Tag: laura scherian

SSN Momentum shifts: Round 14

THE final round of the Suncorp Super Netball home and away season saw some phenomenal matchups across all four games and some highly talented players take the court. The condensed fixture and introduction of rolling subs this year have seen plenty of young names already jump on the court and have a huge impact despite their lack of experience. We take a look at each game and note which players shifted the gears and switched up the momentum.

Collingwood Magpies (63) defeated by Queensland Firebirds (65)

In a see-sawing affair a final quarter push from the Queensland Firebirds is what got them over the line. Trailing at three quarter time, the Firebirds threw everything they had at Collingwood to weave the ball down the court and wrestle back the momentum from the black and white with an 18 goals to 12 quarter. It completely turned the tables on the match as impressive shooting from Tippah Dwan and Romelda Aiken dictated the term as the duo only missed four attempts for the quarter. However, it was captain Gabi Simpson that really influenced the play, coming up big with a couple of timely deflections and intercepts to stop the Magpies from hitting circle edge and delivering into Shimona Nelson. Simpson worked in tandem with Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe as the defensive trio picked up a combined five gains to nullify the likes of Molly Jovic, Gabby Sinclair and Nelson and steal the win.

NSW Swifts (77) drew with GIANTS Netball (77)

Some sharp shooting from captain and England international Jo Harten in the final term changed the course of the game for the GIANTS. Down by as many as 10 goals prior to the super shot period, Harten found her rhythm from range and single-handedly drew her side back into the contest nailing five consecutive super shots, and one later to ice the cake. Although it was not enough to get the win, her individual efforts were enough to secure a draw while the increased pressure stemming from the likes of Amy Parmenter made her attacking forays possible. The entire GIANTS frontline were quick to identify Harten’s hot hand with Jamie-Lee Price, Maddie Hay and Kiera Austin delivering pinpoint passes into the circle.

West Coast Fever (63) defeated by Adelaide Thunderbirds (64)

West Coast Fever lead for majority of the game, largely due to the dominance of Jhaniele Fowler however with the game on the line the spirit and fight of the Adelaide Thunderbirds came to the fore. Bidding farewell to co-captain Chelsea Pitman after not being offered a contract for 2021, Pitman left nothing to chance with her silky movement and strength around circle edge doing all the talking. She was a real general in attack, receiving just about every second pass and constantly setting up clever plays to create options for the likes of Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus. Her influence allowed the Thunderbirds to steadily build back into the game and provided a wealth of confidence to the youngster in Horjus as the goal attack slotted three consecutive super shots. The Fever had no answers for the dynamic goaler as Courtney Bruce, Sunday Aryang and Stacey Francis all endeavoured to stop the sharp shooter who simply could not be tamed and ultimately landed the final blow.

Sunshine Coast Lightning (54) defeated by Melbourne Vixens (58)

A third quarter fightback and come-from-behind win loomed as a prospect for two-time premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning as the home side kicked into gear. Their connections in attack started to fire as Peace Proscovia, Steph Wood and Cara Koenen found their rhythm and subsequently applied scoreboard pressure while Laura Scherian found plenty of space and depth in the attacking third. However the Vixens were not about to lie down, flexing their muscles when it counted to run rampant in the final term. Wood tried her best to wrestle back the momentum into the favour of the Lightning putting up three super shots to cut the margin however the patient and cautious approach of the Vixens enabled the minor premiers to hold on. Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Jo Weston proved to be a formidable duo down back, winning back a wealth of ball and quelling the speed of the Lightning as they restored the Vixens rhythm across the court.

Vixens reign supreme in minor semi-final preview

THE top two clash lived up to the hype as the Melbourne Vixens and Sunshine Coast Lightning battled it out in a precursor to the major semi-final next week. It was an enthralling battle, however it was the minor premiers that flexed their muscles in the final term to run out four-goal victors (58-54).

The Lighting started with a real pep in their step, having secured second spot on the ladder and subsequently a double chance no matter the outcome of the game. They forced a turnover off the Vixens centre pass and converted before delivering off their own to open up a two goal zip lead. But the challenge was quickly answered as the Vixens fought their way back into the contest to level the scores thanks to the dominance of Mwai Kumwenda. It was a hard fought battle between the two sides as no pass was left uncontested and both sides went goal for goal. The gears well and truly started to kick into gear for the Vixens as Caitlin Thwaites and Kumwenda dominated to post as they created a handy three goal buffer. The speed through the centre coming from centurion Liz Watson was virtually unstoppable as the Lightning had no answers for her dynamic movement and pinpoint accuracy as the Vixens extended their lead to four goals.

Calling a timeout, the Lightning looked to regroup, coming out of the break with a real fire in the belly as Jacqui Russell picked up an intercept and sent the ball into attack. The Lightning steadily pegged the margin back as Cara Koenen held strong under the post and showcased her impressive timing to pop out and score. It was tit for tat for the majority of the quarter as the Vixens held onto a slim lead but an Emily Mannix inspired intercept and Kumwenda super shot on the buzzer gifted the minor premiers a five goal lead.

The Melbourne Vixens picked up where the left off, hitting the scoreboard within the first 20 seconds of the second. An element of inaccuracy started to creep into the Lightning frontend as the Vixens capitalised on their chances time and time again. Thwaites turned it on in the second quarter with the goal attack running rampant not only under the post but so too in the centre picking up a timely intercept along the transverse line. The hands over pressure from Jo Weston and Mannix was second to none forcing the Lightning to play the ball around and labour in attack while it was a completely different tale up the other end for the Vixens who oozed nothing but pace and precision.

Phumza Maweni injected some intensity into the Lightning defence end with an impressive rejection as her partner in crime Karla Pretorius reaped the rewards and the Sunshine Coast converted to reduce the margin to five. The offline defence from the Vixens caused chaos for the Lightning but a super shot from none other than Steph Wood seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered. Russell came alive, driving through the centre third while Laura Langman flexed her defensive muscles to take a big intercept. But the ability for the Vixens to remain composed and clinical in attack allowed them to continuously ride through the Lightning’s attacking forays and maintain a five goal margin at half time.

Both sides made some changes out of the break with Elle McDonald coming on in wing attack for the Vixens and Peace Proscovia pulling on the goal shooter bib. A couple of errant passes in the Vixens attacking end saw missed opportunities while the injection of Allie Smith allowed Laura Scherian to run rampant. The changes did not stop there for both sides as Tegan Philip made her way onto the court in hope to provide a spark in the goal circle while Sunshine Coast wing defence Maddy McAuliffe brought plenty of intensity. Everything seemed to be falling the Lightning’s way as the attack started to hum and the defence got hands to ball drawing within one goal.

Proscovia was proving to be a menace under the post with her strength on the take, prompting the Vixens to inject Kadie-Ann Dehaney. The desperation from the Lightning came to the fore as they scrapped hard for any loose ball. Missed shots from Proscovia gifted the Vixens plenty of chances to add to the scoreboard but Wood was not content to let the game slip away sinking a super shot.

With only one goal separating the teams at three quarter time the Vixens put their foot down creating a six goal lead. McDonald steadily built into the game while Thwaites’ return to the court gave the Vixens more ascendancy. Sunshine Coast started to labour across the court with wayward passes plaguing them as the Vixens went on a tear. Out by as many as 10 goals, Wood put on a super shot spree with three consecutive goals but it was not enough to get the win as the Lightning went down by four goals.

Koenen continued her stellar form to post with 22 goals at 82 per cent accuracy, while Wood once again starred converting five super shots along with 15 goal assists. Langman was at her best through the midcourt picking up two deflections and 12 goal assists while Watson’s return to the Vixens bolstered their attack as the wing attack amassed 15 goal assists in her half on court. Kumwenda topscored for the Vixens with 43 goals while Thwaites was rock solid once again notching up 11 goals at 85 per cent. Defensively, the likes of Pretorius and Maweni inflicted a wealth of pain collecting five gains as their counterparts in Mannix, Dehaney and Weston registered 13 gains, five of them intercepts.

>>> LIGHTNING TEAM PAGE
>>> VIXENS TEAM PAGE
>>> FULL MATCH STATS

Sunshine Coast Lightning 13 | 13 | 16 | 12 (54)
Melbourne Vixens 18 | 12 | 13 | 15 (58)

STARTING SEVEN:

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Laura Langman
WD: Jacqui Russell
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

Melbourne Vixens

GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Caitlin Thwaites
WA: Liz Watson
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Emily Mannix

2020 Suncorp Super Netball preview: Round 14

THE final round of 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) action is upon us, with a host of great games ahead and a couple of results that could change up positions in both the top and bottom four. While none of the top four sides are in danger of falling out of finals contention, the West Coast Fever are just two points behind the Sunshine Coast Lightning – who will take on the Melbourne Vixens – meaning the Lightning need a win on the board to secure a top two position and a second chance run at the finals. 

Collingwood Magpies v. Queensland Firebirds
Saturday, 26 September

The Collingwood Magpies will have their last opportunity to put a second win on the board for the season but with the Queensland Firebirds continuously growing this season there is little chance of the Magpies collecting one last hurrah. That being said, it was the Firebirds they defeated back in Round 3 for their first win of the season, meaning the side may come in with some confidence as they bid goodbye to a forgettable season.

Expect a huge battle between two in-form players inside the circle, with veterans Romelda Aiken and Geva Mentor going head to head in what could be the kicker in this match. That being said, youngster Tippah Dwan has been in scintillating form in her first season on court, being as much a playmaker out the front as a threat at the post meaning she cannot be left on her own and forcing the one-on-one between Mentor and Aiken. Through the midcourt, expect a tight battle between Mahalia Cassidy and Molly Jovic with the youngster stepping up to SSN level with ease, though expect plenty of rotation and fresh legs against the Firebirds centre as the match continues with Collingwood constantly switching up their centre-court lineup. The Magpies will be up to their ears in the attack third, with the Firebirds defensive unit of captain Gabi Simpson and exciting up-and-comers Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe impressing every week without fail. The Magpies will need Shimona Nelson to stand up and command space and attention at the post if the Magpies expect to get a win on the board to finish a lacklustre season.

NSW Swifts v. GIANTS Netball
Saturday, 26 September

The GIANTS will be ruing missed opportunities – and goals – after a hard slog last week resulted in a close battle with the Fever but coming up short yet again, meaning they miss out on finals for a second straight year. Meanwhile, the Swifts will be out to prove their recent form is just a blip in the radar as they attempt to go back-to-back and rewrite their one goal victory from way back in Round 1.

It will be a huge battle when Kiera Austin and Jo Harten take on a threatening defensive combination in Sarah Klau, Maddy Turner and Lauren Moore on the weekend, with each of the three defenders all having standout games in patches but this season seemingly just missing the mark when it comes to consistency. That being said, the trio are adept at rebounding so will want to take advantage of Austin and Harten’s combined accuracy, with the side renowned for relying on super shots. Through the midcourt, expect a heap of changes for the Swifts with speed and energy the name of the Swifts game in the centre whereas the GIANTS like to stay as consistent as possible. Paige Hadley and Amy Parmenter are both key names for their respective sides with both attacking and defensive attributes, while Jamie-Lee Price has had an excellent season so will want to finish with a bang. The absence of Maddie Hay could throw a spanner in the works for the GIANTS, while the Swifts have a number of quality attackers at their disposal to create plenty of rotation both in and around the circle.

West Coast Fever v. Adelaide Thunderbirds
Saturday, 26 September

The Fever have had a stunning season after a disappointing 2019 and indeed shaky start to 2020, but since Round 7 they have rarely skipped a beat. Adelaide Thunderbirds have certainly had their own purple patch but have struggled with consistency at times after an exciting start to the season. The Fever need a win here to have a chance of a top two finish, with the waiting game lasting a whole extra day before they will know if they have secured a safe spot – if they get the win.

Jhaniele Fowler has been virtually unstoppable in season 2020, and while if anyone is capable of taking Fowler down it is Shamera Sterling, the Jamaican goal keeper has not been quite as energetic in the last few weeks making this an interesting contest. Verity Charles has had a fantastic season with the high ball into Fowler but will need to watch her hand with Sterling’s ability to anticipate the air ball, while a dogged combination of Shadine van der Merwe and Maisie Nankivell will look to quell Charles’ impact on circle edge. That being said, Fever have both Alice Teague-Neeld and Emma Cosh to steal focus if required, with both attackers able to thread the needle to Fowler and create attacking forays. Defensively, Courtney Bruce has been huge over the past few rounds, meaning Lenize Potgieter will have her work cut out for her – as will her feeders in Georgie Horjus and Nankivell, and also possibly the now-uncontracted Chelsea Pitman and goaler Sam Gooden.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Melbourne Vixens
Sunday, 27 September

The final match of the round – and indeed the season – is a huge battle between the Lightning and Vixens. While the Vixens are in no danger of losing top spot and the minor premiership, a win here would do a lot for the side’s confidence heading into finals after a scrappy few rounds without co-captain Liz Watson working the ball around. For the Lightning, they have been a new and improved side in recent rounds, making this an enticing clash and a potential finals preview.

These two sides are no stranger to rotating their attack, and if anything from this season has become apparent, there are very little missing links in either side’s attack. Last time they played, Kate Eddy did a number on Laura Scherian but expect the pocket rocket to come out flying, with Steph Wood stepping up in the latter half of the season and proving she is more than capable of stepping up when her side is down. Wood’s partnership with centre Laura Langman is exceptional, with Kate Moloney tasked with shutting down the New Zealand powerhouse, while Jo Weston has had a phenomenal season being a thorn in every goal attack’s side making for a huge contest. At the other end, Caitlin Thwaites seems to have a new lease on life in season 2020, transitioning to goal attack and not skipping a beat. Taking on Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni – with the latter also having a fantastic season – will be tough, especially if Watson is not out the front once more.

SSN Head to Head: Round 14

IN each round of Suncorp Super Netball we will identify key match-ups, provide an analysis of players and compare the two styles. The final round of the home and away season sees the top two sides go head to head with the battle in the centre between Kate Moloney and Laura Langman expected to set the tone for their respective sides.

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING v. MELBOURNE VIXENS
Laura Langman (C) v. Kate Moloney (C)

Neither Langman or Moloney are known for their desire to take a backwards step, and instead they are often applauded for their hustle and grind to constantly win ball back. They are both barometers for their side, able to stand up when needed and have an influence.

Coming off a surprise loss last round the Vixens, led by captain, Moloney, will be hoping to get back onto the winners list and rekindle that dominant form that saw them notch up the minor premiership two rounds ago. Without partner in crime, Liz Watson, Moloney has had to step up her attacking game in recent weeks, to feed the ball into the likes of Caitlin Thwaites, Tegan Philip and Mwai Kumwenda under the post. Her 1-2 punch around circle edge and speed off the mark makes her an effective option while her gut running is unquestionable, frequently contesting every ball that comes her way. Moloney’s on court leadership is paramount to the Vixens both in attack and defence as she is often that driving force and integral link between the two thirds. She is a real dogged style of player, in the sense that she does not allow her opponent any space and rides every pass. Her defensive attributes are clear, able to create tips and deflections such is her read of the play while her never say die attitude often sparks her teammates around her.

Much like a fine wine, Langman continues to get better with age and is a key cog for the Lightning. When she is firing Sunshine Coast are just about unstoppable with the centre able to break through the defence with great ease and penetrate into the circle in the blink of an eye. Her athleticism and endurance is almost unmatched, able to run rings around her opponents while her experience allows her to bring out all the tricks in the book. However it is the connection with Steph Wood that is the most damaging with the duo able to set the court alight with their dynamic movement, speed and netball nous to weave their way down the court. Langman is a real general in attack able to create something out of nothing and most importantly is not afraid to go back and reset to allow the Lightning frontend in Cara Koenen, Laura Scherian and Wood to re-position. The New Zealand veteran is damaging in attack but so too down back with her hands over pressure, ability to read the play and pick off an intercept, while her skill to transition in a heartbeat can often catch opposition teams off-guard.

It will be a hotly contested tussle in the centre with both players possessing very similar attributes and game play given their defensive tendencies. Any cross court passes will play into the hands of Langman, with the centre renowned for her ability to peel off and go hunting meaning the Vixens will have to be meticulous especially in attack if they are to get the chocolates. However if the two captains nullify each other it will be up to the players around them to step up and lead the pack which could be tricky for the minor premiers if Watson misses out again this round.

2020 Suncorp Super Netball: Five Talking points – Round 13

THE penultimate round of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) sparked plenty of intrigue and debate as the GIANTS failed to keep their slim finals hopes alive while the league celebrated Indigenous round despite it being marred by controversy.

Bassett remained on the bench in GIANTS do-or-die clash
In arguably one of their biggest games of the season, the GIANTS’ narrow loss to West Coast Fever all but ended their hopes of sneaking into the top four. There was no denying that accuracy seemed to be a big issue for the GIANTS as Jo Harten and Kiera Austin shot at a combined 70 per cent, failing to convert their chances as Australian Diamonds captain and shooting sensation Caitlin Bassett sat on the bench. It looked like her time might come as wing attack Maddie Hay went down with an injury midway through the third but instead of swinging the relatively inaccurate Austin into wing attack like previous matches, the GIANTS shuffled the bibs around as Amy Parmenter moved into wing attack momentarily before Claire O’Brien ran out the rest of the game. The attack seemed to suffer in the final quarter as the GIANTS struggled to find their rhythm with Courtney Bruce and Olivia Lewis starring as the GIANTS lacked Bassett’s accuracy and rebounding ability under the post.

Controversy sparked as Jemma Mi Mi failed to take the court
In a round dedicated to celebrating Indigenous culture many were looking forward to Queensland Firebirds midcourter Jemma Mi Mi taking the court. Currently, Mi Mi is the sole Indigenous player in the SSN and in the lead up to the match on Sunday had done a wealth of work promoting her journey and encouraging other young Indigenous girls to follow in her footsteps. However, the speedster failed to take the court against the Vixens with the decision sparking plenty of debate. In the dying minutes of the final quarter wing attack Lara Dunkley seemed to pull up gingerly with some form of cramp, but instead of coming off the court, opted to stay out there and run out the game as Mi Mi waited patiently on the sideline to be subbed on. Many fans questioned the decision behind not injecting Mi Mi into the game given the significance of the round and the fact that the game was a dead rubber as it did not impact finals.

Liz Watson is key to the Vixens success
Highly talented wing attack, Liz Watson was forced to the sideline once again with an ankle complaint which allowed the Firebirds and Gabi Simpson in particular to take full control when it came to tempo and flow. Youngsters Tayla Honey and Elle McDonald have plenty of raw talent but ultimately lack that craft and finesse that Watson has especially around circle edge, with her direct passes into the goalers. Watson is renowned for her exceptionally high work rate at the centre pass and movement within the attacking third, something that was once again missed in the Vixens frontend against the Firebirds on the weekend. The likes of Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe capitalised on Melbourne’s lack of movement and assertiveness in Watson’s absence.

NSW Swifts prove they know how to win ugly
It was an inconsistent performance from the reigning premiers who struggled to find any continuity in attack as they chopped and changed. Challenged in the second and third quarter and with the game on the line the Swifts kicked it up a gear, albeit marginal in the final term. The combination of Sophie Garbin and Helen Housby seemed to be what the doctor ordered in the goal circle as the duo found their range only missing two goals for the quarter as the midcourt work stemming from Natalie Haythornthwaite and Paige Hadley increased. Although it was not pretty, it showed that the Swifts have the ability to grind it out against tough opposition with Shamera Sterling and Layla Guscoth putting in the hard yards and making life tricky for the Swifts’ attackers.

Cara Koenen and Steph Wood could be the Diamonds next starting shooting combo
The Lightning frontend ooze plenty of class with Laura Scherian and Laura Langman real playmakers in the attacking third thanks to their speed, drive and spatial awareness. However, inside the circle is where the real damage happens as Cara Koenen and Steph Wood put on a show under the post. The shooter to shooter interplay is near on impossible to negate with their deft touches and perfect timing proving to be a headache even for the best such as Geva Mentor as shown in this round. Although it took a few minutes for Koenen to build into the match, once the goal shooter found her range and confidence she starred sinking an impressive 41 goals from 45 attempts at 91 per cent while Wood was not only the goal assist mastermind but so too effective from range nailing four super shots. Their partnership is one of movement and dynamism, something that could be handy for the Diamonds in the future.

Where could Chelsea Pitman end up in 2021?

ANNOUNCING that Adelaide Thunderbirds did not offer her a contract for the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball season, Thunderbirds co-captain and England Roses midcourter Chelsea Pitman will be on the move next season. The wing attack has been in arguably career best form in 2020 and is keen to play on next season, making her a handy acquisition for any team she decides to join. The main question however, is where will she go and which team is in need of a specialist wing attack? Draft Central poses some potential options, keeping in mind that team lists for next season have not yet been announced.

West Coast Fever:
With Ingrid Colyer going down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury she can be expected to spend a large chunk of next season on the sidelines as she recovers, effectively leaving a hole in the Fever attack. Although Emma Cosh has stepped up to the plate in the past few games, she is still developing her craft and with the services of Pitman up for grabs West Coast would be silly not to pounce. Pitman is clever with ball in hand and has experience feeding into tall holding shooters such as Jhaniele Fowler, playing with the likes of Romelda Aiken back in her heyday at the Firebirds and more recently Shimona Nelson when she was at the Thunderbirds. The Roses wing attack is cautious with ball in hand and while she does not do all the flashy things it is her patient approach down court and skill execution that sets her apart from other midcourters.

Sunshine Coast Lightning:
With the future of Laura Langman still up in the air with the New Zealand international announcing her retirement from Silver Ferns duties, the question of whether she plays on in 2021 is one that must be asked. If she does in fact retire it could see a huge shake up in the Lightning attack end with Laura Scherian likely to swing into that centre position leaving the wing attack position vacant and open for someone like Pitman to swoop in. Pitman has proven her ability to adapt on the fly and feed with great ease into a moving circle such is her high netball IQ and impressive ball placement, which could play into the hands of Sunshine Coast. With speed to burn when it comes to Scherian, Pitman could provide that steady head and composure to hit circle edge and deliver into the likes of Steph Wood, Peace Proscovia and Cara Koenen, making her an exciting possibility for the 2021 season.

GIANTS Netball:
After somewhat of an up and down 2020 season, the GIANTS could be on the hunt for a specialised and experience wing attack, a role which Pitman could fill if the position became available. With Kiera Austin spending majority of her time out in goal attack and Jo Harten pulling on the goal shooter bib, the feeding role has fallen to youngster Maddie Hay and while she has impressed in patches the consistency of Pitman could be the edge the GIANTS need to bat deep in 2021. Pitman already has forged strong connections with Harten thanks to the duo playing in the Roses together while Pitman is also familiar with Caitlin Bassett having won the 2011 Netball World Cup together; albeit a while ago now. Pitman is a smooth mover who is hardly ever overawed and could offer that sense of stability and class to a consistently changing GIANTS line-up.

Although it is a long shot, Pitman could potentially ply her craft across the ditch in the ANZ Premiership while the possibility of Pitman taking her netball to England is also a chance with new franchise Leeds Rhinos searching for some experienced names to round out the squad. Either way, it is fair to say whichever team picks up Pitman, they will be better for it given her composure, netball smarts and all round experience.

Lightning grind out 10-goal win against Collingwood to hold onto second spot

KICKING off Indigenous Round in style, the battle between the Sunshine Coast Lightning and Collingwood Magpies was tight to start with before the two-time premiers showed their class and poise to secure a 10-goal victory (53-63). The momentum shifted slightly throughout the game however the Lightning maintained relative control unfazed by Collingwood’s attempts.

It was a goal attack shoot out to start the game as both Gabby Sinclair and Steph Wood opened the accounts for their respective sides before the goal shooters injected themselves into the game. Collingwood applied a wealth of pressure in defence, clogging up the space for the Lightning attackers and forcing them to work in overdrive to hit circle edge. A missed shot at the hands of Shimona Nelson sent the Lightning into transition as they skipped out a to a two goal lead thanks to Cara Koenen finding her groove under the post with her impressive timing and baseline drives. Up the other end, Phumza Maweni was proving to be a menace creating doubt in the feeders’ minds and most importantly winning back a wealth of ball.

The Lightning seemed to swing the ball across the court with great ease and precision to open up the options in attack and keep the Collingwood defenders guessing. Playing out in wing defence, albeit not for long, Laura Langman was proving to be a handful with the Kiwi international showcasing her hands over pressure to create turnovers. Establishing a five goal lead in favour of the Lightning, the Magpies called a timeout and capitalised instantly. Their purple patch continued as they pegged the margin back to two goals as the momentum ebbed and flowed throughout the quarter. With less than five minutes on the clock Collingwood drew level but Sunshine Coast fought back with Koenen leading the way under the post with her fancy footwork and shooter to shooter interplay with Wood. A rush of blood seemed to plague both teams as the ball trickled over the boundary line however the Lightning’s control gifted them a four goal buffer.

A couple of changes in attack did not seem to faze the Lightning with Peace Proscovia entering the game with great confidence while Koenen continued her merry way in goal attack. Maweni came out with a real fire in the belly taking a huge intercept in the opening minute of the quarter as Sunshine Coast looked to put the foot down. Laura Scherian started to motor in wing attack after being well held by Mel Bragg in the opening term with the wing attack finding good space in the pockets. The Lightning had a point to prove pushing out to a seven goal lead as their connections in the goal circle started to settle. However, Collingwood continued to tussle and while they laboured down the court Nelson managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Wood made her way back onto the court combining with Proscovia while for Collingwood Kelly Altmann and Molly Jovic swapped bibs. Altmann had an immediate impact in centre picking up a loose ball in defence as the Pies scored back-to-back goals to cut the margin to six goals. Jodi-Ann Ward worked her way into the contest, getting hands to ball to create timely tips but the Magpies seemed relatively disjointed through the centre. Bragg injected some defensive flair with her work around circle edge to throw herself at everything as Sinclair delivered up the other end with the super shot. But the experience of Wood came to the fore as the goal attack sunk consecutive super shots allowing the Lightning to regain an eight goal lead.

Bragg came out with a spring in her step, gobbling up a couple of huge intercepts and sending the Pies into attack. She was involved in just about everything with her drive out muscling Scherian. Binnian Hunt made her way onto the court and was involved in the action straight away with a huge rejection and follow up hustle to regain possession. After somewhat of a quiet first half Karla Pretorius sprung into the game with an intercept as increased defensive pressure seemed to be the method for both sides. It was goal for goal for the first five minutes or so as neither team could assert themselves however the Lightning retained their eight goal margin.

Still trying to wrestle momentum into their favour Collingwood pulled the trigger with Nyah Allen making her way onto the court, replacing Sinclair as Matilda Garrett also pulled on the goal defence bib. Geva Mentor continued to be a ball winning machine for the Pies with her work to read the play and swat away ball time and time again to try and slow down the Lightning attack but it was simply not enough as they trailed by nine at three quarter time.

The last quarter continued at a relatively frantic pace however the Lightning managed to extend the lead as their cleanliness came into play. The shooter to shooter interplay between Wood and Koenen was near on unstoppable as Mentor and Garrett continuously got caught out by their speed. both sides rung in the changes with Ashlee Unie getting the nod at goal defence and starring with a huge intercept while for Collingwood Tyler Orr pulled on the centre bib in the second half of the quarter. Collingwood really rallied in the backend of the term with the defence taking it up a notch as Sinclair sunk a timely super shot to get back within six. In the end, the Lightning flexed their muscles running away with a 10-goal victory with the stellar performance from Maweni playing a key role.

Koenen continued to be a menace under the post, picking up where she left off last round with 41 goals at 91 per cent while Wood was equally as impressive especially from range nailing four super shots from five attempts while also recording 21 goal assists. Nelson was the main avenue to goal for the black and white with the goal shooter converting 40 goals from 44 attempts while Sinclair was crafty out the front amassing 17 goal assists to accompany her 10 goals. In defence, Mentor was a lynchpin for the Pies collecting two intercepts and nine deflections as the Lightning defensive duo of Pretorius and Maweni picked up plenty of ball, with the latter walking away with the player of the match thanks to her stats-stuffing performance of five intercepts, four gains and 10 deflections.

>>> MAGPIES TEAM PAGE
>>> LIGHTNING TEAM PAGE
>>> FULL MATCH STATS

— 

Collingwood Magpies 12 | 15 | 13 | 13 (53)
Sunshine Coast Lightning 16 | 19 | 14 | 14 (63)

STARTING SEVEN: 

Collingwood Magpies:

GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Gabby Sinclair
WA: Kelly Altmann
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Mel Bragg
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

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

2020 SSN Preview: Round 13 – Collingwood Magpies vs. Sunshine Coast Lightning

IN the standalone midweek game, Collingwood Magpies and Sunshine Coast Lightning are set to lock horns with the latter hoping to secure second spot on the ladder. It has been a trying season for the Magpies, losing a couple of key cogs over the off-season and then being marred with injury throughout their 2020 campaign while the Lightning have been solid, but yet to peak.

Collingwood Magpies vs. Sunshine Coast Lightning
Wednesday, 16 September

Round 13 marks Indigenous Round with the contest between the two sides taking place at Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre. Sitting at vastly different ends of the table and with pride on the line for the Magpies expect them to come out all guns blazing as Sunshine Coast hope to find some continuity heading into the finals series. Both sides have a couple of key players able to change the course of the game, however the experience and class of the Lightning could prove too much for the black and white who have had patches of brilliance have struggled with consistency.

In the goal circle, Shimona Nelson has pulled together a couple of strong performances starring in the air and most importantly converting while her connection with Gabby Sinclair is steadily developing. Sinclair has proven that she can be a real menace when it comes to the super shot, however another menace is that of Karla Pretorius with the goal defence coming off her 100th game and another strong outing. Pretorius is building some hot form at the right time for the Lightning while partner in crime Phumza Maweni has showcased she is no easy beat under the ring with her impressive positioning on the rebound and read of the play to go out hunting. The possibility of a moving circle could favour the Pies if the likes of Nyah Allen was to come onto the court and nail the super shots, and while Emma Ryde offers a similar style to Nelson, she is another option if things are not going to plan in the circle for Collingwood.

Through the midcourt the Lightning have no shortage of international experience with Laura Langman headlining the centre third. Langman is a real barometer for the side acting as the link between defence and attack while her combination with Steph Wood is next level. The duo bring each other into the game and often seem to have the ball on a string while Laura Scherian is no slouch in wing attack with her ability to dart around the court and zip into the pockets to hit up the goalers with ease, meaning Collingwood’s Mel Bragg will have her hands full. Still finding their feet but well and truly proving their worth Molly Jovic and Kelly Altmann will have their work cut out for them up against the silky Lightning midcourt who are dogged in defence and attack. Jacqui Russell and Maddy McAuliffe consistently butter up therefore the cuts and drives of Altmann, Jovic and potentially Tyler Orr will have to be on song to keep them busy.

There are options aplenty inside the circle for the Lightning with Wood a real playmaker and super shot specialist while Cara Koenen is coming off an impressive 100 per cent accuracy shooting spree. Koenen has elevated her game to a whole other level in season 2020 but will be tested against experienced campaigner Geva Mentor with the Collingwood goal keeper in ripping form, able to read the play with ease and gobble up a wealth of ball. Although not registering as much court time as last season, Peace Proscovia should not be underestimated given her strong holds and rebounding abilities. Jodi-Ann Ward will have to keep Wood busy and keep her away from entering the circle while Matilda Garrett is another option for the Pies inside the defensive circle.

The Pies are renowned for their fast starts while the Lightning have been caught on the back foot in the past couple of weeks with their slower than usual start. If Collingwood can gain some early ascendancy it could set them up for a strong game however Sunshine Coast have all the tricks of the trade and ooze nothing but composure and netball smarts to consistently work their way back into the contest.

SSN Momentum shifts: Round 12

WITH finals right around the corner, Suncorp Super Netball Round 12 saw some phenomenal matchups across every games and some highly talented players take the court. The condensed fixture and introduction of rolling subs this year have seen plenty of young names already jump on the court and have a huge impact despite their lack of experience. We take a look at each game and note which players shifted the gears and switched up the momentum.

West Coast Fever (80) defeated NSW Swifts (71)

A fast start from the Fever all but gifted them the ascendancy throughout the remainder of the game. Jhaniele Fowler was once again formidable under the post sinking a staggering 20 goals straight in the first quarter alone and while Alice Teague-Neeld only put up two shots her work rate was impressive separating Lauren Moore and Sarah Klau in defence to allow Fowler to dominate. The Swifts defence had no answers for the Jamaican goal shooter who could do no wrong under the post such was her prowess throughout the opening term. In the absence of Ingrid Colyer, Emma Cosh has stepped up to the plate and this quarter was no different as the wing attack found a wealth of space to deliver ball into Fowler time and time again.

Collingwood Magpies (53) defeated by Melbourne Vixens (61)

After being well beaten in the opening term the Vixens came out with a point to prove in the second term as Jo Weston turned the jets on in defence. The goal defence came out firing hunting every single ball that came her way, nullifying the influence of Gabby Sinclair both under the post and in the attacking third with her smothering pressure. Weston worked in tandem with Emily Mannix to stop Shimona Nelson while Kate Eddy plied her trade out the front in wing defence as the defensive trio denied ball from entering the circle. Weston single-handedly swung the momentum into the Vixens favour collecting four deflections with two resulting in gains. Her efforts were matched by the shooters as Mwai Kumwenda and Tegan Philip found their rhythm rendering the Magpies ineffective across the court.

Sunshine Coast Lightning (75) defeated Queensland Firebirds (67)

Although they did not win the first quarter the introduction of Lightning and Diamonds goal attack Steph Wood was exactly what Sunshine Coast was looking for. Starting the game on the bench, Wood injected a wealth of speed into the attacking third and brought the likes of Laura Langman and Laura Scherian into the game. Her speed was unmatched by Kim Jenner while her playmaking skills were on full display. Coming on in the final five minutes of the quarter, her injection was not fully felt until the second quarter where she settled into the match and set the court alight with her dynamic movement, quick hands into Cara Koenen and vision to keep the Firebirds guessing. Wood seemed to have the ball on a string and changed the course of the game with her get up and go mentality.

Adelaide Thunderbirds (54) defeated by GIANTS Netball (64)

The midcourt shake-up from the GIANTS proved to be crucial to keeping them in the hunt after struggling to get going in the opening term. Amy Parmenter injected a wealth of speed and excitement through the centre while the longer arms of Kristiana Manu’a in wing defence seemed to pay dividends for the GIANTS. April Brandley added a touch of class and experience down back as the GIANTS started to win back a wealth of ball and generate some strong defensive plays that translated into goals as things started to kick into gear. Despite not spending a lot of time in centre on the SSN stage, Parmenter took to the switch like a duck to water, finding the circle edge with great ease and most importantly linking up with Kiera Austin who found her range to turn the tables on the Thunderbirds and claim the lead and subsequent momentum.

2020 Suncorp Super Netball Preview: Round 12

ROUND 12 sees some big match-ups as clubs look to keep their finals hopes alive with the Thunderbirds, GIANTS and Firebirds all teetering on the edge of a finals berth with four wins apiece. West Coast will be out to leapfrog their opponents and steal second spot on the ladder as the Vixens hope to hold onto top spot.

West Coast Fever v. NSW Swifts
Saturday, 12 August

The Fever will be on a high heading into their clash with the reigning premiers after trouncing their Round 11 opponents by 20 goals. Meanwhile the Swifts will be hoping to work their way back onto the winners list and find some continuity in what has been an up and down season.

Jhaniele Fowler is an unstoppable force under the post, consistently recording ridiculously high numbers however the work out the front from Alice Teague-Neeld has enabled the goal shooter to recapture elements of her 2018 form. The chopping and changing in defence for the Swifts in the way of Lauren Moore and Maddy Turner is something to keep an eye on as they look to offset Teague-Neeld or potentially help Sarah Klau by doubling back on the Jamaican shooter.

The Swifts are gifted with a multitude of options through the midcourt with Paige Hadley, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Maddy Proud and Tayla Fraser all handy choices and have proven they can come on and have an impact. With no Ingrid Colyer, Emma Cosh has well and truly stepped up to the plate and is getting better and better with more court time while Verity Charles is arguably in career-best form in centre. When it comes to the shooting circle the Swifts have lacked a bit of cohesion with Sam Wallace, Helen Housby and Sophie Garbin all labouring and clumping together which will play into the hands of the Fever defence as Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis are master-readers of the play. Even if Bruce and Francis are not up to the challenge, Sunday Aryang has been a revelation this season while Olivia Lewis has shown she is no slouch down back.

Collingwood Magpies v. Melbourne Vixens
Saturday, 12 August

Having not played each other since Round 1, a lot has changed with the Magpies losing a couple of integral members through the midcourt in Madi and Kelsey Browne while the Vixens have really kicked into gear. The Vixens hold a firm grip on top spot while the Magpies languish down the bottom of the table, however that will not stop either side from putting on a show given their crosstown rivalry.

There is no denying that the combination between Mwai Kumwenda and Caitlin Thwaites has developed at a rate of knots in 2020 with the two effortlessly pairing in the goal circle while the injection of Tegan Philip’s speed can slice a game right open. Geva Mentor has been a consistent factor for Collingwood down back as Jodi-Ann Ward powers through in goal defence out the front. The Magpies will be hoping to find an answer in the form of Mel Bragg to shut down Liz Watson with the wing attack in hot form and often setting up the attacking forays for the Vixens. Partner in crime Kate Moloney is another player Collingwood will hope to contain given her explosiveness and ability to break a game wide open, meaning the responsibility will land on either Kelly Altmann or Molly Jovic to quell her influence through the middle.

Shimona Nelson has had a rocky 2020 season, often fading in and out of games which is an area she will be hoping to rectify while Gabby Sinclair has proven more than once she is up to the challenge especially when it comes to the super shot. Emma Ryde has also been a good impact player for the Pies however the Vixens have an extremely cohesive defensive unit, even if Emily Mannix is missing, with Simone McKinnis able to shuffle the cards between Kate Eddy, Jo Weston, Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Allie Smith.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Queensland Firebirds
Sunday, 13 August

The Lightning have struggled to generate their usual dominance this season and are coming off another heavy loss at the hands of the Fever. On the other hand, the Firebirds have found their groove and confidence making for an intriguing battle between the two Queensland sides.

With a new sense of confidence in the goal circle Romelda Aiken has elevated her game in 2020, holding strong under the post and dominating the airwaves allowing Tippah Dwan to be a menace out the front. Dwan has proven she is no slouch consistently tearing games apart with her two point shooting, something the Lightning defenders will have to be acutely aware of if they are to stop the Firebirds in their tracks. Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni are no easy beats, however Maweni gives away close to 10 centimetres meaning it will take a full court defensive effort from the likes of Laura Langman and the rotating wing defence’s Maddy McAuliffe and Jacqui Russell if they are to stop the ball from getting down to the inform shooter.

The Firebirds have a wealth of midcourt options and have proven they are not afraid to use the bench with Macy Gardner, Mahalia Cassidy, Lara Dunkley and Jemma Mi Mi all viable options through the centre. The Lightning on the other end tend to stick to a consistent line-up with the most changes coming in the shooting circle between Cara Koenen, Steph Wood and Peace Proscovia. Koenen has really come into her own this season however the hesitancy on the release into her under the post could play into the hands of the ball hungry Firebirds defensive unit in Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe. Pair that with their physical nature and it could upset the Lightning in attack while Gabi Simpson’s work off the ball will be integral in nullifying the impact of Laura Scherian around circle edge to limit the Lightnings’ chance of scoring.

Adelaide Thunderbirds v. GIANTS Netball
Sunday, 13 August

The final game of the round sees an intense battle between two sides hoping to keep their finals hopes alive. Adelaide and the GIANTS are evenly poised across the court and sitting just outside the top four know just how much a win means if they are to cause headaches come the pointy end of the season.

There is no denying that Georgie Horjus has been a revelation in season 2020 with her ability to sink super shots often keeping her side in touch while the connection between her and Lenize Potgieter continuously gets better. The ball placement and movement from Chelsea Pitman and Maisie Nankivell is crucial to the Thunderbirds meaning it will be up to the midcourt duo of Amy Parmenter – if she returns after missing Round 11 – and Jamie-Lee Price to shut down her drive in attack. However Kristiana Manu’a proved she is also a viable option out in wing defence if needed given the defensive capability of Matilda McDonell, Sam Poolman and April Brandley, all able to rotate through circle defence.

Shamera Sterling is a menace in the air, able to consistently win ball back for her side while Layla Guscoth, Shadine van der Merwe and Kate Shimmin are dogged in defence making for an exciting battle between the rotating GIANTS shooting trio of Kiera Austin, Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett, with the latter hoping to secure some regular court time.