Tag: layla guscoth

2020 SSN: Season preview- Adelaide Thunderbirds

AFTER an extended break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season is set to commence on August 1. Draft Central takes a look at each team, starting off with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. 

Coach: Tania Obst
Captain: Layla Guscoth and Chelsea Pitman
2019 finish: 7th 

Breaking their 27 game losing streak in Round 1 against the Fever last year, the Thunderbirds seemed to uncover a new lease on life attacking the ball with intensity. Unfortunately they could not maintain that style of play throughout the season only notching up two more wins. Riddled with injuries, England Roses midcourter Beth Cobden was ruled out early with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and co-captain Layla Guscoth missed the second half of the season after rupturing her Achilles. Sasha Glasgow also went down late in the season with an ACL topping off what had been a trying season for the Thunderbirds. They will be keen to put that to bed in 2020 and put their foot down. Adelaide well and truly proved they have the defensive firepower to change the course of the game, something they will be hoping to build on this season to register more wins. 

2020 predictions/expectations:

With the key loss and retirement of long bomb specialist Maria Folau and uncertainty surrounding Glasgow’s return the Thunderbirds shooting end oozes plenty of youth and inexperience when it comes to connections. Welcoming quickfire goal shooter and Spar Proteas star Lenize Potgieter the Thunderbirds attack will rely heavily on her to deliver while the likes of Samantha Gooden and Charlee Hodges will also have a challenge on their hands stepping into a new-look side. The midcourt remains relatively unchanged with Chelsea Pitman the key through the attacking third with her clever ball placement, speed on the pass, strong circle edge positioning and vision into the circle. Her output will be key to ensuring the goalers get good access. Defensively Adelaide are littered with ball winners, none bigger than Shamera Sterling. The Jamaican goal keeper took the competition by storm last year, using her long arms, speed off the mark and pressure over the shot to win ball back and cause havoc. The versatility of Kate Shimmin also worked wonders for the Thunderbirds while Shadine van der Merwe also slotted into the team seamlessly with her hands over pressure and strength to swing into circle defence or wing defence. The return of Guscoth will also be huge for the Thunderbirds with the England Roses representative able to have an impact with her calming nature, skill to win ball back and tagging style of play. 

Key player to watch:

New to the Thunderbirds this season, Potgieter is a real playmaker and staple hold under the post for any team. She is quick on her feet, able to change up the angles in an instant and more importantly score quickly and accurately. Having played with the Steel in the ANZ Premiership last season and spending time with the Queensland Firebirds midseason the Proteas goal shooter is well aware of what it takes to perform at SSN level. She is unfazed by the physical nature of the game, instead relying on her strong holds, baseline drives and range to do all the talking. She is an exciting prospect for the Thunderbirds this season given it will be her first full SSN season and has proven time and time again on the international stage that she is a true competitor, able to read the play and command the ball. 

Team list:

Sasha Glasgow
Samantha Gooden
Layla Guscoth
Charlee Hodges
Maisie Nankivell
Hannah Petty
Chelsea Pitman
Lenize Potgieter
Kate Shimmin
Shamera Sterling
Shadine van der Merwe

Who could lead SSN stats in 2020?

WITH the Suncorp Super Netball set to return in just over a month there is plenty of hype surrounding the season and which team will assert themselves on the competition. Last year the Lightning and Swifts seemed to dominate most areas when it came to statistics, but that did not stop Adelaide Thunderbirds recruit Shamera Sterling from leaving her mark claiming prime position in a couple of crucial stats while West Coast Fever goaler Jhaniele Fowler was also well represented in terms of statistical dominance. Draft Central poses some hypotheticals for the 2020 season, taking into account 2019 form, potential development over the off-season and enforced COVID-19 break.

Defensive rebounds:
Talented goal keeper, Sterling dominated rebounds last year notching up a whopping 35 for the season. Collingwood and England Roses goal keeper Geva Mentor was not far behind with 33, something she will be hoping to build on this season given the young and inexperienced defensive unit behind her heading into 2020. Premiership player Sarah Klau proved to be a force to be reckoned with under the post with her strong positioning and rebounding ability amassing the fourth most with 28 for the season. With Diamonds experience under her belt Klau could be an even bigger threat in the 2020 SSN season. While Emily Mannix did not feature within the top 10 for rebounds last year expect the Melbourne Vixens defender to be around the mark this season, with the defender showcasing a renewed hunger towards the end of last season. 

Goal assists:
It is no surprise that Melbourne Vixens and Australian Diamonds vice-captain Liz Watson took out the number one spot when it comes to goal assists with the wing attack simply unstoppable on circle edge with her pinpoint passes. Watson was quick, precise and accurate, feeding into the circle with a whopping 430 goal assists, 139 more than the next closest in teammate Kate Moloney. The Vixens centre was a key contributor throughout the season and will be around the mark once again in season 2020. The highly anticipated return of Madi Browne could see the speedy midcourter leap into the top five when it comes to goal assists as she will have to lead the attacking end for the Magpies given the wealth of personnel changes. Another possibility to join the top five is Swifts captain Maddy Proud who will hopefully make her return from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in the early stages of the season. Renowned for her speed, dynamic movement and quick hands she could have a real impact in the Swifts attacking end. 

Centre pass receives:
Pocket rocket Laura Scherian took out the number one spot when it came to centre pass receives in season 2019, with the nippy wing attack able to burst out over the transverse line and get the ball moving. Her speed off the mark and fancy footwork was one of a couple reasons why the Lightning were so successful with Scherian amassing 428 passes while Watson was not far behind with 375. Often flying under the radar when it comes to her work at the transverse line Gretel Bueta was a prominent threat with 325 receives. Her load may lift even further in 2020 with the retirement of Caitlyn Nevins so expect her to enforce herself in the midcourt. Depending on what position Paige Hadley plays she could be another player that appears within the top 10 while Browne is another possibility.

Goals:
Jamaican powerhouse and West Coast Fever go-to girl Jhaniele Fowler was simply unstoppable under the ring last year and will be hoping to replicate that form again this season. Standing at 198cm the goal shooter is a commanding presence and wowed many with her ability to perform week in week out racking up 709 goals. Fresh off a premiership expect Sam Wallace to pick up where she left off last season with the Swifts goal shooter able to slot them from everywhere no matter the pressure. With a potential increased load in the 2020 season due to pregnancies in the Collingwood camp, Shimona Nelson will have to push herself even further. Slotting 637 goals for the season, Nelson’s numbers could rapidly rise as she becomes an even bigger target for the Pies given the inexperienced attack. While Romelda Aiken did not make it into the top five last year, likely due to missing games for injury, the Firebirds goaler is renowned for her ability to score quickly and at a high volume so expect big things from her this season, while increased court time from Cara Koenen could also see the Sunshine Coast product sneak into the top five. 

Deflections:
Sterling took out the top deflections position with an impressive 120 for the year, a clear testament to her read of the play and ability to impact the contest. She was involved in just about everything and with another pre-season under her belt and more accustomed to the high intensity pace of the game will be raring to go heading into the 2020 season. Klau was another one who impressed last year and will be eager to keep the good times rolling if they are any chance to win back-to-back premierships. Surprisingly, powerhouse defender Karla Pretorius did not feature within the top five when it comes to deflections so expect the tenacious South African to be in the mix while Thunderbirds returnee Layla Guscoth is also renowned for her ability to create tips and turnovers. The development of Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner could see the duo feature within the top five this season while GIANTS wing defence Amy Parmenter is also a threat with her lightning quick pace and slickness on court.

Intercepts:
Although she did not feature in the deflections, Pretorius shone when it came to the intercept category with 69 for the season, one more than Sterling. Pretorius was a game changer for the Lightning, able to spring into action and take a huge intercept with her cleanliness and read of the play. After falling short in the grand final expect that fire in the belly to be evident and for Pretorius to once again be amongst the top echelon of players. Mannix was a prominent threat last year with her history breaking 10 intercepts in one game and ability to read the play. Collingwood newcomer Jodi-Ann Ward has proven on the international stage that she knows how to win ball back with her quick footwork and long reaching arms, while Magpies teammate, Mentor could also be in the top five once again given her strength in the air and skill to float into space and pick off passes. After a quieter 2019 season, West Coast Fever captain Courtney Bruce will be chomping at the bit, looking to assert herself and collect more deflections to rise up the leaderboard. 

Top 20 players over 30: #3 Serena Guthrie

THERE are a host of international players across the world that, much like a fine wine, have simply gotten better with age. With netball on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Draft Central takes a look at players that fall into the category of over 30 and still have plenty in the tank given their on-court prowess. In at number three is England Roses and Team Bath star, Serena Guthrie.

Arguably one of the most outstanding talents in the netball world, Serena Guthrie is a workhorse and stellar athlete with an ability to outrun almost anyone and look relaxed while she’s doing it. Guthrie chose the right time to take a break from international netball at the end of 2019 and leading into 2020 given the pandemic, but regardless of her pressing pause on her netball career for the time being, there is no doubt that the speedy midcourt-defender would be able to jump on the court and cause as much havoc as ever once she returns. 

With threatening speed, agility and endurance, Guthrie is one of those unpredictable players who can time and time again create something out of nothing, such is her athletic skill and ability to double and triple her effort and output under pressure. With long arms to snag the loose ball and create turnovers with ease, Guthrie is a constant impact-player, providing crucial links both up and down the court and plying her trade wherever she is required. Guthrie is unbelievable to watch, using her quick feet and read of the play to be a consistent threat through the centre for both the England Roses and Team Bath.

Typically playing out in centre, Guthrie uses her defensive nous to find prime position on the goal circle to turnover ball down back, while also able to have an impact feeding into the circle thanks to her ability to adapt her gamestyle to the situation at hand and two-way running to constantly be a backup option across the court. Along with her athletic ability comes her daring aerial skill, using her speed to propel herself off the court to create impossible intercepts, and leaping into the path of her opposition. It is Guthrie’s fearless approach to the game and willingness to throw her body on the line that sets her apart, unafraid of the contest and usually quick enough to evade the whistle.

Only just making the cut for this list having only turned 30 in January, it is a testament to Guthrie’s longevity that she has racked up the 98 caps for England already, consistently providing a threat on court with her ability to switch on the gears and just go, go, go. While not the cleanest player on the court thanks to her formidable approach to the contest, Guthrie typically is very good at picking her battles and forms a crucial part of the England Roses squad with her hands-over pressure and cherry-picking doing wonders to back up the likes of Geva Mentor and Layla Guscoth in defence.

TOP 20 PLAYERS OVER 30:

#20 Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever/England)
#19 Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Australia)
#18 Ama Agbeze (Severn Stars/England)
#17 Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning/South Africa)
#16 Jade Clarke (Wasps Netball/England)
#15 Chelsea Pitman (Adelaide Thunderbirds/England)

#14 Romelda Aiken (Queensland Firebirds/Jamaica)
#13 Madi Browne (Collingwood Magpies/Australia)
#12 Nat Medhurst (Collingwood Magpies/Australia)

#11 Mwai Kumwenda (Melbourne Vixens/Malawi)
#10 Caitlin Thwaites (Melbourne Vixens/Australia)
#9 Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball/England)

#8 Jane Watson (Mainland Tactix/New Zealand)
#7 Caitlin Bassett (GIANTS Netball/Australia)
#6 Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever/Jamaica)
#5 Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies/England)
#4 Katrina Rore (Central Pulse/New Zealand)
#3 Serena Guthrie (Team Bath/England)

Who will improve the most in 2020?

WITH Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) set to commence on August 1, we take a look at a couple of teams that might rise up the ladder this season after struggling in 2019. The delayed start to the season has gifted some clubs with valuable time when it comes to potentially regaining injured stars and working on connections with new recruits.

Queensland Firebirds:

Unfortunately, last year was not the Firebirds’ year, struggling to win games and play their normal game flamboyant game style, but hopefully 2020 will be a different story. With the likes of dynamic midcourter Lara Dunkley joining the ranks and Spar Proteas goaler Ine-Mari Venter also in the fold, Queensland have more versatility in the squad, giving them more options when things don’t go to plan on court. The Firebirds have a core group of a-list players such as captain Gabi Simpson in wing defence while powerhouse shooting duo Romelda Aiken and Gretel Bueta headline the attacking third. But it is the combinations around them that many can expect to flourish this season with the likes of defensive partners Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe. The young defenders have come along in leaps and bounds already and entering their third season together, could be what sees them win more games. They are strong in the air and apply a wealth of defensive pressure both over the shot and in the third itself, often out hunting for ball. If they can maintain a high level of intensity throughout the matches and stimulate some drive out of defence it will go a long way in pushing the Firebirds to further success this season.

West Coast Fever:

After the highs of 2018, the Fever’s 2019 campaign was a little disappointing, unable to replicate that same intensity and strangle-hold over other teams in the competition. The loss of Nat Medhurst was substantial but with the likes of Kaylia Stanton and Alice Teague-Neeld in the mix for a second season, the Fever will be hoping to find a spark. While Stanton is known more for her goal shooter tendencies her ability to rotate into goal attack was solid, but at times lacked that play-making ability. On the other hand, Teague-Neeld struggled to find consistency in her game play and put up shots ultimately putting pressure on the Fever frontend. While there is no denying that Jhaniele Fowler is the go-to-girl, West Coast will be hoping to have ironed out their attacking issues and come back stronger than ever this season. With extra time to work on their connections in the goal circle the varying styles could be beneficial to the Fever and give them that edge to recapture their dominance.

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

After showing some promise early last season the Thunderbirds were hit with injuries that slightly derailed their season, but will be looking to build on their foundations in 2020. Experienced Roses defender, Layla Guscoth missed the second half of the season but given the extended break could make a comeback this season and have an impact. Her experience down back, pressure over the shot and tagging style of play will pay dividends and add that extra layer of class to the T’birds defensive unit. Her connection with Shamera Sterling, Kate Shimmin and Shadine van der Merwe could cause headaches for opposition attackers. While shooting sensation, Sasha Glasgow sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury late last season, the recruitment of Lenize Potgieter will hopefully fill that hole. The South African goaler is accurate to post, quick on her feet and can hold her own in the goal circle but if Glasgow was to return she could offer another option under the post whether it be goal attack or goal shooter. With more time to develop their connections both in defence and through the midcourt the Thunderbirds will be hoping to use that defensive pressure to bring the ball down court and create attacking forays.

What if… the international players were not allowed to return to SSN?

WITH the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) hopeful to return in the coming months, star players from across the globe are slowly making their way back to Australia and their respective teams ahead of the impending season. The Adelaide Thunderbirds will welcome back three of their stars with Lenize Potgieter and Shadine van der Merwe returning from South Africa while Layla Guscoth is set to make the journey from England. Phumza Maweni will re-join the Sunshine Coast Lighting while Nat Haythornthwaite will make her way back to the New South Wales Swifts. Each player, plays an integral role for their respective side often forming the crux of the squad, providing that element of experience and class across the court.

But what if they were not allowed to re-enter the competition? How would that effect each club and the overall competition?

The Adelaide Thunderbirds would have been hit the hardest if Potgieter, van der Merwe and Guscoth were all not able to re-join the squad with each of them expected to earn a starting spot. While Guscoth missed the second half of last season due to an Achilles injury the talented defender will be eager to get back out on court and prove her worth. The lanky goal defence oozes class, understanding and a sense of calmness down back able to call the shots and apply pressure over the shot. With Maria Folau retiring last year and Sasha Glasgow out with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the goal shooter position all but falls to Potgieter. The South African is a sure shot under the post able to find space with ease and most importantly convert with ease. She is quick and unconventional on the shot and puts up a high volume of goals making her the go-to for any team. The final piece of the puzzle is van der Merwe with the versatile defender able to seamlessly transition from wing defence to goal defence when needed. Her defensive pressure, quick footwork and tagging style of defence makes her another key cog for the Thunderbirds. While Adelaide have a wealth of options without these international stars they could have been facing a very difficult year unable to generate scoring power and defensive pressure.

Maweni’s combination with South African and Lightning teammate Karla Pretorius is simply unstoppable when on song. The two work seamlessly together able to rotate through the defensive circle with ease and use their three-foot marking to create doubt in the goalers mind. The Spar Proteas goal keeper is light on her feet able to read the play and go out hunting for the intercept something that the Lightning would be missing from their line-up which is renowned for stimulating turnover ball. Without Maweni the Lightning would be lacking that extra layer of class and connection with Pretorius given the two work like clockwork.

Although the NSW Swifts have a wealth of depth on the bench with the likes of Tayla Fraser, Paige Hadley, Sophie Craig and the inevitable return of captain Maddy Proud the absence of Haythornthwaite would be sorely missed. The England Roses wing attack sees the game in a way no one else can delivering pin point passes into the likes of Sam Wallace and Helen Housby. She is nimble on her feet able to dart around the attacking third and hold strong on the circle edge while her ability to switch into goal attack adds another string to her bow. If Haythornthwaite was not able to return to the Swifts they would lose that versatility and composing presence in the attacking third.

Top 15 SSN training partners: #2 Beth Cobden

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball plate in 2020. Coming in at number two is injured Adelaide Thunderbirds and England Roses midcourter, Beth Cobden. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

While a somewhat contentious and questionable player to not make the top of the list given she has international caps with the Roses, Cobden is only a training partner while she is currently down and out of the squad with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, the likelihood of her making the cut earlier in the Super Netball season is questionable because she is still going through rehabilitation. However, the aim with Cobden being a training partner is to enable her to work back up to match fitness through the Australian Netball League (ANL), which could see her return to the fray at some point during the season. 

A highly talented defensive midcourter, Cobden’s speed and agility allows her to impact both on and off the ball, using her lithe frame and tactical mindset to create plays down the court. With plenty of experience behind her, the 27-year-old midcourter can dominate by shutting down her attacker, not always playing the obvious game by intercepting and deflecting but instead using her body work to block easy drives.

With plenty of versatility to rotate through the midcourt, Cobden is just about a shoe-in to make it onto the Super Netball stage once more in 2020 if a position opens up, able to have an impact in any midcourt position thanks to her clever read of the play and ability to transition between attacking and defensive mindsets.

Thanks to solid Roses partnerships across the court – namely Chelsea Pitman through the midcourt and Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin in defence – not to mention Cobden played and trained with the Thunderbirds before she went down to injury last year, Cobden will well and truly slot right into the side if she is required.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
#10 Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
#9 Latika Tombs (GIANTS Netball)
#8 Sharni Lambden (Collingwood Magpies)
#7 Jacqui Newton (Melbourne Vixens)
#6 Allie Smith (Melbourne Vixens)
#5 Elle Bennetts (GIANTS Netball)
#4 Brooke Allan (Magpies Netball)
#3 Tayla Fraser (NSW Swifts)
#2 Beth Cobden (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Memorable Matches: 2019 Quad Series – South Africa defeats England ahead of Netball World Cup

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look back at memorable matches. Next up is the 2019 Quad Series match between South Africa and England, where the Proteas shocked the reigning Commonwealth champions, England Roses on their opponents’ home turf ahead of the Netball World Cup.

The three-goal victory stunned the Roses who went toe-to-toe early on but were ultimately outclassed by the Spar Proteas over the course of the match, which saw Player of the Match Karla Pretorius team up with Phumza Maweni to make life difficult in the goal circle. Pretorius’ four intercepts were crucial with the stalwart defender pushing the likes of Jo Harten and Helen Housby to the limit, while Shadine van der Merwe was crucial on circle edge racking up the five deflections. England’s goalers were uncharacteristically inaccurate, shooting at a combined 81 per cent for the match while Harten was well and truly kept away from her regular goal tally, unable to put up her usual volume thanks to the Proteas’ constant defensive pressure.

But while South Africa came away with the win, England maintained their class and cleanliness throughout, collecting 11 less penalties while they were at it and winning the second half – albeit by a single goal. It was the second quarter where the Roses lost control, only shooting 10 goals and allowing the Proteas to take the lead, with the defensive pressure of Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown not entirely having the desired effect, leading to a change with returnee Layla Guscoth taking the court and playing out the match for three gains to Mentor’s four. But it wasn’t enough, with a solid partnership forming between Bongi Msomi and Erin Burger, seeing Burger use her gut running to constantly be a threat in centre while Msomi’s speed and feeding ability saw her collect 21 goal assists from 36 feeds, while her opposition in Jade Clarke collected two intercepts.

For the Proteas, Lenize Potgieter was the difference with her atypical – yet accurate – shooting technique accurate as ever, shooting 34 goals at 92 per cent. While England maintained some control in the second half, it seemed the second quarter had shaken the usually confident Roses, with the side ultimately unable to gain dominance and take a lead against the Proteas. Serena Guthrie was a good match for Burger through the midcourt but was moved back to control Msomi, while Chelsea Pitman racked up 18 goal assists from 29 feeds despite van de Merwe’s best efforts. But it was to no avail as the Proteas put themselves in good stead for the Netball World Cup with the 48-45 victory.

ENGLAND 13 | 10 | 11 | 11 (45)
SOUTH AFRICA 13 | 14 | 10 | 11 (48)

STARTING SEVENS

England

GS: Jo Harten
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Chelsea Pitman
C: Serena Guthrie
WD: Jade Clarke
GD: Eboni Usoro-Brown
GK: Geva Mentor

BENCH: Layla Guscoth, Rachel Dunn, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Razia Quashie, Fran Williams
COACH: Tracey Neville

South Africa

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Maryka Holtzhausen
WA: Bongi Msomi
C: Erin Burger
WD: Shadine Van der Merwe
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

BENCH: Khanyisa Chawane, Rome Dreyer, Renske Stoltz, Ine-Mari Venter, Zanele Vimbela
COACH: Norma Plummer

SHOOTING STATS

England:
Helen Housby 27/32
Jo Harten 18/22

South Africa:
Lenize Potgieter 34/37
Maryka Holtzhausen 14/16

Top 15 SSN training partners: #11 – Chelsea Blackman

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 15 training partners stepping up to the Suncorp Super Netball plate in 2020, with Adelaide Thunderbirds defender, Chelsea Blackman up next. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

With a few years on the sidelines of the Adelaide Thunderbirds under her belt, Blackman is one to watch for the future with plenty of grit and determination out in defence. Now coming into her third consecutive season as a training partner, Blackman has flourished under the tutelage of the dependable and talented Layla Guscoth, Shamera Sterling and Kate Shimmin through the Thunderbirds camp and, from what we’ve seen so far out on court, has relished the opportunity to learn off the experienced players. The young goal defence has plenty of intensity and strength to hold her ground, able to anticipate the ball well and in turn cause issues for her opposition.

The young defender got the opportunity to take the court on two occasions during the 2019 Super Netball season, making her debut in Round 10 last year against the Melbourne Vixens and was a valuable option on the bench for the Thunderbirds following the resumption of the Super Netball competition after the completion of the Netball World Cup in July. Blackman currently plays for Southern Force in the Australian Netball League (ANL) and plays for Contax Netball Club in the Netball South Australia feeder competition. Valuable court time with the Tbirds has done wonders for her development and with a few more opportunities out on the court the South Australia-born will once again have a chance to build on her skill this year.

TOP 15 SSN TRAINING PARTNERS SO FAR:

#15 Ashlee Unie (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
#14 Ruby Barkmeyer (Melbourne Vixens)
#13 Tippah Dwan (Queensland Firebirds)
#12 Matisse Letherbarrow (GIANTS Netball)
#11 Chelsea Blackman (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Compare the Pair: Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing England Roses, Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin.

Two vastly different players with different playing styles and backgrounds, Guscoth and Shimmin have plenty of experience on court together. While Guscoth has been a prominent Roses player, Shimmin has only really played domestically in Australia prior to her selection. Guscoth plays a primarily wear-down role while Shimmin uses her footwork to expose her opposition. The pair do have one major thing in common – their wingspan and ability to deflect and gather crucial loose ball.

Both 28-years-old and consistent to a tee, the defensive pair have plenty left in the tank in the coming years. The pair typically share the defensive bibs for the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball alongside fellow defender Shamera Sterling, though Guscoth’s 2019 Achilles injury threw a spanner in the works throughout the latter stages of the season.

Layla Guscoth

Guscoth may not have many international caps to her name – just the 26 thanks to injury and time away from the sport – but she is one of the most reliable players in the Roses camp thanks to her cool, calm and collected approach to the game.

Her ability to find the ball is second to none, and her versatility is superb. Guscoth’s ability to rotate through goal defence, wing defence and goal keeper is testament to her work ethic. Her lean over the shot is impeccable with balance and long limbs to boot. She forces errors from her opposition to cleanly collect the ball under the post, and runs out for that unexpected intercept to propel the ball back up the court. Her tenacity, strength and drive is crucial for any team. Her cleanliness proves that defenders do not need to be on top of their players to get the job done.

Kate Shimmin

With dual-citizenship and targeted by current England Roses coach, Jess Thirby in 2019, South Australia born Shimmin has finally had an opportunity to collect some international caps and put her extraordinary aerial leap and defensive capabilities to the test for the Roses.

Her anticipation of the ball coming down the court is a crucial part of her game. Shimmin’s quick feet allow her to out-run opposition, and turn something into nothing at the drop of a hat. Her cleanliness to deflect the ball in the air is credit to her timing. Shimmin’s vertical leap and ability to evade her opposition on the landing allows her to defy her goaler an attempt. With an ability to play out in wing defence and goal defence as well as her preferred goal keeper, Shimmin is a real talent with plenty of experience playing against high calibre opposition.

Layla Guscoth
26 caps, 2012-present

Kate Shimmin
5 caps, 2019-present

Which Rose would you take up the defensive end?
Layla Guscoth
Kate Shimmin
Created with QuizMaker

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN: #5 – Fran Williams

THE Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) is already home to a number of international stars making it one of the strongest netball competitions in the world. However, we as the Draft Central team are creating a list of top 10 players we would like to see join the competition. Coming in at number five is England defender Fran Williams. Williams came in at number three on our Top 25 Young Guns countdown and makes the cut once more thanks to her star power and rate of improvement over recent seasons.

At 22-years-old, Williams has rocketed through the netball rankings with her positioning, clean hands and ability to switch up her game. Currently a defender for Wasps Netball in the Vitality Netball Superleague and having racked up some valuable caps with the England Roses since debuting in 2018, Williams could be a valuable defender to join the fray in Australia. With drive to do better and an ability to time her drive for an intercept, Williams is a constant moving threat and with her long arms and speed off the mark. Her exposure to the top level thus far has seen her take the court against key Super Netball goalers in Peace Proscovia, Sam Wallace and Lenize Potgieter at the Netball World Cup in 2019, when injury struck starting defender Layla Guscoth. Williams was able to slot into the circle unit to pick up some of the slack, drawing on her experience training with the likes of Guscoth and Geva Mentor to lift her game.

The young defender had a solid start to the 2020 Superleague despite the Wasps only putting the one win on the board, collecting 11 intercepts and eight deflections from the four matches. While her penalty count for the first few games could leave something to be desired, her ability to track the ball across the court and use her speed to regain possession after a penalty sees her room to improve immense – making her a huge threat in defence when she has more experience under her belt. Williams is a reliable option on court with strong netball nous, and while the Super Netball may not necessarily need defenders at the moment, her rate of improvement and ability to take on constructive feedback and apply it on court could see her join a number of England internationals on court in Australia in the coming years.

Top 10 players we’d like to see in the SSN:

#10 Joice Takaidza (Zimbabwe)
#9 Zanele Vimbela (South Africa)
#8 Joyce Mvula (Malawi)
#7 Razia Quashie (England)
#6 George Fisher (England)
#5 Fran Williams (England)