Tag: kim green

Draft Central Courtside Comments: Round 7 – Maddie Hay

EACH week the Draft Central team will focus on one Suncorp Super Netball player across the round and take a look at their individual highlights, key moments and improvements across their match. Our Round 7 focus is GIANTS Netball’s Maddie Hay, with the midcourter having less time on court in this outing than her past few rounds but overall showcasing why coach, Julie Fitzgerald has kept her on side.

A smooth mover who has learnt from the best in Kim Green over the past few years as a training partner, Hay has seamlessly stepped up into the wing attack role on court and provides a steady option with a solid workrate. While teammate Kiera Austin has been rotating between both wing attack and goal attack for much of the season, Hay has proved that she is more than capable of taking on the feeding load, with her vision and ability to thread the needle consistently paying off on circle edge. While she only took the court for 19 minutes in the GIANTS’ Round 8 matchup against the Queensland Firebirds, Hay managed six goal assists from 11 feeds, six centre pass receives and a pickup.

Here’s what we had to say:

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

A solid start from Hay, and while she collected a held ball call early it was more due to a lack of effective options than the wing attack lacking vision from her position in the pocket. Taking on Gabi Simpson it was never going to be an easy outing for Hay, but her vision to sight the free space paid dividends, consistently driving well to find circle edge. While she had a bit of a slower start, she began to use her vision a lot better into the circle, threading the needle on a few occasions to Austin on the lead. Quick and efficient on the centre pass, Hay’s ability to evade Simpson’s bodywork to dart out when required and use her footwork to connect on the first phase with Austin paid dividends. Was subbed out in the second and did not take the court again, but overall her output and consistency over the past few rounds has really helped build her confidence.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

Getting the nod in at wing attack Hay had a strong start to the game using her speed to evade Firebirds captain Simpson. Although she did not play an entire game, Hay had patches of brilliance with her deft touch and vision into the circle cutting through Queensland’s defence. The wing attack was a strong option at the centre pass, constantly presenting at the line while her second phase was also impressive, able to weave her way down the court to receive the pass and create an attacking foray. Her high netball IQ was on show throughout her limited minutes on court with her good use of the angles to get into space and avoid the hands over pressure from Simpson. Hay showed good patience in attack and smarts to know which pass to deliver into the circle but struggled to really find her rhythm and continuity in the forward half of the court, sometimes clogging up space.

By: Lucy Pollock, Draft Central UK Writer

Hay is a secret weapon in the GIANTS lineup. Although she did not play much of the Round 8 contest against the Firebirds, she has proven so far this season that she can come off the bench without skipping a beat. She offers something very different to Austin in wing attack, using her speed and cunning to find the circle edge easily, and the attacking combination of Hay, Austin and Jo Harten had some success, although the GIANTS failed to secure the win. Overall Hay has huge potential as an impact player for the GIANTS, she is a real hard worker and has also showed a lot of patience on the feed. With more court time her game at the SSN level will develop further and she has all the makings of a big-game player. I would like to see her really dictate the play in the attacking end and provide that structure for the GIANTS side, she is an exciting young player and deserves the time to shine.

By: Jarrad Gardner, Centre Pass Podcast host

It wasn’t surprising to see Hay get the start for the third straight match following a
string of impressive performances for the GIANTS. She had a tough job matched up on Gabi Simpson and even though she only played 20 minutes in this match she showed she is able to hold her own against the very best in Suncorp Super Netball. Hay has probably been the biggest beneficiary of Austin’s move to goal attack for larger portions of matches and Hay’s combination with Jamie Lee-Price has been crucial in
recent weeks as they continue to get great balls into the Giants’ shooters. She could take better care of the ball and improve her pass decisions but that will come with even more game time at the top level in those high-pressure situations.

By: Kate Cornish, Draft Central volunteer writer

It has taken Hay a few rounds to get a starting spot in the GIANTS line-up but she has obviously impressed coach Fitzgerald with previous performances, because in Round 7 she was pitted against one of the best to play the wing defence position, Firebird Gabi Simpson. The last time the GIANTS and the Firebirds played, Hay came on mid-game and got the better of Simpson with fresh legs, so her challenge in this game would be to see if she could maintain the pressure Simpson would apply from the first whistle. Hay played a very measured and well-timed game and what I liked from her while she was on court was that she did not overthink her passes into the goal circle; when the pass was on, she gave it. With confident vision to post, Hay made smart choices to her shooters and was able to find space both on the circle edge and also was able to drop into the back space of the goal third to reset. She presented for her teammates and worked hard in defensive transition with hands over ball. Hay is the sort of player who looks like they have all the time in the world to make the right choice and for a player who is still to find her feet on the elite stage, to date, with the minutes she has had on court she has been impressive. After 20 minutes on court, while she did have three turnovers, she also managed 11 feeds and a pickup before Fitzgerald decided she needed a point of difference in the attack end. 

Australian pathways talent prove their place in SSN

THE return of Suncorp Super Netball saw some fresh faces take the court thanks to the introduction of the rolling subs and extended benches. The rule change has allowed clubs to give their training partners some valuable court time to develop their craft and have a profound impact. We take a look at a couple of Round 1 newcomers to the league as well as some familiar but yet still developing prospects for each team.

Adelaide Thunderbirds

Boasting a new look line-up for season 2020 it was the young guns that took the competition by storm, none bigger than 18-year-old goaler Georgie Horjus. The Kangaroo Island product wowed with her composure to sink six goals from nine attempts. With speed to burn she carved up the attacking third while fellow youngster Maisie Nankivell took her game to the next level with her physicality at the contest. Her seamless transition from wing defence to centre provided that spark through the midcourt for the Thunderbirds racking up 12 goal assists and three gains in what was an impressive performance. New to the Thunderbirds line-up but not new to the SSN, Sam Gooden displayed her long bomb shooting registering nine super shots. Charlee Hodges returned to the fold after spending last year with the Northern Stars while Tayla Williams also debuted showcasing the Thunderbirds’ willingness to throw the bibs around and look to the bench.

Collingwood Magpies

It is fair to say that the Magpies are a shell of the team they used to be with a host of key players not in the squad this year. But that change paved the way for some young up and coming players to gain some valuable SSN minutes with Molly Jovic enjoying the court time. The speedy wing attack slotted into the mix seamlessly with her speed, 1-2 punch to hit circle edge and vision into the circle. Youngster Nyah Allen also had an influence with two super shots to her name despite only racking up a couple of minutes on court. But it was the work rate of Melissa Bragg that was prominent for the Pies with the wing defence working in overdrive to combat the experience and star power of Liz Watson. Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward debuted for the Pies and asserted her dominance on the court while fellow goal defence Matilda Garrett also showed glimpses of her potential with her tagging style of defence, while Emma Ryde debuted for the Pies with a wealth of experience behind her at the level.

GIANTS Netball

Although she has become a familiar name for many it was the increased game time that really allowed Kiera Austin to shine for the GIANTS. Replacing the retired Kim Green out in wing attack, Austin rose to the challenge with the shooter-come-midcourter feeding the ball into the circle with ease and precision while also sliding into the goal circle to hit the long bomb in the final five minutes of the term. No surprise that 2019 Rising Star Amy Parmenter continued her merry way with the wing defence causing havoc with her ball winning ways and speed off the mark while exciting defensive prospect Matilda McDonnell also plied her trade. After spending three years with the GIANTS as a training partner, Maddie Hay made her highly anticipated debut with her timing and slick hands on show and youngster Sophie Dwyer was injected to sink the long bomb and did just that, finishing with two super shots from two attemps.

Melbourne Vixens

In her debut match for the Melbourne Vixens Kate Eddy did not skip a beat with the talented wing defence taking like a duck to water in her new colours. Coming back from injury Eddy did not take long to adapt to her new surroundings showcasing her impressive three foot marking and deceptive speed to cover her opponent at every turn. Her versatility to switch from wing defence into goal defence is exactly what the Vixens needed displaying not only her skill but so to her netball smarts. Jacqui Newton also made her Suncorp Super Netball debut and while it was only a couple of minutes she quickly immersed herself into the the action.

NSW Swifts

Lauren Moore sent netball fans into a frenzy in her first full game with the New South Wales Swifts as the goal defence completely and utterly dominated across the four quarters with her tenacity and speed. She threw herself into every contest available and displayed her never say die attitude to constantly harass her opponent and create turnovers to propel the ball back down the court and into attack for the Swifts. She generated plenty of excitement for onlookers racking up valuable tips and intercepts to disrupt the flow of her opposition team in attack. Meanwhile goaler Sophie Garbin also plied her trade with her ability to come on and have an influence despite being down on her normal accuracy.

Queensland Firebirds

With no Gretel Bueta it was goaler Tippah Dwan that stood up in her place, wowing many with explosiveness and confidence to back herself from range. Although she is not the tallest shooter Dwan showcased her ability to create the play out the front and then deliver into Romelda Aiken under the post while also proving her netball smarts to get herself into damaging positions in the goal circle. Macy Gardner continued to find her form with the young midcourter displaying her speed and quick hands to give and go around the circle edge. Defensively it is hard to go past the combination of Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe with the duo continuously improving with their tenacity and ability to shut down goals to post and skill to rotate through both goal keeper and defence. Still developing her craft, midcourter Lara Dunkley also fitted in effortlessly into the Firebirds attack with her calm and composed nature to re-offer around circle edge and provide support with her strong hands and clever positioning while both Mia Stower and Hulita Veve also made an appearance.

Sunshine Coast Lightning

Littered with experience and international stars across the court it was Cara Koenen that was the main focal point when it comes to young talent with the goaler leading the way under the post.  Although it took a while for her to find her feet and rhythm in attack, once Koenen settled into the match her skill shone through with her strong holds and silky movement doing the talking in the goal circle. She was down on her usual accuracy sitting at 81 per cent but still managed to pile on the pain with 35 goals from 43 attempts firming as a commanding presence for years to come both domestically and internationally.

West Coast Fever

After featuring in a couple of games last season Sunday Aryang burst out of the blocks in Round 1 with her defensive pressure. Despite playing out of position in goal defence Aryang took everything in her stride using her long arms and quick footwork to win ball back and drive ball through the centre third. Olivia Lewis and Emma Cosh also got some valuable time on court but it was 24-year-old Alice Teague-Neeld who took the step up that the Fever needed with the goal attack showcasing her range and playmaking abilities sinking 10 goals, four of which were from two point range.

Centre Pass Podcast: Georgie Horjus interview (Round 1 wrap)

Centre Pass Podcast: Molly Jovic interview (Round 1 preview)

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #2

WITH the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season beginning in just a couple of days, the Draft Central team has decided to count down five things we are looking forward to this season. One of the most interesting adaptations this season is the addition of rolling subs, with a few teams that could benefit more than others in different parts of the court.

Starting with last season’s premiers, the NSW Swifts have plenty of talent on their bench that proved they could impact where required last season. Over the past few seasons the development of Sophie Garbin has been impressive with the youngster finding patches of court time last season and a huge benefit of her improvement could see her jump on as an impact player where required to assist Helen Housby and Sam Wallace. Through the midcourt, the Swifts have some high quality names in the mix with Maddy Proud, Paige Hadley and Nat Haythornthwaite all dominant attackers and Proud returning from injury, as well as some stellar youngsters on the bench who can ply their trade when required. In defence the side is a little less versatile than past seasons so is unlikely to see as much change as past seasons, though expect to see the likes of Lauren Moore ply her trade to rest Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner.

Sunshine Coast Lightning are almost in a completely different position to the Swifts in that they rarely made use of their bench in past seasons, bar to rotate Steph Wood, Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia last season. Given Wood is the most confident on the long bomb, expect the pocket rocket to be the main offender in the last five minutes of the quarter while Koenen can push out to goal attack when required to assist Proscovia at the post, though we are still yet to see who will take the starting spot alongside Wood. What we could see from the Lightning is a different kind of rolling rotation through the midcourt, with potential of Laura Langman and Laura Scherian shuffling for a different approach to the centre position or to rest given the condensed fixture will see double the games in a short amount of time.

Heading to the Melbourne Vixens and it is much the same story to the Lightning, with rotations expected in the goal circle but significant and trusted connections formed down the rest of the court. With a number of goalers who are able to sink the long bomb, expect the Vixens to adapt their rolling subs based on the game at hand, with the trio of Mwai Kumwenda, Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip all able to ply their trade from anywhere in the circle. While the Vixens have been known to not make a huge amount of changes in past seasons, the addition of Kate Eddy this season could open up different defensive combinations, though the tried and tested duo of Emily Mannix and Jo Weston has rarely faltered with little rotations expected unless injury strikes.

Heading to a new look Collingwood Magpies side and it is safe to say that the Magpies will see plenty of rotations, especially with the return of Madi and Kelsey Browne from injury. With the dynamic sisters able to impact in any position through the midcourt and potentially set to be rested in patches to work up to full match fitness with no recent practice matches behind them, expect a couple of the Magpies’ young guns in Mel Bragg and Molly Jovic to take full control of their opportunities to get valuable court time. The goaling unit will be crucial for the Pies, with Shimona Nelson and Gabby Sinclair all but expected to play full games at this point with Julia Woolley returning to her Victorian Netball League side. This puts training partners Emma Ryde and Nyah Allen in good stead to make their Magpies debut but also puts a question mark over their heads with Allen having no prior SSN experience and Ryde a goal shooter like Nelson. Defensively, expect Jodi-Ann Ward and Matilda Garrett to be the major switch-ups in goal defence, with Ward also able to ply her trade in wing defence and Geva Mentor holding strong in goal keeper. 

Sitting just out of the top four last season, this GIANTS unit is looking very similar and is sure to benefit off the rolling subs with Kiera Austin a fantastic long shot to rotate into goal attack with fellow long bomb specialist Jo Harten at the post during the five minute two goal super shot period. Austin will likely fill the wing attack hole left by Kim Green at the end of last season for much of the rest of the quarters, with Caitlin Bassett important at the post and plenty of time for the goaling unit to meld better than they did in season 2019. After some fiddling last season Jamie-Lee Price secured the centre position with Amy Parmenter holding ground at wing defence little midcourt changes are expected except in the instance of the final five minutes, with Maddie Hay a potential to come off the bench where required. Defensively, Kristiana Manu’a and Sam Poolman are expected to hold down defence with assistance from Matilda McDonell.

After a disappointing season last year, West Coast Fever has nowhere to go but up and will likely see the most rolling sub movement through their goal circle in much the same way as they did in 2019. With Jhaniele Fowler as consistent and reliable as they come at the post, much of the movement will likely come from Kaylia Stanton and Alice Teague-Neeld, though Stanton’s goal shooter experience could prove crucial given she and Teague-Neeld are certainly more confident and used to the long bomb than Fowler. While it would be a huge change not having Fowler at the post, perhaps the switch-up is what the Fever need up forward when the two goal super shot comes into play. When it comes to  the midcourt and defence the Fever were forced to blood up a couple less experienced names last season that saw some impressive development, giving plenty of confidence to rotate where required. While Courtney Bruce is unlikely to rotate from goal keeper, Stacey Francis had a couple of runs out in wing defence last season while Jess Anstiss is a versatile midcourter meaning there could be plenty of movement in this Fever side.

A much-improved 2019 season saw the Thunderbirds suffer injuries aplenty and a bottom two finish while the off-season saw a flurry of changes. The retirement of long bomb specialist Maria Folau will hurt the Thunderbirds with the super shot coming into effect so shortly after her time with the side, and while the T’birds still have some stellar goalers, the likes of Lenize Potgieter and Sasha Glasgow are not the most adaptable, playing out most of their time in goal shooter. Still potentially in recovery from her 2019 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture, Glasgow will likely be rested early in the part of the season leaving much of that attacking rotation to Charlee Hodges and Sam Gooden out the front with Hodges expected to get the start. With a highly versatile back-end, expect Kate Shimmin, Layla Guscoth and Shamera Sterling to really utilise the rolling sub with each defender able to add something different to the circle, while Shadine Van Der Merwe can also be a handy option down back.

Like the Magpies, expect the Firebirds to really take advantage of the rolling subs in 2020 with a couple of young, inexperienced names and plenty of upcoming talent in the mix. With a couple of young defenders holding down the circle expect to see some rotation between Kim Jenner, Tara Hinchliffe and Rudi Ellis, while the experience and consistency of Gabi Simpson will hold up well in wing defence and highly unlikely to change from her regular post. The attacking midcourt will be down to Jemma Mi Mi and the hopeful return of Mahalia Cassidy, although young guns Macy Gardner and Lara Dunkley are both capable of rotating in where required especially if Cassidy is still a while off returning from ACL recovery. The real question for the Firebirds is what will happen in attack, with Romelda Aiken the obvious go-to girl at the post but no official replacement for Gretel Bueta as of yet. The rolling subs rule will allow the Firebirds to really feel out connections, with South African import Ine-Mari Venter the only viable option for the time being as the sole additional goaler on the list, though training partner Tippah Dwan is a solid option on the bench after being a quality option in preseason last year prior to injury.

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #5

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #4

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #3

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #1

Centre Pass Podcast: Season preview

 

2020 Suncorp Super Netball preview: Round 1

DESPITE a last minute fixture change the highly anticipated return of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) is set to kick off this weekend with cross town derbies the main flavour of the round. With COVID-19 restrictions in place for many of the states, teams have made the last minute dash to the Sunshine State meaning all four games will be played at Nissan Arena.

Queensland Firebirds v. Sunshine Coast Lightning
Saturday, 1 August

Grand finalists Sunshine Coast Lightning will be eager to get the wood over their state side rivals and prove that they will once again be the team to beat in 2020. Despite losing the grand final last year the Lightning have had little to no turnover in the off-season with the major change coming in the coaches box with Kylee Byrne taking charge. For the Firebirds they have been dealt a huge blow with Gretel Bueta announcing her pregnancy and subsequently out for the season.

With options aplenty in the goal circle for the Lightning expect the two time premiers to rotate their options to find their best combination. Entering her second SSN season Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia will be hoping to bring her intensity and accuracy to post to become a real force to be reckoned with in the circle. Bursting onto the scene last year, Cara Koenen is another option in at goal shooter for the Lightning able to go to post from range and showcase her clever movement. But it is her versatility that could cause headaches for the Firebirds defensive unit able to switch out to goal attack when needed. The ever-reliable Steph Wood is crafty with ball in hand and not afraid to put up the long bomb and while she did not finish the way she would have liked last year will be keen to make amends in 2020. Although still young, the combination of Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe will have to be on song from the opening minute of the match if they are to shut down the Lightning attack. Jenner and Hinchliffe are both renowned for their ball winning ways but can often rack up the penalties, which is something they will have to monitor in this clash to limit the amount of free opportunities to go to post. The injection of Rudi Ellis could provide a point of difference and some extra height to nullify either Proscovia or Koenen at the post.

Boasting a stacked midcourt with the likes of Silver Ferns veteran Laura Langman and Diamonds representative Laura Scherian the Lightning will be hoping to exploit the young Firebirds midcourt of Jemma Mi Mi, Macy Gardner and Lara Dunkley. Bueta’s absence will leave a w=hole both through the midcourt and in the goal circle meaning it will be up to Romelda Aiken to lead the charge under the post and do the heavy lifting. Defensively the Lightning have one of the strongest combinations with Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius constantly on the hunt for any loose ball and able to apply a wealth of pressure both on the shot and through transition. With Ine Mari Venter or Tippah Dwan likely to take the goal attack position expect the Lightning to double down on Aiken at the post and freeze up any easy avenue to post.

Given Sunshine Coast’s strong connections down the court and their never say die attitude they should have the upper hand against the Firebirds.

Adelaide Thunderbirds v. West Coast Fever
Saturday, 1 August

Both sides had an up and down season last year and will be hoping to put their foot down in Round 1. When they met in the concurrent round last year it was the Adelaide Thunderbirds that got the job done ended their 23 game losing streak. It was a feat they will be hoping to repeat this season against a relatively unchanged West Coast Fever line-up.

There is no denying that Jhaniele Fowler is the go-to girl for the Fever. Standing at 196cm the goal shooter is the Fever’s get out of jail free card, able to bomb it long into her and she will deliver on the scoreboard. She is prolific to post and oozes nothing but class, composure and balance to reel in errant passes. The battle in the air will be exciting to watch with Shamera Sterling a real menace for the Thunderbirds given her long limbs and impressive leap. Still solidifying their starting goal attack, both Alice Teague-Neeld and Kaylia Stanton will have to up the ante if they are to draw attention off Fowler at the post. Both goalers have the ability to go for the long bomb and are clever with ball in hand to create space but at times lack confidence, something the Thunderbirds will be hoping to exploit. The return of Layla Guscoth will bolster the Thunderbirds line-up with the experienced defender able to tag players out of a game with her shadowing style of play while Kate Shimmin is another viable option inside of the defensive circle to provide that spark and athleticism.

With Fowler up one end the other bookend for the Fever is captain and Australian Diamonds goal keeper Courtney Bruce. She is a hardnosed defender, constantly on the lookout for an intercept and uses her quick feet to will herself to the ball. Her lean over the shot is impressive while her physicality alongside Stacey Francisconstant niggle can offset opposition goalers. In her first official outing as a Thunderbird, South African Lenize Potgieter will have her work cut out for her but is no stranger to the big stage often letting her quickfire shot and accuracy to post do the talking. While it may take a couple of minutes for her to settle into the match expect Potgieter to control the flow in attack and be the main avenue to goal with Samantha Gooden and Charlee Hodges to play more of a supporting role. Neither Gooden or Hodges played at SSN level last year meaning the T’birds frontend will have a very fresh look this season with experienced heads in Potgieter and Chelsea Pitman to lead the way.

It will be an intense battle with both teams vying to kickstart their season in style and showcase their development. A settled line-up could give the Fever a slight edge however the T’birds have a couple of game changers across the court.

GIANTS Netball v. NSW Swifts
Sunday, 2 August

Fresh off a premiership the NSW Swifts will be hoping to make it back-to-back grand final wins and it all starts here with a clash against their state rivals. The Swifts stunned many last season with their remarkable season and will be hoping to build on that momentum this season. After narrowly missing the finals last season the GIANTS will have a real fire in the belly and another preseason together could give them that edge they have been looking for.

Both sides boast a relatively young and developing midcourt making for an intriguing battle through the centre third. The loss of Kim Green could be huge for the GIANTS but Kiera Austin is shaping up to be the favourite to replace the veteran with her impressive ball placement, speed across the court and vision into the circle while centre Jamie-Lee Price will be looking to elevate her game even further. Although more accustomed to the wing defence position, Price showed last year that she has the endurance and skillset to flick the switch and deliver in attack, something the GIANTS will be hoping to see more of this season. No longer the new kid on the block, Amy Parmenter will be keen to back up her stellar 2019 season and prove it was not a one off with her speed off the mark, tenacity and silky footwork set to match up on Swifts wing attack Natalie Haythornthwaite or returning captain Maddy Proud. Coming back from an anterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL) Proud offers experience and excitement in attack with her fancy footwork and hustle for prime spot on circle edge while Paige Hadley is dynamic in centre able to light up the court with her speed and read of the play.

Defensively the combination of Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner will have their hands full with Caitlin Bassett and Jo Harten at the post. Klau and Turner found their rhythm last season with their defensive prowess, ability to set up a wall down back and cleanliness to attack each and every play. But Bassett and Harten are no easy beats, oozing nothing but netball smarts and experience to work the ball around the court and get into damaging positions. Harten is not afraid to go for the long bomb which could prove a problem with the introduction of the super shot while Bassett’s accuracy wavered at times last season, something she will be hoping to address.

If Sam Wallace and Helen Housby can get on top of Sam Poolman and Kristiana Manu’a it will go a long way in setting the tone for the Swifts and ultimately claiming the win.

Melbourne Vixens v. Collingwood Magpies
Sunday, 2 August

The last time these two sides met the Melbourne Vixens got the last laugh, dominating the Pies in the semi-final from start to finish. But since then the Magpies have had a complete overhaul with four of their starting seven all not taking the court this season while the Vixens have maintained a stable list with Kate Eddy the only person to join the fray, replacing Renae Ingles. Having played no practice matches due to the COVID-19 restrictions both sides could come out a bit rusty but that will not stop either team from fighting tooth and nail to secure the first derby win.

The weight of putting up a competitive total ultimately falls onto the young shoulders of Shimona Nelson with the Collingwood goaler a dominant force under the post with her strong holds, aerial skill and height. With no Nat Medhurst out the front to deliver into her or put up shots it will be up Gabby Sinclair to fill the hole left and showcase her netball nous to dish off pin point passes and go to post. The added bonus and potential return of Madi or Kelsey Browne for Round 1 will also have a huge influence on the Magpies shooting unit with the duo able to release the ball with confidence and ease credit to their impressive vision, variety of passes and ball placement. But the Vixens have a tight defence with Emily Mannix and Jo Weston a threatening combination with their suffocating pressure, three foot marking and physicality to force turnovers aplenty.

Up the other end the Melbourne Vixens also have a three pronged attack with Mwai Kumwenda officially returning from her ACL injury in 2018 and joining tried and tested duo of Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip. The three can all rotate seamlessly through the circle and, most importantly, quickly adapt to whatever scenario they are placed into. Thwaites and Philip are a concerning prospect for the Magpies when it comes to the super shot with the two reliable from range while Kumwenda is an excitement machine thanks to her leap and aerial presence. It will be up to Collingwood co-captain Geva Mentor to stand up in defence and win ball back for her side while both Matilda Garrett and Jodi-Ann Ward offer that element of unpredictability.

With Collingwood boasting a new look team expect the Vixens to exploit their developing connections with their quick ball movement and accuracy to post to catch them off guard and secure a win.

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #4

WITH the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season beginning in less than a week, the Draft Central team has decided to count down five things we are looking forward to this season. Number four on the countdown is how a number of crucial list changes could impact ladder positions and really change up this season compared to 2019.

Note: All ladder predictions are an average position based on Draft Central’s combined writer suggestions. 

Adelaide Thunderbirds

With Maria Folau retiring at the end of 2019 the Adelaide Thunderbirds are in an interesting position, with some quality players through the middle and back end of the court but a somewhat inexperienced front-end. While Lenize Potgieter has taken up a starting position in goal shooter, the side will surely miss their long bomb sharpshooter, with the goal attack position now down to the likes of Charlee Hodges and Sam Gooden though neither of the duo took the court at Super Netball level in 2019. With Beth Cobden also removed from the mix with injury last year and no Australian Netball League (ANL) development pathway in 2020 to work back to full fitness, the side will rely a lot on its young players. Defensively, the return of Layla Guscoth will be a massive step in the right direction for the Thunderbirds, with the Draft Central team expecting the T’birds to sit a fraction higher on the ladder position than they did in 2019. 

Draft Central prediction: 5th
2019 finish: 7th

 

Collingwood Magpies

Like the Thunderbirds the Collingwood Magpies saw a flurry of changes following the 2019 season, though many were forced changes such as Ash Brazill doing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) back in February. Alongside Brazill, the Magpies will also go ahead without Nat Medhurst, Kim Ravaillion and April Brandley this season with the trio sitting out of the 2020 season due to pregnancy and ultimately leaving holes across all three thirds of the court. That being said, some handy pickups such as Jamaican import Jodi-Ann Ward and elevated midcourters Mel Bragg and Molly Jovic will help to bolster the Magpies’ stocks and the return of both Madi and Kelsey Browne from injury will do wonders for the side. That being said, the new and mostly untried connections of the team sees Draft Central pit the 2020 Magpies lower on the ladder than last year mainly due to the loss of valuable experience across all three thirds.

Draft Central prediction: 6th
2019 finish: 4th

 

GIANTS Netball

The GIANTS are in an interesting position for the 2020 season, suffering very little changes to their 2019 list. The loss of Kim Green to retirement could be the real kicker this year, with the champion wing attack a crucial cog through the GIANTS midcourt over the past few years and leaving a gaping hole in attack. While Kiera Austin is a tried and true candidate to slot in there if need be, the young goal attack could be crucial during the last five minutes of each quarter in goal attack for super shot attempts, meaning the wing attack position could be left to inexperienced youngster Maddie Hay. The GIANTS could be a huge threat if they iron out midcourt issues early, with the Draft Central team seeing the side go one better than last season with potential for a finals berth.

Draft Central prediction: 4th
2019 finish: 5th

 

Melbourne Vixens

Melbourne Vixens are in much the same position as the GIANTS this season but with the added bonus of a solid 2019 season behind them. With just the one major change at the end of 2019 with club legend Renae Ingles retiring, the Vixens snatched up Kate Eddy who will provide an almost like-for-like replacement, with connections already forged from coming through the Victorian pathways over the years. Eddy’s versatility to ply her trade as a circle defender could also be a huge addition to the side which has been up there in finals consideration but not yet been able to break through those top teams. It looks like the Vixens will hope to blood up some young talent with Tayla Honey returning to the side after injury kept her away from the court in 2019, and despite the new inclusions expect the Vixens to be right up there for finals contention this year. 

Draft Central prediction: 1st
2019 finish: 3rd

 

NSW Swifts

NSW Swifts had a huge 2019 and while they lost Eddy, the return of captain Maddy Proud is sure to pay dividends with the speedster providing another quality midcourter to an already stacked team. The Swifts proved they had the confidence in their bench last season and came out of it with a premiership making this season crucial for the side to prove last year was not just a fluke with plenty of young names amongst the group. Lauren Moore returns to the group after injury last season and is an adaptable defender to assist down back, while the elevation of midcourter Sophie Craig after her 2019 form saw her have an impact on the bench despite not starting the season with a contract will see the Swifts right up there once more. With a top two finish last year, expect the Swifts to back up there again this season.

Draft Central prediction: 2nd
2019 finish: 2nd

 

Queensland Firebirds

Queensland Firebirds had a struggle to the finish last season and surely would have been looking to go one better this season if it wasn’t for the sudden loss of Gretel Bueta to pregnancy. The departure of Bueta for the season leaves a huge hole, with the tall timber one of the greatest goalers of the competition and a key cog in attack for the Firebirds with her accuracy, commitment and flair. A trio of past Vixens headline the major changes, and while a replacement goal attack is yet to be announced, the addition of Ine-Mari Venter could see her have an impact in the goal circle. That being said, the South African product is a goal shooter by trade making for a difficult position for the Firebirds with a goal attack bib handy. The addition of Lara Dunkley could inject some speed through the midcourt with her tried and tested connection with Venter a handy bonus, while Rudi Ellis joins the Firebirds defence though her inexperience at SSN level could leave something to be desired. Unless they have a miracle up their sleeve, 2020 looks like it could be another rebuild year for the ailing Firebirds with the Draft Central team seeing the side struggle to put wins on the board again this season.

Draft Central prediction: 8th
2019 finish: 8th

 

Sunshine Coast Lightning

Sunshine Coast Lightning have been consistently up there throughout the Suncorp Super Netball over the years so expect the side to continue its winning form with its consistent names proving time and time again that age is just a number. With zero major changes compared to last season after a tumultuous 2018/19 changeover, the Lightning will be one of the closest-knit teams out there this season and as always, will be one to watch out for with a number of players who can change a game with a snap of their fingers. The only change the Lightning have coming into the season is their new coach in Kylee Byrne, who replaced Noeline Taurua at the end of 2019. A high calibre team like the Lightning should not suffer too much from the switch, with the Draft Central team placing the Lightning a fraction lower purely because it is an older team which could suffer from wear and tear as the condensed season goes on.

Draft Central prediction: 3rd
2019 finish: 1st

 

West Coast Fever

With a disappointing 2019 campaign behind them after a huge 2018 that saw them make the grand final, the West Coast Fever are in a position to prove they have what it takes in the competition. But as one of the most predictable sides in the Super Netball they will have a tough job switching up play to get more wins on the board this season, with the Fever following in the Lightning’s footsteps and not making any changes for the 2020 season. While this is a bonus for the side, able to forge some stronger connections, the individual effort to post has hurt the Fever over the past year making for a make-or-break season for its attack unit if they cannot produce strong scoreboard pressure in the goal attack position.

Draft Central prediction: 7th
2019 finish: 6th

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #5

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #3

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #2

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #1

Centre Pass Podcast: Season preview

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #5

WITH the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season beginning in less than a week, the Draft Central team has decided to count down five things we are looking forward to this season. Coming in at number five is the further development of young up and coming players across the league. With a couple of fresh faces showcasing their explosive potential last season, the extended break could have worked wonders for them and allowed extra time to hone their craft and come out raring to go in Round 1. 

Starting with defence, there are a couple of talented names in there with Shamera Sterling, Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe just to name a few. Sterling set the court alight last season with her impressive aerial ability and consistency in defence to win back a wealth of ball with her clever footwork and long arms, and with a little cleaning up she could be an even bigger threat this year with improved connections across the court. 

Jenner and Hinchliffe learned from the best in Laura Geitz and it shows, with the defensive duo a little on the undisciplined side but made up for it with their rate of development and ability to turn a game on its head. With more time behind them to strengthen their connections in the circle and increase their endurance they could be crucial to the Firebirds’ success this year. Turning to the Collingwood Magpies, Matilda Garrett will have a real chance this season to rack up some crucial minutes on court with April Brandley out of the mix. While she did not manage a heap of court time last season, Garrett will be one of the mid-tier experienced names with the Magpies this season making this a pivotal time for the young defender to step up to the challenge.

Coming through the midcourt, Amy Parmenter made herself into a crucial cog last season for the GIANTS and is set to provide that same impact once more given she will no longer be the new kid on the block. With speed and impeccable timing to boot, expect fan-favourite Parmenter to impress once more. Adelaide Thunderbirds youngster Maisie Nankivell was elevated for a patch of last season, with the tenacious midcourter able to create turnovers and be a physical threat with her arms over pressure and speed, though with the calibre of midcourters on the Tbirds’ list, there is no guarantee she will take the court. While not one of the younger ones on this list, Kate Eddy will hope for her first uninterrupted season at SSN level after all but cementing her spot as the Vixens’ starting wing defence for 2020. Her development with the NSW Swifts in 2019 shined bright but injury struck in the late stages of the season, seeing Eddy miss out on premiership glory. 

The retirement of Kim Green opens up further possibilities for Kiera Austin, with the versatile young attacker able to ply her trade in any number of positions, able to be a threat in both wing attack and goal attack. Austin can have an impact from within the circle with her clean movement and long range shooting ability while Lightning goaler Cara Koenen came along in leaps and bounds last season with her silky footwork and impressive accuracy. Talking of development, Shimona Nelson starred for the Magpies last year and as the now most experienced goaler in the attack unit, will need to continue that form if the Magpies want to win. She developed at a rate of knots in 2019 with her hands becoming cleaner with every match, but will need backup from her fellow young goalers to be able to ply her trade to her full ability.

Also looking to ply their trade this season are the likes of Charlee Hodges who returns to the Thunderbirds after a season at the ANZ Premiership and Sophie Garbin who has been a handy rotation for the Swifts over the past few seasons, able to have an impact off the bench. A couple of youngsters in the likes of Tayla Honey, Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Olivia Lewis will hope to gain some precious exposure but sit behind some formidable names that could see them continue as benchwarmers. Unlikely to share the centre role as much as she did in 2019, expect Hannah Petty to come out with a point to prove in centre while a Firebirds duo in Lara Dunkley and Macy Gardner will be vying for a starting spot through the midcourt with Mahalia Cassidy likely to be managed early upon her return from injury but two consistent fixtures through the midcourt already settled.

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #4

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #3

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #2

SSN: Five things we’re looking forward to – #1

Centre Pass Podcast: Season preview

2020 SSN: Season Preview – GIANTS Netball

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 the next in line GIANTS Netball. 

Coach: Julie Fitzgerald
Captain: Jo Harten
2019 finish: 5th

Falling just short of a finals berth the GIANTS will be disappointed with how 2019 ended and eager to make amends in 2020. Pipped at the post by Collingwood in terms of ladder positioning the GIANTS showed plenty of passion and determination throughout the season but simply did not do enough to warrant a spot in the top four and make a charge at a grand final opportunity. Without Serena Guthrie who returned home to England, the GIANTS at times seemed to lack that extra layer of grunt through the midcourt. However her absence allowed some young up and coming players to take the lead and hone their craft through the middle third. At the end of the season the GIANTS farewelled veteran and Diamonds sensation Kim Green with the talented midcourter hanging up the dress after an illustrious career. With some new faces in the mix and big shoes to fill expect the GIANTS to come out with a point to prove in 2020 and take advantage of the Super Shot. 

2020 predictions/expectations:

With Green retiring it leaves a chance for Kiera Austin to come in and really stamp her authority. Although more commonly known for her role as a goal attack, the talented youngster can double as a wing attack with her precision feeding the ball a key element of her game play. Throw in her vision and sheer netball smarts and Austin is an ideal candidate to replace Green. Although only 24-years-old, Jamie-Lee Price is the most experienced midcourter for the GIANTS and will have to lead the troops with the wing defence come centre responsible for the transition through court and tempo of the game. Despite boasting a young midcourt the GIANTS have a wealth of experience when it comes to the shooting circle headlined by two of netballs biggest names in Caitlin Bassett and Jo Harten. Bassett is deadly from under the post and while she had a shaky start to the 2019 season due to an injury will be hoping to impose herself in her second year with the club. On the other hand, Harten does some of her best work from around the perimeter of the circle with the goaler able to rock back on the shot and convert. The GIANTS captain can play both goal shooter and goal attack making her a highly versatile option for the GIANTS in the circle. Defensively the combination of Kristina Manu’a and Sam Poolman will have to kick it up another gear in season 2020 if they are to win more ball back and shut down opposition teams. There is plenty of excitement building around Matilda McDonell and Teigan O’Shannassy with the latter returning from injury and hoping to make an impact with her defensive prowess. 

Key player to watch:

There is no denying that Amy Parmenter took the competition by storm last year, bursting onto the scene and not looking back. Her explosiveness across the court and seamless transition between wing defence and centre makes her an integral member in the GIANTS outfit. Only entering her second year with the club the highly touted midcourter still has plenty to learn and a wealth of development left in but has already shown that she can change the course of a game in an instant. Her ability to read the play and spring into action while her speed off the mark also causes havoc for opposition attackers. She is not afraid to throw herself at the contest, using her tenacious mindset to hunt the ball. Parmenter is renowned for her hard work around the circle edge, applying strong hands over pressure and three-foot marking in the defensive third to block her opponents vision. With her defensive attributes quite profound her skill in attack is just as impressive, using her speed to create space and deliver into the goal circle when need be. Her vision is also highly impressive and will want to make sure she can continue to build on that throughout the 2020 season. 

Team list:

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

Memorable Matches: Firebirds defeat Swifts in 2015 ANZ Championship Grand Final

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is the Queensland Firebirds’ come-from-behind victory over the NSW Swifts in the 2015 ANZ Championship Grand Final.

It was the culmination of a massive ANZ Championship season which set the Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts against one another, and the Swifts never looked like losing – before the Firebirds stunned in the final minutes of the match. It was a slow start for both teams and while the Swifts had the early lead, the Firebirds did not back down, contesting every single ball. With star players across the court it was all about momentum and the Swifts were swimming in it early, with Caitlin Thwaites and Sharni Layton impressing at both ends and connections all down the midcourt.

The feisty matchup saw neither team leave any stone unturned, with Laura Geitz and Kim Green seeing more of each other than a goal keeper and wing attack typically would. Meanwhile, quality defensive pressure from Julie Corletto and Layton saw the Swifts duo dominate much of the play, with Firebirds goalers Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken stopped in their tracks and unwilling to make risky moves. The Swifts had the accuracy going for them on court, with Thwaites and Susan Pettitt firing on all cylinders, unfazed by the persistent defensive pressure from the likes of Geitz and partner in crime, Clare McMeniman who continually pushed the shooters to attempt risky shots – though those shots continued to pay off. It was the Firebirds’ penalty count which saw them struggle for much of the match, almost doubling the Swifts’ at half time and finishing with a higher contact penalty count alone (66 and 16 obstructions) than the Swifts did overall (50 and 10).

While Swifts continued to prove too strong across the court, the Firebirds started to regain some control bit by bit, working their way into the match and continuing to pressure the Swifts and fight for a chance to win the second half. A quality third term from Geitz was part of the reason why the Firebirds were able to steal back momentum, holding Thwaites to just 12 goals in the second half – five in the third – while Aiken stepped up to ply her trade, shooting 28 in the second half to well and truly take the game by storm. While Geitz racked up the stats in the second half, the Swifts slowed down. Despite still holding the lead, it was clear the hosts were on their way back and were not about to lie down.

With the premiership in sight, Queensland unleashed at the right moment and with 30 seconds left on the clock levelled the scores, with the next centre pass going their way making for a tense countdown. The Firebirds played keepings off to finish, patiently chipping the ball around before Bueta went to post to deny a last second chance for the Swifts – with her only goal for the quarter seeing the Firebirds hit the front for the first time. With 14 seconds left on the clock, only a massive save would stop the Swifts from scoring, so Geitz did just that – taking a game saving intercept and passing the ball off, seeing the Firebirds defeat the Swifts 57-56 and sending the purple army into hysterics.

While not the most accurate of the day, sinking the winning goal was enough for Bueta, who shot 10 from 17 to provide a quality support for Aiken (47 from 51). It was a shared effort for the Swifts goalers however, with both Thwaites (30 from 34) and Pettitt (26 from 28m, 35 centre pass receives) providing scoreboard pressure and proving influential in attack. Bueta’s wealth of work to get the ball to Aiken was second to none, leading the assists with 20 from 32 feeds and 33 centre pass receives, while Swifts midcourter Green came in second with 17 from 38 and doing a lot more second phase work alongside Pettitt. It was a battle of the goal keepers, with both Geitz and Layton finding a wealth of turnover ball, though Geitz was the big performer with six intercepts (eight gains). Layton was not far behind with three intercepts (four gains but seven deflections) and shared the defensive stats with Corletto (two intercepts, three gains).

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 11 | 14 | 16 | 16 (57)
NSW SWIFTS 14 | 16 | 15 | 11 (56)

Queensland Firebirds

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Bueta (Nee Tippett)
WA: Caitlyn Nevins
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Clare McMeniman
GK: Laura Geitz

BENCH: Bec Bulley, Verity Charles, Laura Clemesha, Beryl Friday, Amy Wild
COACH: Roselee Jencke

NSW Swifts

GS: Caitlin Thwaites
GA: Susan Pettitt
WA: Kim Green
C: Paige Hadley
WD: Abbey McCulloch
GD: Julie Corletto
GK: Sharni Layton

BENCH: Jade Clarke, Erin Hoare, Taylah Davies, Micaela Wilson, Steph Wood
COACH: Rob Wright

SHOOTING STATS

FIREBIRDS

Romelda Aiken 47/51
Gretel Bueta 10/17

SWIFTS

Caitlin Thwaites 30/34
Susan Pettitt 26/28

Netball fantasy teams: 1999 World Cup All-Stars v. 2015 World Cup All-Stars

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

1999 World Cup team:

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

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

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

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

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

2015 World Cup team:

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

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

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

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

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

Who would win?

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

Netball World Cups 16 years apart, who wins?
1999 NWC All-Stars
2015 NWC All-Stars
Created with QuizMaker

Top 15 SSN training partners #9 – Latika Tombs

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is taking a look at the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) plate in 2020. Just inside the top 10 at nine is GIANTS midcourter, Latika Tombs. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration 2019 form, individual potential and future development.

The young midcourter is back for her second year at the club and with netball in her blood it is no wonder why the GIANTS were so keen to keep her. Tombs is still developing her craft and despite starting out as a defender made the seamless transition into the midcourt where she is renowned for her damaging strength. Although she is more familiar with the wing defence or centre position, the 19-year-old has been forced to mould into wing attack, a role that she has taken with open arms.

With help from the likes of superstar Kim Green, Tombs has been exposed to plenty of brilliance when it comes to ball placement and the perfect balance of speed and strength. Much like Green, Tombs is strong with ball in hand and most importantly treasures possession, carefully delivering the ball to her goalers. Her versatility is a clear element of her game play able to effortlessly switch between the three centre court positions.

She is no stranger to the big stage captaining her state to the Under 19s National Netball Championships while also spending time in the Australian Netball League to test her netball skills and stamina. Her ability to take charge of the New South Wales squad and lead on court is a testament to her commitment, understanding and on-court leadership to stand up when need be and more importantly deliver.

Tombs is a dynamic mover, able to sight the space across the court and drive hard into it to receive the ball and then dish off accordingly. She is strong around the circle edge, not often fazed by the defensive influence of other players and has proven that she can put pressure on the ball carrier with her three-foot marking. Playing alongside the likes of Jamie-Lee Price who is renowned for her doggedness at the contest, speed and undeniable hustle will only add to Tombs’ desire for success.

Meanwhile having the experience of Australian Diamonds Caitlin Bassett and England Roses goaler Jo Harten will further aide her development. Although she has made a few appearances at Suncorp Super Netball level, further exposure will help to increase her endurance and netball smarts and make her a potential player of the future.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#10 Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
#9 Latika Tombs (GIANTS Netball)