final round to determine minor premier

THE final round of 2019 has hit Suncorp Super Netball, with both Collingwood Magpies and GIANTS Netball still fighting for one spot in the top four while the title of minor premiers will be decided by this round’s results. The only position secured in the top four is the Melbourne Vixens in third, while all three of their fellow top four sides will take on teams far below them on the ladder.

GIANTS Netball v. West Coast Fever

The opening match of Round 13 will see GIANTS fight for their spot in finals, currently sitting in fourth but needing a big win to ensure they finish ahead of the Magpies on the ladder. The Fever are well and truly out of the finals race after a breakout season last year crumbling with injuries aplenty in 2019, once again missing Courtney Bruce this round after scans revealed a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) meaning she is unable to fly, let alone play. While the GIANTS’ physicality on court has been called into question in recent weeks, their ability to get the job done under pressure is credit to their connections and combination of experience and youth across the court. Amy Parmenter has starred this season in wing defence, adding a new element to the GIANTS’ defensive lineup while Kim Green will play her final home game – and potentially final game altogether – after announcing her retirement today. While goalers Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett had a shaky start to the season there is no questioning their ability to turn and shoot, while Kiera Austin continues to provide an exciting alternative rotating through both goal attack and wing attack. For the Fever, Olivia Lewis is another youngster coming through the ranks with adaptability and talent to boot, and while lacking experience Lewis has been a solid option in Bruce’s absence this season pairing with the likes of Stacey Francis and Shannon Eagland. Ingrid Colyer has had a mostly inconsistent season and was held well by Firebirds’ Gabi Simpson last round so will be under the pump against Parmenter.

NSW Swifts v. Queensland Firebirds

In a big switch compared to the last time these sides met, the Swifts come in to Round 14 after a loss last week while the Firebirds finally got their maiden win for the season against the Fever. With NSW looking for a home final, this match will also see the Swifts look toward a top spot finish after being bumped into second by the Lightning. Last time these sides met the Swifts came out 22 point victors despite captain Maddy Proud going down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. They will welcome back dominant shooter Helen Housby after missing the past two rounds with injury. While both Sophie Garbin and Nat Haythornthwaite have rotated through goal attack in recent weeks with relative success, it does mean more pressure is on Sam Wallace at the post. The big goal for the Swifts will be to stop Gretel Tippett, who has been arguably the best goal attack in the competition this season with accuracy, volume and excitement going in her favour. Katrina Rore has been a big in for the Swifts in recent weeks with her versatility key, meaning she could line up against Tippett if the scales start to tip, making for an interesting contest. Meanwhile, this will be the Firebirds’ final match for the season with Caitlyn Nevins and Laura Clemesha pulling on the purple dress for the final time before retirement. Romelda Aiken did not play last time the Firebirds took on the Swifts, meaning Sarah Klau will be under some pressure to keep her at bay while Lenize Potgieter can also provide a big threat at the post with her low-release shot and quick footwork.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Adelaide Thunderbirds

Sunshine Coast may already know prior to their match whether they have secured the minor premiership, however they are sure to finish the season strong regardless after another impressive season. Lightning are still the only side that has not played in a draw this season showing their ability to close out games. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds have showed some impressive fight this year but have well and truly succumbed to injury with Sasha Glasgow and Emma Ryde both out of the side with knee injuries suffered in Round 13, adding on to their already extensive list. While the Thunderbirds put up an impressive performance last time they met, going down by six goals after leading at three quarter time, the Lightning came back from a 10 goal deficit last week against the Vixens to win and are sure to switch on early this match to ensure they get a win on the board. The real question in this match is who the Thunderbirds will bring in as injury replacements, with both Charlee Hodges and Cody Lange viable options to rejoin the gameday squad. Maria Folau has been in form all season shooting a bag of goals every round from all over the ring while Shamera Sterling continues to prove a massive threat in defence with her height and agility to get plenty of ball back an asset for the Thunderbirds. But while the T’birds have plenty up their sleeve, Lightning not only match it defensively thanks to the skill and timing of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni creating turnovers out of nothing, but also have Laura Langman‘s speed through the midcourt and versatility in attack to be threatening all over the court.

Collingwood Magpies v. Melbourne Vixens

The final match of the season pits the two Victorian teams against the other once more, but this time with different stakes – the Vixens have already secured a home final, while the Magpies need a win to jump the GIANTS and make finals. While the Vixens will want to get one back after losing to the Pies for the first time in SSN history in Round 7, it will be interesting to see whether they look to try and knock the Magpies out of contention or rest some of their big name players in time for finals. The Magpies will be missing Kelsey Browne with their star wing attack going down with a devastating ACL injury last round against the Swifts. Defensive midcourter Ash Brazill has been in exceptional form since the Netball World Cup break, playing out in centre for the past few weeks and providing a massive threat through both attack and defence. Veteran defender Geva Mentor put out a vintage performance last week to spur the Pies to victory, meaning the Vixens will really be under the pump this week if she is on song. The Vixens have been feeling out different attacking connections in recent weeks with Mwai Kumwenda back in the mix with Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip, and while that is a huge luxury and threat to their opposition it has been their downfall against both the Swifts and Lightning over the past few rounds. Meanwhile Shimona Nelson and Nat Medhurst have been in great form over the past few rounds, finding the ball with ease making it a tough job for Jo Weston and Emily Mannix in defence.

SSN Team of the Week: Round 13

ROUND 13 of the Suncorp Super Netball saw records broken and players return for consecutive weeks in Draft Central’s Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Week. The Magpies feature three players the most of any other team this rounds credit to their impressive win, while NSW Swifts and West Coast Fever failed to have a player make the side.

GK: Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies)

It was a vintage performance from Mentor who completely dominated in the goal keeper position credit to her smothering pressure. Mentor blocked any easy access into the goal circle hunting the crosscourt ball and getting hands to ball time and time again. She took Sam Wallace out of the game pushing her up high and wearing her like a glove to limit her an impact under the post. Mentor created doubt in the feeders’ minds racking up 12 deflections, eight gains and three intercepts while also showcasing her strength and netball nous to claim prime position under the post with two rebounds.

GD: Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

Pretorius has become a regular in our Team of the Week thanks to impressive performances throughout the season, and she did not disappoint once again in Round 13. The Lightning goal defence played a huge role in keeping her side within touch throughout the game with her timely tips, read of the play and sheer understanding with teammate Phumza Maweni on when to go and when to drop back. She really worked herself into the match after being well held in the opening term credit to her defensive pressure and commitment to the contest. Pretorius worked effortlessly across the court competing for both the high and low balls while also helping transition through the midcourt. She finished with six gains, five intercepts, three deflections and three pickups.

WD: Amy Parmenter (GIANTS Netball)

She continued her breakout season for the GIANTS with the young wing defence doing a wealth of work across the court to provide that drive through the midcourt as well as defensive pressure. Parmenter put up a strong front throughout the game blocking both Chelsea Pitman and Hannah Petty from hitting the circle edge with ease given her clever footwork and strength off the ball to keep them away. Her hands over pressure was on full display while she also showcased her speed to chase down errant passes and pick up deflections. Parmenter notched up four gains, one intercept and five deflections for the match.

C: Ash Brazill (Collingwood Magpies)

It was another midcourt masterclass from fan favourite Brazill who displayed her full array of tricks. The ball winning, crafty player has well and truly stood up to the plate in the centre position providing strong drives into the attacking third while also not losing her defensive touch amassing two gains, one intercept and four deflections. Her dynamic movement and aerial abilities caused havoc for opponent, Paige Hadley. Brazil lifted her load in the second half after Kelsey Browne went down finding good space to feed into both Shimona Nelson and Nat Medhurst while also varying the passes into the circle to keep the defenders guessing. The makeshift centre took ownership in the attacking third commanding the ball both in the pocket and at the top of the circle racking up a game high 24 goal assists.

WA: Caitlyn Nevins (Queensland Firebirds)

The veteran wing attack showcased that she still has plenty to give despite announcing her retirement with a dominant performance in her sides first win of the season. Nevins was in hot form finding Gretel Tippett, Lenize Potgieter and Romelda Aiken with ease under the post thanks to her impressive vision and quick hands. She tussled hard throughout the match to claim prime position around the circle edge while consistently re-offering to allow the goalers to re-position in the circle. In her second last game Nevins racked up a match high 23 goal assists along with a whopping 36 centre pass receives highlighting her high work rate.

GA: Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds)

Tippet once again steered the ship in attack for the Firebirds showcasing her impressive athleticism and attacking flair throughout the four quarters. Her hot hand was on full display not missing a shot with 30 goals from 30 attempts highlighting her ability to be an imposing force under the post. She shot with confidence backing herself from range while pairing with Aiken and Potgieter seamlessly. The goal attack doing a wealth of work out the front to deliver the ball into her shooting counterparts with 19 goal assists. Tippett also displayed her defensive capabilities picking up two intercepts and two gains to earn another nomination in our Team of the Week.

GS: Shimona Nelson (Collingwood Magpies)

She was a lynchpin in the goal circle for the Magpies controlling the airwaves with her impressive leap and fingertip control. Nelson was not fazed by the defensive pressure of Sarah Klau, Maddy Turner and Katrina Rore standing up to the pressure time and time again. She found good space in the circle holding strong while also getting on the moves at time to varying up her game. Nelson commanded the ball and used her silky footwork to edge herself closer to the post. She capitalised on her opportunities under the post only missing two goals with 52 from 54 attempts at 96 per cent.

BENCH: Shamera Sterling (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens), Peace Proscovia (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

All three players impressed in Round 13 showcasing their class and skill for their respective sides. Shamera Sterling was rumoured to have broken the intercept record with 10 but upon review only managed eight. Despite not breaking the record the Thunderbirds goal keeper but on a stunning display to contest the ball in the air and cause confusion in the circle with her lanky arms and quick feet amassing 12 gains, three rebounds and eight deflections. Liz Watson was her ever-reliable self through the midcourt showcasing her dynamic movement and strength to hit the circle edge with precision. She finished with a game high 28 goal assists from 45 feeds credit to her clever passes into the circle and ability to create space. Lightning goal shooter Peace Proscovia proved to be the difference in the circle coming on with a commanding presence. She only missed one goal after coming on late in the first quarter with 33 from 34 attempts at 97 per cent accuracy, showing composure under the post. Proscovia was unfazed by the physical nature of the game standing up under the pressure and backing herself time and time again.

Injury rate rises as fight for finals intensifies

AFTER a blockbuster Round 13 of netball there has been plenty of intrigue and upset with a host of players going down with injuries. In fact, there are only two teams that have not been affected by injury throughout the season with the GIANTS and Sunshine Coast Lightning maintaining a relatively stable line-up. Collingwood Magpies confirmed speedster Kelsey Browne has done her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) after starting goal shooter Sasha Glasgow‘s fall seemed unassuming but has also been confirmed as an ACL. Results regarding fellow Thunderbirds shooter Emma Ryde are still unconfirmed.

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There have been a multitude of severe injuries this season with Glasgow’s ACL the sixth of its kind since the beginning of 2019, sparking plenty of debate amongst the netball community about the workload of athletes as well as court surfaces. In Round 3 English international Beth Cobden also suffered a season ending ACL injury shedding a light on the extreme physical nature of the game. Browne will join sister and fellow midcourter, Madi Browne who tore her ACL earlier in the year during the pre-season Team Girls Cup. Queensland Firebirds midcourter Mahalia Cassidy was struck down with an ACL in Round 5 while Swifts captain Maddy Proud‘s season similarly came to a devastating halt after rupturing her ACL in Round 7.

While ACL injuries have been the big talking point of the season, there has been no shortage of short-term injuries throughout the 2019 season with Helen Housby and Natalie Haythornthwaite both spending time on the bench due to niggles. Meanwhile teammate Kate Eddy has been ruled out for the rest of the season following ligament damage to her ankle, forcing the Swifts to make a host of changes to their squad.

West Coast Fever have gone through relatively unscathed but have felt the pinch at times with captain Courtney Bruce missing the first few games with an arm injury after falling heavily in the opening round and now ruled out of the final round with scans revealing a small pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Meanwhile Jamaican shooting machine Jhaniele Fowler also found herself on the sideline with injury but fortunately made a quick recovery. Makeshift goal attack Kaylia Stanton was also been forced to the bench for a few rounds with the Fever missing her drive and accuracy to the post. Despite injuries to South African shooter Ine-Mari Venter pre-World Cup and young gun Tayla Honey during the preseason, the Vixens have remained relatively settled with the nine other players staying fit, helping them to build some good momentum.

Adelaide have arguably been hit the hardest with Cobden going down early while co-captain Layla Guscoth followed suit during the World Cup, rupturing her Achilles. While Ryde is uncertain to play again this season despite no announcement as yet, Glasgow’s ACL ultimately rules her out for a larger portion of next season. Meanwhile, the Queensland Firebirds have had a heavily disrupted season with youngsters Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner sustaining injuries throughout the course of the season. Lynchpin Romelda Aiken also missed games due to bone stress on her tibia while Tippah Dwan failed to play a game due to a foot injury after being elevated to Firebirds squad.

Both the GIANTS and Lightning have escaped relatively unscathed in season 2019 with neither side forced to bring in replacement players so far.

Magpies triumph over NSW Swifts

THE Magpies claimed an emphatic win against ladder leaders NSW Swifts in Tasmania to keep their finals aspirations alive (64-56). Despite the impressive win, the Magpies’ victory was soured by an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury to speedster and playmaker Kelsey Browne midway through the second term.

Collingwood came out with a real spring in their step in the first quarter led by goal defence, April Brandley. She showed great intent from the first whistle contesting every single ball that came her way and getting hands to ball with two gains, one intercept and three deflections for the first term. The defensive pressure was up right across the court with Geva Mentor showcasing her class in the circle credit to her three-foot marking and cleanliness to build pressure on Sam Wallace and Sophie Garbin. Wallace was relatively unfazed by the physicality displaying her composed nature to slot nine goals straight while Garbin faded in and out of the game. The Magpies were relentless across the court pushing the Swifts wide and forcing uncharacteristic turnovers notching up seven compared to their five. NSW struggled to build momentum with their connections failing to fire allowing the Magpies to claim the first bonus point of the game with a 17-13 first term.

With the ball struggling to penetrate the Collingwood defensive end the Swifts made a host of changes across the court. Natalie Haythornthwaite moved from wing attack into goal attack and had an immediate impact, proving she was not afraid to turn and shoot. She was a real play maker in the attacking third and goal circle for the Swifts sighting Wallace on the lead while notching up seven goals. Paige Hadley switched from centre into wing attack while youngster Tayla Fraser stepped up into the centre. The Swifts took a while to adjust to the changes in the attacking third while Briony Akle tinkered with the defensive structure moving Silver Fern Katrina Rore into goal defence and bringing Sophie Halpin onto wing defence. The Magpies seemed relatively settled given the changes sticking to their structures and working through the Swifts bursts of energy. Shimona Nelson and Nat Medhurst put on a clinic in the goal circle with both shooters sitting at 100 per cent for the term. With the Magpies front end humming injury struck with Browne landing awkwardly sending shockwaves throughout the stadium. The dynamic wing attack left the court in the arms of trainers bringing Kimiora Poi into the game for the Pies.

The Magpies built on their four-goal lead after half-time with Ash Brazill lifting her load in attack. The dynamic and athletic centre dominated through the midcourt with her timely drives, clever feeds into the circle and vision to pierce through the defence with nine goal assists for the term. Nelson continued her dominance under the post with 16 goals from 17 attempts while Medhurst did a wealth of work out the front flinging the ball around the attacking third and using the angles to open Nelson up under the post. Sarah Klau struggled to have her usual impact in the defensive end for the Swifts with the ball sailing over the head of her time and time again credit to the placement from Brazill and Medhurst. Poi did not seem out of place connecting with the Collingwood attack end while Kim Ravaillion did the little things well, re-offering across the court. Unhappy with their output, the Swifts made more changes with Elle Bennetts donning the wing attack bib in the dying minutes of the third quarter while Maddy Turner returned to the court in goal defence but it was to no avail with Collingwood sticking strong and claiming their second bonus point of the game.

Still struggling to find their rhythm across the court the Swifts reverted to their starting seven before switching Rore into goal keeper and forcing Klau to the bench. Both Nelson and Medhurst were simply unstoppable in the goal circle with neither missing a shot in the final term. Nelson finished with 52 goals from 54 attempts at 96 per cent credit to her strength on the take and composure under the post. Both Mentor and Brandley went from strength to strength throughout the game with the English international amassing two gains, five deflections and one pickup while Brandley notched up two deflections and two pickups. Haythornthwaite lifted her load in attack feeding into Garbin and Wallace (39/41) with ease but the Magpies did not let up. The Magpies showed great intensity throughout the match pushing hard but on the other hand the Swifts failed to play their usual brand of netball frazzled with ball in hand and undisciplined.

STARTING LINE-UP:

Collingwood Magpies:

GS | Shimona Nelson
GA | Nat Medhurst
WA | Kelsey Browne
C | Ash Brazill
WD | Kim Ravaillion
GD | April Brandley
GK | Geva Mentor

NSW Swifts:

GS | Sam Wallace
GA | Sophie Garbin
WA | Natalie Haythornthwaite
C | Paige Hadley
WD | Katrina Rore
GD | Maddy Turner
GK | Sarah Klau