Tag: Latanya Wilson

2021 SSN Preview: Round 11

IT has been a whirlwind 24 hours in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) with the COVID-19 restrictions throwing a spanner in the works and forcing wholesale fixture changes. South Australia will now form a hub with five of the eight clubs taking up residence with only the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning unable to enter the state and West Coast Fever fortunate to remain at home for the time being. Two consecutive losses from the Fever has kept the finals door ajar for the Firebirds while the GIANTS have re-kindled their winning ways.

Melbourne Vixens vs. Collingwood Magpies
Saturday, July 17 @1:00pm

The Melbourne Derby will once again be played outside of Victoria with the Melbourne Vixens taking on Collingwood. It has been a disappointing season for the Vixens while the Magpies have shown glimpses of magic but are just lacking that final level of finesse to really compete with the best in the competition.

The Vixens have found it incredibly difficult to penetrate in attack despite having the likes of Mwai Kumwenda at their disposal down in goal shooter. Neither Hannah Mundy or Kaylia Stanton have really been able to impose themselves week in week out which will allow the likes of Jodi-Ann Ward to really inflict some severe pain. Ward has been in scintillating form for the Magpies consistently getting hands to ball and combining nicely with stalwart and veteran Geva Mentor down in defence. Throw in the likes of Ash Brazill in wing defence and the Magpies may have the upper hand given just how quickly Brazill can change the course of a game with her dynamic movement and sheer athleticism.

Magpies fans will be hoping that Kelsey Browne returns to the court after missing last week with a concussion. Brown offers plenty of speed and excitement into this attacking unit headlined by Shimona Nelson in goal shooter and Gabby Sinclair out in goal attack. Molly Jovic is also another one that really relishes the presence of Browne out on court meaning that the Vixens will be hoping that Kate Moloney is able to combat that presence through the midcourt. Defensively the Vixens have been relatively strong with Jo Weston, Emily Mannix, Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Kate Eddy all able to ply their trade but will need a full 60 minutes if they are to get over the top of Collingwood.

NSW Swifts vs. GIANTS Netball
Saturday, July 17 @3:00pm

The battle between NSW Swifts and the GIANTS is going to be an exciting one with both sides coming off big wins. The Swifts toppled the Vixens in what was a one-sided affair while the GIANTS monopolised the play against the Pies. This contest however will throw up another lot of challenges as the two sides need a win to really secure their spot in the top four.

Sam Wallace only played a half of netball last week but showcased just how much damage she can do shooting at 100 per cent with 33 goals to her name and will be eager to replicate that performance in this clash. The GIANTS defence will need to really unify if they are to stop the Swifts from scoring with Helen Housby and Sophie Garbin both viable options as well. The GIANTS will need to put on a full court defensive press to stop the ball from transitioning into the hands of either Wallace, Garbin or Housby given how accurate they are to post. April Brandley will be one to watch for the GIANTS with her quick feet and tenacity while Sam Poolman will have to really contest and body up on the likes of Wallace if they are to upset the Swifts frontend. The battle between Amy Parmenter and any number of Swifts midcourters in Paige Hadley, Maddy Proud or Nat Haythornthwaite will also garner plenty of attention given just how dynamic and integral they are to their respective sides.

Up the other end of the court Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer are proving to be a match made in heaven with the pair able to rotate seamlessly through the circle and most importantly attack the goals from just about anywhere in the circle. The two ooze nothing but confidence and smarts meaning both Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau will have to be on their A-game to shut down the space and go out hunting early to send some fear into the GIANTS attackers. Maddie Hay has been somewhat of an unsung hero for the GIANTS with her crafty court play while Jamie-Lee Price is just a pillar of consistency. But one thing is for sure and that is that the Swifts are littered with versatility in the form of Lauren Moore, Hadley and Tayla Fraser who can all push into wing defence.

West Coast Fever vs. Adelaide Thunderbirds
Saturday, July 17 @8:00pm

The Fever are coming into this clash off the back of two consecutive losses and will be hoping to change their fortunes against the Thunderbirds if they are to remain in the hunt for finals. While the competition has been moved to South Australia, the Thunderbirds will travel to Perth to play as one of the only traveling teams this round.

It is going to be a battle between the two Jamaican with Jhaniele Fowler holding down the fort for the Fever and Shamera Sterling tasked with stopping the goal shooting machine. Fowler has been nothing but consistent throughout her time in the SSN with her high volume and accuracy to post something to behold meaning the Thunderbirds defence in Sterling and Matilda Garrett are going to have their work cut out for them. Luckily enough the Thunderbirds have a couple of options in defence with Latanya Wilson and Shadine van der Merwe also able to ply their trade whether it be out in goal defence or in wing defence in order to stop the Fever. West Coast also have the options of Sasha Glasgow and Alice Teague-Neeld to create a moving circle if need be which we have seen in the past couple of rounds.

The midcourt for the Fever is the real engine room as they have the likes of Verity Charles, Jess Anstiss and Emma Cosh all able to effectively ply their trade while the Thunderbirds are littered with a lot more inexperienced players. Hannah Petty notched up her 50th game last weekend and will be eager to continue that leadership role through the centre while in the attacking end for the Thunderbirds it will be up to Lenize Potgieter to really steer the ship to combat that physical presence from Courtney Bruce, Sunday Aryang and Stacey Francis-Bayman. Potgieter will need Maisie Nankivell to be firing on all cylinders in wing attack to give the T’birds a chance to score with any form of fluidity.

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. Queensland Firebirds
Monday, July 19 @7:00pm

The Lightning are at the top of their game at the moment with their clean and clinical style of netball coming to the fore on the other hand the Firebirds have just lacked that consistency and four quarter ability to really grind out games. It is arguably a do or die clash for the Firebirds if they are hoping to make finals while Sunshine Coast are hoping to build some real momentum to solidify their standings in the top four.

There is no denying that the partnership between Cara Koenen and Steph Wood is one of the most damaging duos out on court and the pair found their groove well and truly last week. Given just how prolific the pair are to post it will be up to Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe to put in the ground work and upset the Lightning frontend with their constant niggle and physicality under the post. In fact if the Firebirds are any chance to win they will need a full court defence to stop the ball from firing into Koenen with Gabi Simpson and Kim Ravaillion likely to apply that strong hands over pressure through the midcourt.

All eyes will turn to the battle between Phumza Maweni and Romelda Aiken with both players barometers for their respective sides. Aiken is the tall timber under the post for the Firebirds and she plays some of her best netball when Gretel Bueta is up and about with the goal attack a real livewire credit to her athleticism and smarts. Maweni on the other hand is a real ball winner and can change the course of a game within an instant credit to her aerial ability and long limbs. Maweni and Karla Pretorius have been impressive throughout this season with the pair renowned for their ball winning ways and will need to stop the shooter to shooter connection if they are to upset Queensland. The Firebirds also have a great level of depth through the wing attack role with Jemma Mi Mi and Lara Dunkley viable options as for the Lightning they have Laura Scherian, Maddy McAuliffe and Mahalia Cassidy who are able to lead the charge.

Photo credit: Jason McCawley

Firebirds take down shaky Thunderbirds

THE Queensland Firebirds have kept their Suncorp Super Netball finals hopes alive with a 63-47 victory over Adelaide Thunderbirds during Round 10, as the Battle of the Birds went the way of the Queensland-based side. Despite only leading by two goals at the main change, the Firebirds came out flying in the third quarter to pile on 17 goals to nine and eventually claim the 16-goal victory.

It was the Firebirds that made the first move as both Romelda Aiken and Gretel Bueta were quick to get on the board and Kim Jenner‘s smothering defence kept Georgie Horjus away from the action. Lenize Potgieter‘s clean movement allowed her to add a couple goals to the table but it did not take long before a 6-2 lead emerged the way of the Firebirds, with their seamless transition down court and defensive pressure negating the work rate of the Thunderbirds. Kim Ravaillion fired on all cylinders, finding circle edge with ease as both Bueta and Aiken found space inside the circle, while Gabi Simpson worked in overdrive to limit Maisie Nankivell‘s impact in the front-end. With Bueta running rampant Latanya Wilson was injected into the action in goal defence for Matilda Garrett and had an immediate impact, registering an intercept. A flurry of Potgieter goals toward the end of the quarter saw the margin tighten again though with just two goals in it at the first break, with Shadine van der Merwe‘s fine form continuing as she blocked Lara Dunkley‘s every move.

An improved start to the second term saw the Thunderbirds briefly hold the upper hand early, as Potgieter managed three straight and Shamera Sterling got in on the action at the other end, however it proved to be the Firebirds attack that once again got up and going as a couple of gains – via Dunkley and Tara Hinchliffe in her 50th national league appearance – allowed Bueta and Aiken to wreak havoc and extend the scoreline out to six goals. But all that hard work was undone by errors as Ravaillion uncharacteristically gave away a couple of errant turnovers and offensive contacts came to the fore, with seven of the last 10 goals of the quarter going the way of the Thunderbirds credit once again to Potgieter’s footwork and accuracy and some excellent feeds from captain Hannah Petty in her 50th national league milestone match. Just two goals separated the two sides at the main break, 29-27.

It was one again a hot start from the Firebirds that allowed them to get ahead as the second half began, however this time it was not taken away from them as the side tightened up across the court and extended their lead seamlessly. With eight early goals only blocked by a couple of Potgieter shots in the middle, the Firebirds were beginning to gain some confidence as Ravaillion set the court alight with three intercepts for the term. Nankivell’s influence was well and truly nullified by Simpson while the quick passes of the Firebirds made it hard for Sterling and Garrett to find purchase on the loose ball. An eight-goal buffer was lessened to six once more as the two sides went goal for goal, before Tippah Dwan joined the fray out the front to create a new-look circle and put up a super shot to extend the margin to 10 goals at the final change. The Aiken-Dwan combination appeared to pay off immediately as the duo rotated seamlessly and worked in tandem with the quick hands of Jemma Mi Mi.

The final quarter was do or die for the Thunderbirds, and they came out with a point to prove as Potgieter piled on six of the first 10 goals. But where Potgieter stepped up, so did Aiken, as the Firebirds goal shooter continued to fire on all cylinders credit to the impressive feeding load of Ravaillion and Mi Mi. Each time the Thunderbirds looked like rallying it was the Firebirds midcourt which stepped up, with confidence exuding from the side as Sam Gooden took the court for the Thunderbirds in a last ditch effort to reduce the margin with the super shot. But it did not pay off, as it was the Firebirds that extended the scoreline continually, as they ran away with a 63-47 victory.

Aiken impressed with 42 goals from 53 attempts, as Bueta (13 from 14) and Dwan (five from eight) both played valuable assisting roles. Ravaillion topped the assists tally with 19 to her name to go with her three intercepts, while Jenner (two intercepts) and Hinchliffe (one) were smothering in their defence. For the Thunderbirds, Petty registered 20 goal assists and three deflections to lead the charge as Nankivell finished with 14 and five while Sterling (three intercepts) and Potgieter (two intercepts, 37 goals from 38 attempts) led from their respective ends.

 

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS | 12 | 15 | 9 | 11 (47)
QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS | 14 | 15 | 17 | 17 (53)

STARTING SEVENS

Thunderbirds

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Maisie Nankivell
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Shadine van der Merwe
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

Firebirds

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Bueta
WA: Lara Dunkley
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Kim Jenner
GK: Tara Hinchliffe

Thunderbirds outclass swooping Magpies

A HARD-FOUGHT clash set the scene in Adelaide on Sunday afternoon, as a hungry Adelaide Thunderbirds unit worked hard to fend off a hungry Collingwood Magpies side. It was a full-court defensive effort which eventually got the job done, as the Thunderbirds picked up their third win for the season by eight goals, 62-54.

It was a tough and highly contested start, as neither side wanted to waste ball but the defensive effort from both sides was huge from the get-go. With Gabby Sinclair out prior to the game with a quad niggle it was Kalifa McCollin who earned the starting goal attack bib for the first time this season and despite a shaky start underestimating Shamera Sterling’s long reach, the goal attack did not take long to find her form as the Magpies extended an early lead. The battle between Shimona Nelson and Sterling was hard to deny with neither player giving an inch within the goal circle and plenty of physicality between the two Jamaicans. At the other end Geva Mentor did an excellent job early limiting Lenize Potgieter‘s impact and forcing some longer attempts from both Potgieter and goal attack Georgie Horjus

Neither side could really retain control for long with both teams making wasteful unforced errors, and pressure built across the court with both sides’ midcourt units getting into the action. A well-timed super shot from Horjus allowed the Thunderbirds to reduce the lead to just one and despite the Magpies retaining the lead for majority of the first quarter, the momentum changed as the time whittled down. Back to back super shots from Horjus and McCollin kept the scorelines even with one minute left on the clock for the first quarter, with a highly defensive quarter keeping the scoreline relatively low throughout, and the Thunderbirds leading 15-14 at the first break.

A huge second quarter began with the Thunderbirds building on their late momentum and extending an early three-goal lead. With both defensive ends firing it was the Adelaide Thunderbirds’ six gains to zero across the first quarter and a bit that was really showing on the scoreboard, with the defensive intent of Maisie Nankivell paying off in wing attack as Ash Brazill worked hard to shut her down. Suddenly a nine-goal lead had extended the way of the Thunderbirds with Magpies coach Nicole Richardson doing her hardest to fire up the side which just could not seem to take control of possession down the court.

The attention from the coach appeared to do the trick as the Magpies whittled down the lead to just five credit to Nyah Allen’s super shot proficiency and Nelson’s long arms to reel in the high ball, before Horjus hit back with a super shot of her own to retain control. A sore-looking Jodi-Ann Ward left the court following a collision with Horjus to throw another spanner in the works for the away side, seeing Jacqui Newton enter the fray in goal defence. Each time the Magpies looked like firing the Thunderbirds were quick to shut them down, as Sterling and Matilda Garrett worked in overdrive to lead their side to a 32-26 lead at half-time.

A tight second half ensued as neither side changed their line-ups from the end of the second quarter. While the Thunderbirds extended another early margin, the Magpies appeared to have a little bit more hunt and tenacity in them as they cut the six-goal margin to three once more before a Mentor deflection and Newton gather paid off, as the Magpies added another to the ledger. But Sterling said ‘anything you can do I can do better’ as the Jamaican goalkeeper came alive to ensure her side kept its nose in front. Three quick and clean intercepts from behind Nelson’s outstretched arms were exactly what the doctor ordered, as Sterling utilised her excellent elevation and aerial ability to put on a defensive show. The workrate and long reach of Magpies goal defence Newton paid dividends as the change was made in the Thunderbirds attack, as Sam Gooden entered the action in goal attack, and Latanya Wilson joined the fray down back to assist Shadine van der Merwe and apply that extra circle pressure alongside Sterling. Despite the margin remaining at five goals for much of the quarter, it still seemed to be the Thunderbirds’ match to lose, retaining control despite everything the Magpies threw at them and leading 45-40 at the final change.

The Magpies did not take the foot off the pedal as the final quarter began with Ward fortunately returning to the court despite heavy strapping on her knee. The work rate of Shadine van der Merwe continued to shine, completely limiting Kelsey Browne’s impact on circle edge and forcing both Brazill and Allen to do a lot of the heavy lifting in attack. An inspired deflection from Mentor and continued hunt from Nankivell in the midcourt saw the ball bounce up and down the court with both sides pulling out all the shots to ensure they got the four points on the board. That six-goal margin continued to haunt both sides with the Thunderbirds unable to extend the scoreline while the Magpies struggled to whittle down the deficit. 

Continued hard work from Potgieter appeared to pay off with the goal shooter not hesitating despite her shooting style playing into the long arms of Mentor, as the return of Horjus opened up better space both inside and outside the goal circle. Captain Hannah Petty’s defensive intent really started to shape up as the Thunderbirds worked hard to win back possession, although wasted opportunities from both sides hurt as the clock whittled down. With not long remaining, the super shot period was sure to provide plenty of excitement – and that it did, as back to back Magpies shots reduced the margin once more. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds continued to chip away with the shorter range shots, not needing to take the risk, and eventually running away with an eight-goal victory, 62-54.

For the winning side, Sterling’s whopping eight intercepts and five deflections (two to advantage) paid dividends, as both player of the match Nankivell (31 goal assists) and van der Merwe registered three gains. Potgieter was accurate under the post to finish with 42 goals from 45 attempts, while Horjus plied her trade with 15 from 19, including four super shots. For the Magpies, Mentor’s workrate was impressive as she gathered three gains while Brazill claimed two and eight assists, sharing the offensive workrate with Browne (14 assists) and Allen (nine and eight goals from 15 attempts). Nelson was accurate with 29 goals from 31 attempts, while McCollin was no slouch in her 28 minutes with 10 goals from 11 attempts. 

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS | 15 | 17 | 13 | 17 (62)
COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES | 14 | 12 | 14 | 14 (54)

STARTING SEVEN

Thunderbirds:

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Maisie Nankivell
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Shadine Van Der Merwe
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

Magpies:

GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Kalifa McCollin
WA: Kelsey Browne
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Ash Brazill
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor

 

Picture credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images

2021 SSN Preview: Round 9

THERE have been plenty of twists and turns heading into Round 9 of Suncorp Super Netball action with five of the eight teams forced to relocate to Melbourne due to the current COVID-19 restrictions across the country. We preview the updated round.

Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. Melbourne Vixens
Saturday, July 3 @3:00pm

Travelling down from the Sunshine Coast to Melbourne the battle between the Lightning and Vixens is set to be a cracker. The Lightning just snuck over the line against the Magpies last week in an overtime thriller and will be hoping to up the ante this round against a struggling Vixens outfit. It was a controversial week for the Vixens who were unable to play their match against the Fever so will be hoping to prove a point with a couple weeks between matches.

The contest inside the circle for both sides will be what determines the game with Emily Mannix back in the mix after missing a couple of weeks with an injured knuckle. The combination between Mannix and Jo Weston is one of the best in the business and they will have to be on song when they come up against Cara Koenen and Steph Wood. Koenen is renowned for her baseline drives and versatility, able to push out to goal attack if needed to allow Peace Proscovia to be an impact player. The Lightning front-end is highly dynamic with the midcourt players flexible given Laura Scherian can swing into wing attack or centre and Maddy McAuliffe can move from wing defence to centre in a heartbeat.

The Vixens are still trying to find their best combination through the midcourt with Kate Moloney spending time in both centre and wing attack while Hannah Mundy is steadily developing. The real bone of contention lies in the goal circle, as without Rahni Samason the Vixens will be looking to either Ruby Barkmeyer or Kaylia Stanton to take out the goal attack role given the dominance of Mwai Kumwenda at home under the post in goal shooter. But both Barkmeyer and Stanton have struggled for court time in recent weeks which will play into the hands of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni with the Lightning defenders real ball magnets.

NSW Swifts vs. West Coast Fever
Sunday, July 4 @1:00pm

The Fever were embroiled in controversy last week but will be eager to put that behind them and put out a strong performance against the Swifts who have been in equally as good form. The contest between the two sides is sure to be an enthralling one as the Swifts hold third spot on the ladder and the Fever sit in fourth despite being undefeated.

There is no denying that the Swifts’ main focus will be shutting down Jhaniele Fowler at the post with the Jamaican goal shooter just about unstoppable when given enough time and space. Her connection with both Alice Teague-Neeld and Sasha Glasgow is second to none with the two goal attacks able to release pinpoint passes into the circle. Speaking of pinpoint passes, it is hard to go past the services of Verity Charles and Jess Anstiss with the midcourt pair able to slice and dice through the defence with great ease. Although Sarah Klau is not the most dynamic defender in the competition, she has an uncanny ability to grind down her opponent and will need to do that against Fowler. She will also need support from the likes of Maddy Turner or Lauren Moore in the circle while the hands over pressure stemming from Paige Hadley and Maddy Proud will also be monumental in slowing down the Fever.

The Swifts have an exciting front-end headlined by Sam Wallace and Helen Housby with the two internationals boasting plenty of flair and excitement. Wallace is a cool, calm and collected customer but will have to endure a wealth of physical attention from Courtney Bruce who is renowned for her constant niggle. Out the front for the Fever, Sunday Aryang is a real ball winner with her long arms and closing speed allowing her to cause a ruckus much like Stacey Francis-Bayman who has found her home out in wing defence meaning Nat Haythornthwaite, Tayla Fraser and the like will have to be crafty and earn their position on circle edge.

Adelaide Thunderbirds vs. Collingwood Magpies
Sunday, July 4 @3:00pm

The match between Adelaide and Collingwood is the only game to be played outside of Victoria this round with the Magpies making the trek to South Australia. The Magpies are currently sitting in fifth on the ladder while the Thunderbirds are down in seventh, however only one win separates the two sides, making the implications of this game huge.

It will be a battle of the two Jamaican internationals with Shimona Nelson leading the way for Collingwood and Shamera Sterling handed the job of shutting her down at the post. Nelson proved just what she is capable of last round with her sticky hands and fancy footwork but Sterling is a ball-hungry defender that never shies away from a contest. It will come down to the work of Gabby Sinclair and if she is able to increase her load to the post if Nelson is nullified. The Thunderbirds have plenty of defensive options with Matilda Garrett arguably in career-best form, Latanya Wilson proving to be a real livewire and the reliability of Shadine van der Merwe all coming to the fore but in need of consistency.

The midcourt is where the action will happen with the Thunderbirds often chopping and changing players. Maisie Nankivell is still adjusting to that wing attack role and will not have it easy up against superstar Ash Brazill who is renowned for her sheer athleticism and endurance. Molly Jovic and Kelsey Browne are building a damaging connection for Collingwood meaning the likes of Hannah Petty and van der Merwe will have to be on their A-game. Jodi-Ann Ward is coming off one of her best outings to-date and will be hoping to replicate that against an inconsistent Thunderbirds attack headlined by Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus, and while Sam Gooden has proven to be a super shot expert they cannot rely on her to change the course of the game.

Queensland Firebirds vs. GIANTS Netball
Sunday, July 4 @5:00pm

The final game of the round is set to be a physical one to say the least. Both the Firebirds and GIANTS are renowned for their niggle and dogged style of defence making this game a real battle. The Firebirds are yet to live up to their expectations this season while the GIANTS have rekindled their winning form, creating an intriguing contest.

The dynamic combination between Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken is where the game will be won or lost. If the pair are able to pour on the shooting pressure early and Aiken is a threat to post, then the GIANTS defence in April Brandley and Sam Poolman will be pushed onto the back foot. Throw in the long range shooting of Tippah Dwan and Queensland have a well-rounded front end. They also boast plenty of depth through the midcourt with Lara Dunkley and Jemma Mi Mi exciting prospects through that wing attack position but will not have things all their own way given the form Amy Parmenter is in. The centre battle will be influential with both Jamie-Lee Price and Kim Ravaillion in scintillating form and barometers for their respective sides.

The Firebirds are at their best when Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe are able to let loose in defence and go out hunting. But both Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer demand constant attention given their proficiency to post and range meaning the Firebirds will have to double down, shake up their defensive style, and really dull down the impact of Maddie Hay. Queensland will be hoping to force the GIANTS goalers to circle edge and not allow any easy passage into the circle if they are to cause an upset.

Photo credit: NSW Swifts

GIANTS snap losing streak with dominant win

IT was a one-sided affair at Ken Rosewall Arena as GIANTS Netball made light work of Adelaide Thunderbirds to win comfortably, 57-41. The GIANTS snapped their three-game losing streak with a convincing performance from the get-go while the Thunderbirds simply could not generate any momentum.

After struggling in the past couple of weeks, England international Jo Harten came out with a real pep in her step landing the first goal of the game. She was up and about with her confidence quickly rubbing off onto youngster Sophie Dwyer alongside her in the goal circle. But Shamera Sterling was not about to be outdone with the Jamaican goal keeper streaming out of the goal circle to snatch up an intercept and send the ball down the court. However, the Thunderbirds’ inability to capitalise on their opportunities allowed the GIANTS to make them pay, and within the blink of an eye the GIANTS were up by three goals with April Brandley having an absolute field day down in defence covering Georgie Horjus’ every move to pick up a copious amount of turnover ball. It was an all-round defensive presence from the GIANTS as Amy Parmenter used her closing speed to get hands to ball and cleanly contest across the court.

Lenize Potgieter received a wealth of attention from Sam Poolman as the two engaged in an incredibly physical battle with limited space inside the circle making life hard for the Thunderbirds front-end. The GIANTS were not afraid to reset and throw the ball around to inch their way closer to circle edge but Harten provided that steady head to pop out at the right time and deliver the goods. The home side doubled the visitors’ score holding a four-goal lead as the GIANTS continued to put their foot down, mainly off the back of Brandley’s efforts. Down by six goals, a Thunderbirds timeout allowed them to take a breather as they ate back into the margin with Sam Gooden injected into the game. Harten was proving to be a maestro in attack while Brandley was on fire down in defence as the Thunderbirds went four minutes without a goal.

It took a while for both sides to settle into the second term before the Thunderbirds piled on back-to-back goals as Horjus and Potgieter shared the load. Jamie-Lee Price was running along smoothly for the GIANTS with her drive to the top of the circle, as a couple of errant passes allowed the Thunderbirds to latch onto the crumbs but that momentum was short lived as the GIANTS hit back once again. Latanya Wilson came on in wing defence, replacing Shadine van der Merwe but that did not seem to faze the GIANTS too much as they continued along their merry way. Maisie Nankivell gave away a costly offensive penalty as the GIANTS capitalised on their chances extending the lead to seven goals.

Kristiana Manu’a entered the fray in goal keeper for the GIANTS and with the super shot in play the changes came hard and fast as Nankivell switched into centre and Elle McDonald pulled on the wing attack bib. Out to a nine-goal margin, the GIANTS were happy to just plug away at the scoreboard while the Thunderbirds went with the high risk, high reward motto attempting a wealth of super shots but simply were unable to convert. It was party tricks galore for the GIANTS in attack taking the half-time lead out to 12 goals.

The smooth transition down the court from the GIANTS was impressive as Maddie Hay continued to thread the needle and just go about her business. Dwyer and Harten were combining seamlessly with Matilda Garrett unable to have her usual impact down back giving away a wealth of penalties. Things were not going the Thunderbirds way at all with an offensive contact called against Potgieter and the GIANTS capitalising to extend out a 14-goal lead. The ball swung up and down the court through the mid-section of the third term but it was the GIANTS that held momentum as the Thunderbirds’ sloppiness cost them, especially on the penalty front.

The GIANTS had the ball on a string and while Adelaide had moments of magic they simply could not maintain that level of intensity throughout the term. Dwyer was carving up the attack with her hot hand causing all sorts of havoc for Garrett, while Manu’a gave GIANTS fans plenty to cheer about with a huge rejection on Potgieter’s shot as the Thunderbirds looked laboured in attack. With Nankivell racking up the penalties, Hannah Petty re-emerged in centre in hope to settle the frontend but it was to no avail.

The game was all but won and done at three quarter time but the GIANTS were not finished yet as their blistering transition down court bypassed the Thunderbirds defence. Gooden was bought on in goal shooter but she struggled to find her rhythm with a number of missed shots, while Parmenter had a real spring in her step around circle edge as the lead ballooned out 17 goals. With a couple of minutes left on the clock youngster Matisse Letherbarrow got some valuable court time showcasing her class to go from range nailing two super shots, including one after the siren, to claim a 16-goal win.

Harten was back to her dominant ways sinking 26 goals from 34 attempts while Dwyer was slightly more accurate converting at 80 per cent with 24 from 30. Hay was a real workhorse with her 17 goal assists as Price registered 13. But it was the defensive work from Brandley that stood out with the goal defence amassing four intercepts, six deflections and two rebounds. Potgieter led the way with 24 goals at 80 per cent for the Thunderbirds as Horjus contributed a handy 13 goals, while Nankivell racked up 11 goal assists and Sterling was imposing in defence with her three intercepts and seven deflections.

GIANTS NETBALL 15 | 14 | 15 | 13 (57)
ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 8 | 9 | 11 | 13 (41)

GIANTS:

GS: Jo Harten
GA: Sophie Dwyer
WA: Maddie Hay
C: Jamie-Lee Price
WD: Amy Parmenter
GD: April Brandley
GK: Sam Poolman

Thunderbirds:

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Maisie Nankivell
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Shadine van der Merwe
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

Photo credit: SSN Twitter

Adelaide Thunderbirds stun Swifts claiming back-to-back wins

ADELAIDE Thunderbirds have claimed a huge upset win over NSW Swifts, securing their second victory for the season 58-53. The Thunderbirds won every quarter and subsequently led at every break with their full court defensive pressure proving to be the real tipping point for the Swifts.

It was an uncharacteristically sloppy start by NSW Swifts with the Adelaide Thunderbirds capitalising on their opportunities under the post. Both Shamera Sterling and Matilda Garrett were making life incredibly hard for Sam Wallace and Helen Housby as the two got hands to ball and continued to niggle away at the Swifts goalers. The shooting combination of Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus was working wonders as the two used their speed and change of direction to pile on the scoreboard pressure sneaking out to a handy three-goal lead.

A much-needed timeout helped the Swifts arrest momentum and peg their way back into the contest. Housby started to find her rhythm inside the goal circle as the Swifts levelled the scores with an increased defensive presence as Paige Hadley showcased her dare and speed to transition the ball down the court in a heartbeat. Sterling starred with her lean over the shot with a huge rejection on the shot. With the super shot in play Horjus nailed a huge long range goal to send the Adelaide ahead, handing the Swifts their first opening quarter loss of the season. it was an incredibly defensive opening 15 minutes with seven intercepts collected throughout the term.

The Swifts pulled the trigger at quarter time with Tayla Fraser replacing Maddy Proud in centre and using her drive to open up the attacking third. The Thunderbirds seemed to have an answer for everything the Swifts threw at them with the defensive pressure high, clogging the players together and allowing both Garrett and Sterling to go hunting. Nat Haythornthwaite showcased some fancy footwork in the pocket to reel in the high ball and offload it quickly into Wallace as the Swifts looked to eat back into the margin. The Thunderbirds tried to replicate the same Haythornthwaite theatrics but it was to no avail as the Swifts forged ahead once again to reduce the deficit to a goal.

Looking for an extra spark in defence the Thunderbirds tinkered with the defensive circle as Latanya Wilson pulled on the goal defence bib. She combined well with Jamaican teammate Sterling as the back unit won ball back time and time again. Maisie Nankivell dished off a beautiful pinpoint pass to split both Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner in the circle as the Thunderbirds put the foot down. Sterling continued to dominate while Shadine van der Merwe upped the ante with her impressive court coverage and hunt coming to the fore as she regained possession for Adelaide.

The lead pushed out to four goals for the Thunderbirds as the momentum well and truly swung their way. Sophie Garbin entered the game down in at goal attack and the Swifts started to find their feet sinking consecutive goals. But Adelaide refused to give up, sticking to their structures and riding the wave to keep their noses in front. Bad hands from both sides were costing them chances to capitalise as the ball ping-ponged up and down the court. Sterling continued to wow with her athleticism nullifying Wallace under the post as she gobbled up intercept after intercept.

Unhappy with their opening half the Swifts made even more changes with Housby swinging into goal shooter. Through the midcourt Hadley pushed into centre as Lauren Moore pulled on the goal keeper bib to give the side a huge shakeup. There were turnovers aplenty to start the term but one thing that remained the same was Sterling’s presence down back picking up consecutive rebounds. The extra height in the circle from Klau and Moore was causing trouble for the Thunderbirds but van der Merwe was up to the task winning ball back. There was a huge shift in the way the ball was flowing through the court for the Swifts as they weaved their magic to toil away and reduce the buffer to a mere goal with just under 10 minutes to play.

Three consecutive goals from the Tbirds gave them some much needed breathing space before Sterling set fans into overdrive with a huge intercept. That sent Adelaide on an even bigger shooting spree as they extended the lead to six goals with the Thunderbirds playing with a wealth of confidence. There was nothing the Thunderbirds could not do as Sterling starred down one end and Potgieter impressing down the other end with her silky movement and strong holds under the post. Elle McDonald was injected into the game, replacing Hannah Petty who was doing a solid job through the centre as the Thunderbirds steadily added to their lead.

Holding the lead at three quarter time it was up to the Thunderbirds to hold in that final term and that is exactly what the home side did. They found a way to dig deep nailing the first three goals of the quarter to create some extra breathing space and really take the game away from the Swifts who were struggling as the rotations came thick and fast once again.

It was a dominant performance from Potgieter with the South African goaler leading the way under the post with 40 goals from 41 attempts while Horjus slotted 17 goals at 81 per cent. Nankivell had the hot hand on the feed for the T’birds with 22 goal assists while Proud did the heavy lifting for the Swifts with 17. Sterling had an absolute day out down in defence racking up a whopping six intercepts and eight gains as both Garrett and van der Merwe plied their trade with a combined seven intercepts and seven gains between them. The same could not be said for the Swifts defence with Turner leading the way with two intercepts and Klau struggling to have her usual impact with deflections. Shooting wise, Wallace was rendered less effective finishing with 14 goals as Housby was forced to up the ante with 26 while Garbin was accurate with eight goals straight.

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 13 | 15 | 14 | 16 (58)
NSW SWIFTS 11 | 14 | 13 | 15 (53)

STARTING SEVEN:

Thunderbirds:

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Maisie Nankivell
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Shadine van der Merwe
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

Swifts:

GS: Sam Wallace
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Nat Haythornthwaite
C: Maddy Proud
WD: Paige Hadley
GD: Maddy Turner
GK: Sarah Klau

Photo credit: Sarah Reed

2021 SSN Preview: Round 7

ANOTHER huge round of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) is set to go ahead this weekend, with Round 7 seeing the Melbourne derby – played interstate due to Victorian restrictions – as three matches play out on Saturday afternoon and just one game is set for Sunday across the rearranged fixture.

GIANTS Netball vs. Sunshine Coast Lightning
Saturday, June 12 @3:00pm

Expect a huge clash between the GIANTS and Lightning to open the round, with both sides coming into this one off the back of losses over the weekend and one-goal margins the round before. Expected to be one of the matches of the round, both sides have plenty to prove after a less than convincing performance apiece in Round 6 and home court advantage could well and truly prove critical as the GIANTS look to regain their early season form.

There are a number of viable game changers in this clash but none more damaging than Karla Pretorius. Pretorius may not quite be performing to her lofty standards this season, but when she is on, she is on, and taking on young gun Sophie Dwyer could be exactly what the South African goal defence needs to really lift and prove a point to the competition. While Dwyer has had an excellent start to her SSN career, there is no doubt that the likes of Pretorius could prove a real buffer for the young goal attack while the long arms of Phumza Maweni will go a long way to limiting the impact of Jo Harten especially on the long shot. Do not be surprised if Kate Shimmin enters the fray in wing defence as she has done for the past few rounds, with her long arms a handy buffer to block the likes of Maddie Hay, who can propel ball into the circle with ease. 

Expect a tough battle between Amy Parmenter and Laura Scherian with the wing defence and wing attack sure to set the court alight, while Jamie-Lee Price and Mahalia Cassidy are very well matched in the centre making for a huge contest. There is no doubt Steph Wood and Cara Koenen will want to lift their output in the Lightning goal circle this week, and showcase their accuracy and range, although the GIANTS defensive effort has been very impressive this season so far with Sam Poolman and April Brandley providing a huge buffer in defence.

Collingwood Magpies vs. Melbourne Vixens
Saturday, June 12 @5:30pm

Originally set to play on the Queens Birthday Monday public holiday, the Magpies and Vixens will suit up on Saturday afternoon instead in the second match of the round. Expect a huge clash here between the two Victorian sides with more than bragging rights on the line, as both sides trail the rest of the pack and could get closer within touching distance with a win here.

There are a number of critical matchups in this game with none more so than that of Ash Brazill and Hannah Mundy. While Brazill is a livewire and one of the key Magpies who has stepped up in every game this season, Mundy is currently playing her first season and will have a real test in this match up against Brazill, despite putting out one of her more complete performances last round. This matchup could realistically set the tone for the entire match. Meanwhile, the Magpies defensive combination of Jodi-Ann Ward and Geva Mentor is always tough to work around and the duo will work hard to make it difficult for the Vixens goalers in Rahni Samason and Mwai Kumwenda to find purchase.

While the Vixens have been making good use of the ball that enters the goal circle, the real struggle has been finding easy purchase at circle edge, and Kate Moloney will really need to utilise her experience when she takes on Molly Jovic to find that edge with ease. While Kate Eddy is the Vixens go-to starting wing defence, Allie Smith could be a better physical match up on Kelsey Browne, with the two players matched for speed and able to supply that burst of energy where required. The most important cog for the Magpies out the front will be the likes of Shimona Nelson who has really lifted her offensive output this season, although the Vixens could switch things up to test the goal shooter in this one, with Emily Mannix a potential to rejoin the squad following injury.

Adelaide Thunderbirds vs. NSW Swifts
Saturday, June 12 @7:30pm

If the Swifts put out a performance to rival that of their Round 6 outing last weekend, the Thunderbirds have little chance of getting up here with the slick Swifts coming for the crown. But the Thunderbirds are also coming in off the back of a win last round, coming from behind to overtake the Vixens, and proving that they are certainly capable of more than what they have produced this season so far.

There are a number of players from both sides who have really stepped up over the past few rounds, but none more so than Sarah Klau. The Swifts’ goal keeper will provide a huge buffer coming up against Lenize Potgieter for the Thunderbirds, with her great read of the play and long arms over the ball. Meanwhile, Maddy Turner is a really good match for Thunderbirds youngster Georgie Horjus, and could prove crucial in this encounter given her ability to combine seamlessly with Klau downback. Expect a huge battle through the midcourt with Hannah Petty and Maddy Proud likely to start in centre, with both players providing plenty of hunt and willingness to do anything to get possession of the ball. A potential battle between Maisie Nankivell and Paige Hadley could also set the court alight.

Sam Wallace has been huge for the Swifts this season and has shown no signs of slowing down thus far. That could all change in this matchup when the goal shooter comes up against ball-hungry Shamera Sterling, with the goal keeper able to read the play with ease. The likes of Helen Housby could be crucial, especially if the England goaler can assert herself against the exciting form of Matilda Garrett, while Nat Haythornthwaite will want to ensure her fast feet do not get the better of her potentially coming up against the likes of Latanya Wilson or Shadine Van Der Merwe, who both offer different options in wing defence.

Queensland Firebirds vs. West Coast Fever
Sunday, June 13 @1:00pm

Both the Firebirds and Fever come into this matchup off the back of impressive wins, making the final match of the round potentially the one to watch. With the home court advantage and a renewed sense of confidence, the Firebirds will be out hunting for a back-to-back win, although the Fever are more than capable of making this one a bloodbath, especially with the form they are in, remaining the only undefeated side despite sitting fourth on the ladder.

One of the best overall circle matchups of the round is set to go head to head in this contest with the attacking combination of Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken coming up against the likes of Courtney Bruce and Sunday Aryang. The Bruce and Aryang defensive combination has starred across their opening rounds of action and while the Fever front-end gets a lot of the credit, there is no doubting the ball-winning ability of their backline. If Bueta and Aiken can showcase the same form they had last round they could be a real lock against the Fever defence, especially if centre Kim Ravaillion is firing, and the likes of Jemma Mi Mi and Lara Dunkley are creative on the feed.

At the other end there is no doubting the impact and consistency of Jhaniele Fowler at the post, with the Jamaican as reliable as they come. What makes the Fever so tough to match this season though is the workrate of Sasha Glasgow, who has slotted in seamlessly out the front and is a consistent firepower for the side – most importantly forcing her opposition to take notice of her. Expect Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner to work hard to deny any easy passes into the circle, although they will require a huge match from Gabi Simpson up against the likes of Verity Charles or Emma Cosh to really drive home that defensive effort and limit both the long and short ball into Fowler.

Picture credit: Darren England/AAP

Thunderbirds claim first 2021 win

ADELAIDE Thunderbirds got their first win on the board, defeating Melbourne Vixens by six goals in a seesawing affair (54-48). It was a relatively sloppy performance by both sides with neither able to really garner any real momentum or control leaving fans and players alike on the edge of their seats. In the end however it was the Thunderbirds that dug deep in the final term to topple the Vixens.

Coming off a stellar win last round, the Vixens came in with a head full of steam. Match-winner and debut superstar Rahni Samason got the nod out in goal attack and did not disappoint slotting the first goal of the game capitalising off a Thunderbirds turnover. It was goal for goal to start the game with the defensive ends picking up a wealth of ball. Kadie-Ann Dehaney took advantage of her height claiming an early scalp on youngster Georgie Horjus with a huge shot rejection before Shamera Sterling got hands to ball for the Thunderbirds up the other end. It was a fast and frantic pace to start the game with the ball swinging back and forth and neither side able to claim clean ball. Dehaney was a real menace down back for the Vixens with the goal keeper creating a wealth of tips and turnovers to help her side push out to a three-goal lead.

Wayward passes in the Thunderbirds attack allowed the Vixens creep out to a five goal lead with Lenize Potgieter not having the desired impact against fellow international Dehaney. With the super shot in play, Sam Gooden was injected into the thick of things and did not disappoint coming on with a hot hand before Matilda Garrett showcased her class screaming through for an intercept as the Thunderbirds narrowed the margin back to two. The momentum swung well and truly in favour of the Thunderbirds as a Jo Weston fumble saw the ball change hands and the Thunderbirds capitalise as they stole the lead. it was turning into a super shot shoot out with both sides willing to back themselves from range but it was the Vixens that held a narrow one goal lead at the break.

The lead once again changed hands as the combination of Potgieter and Horjus got down to business. Hannah Petty upped the ante contesting hard through the midcourt to win ball back for the Thunderbirds as they pushed out to a two goal lead. But before you knew it the Vixens fought back with the switch of Mwai Kumwenda out to goal attack and Samason to goal shooter proving to work wonders. Latanya Wilson made her way onto the court in wing defence replacing Shadine van der Merwe.

It was the Dehaney show as the goal keeper used her fancy footwork to cherry pick an intercept but Sterling was not about to be outdone by her Jamaican counterpart, coming through for an intercept of her own. It was a two-goal ball-game for the Vixens with Hannah Mundy a real steam train in attack, using her strong drives to the top of the circle to keep Wilson out of the action. Gooden closed out the quarter on fire to get the Thunderbirds back within two goals.

After a quiet start to the game Kate Eddy injected herself into the game with the wing defence reeling in an intercept as the Vixens continued to forge ahead out to a four-goal lead. Kate Moloney was an ever-reliable presence through the centre, dictating the flow both in attack and defence and dishing off pinpoint passes into Samason and Kumwenda. The Thunderbirds were laboured in attack with the Vixens implementing some strong hands over pressure and forcing them to go backwards rather than weave their way through the mess.

The tables started to turn in the second half as the Thunderbirds started to rally scoring consecutive goals. Adelaide looked to the bench with Elle McDonald pulling on the centre bib while Garrett and Wilson continued to be influential through transition with long release passes. But the Vixens would not go away keeping within two goals at three quarter time.

With it all to play for in the final term the Melbourne Vixens tinkered with their line-up bringing on Allie Smith in wing defence. The Thunderbirds got a run of goals with the lead ballooning by five – the biggest of the game – and with that the Vixens made further changes as Smith swung into centre and Moloney into wing attack. Melbourne were forced into chase mode but the Thunderbirds were not about to let the win slip through their fingers, clinching a six-goal win.

Potgieter was dominant to post sinking 29 goals from 32 attempts at 91 per cent while the hot hand of Gooden was undeniable with the goaler nailing six of 10 super shots. Horjus was influential with 12 goals at 75 per cent along with a game-high 16 goal assists, with Maisie Nankivell hot on her heels with 15. Sterling was a pest finishing with six gains (four intercepts) as Garrett proved to be a thorn in the Vixens side with three gains (one intercept). Kumwenda was strong with 28 goals from 32 attempts while Samason nailed 14 of her 20 attempts at 70 per cent and recorded a team-high 13 goal assists. Dehaney impressed with her seven gains (three intercepts) as Weston also made her presence felt with four gains and seven deflections.

MELBOURNE VIXENS 14 | 13 | 8 | 13 (48)
ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 13 | 12 | 12 | 17 (54) 

STARTING SEVEN:

Vixens:

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Rahni Samason
WA: Hannah Mundy
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Kadie-Ann Dehaney

Thunderbirds:

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Georgie Horjus
WA: Maisie Nankivell
C: Hannah Petty
WD: Shadine van der Merwe
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

Photo credit: Bradley Kanaris

2021 SSN: Round 4 – Five things we learnt

THERE was no shortage of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) action in Round 4 with the Queensland Firebirds falling to Collingwood Magpies and the GIANTS keeping their unbeaten streak alive. In this new series, Draft Central will look at five key learnings from the round whether it be consistent themes or standout performances.

Defensive masterclass

The battle between NSW Swifts and Sunshine Coast Lightning was nothing short of impressive as the two sides went tooth and nail to secure the win. Renowned for their attacking prowess this game turned into a defensive slog with players picking up intercepts aplenty. It was a vintage performance from Karla Pretorius with the Lightning goal defence getting her hands to just about everything that came her way recording five intercepts and seven gains. Partner in crime, Phumza Maweni also came away with plenty of intercepts picking up three for her efforts and also managed five deflections. For the Swifts the defensive duo in Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner were in just about everything as they combined for 11 gains and 14 deflections. but it was not only the defenders that got their hands dirty as Cara Koenen picked up an intercept down in goal shooter and midcourter Paige Hadley got busy with two attesting to the highly defensive mindset both sides went into the game with.

Inconsistency in attack cost the Firebirds

Renowned for their potent attack line, the Queensland Firebirds really struggled to get going against Collingwood Magpies. In all fairness it was a strong showing from both Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward as the partnership between the two continues to develop at a rate of knots and they caused havoc for the normally sound Firebirds attack. Gretel Bueta was off her game with the goal attack forced into uncharacteristic turnovers, rushed shots and a wealth of misses while Tippah Dwan was unable to find her radar. Although Romelda Aiken was in dominant form she only took the court for 41 minutes as Queensland endeavoured to eat into their ever-growing deficit. All in all the Firebirds lack of potency and fluidity cost them and proved just how imperative it is to have all cylinders firing at the same time to steal a win in season 2021.

Thunderbirds defensive unit is a shining light

The acquisition of Matilda Garrett has been sublime so far for the Adelaide Thunderbirds and that developing partnership with Shamera Sterling really came to the fore in their clash against West Coast Fever. Spending majority of her time, second fiddle at Collingwood, Garrett has been a revelation for the Tbirds with her tenacity and deceptive speed causing all sorts of headaches down back. However the most important thing over the past few games has been Garrett’s confidence to attack the ball and back herself in. registering more court time the goal defence has been able to work her way into the game and adapt her game style on the fly to suit her defensive partner in Sterling. That was evident throughout this clash as the two got plenty of hands to ball while the flexibility to have the likes of Shadine van der Merwe and Latanya Wilson rotate through that wing defence position allowed the circle defenders to ply their trade against Jhaniele Fowler.

April Brandley is back

It was another stellar performance by April Brandley with the goal defence plying her trade and proving to be a real menace down in defence for the GIANTS. Despite Kristiana Manu’a being named in the 10 player squad for the first time in 2021 it was Brandley that got the start and impressed from the get-go. Her closing speed and finesse shone through as she cleanly competed for ball against the likes of Kaylia Stanton, Mwai Kumwenda and Ruby Barkmeyer. Her strength both inside the circle and vision to read the play in the midcourt was second to none as she consistently bobbed up here there and everywhere. Brandley’s class and skill to adapt on the fly was evident as she rolled with the Melbourne Vixens’ structural changes and continued her merry way credit to her hands over pressure and silky movement.

Glasgow the winning link for Fever

Down at quarter time, the Fever needed a change in attack and recruit Sasha Glasgow was exactly the spark they needed. The former Adelaide Thunderbirds goaler, came on with a real point to prove and used her strong hands and clever footwork to create space both inside the circle and out the front. Her ability to dish off to Fowler under the post was second to none while her confidence to go to post was also imperative as it drew the eye of the defender. Glasgow combined seamlessly with both Verity Charles and Jess Anstiss out the front to weave the ball down the court and create some much needed stability in the attacking unit.

Photo credit: AAP

West Coast get first official points on 2021 ladder

WEST Coast Fever survived a scare from the Adelaide Thunderbirds to secure their fourth win of their season and their first official points on the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) ladder with an eight-point win (70-62). But it was no easy feat as the Thunderbirds took it right up to the Fever playing in front of a home crowd, with fan favourite Chelsea Pitman a notable spectator.

It was a blistering first term of action from the Thunderbirds as they looked to register their first win of the 2021 season. Lenize Potgieter was simply unstoppable under the post with the South African goal shooter, controlling the rhythm in the goal circle despite being directly opposed by Australian Diamonds goal keeper and West Coast Fever star Courtney Bruce. The tussle between the two was relentless, however it was Potgieter that had the upper hand for majority of the term credit to her 14 goals straight. The move to have Georgie Horjus in her more familiar position of goal attack paid dividends as the youngster plied her trade to weave the ball through the Fever’s defence and score. Not only was she a playmaker, letting off pinpoint passes into Potgieter but also backed herself inside the circle to draw some attention.

Looking for an answer in defence, the Fever opted to bring on aspiring young talent Sunday Aryang in a hope that her speed and long arms will combat Horjus who was tearing it up in attack. Aryang replaced seasoned campaigner and English international Stacey Francis in at goal defence in the dying minutes of the term. The thunderbirds were humming in attack while their defensive efforts across the court were also noticeable as they limited the ease in which the Fever could transition the ball down the court opening up an eight-goal lead at quarter time.

But that is where it all stopped for the Thunderbirds as the Fever put their foot down in the second. Jhaniele Fowler continued her stellar form under the post sinking goal after goal and was unfazed by the changes out the front as Sasha Glasgow came on to replace Alice Teague-Neeld who was struggling to inject herself into the game only managing three goals while out on court. Glasgow had an immediate impact with her strong drives and slick footwork giving Matilda Garrett something different to think about. Meanwhile the battle between Fowler and Shamera Sterling continued to intensify.

A mini four-goal spree from the Fever was the spark they needed as they cut the margin to just four and while Adelaide re-established the buffer the home side petered off as the quarter went on. The Fever were relentless and despite the Thunderbirds tinkering with their defensive line-up as Shadine van der Merwe slotted back into goal defence and Latanya Wilson made her way onto wing defence there was no slowing the green machine. In fact by half time the scores were level credit to a huge term from the Fever.

Building on their momentum from the second term, the Fever continued their upwards trajectory in the third to pile on the scoreboard pressure. Fowler and Glasgow combined for the first two goals of the game, immediately setting the tone of the match. the workrate from Verity Charles and Jess Anstiss was key as the latter was pushed into the centre position and did not look out of place while Charles flexed her attacking muscles with her nifty high looping passes into Fowler.

Still not out of the game the Thunderbirds proved they were not afraid to ring in the changes as Elle McDonald pulled on the centre bib, replacing captain Hannah Petty as she swung into wing defence. The changes did not stop there as they looked to capitalise in the  power five with Sam Gooden injected into the action. Coming on for the final two minutes of the term the goal shooter nailed two super shots as Horjus impressed with her dead eye accuracy to keep themselves in the hunt. Aryang and Bruce were wreaking havoc though, not allowing any easy attacking movement for the home side.

With the game hanging in the balance the Thunderbirds made a couple more changes in hope to ride out the game as Maisie Nankivell got the nod in centre, moving out of wing attack, allowing McDonald to slot back into her more comfortable role. The T’birds had their chances early but their inability to capitalise cost them as the Fever rose to the occasion. Anstiss had the ball on a string through the midcourt as their settled approach allowed their strong connections to come to the fore and dominate as they notched up another win.

Fowler was sensational once again managing 55 goals from 59 attempts while Glasgow’s introduction into attack was exactly what the doctor ordered producing nine goals, 19 goal assists and an intercept. Charles and Anstiss were electric combining for 31 goal assists as Bruce had a big day out thanks to her nine gains and nine deflections. Potgieter was strong once again finishing with 25 goals from 26 attempts at 96 per cent as Horjus seemed to recapture her 2020 form thanks to her 21 goals at 80 per cent. Nankivell was key through the midcourt amassing 26 goal assists as Sterling picked up four gains and eight deflections.