Tag: magpies netball

Lightning survive dominant Collingwood first half flourish

SUNSHINE Coast Lightning were eager to make it two from two in the Suncorp Super Netball competition, exposing the Magpies in the third quarter with their ball speed and defensive pressure to steal a four-goal win (51-47). With new faces across the court, the Magpies stunned the Lightning in the opening half with their accuracy to post and drive in the attacking third but the Lightning showcased their experience to work their way into the match and hold strong despite a final term push.

With Steph Wood a late out from the starting seven, the Lightning front line took a while to adjust with Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia struggling to find their mojo thanks to the immense defensive pressure from the Pies. Proscovia had the yips early, missing a couple of consecutive goals giving the Magpies a chance to settle into the game. Madi Browne had an immediate impact for the black and white with the wing attack delivering an impressive overhead long bomb into returning goaler Shimona Nelson under the post. Nelson did not seem to skip a beat from the first whistle with the goal shooter commanding the ball under the post and doing the heavy lifting to open up a strong lead for the Pies.

Collingwood continued to press with newcomer Jodi-Ann Ward asserting herself on the game with an early intercept shutting down the space in the defensive goal circle to make life hard for the Lightning goalers. Magpies showcased their confidence and speed to capitalise on the Lightning’s missed opportunities skipping out to a five goal lead with a tick under 10 minutes left in the quarter. But the class of the Lightning was not to be underestimated with the home team rallying in the backend of the quarter. A couple of missed opportunities from both sides saw the ball bubble up and down the court before the Lightning wrestled back momentum. With the super shot in play goals went astray with both sides unable to sink them from long range instead it was Nelson that steadied the ship under the post for the Pies to reclaim the lead albeit by one goal at quarter time.

Lightning levelled the scores in the first minute of the quarter but Collingwood were determined to keep their lead with Nelson delivering at the post moments later. A Geva Mentor inspired intercept gifted the Pies another chance to score to stretch the lead to a couple of goals while the introduction of Matilda Garrett paid dividends with the goal defence having an immediate impact with a strong rebound and drive down the court. The connection between Madi and Kelsey Browne impressed with the two rotating through the space with great ease and delivering with precision into the Nelson under the post.

Struggling to have their usual impact in the goal circle the Lightning looked to the bench with Binnian Hunt making her debut in goal attack. The shooter showcased her classy footwork and nice touch to set up plays while Ward re-entered the game for the Pies in wing defence. A couple of offensive penalties from the goalers allowed the ball to swing up and down the court again but the Pies seemed to maintain control throughout the game.

Gabby Sinclair impressed with her play making abilities out the front and drive into the goal circle but the Lightning were not about to give up gaining some momentum in attack with Laura Scherian hitting circle edge and delivering high ball into Koenen. Karla Pretorius came into her own in the final minutes of the term winning back ball thanks to her impressive ball tracking abilities and sticky hands. But the biggest shock of all came when Wood entered the game and while she did not sink the super shot provided a pep in her teammates step to reduce the deficit to three goals.

It was goal for goal in the first couple of minutes of the second half with both sides scoring off their centre pass. The Magpies attack end kicked into gear with Molly Jovic driving hard into the pocket and going toe to toe with Laura Langman before Sunshine Coast upped the ante to eat into the three-goal margin. They threw everything they had at the Magpies in both attack and defence with Phumza Maweni covering Nelson at the post. The momentum steadily shifted with the Lightning drawing level thanks to Wood and Langman driving the attacking unit and creating a wealth of space in the goal circle.

Kelly Altmann was key for the Pies with the centre taking a well-read intercept and proving that she is not afraid to throw her body on the line, contesting every ball that came her way. But it was not enough to nullify the Lightning who were cooking with gas opening up a strong lead. Sunshine Coast were patient in attack playing the ball around the circle edge to reverse the half time deficit and establish a three goal buffer themselves.

The experience of the Lightning came into play in the final term, as Maweni reading the play like a book while their end to end transition stunned the Magpies who were simply unable to stop their drive through court. With the game getting away from them young goaler Nyah Allen took the game on nailing four goals straight to keep Collingwood in touch. The intensity went up a notch as the quarter ticked down with both sides applying a wealth of pressure down the court but in the end the momentum was with the Lightning as they secured their second win.

In her first game for the season Nelson displayed her scoring prowess nailing 32 goals from 37 attempts while goal attack Sinclair also plied her trade with six goals but down on her accuracy. Koenen was strong once again under the post for the Lightning with the young goaler converting 38 goals from 45 attempts at 84 per cent. The output from Proscovia was minimal with six goals while Wood was not overly accurate shooting at 50 per cent while on court. The work from Madi Browne in the attacking third did not go unnoticed amassing 10 goal assists while for the Lightning it was the defensive pressure of Maweni that shone true as the goal defence picked up six gains and seven deflections.

>>> LIGHTNING TEAM PAGE

>>> MAGPIES TEAM PAGE 

>>>FULL MATCH STATS

Sunshine Coast Lightning 10 | 11 | 16 | 14 (51)
Collingwood Magpies 11 | 13 | 9 | 14 (47) 

STARTING SEVEN:

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

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

Collingwood Magpies:

GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Gabby Sinclair
WA: Madi Browne
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Melissa Bragg
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor

Suncorp Super Netball returns to court on August 1

AUSTRALIA’S top netball competition returns August 1.

In a massive announcement by the Suncorp Super Netball today, fans of the world’s top ranked league will have to wait just two months until they see their favourite stars out on court again. The other two major leagues in the world – the ANZ Premiership and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) – had both made decisions on their returns in the past two weeks. While the VNSL opted to cancel the season citing concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, the ANZ Premiership will return on Friday, June 19.

The 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season will be a full 60-game season – which means 14 rounds where teams face off against the other seven teams twice – as well as the four-game finals series for the top four sides. The fixture is yet to be announced, but the timing of the announcement today – May 31 – is for clubs to train together from tomorrow – June 1 – whilst sticking to social distancing guidelines.

Suncorp Super Netball CEO Chris Symington said in the release on the Suncorp Super Netball website that the season start represents a significant step forward on the road to getting back on court.

“We’re thrilled that a season start date has been locked away, now all our stakeholders have a date to work towards and fans can start to get excited for the start of the season,” he said. “We are planning to play out a full home and away season, and we are confident that our start date gives us the best opportunity to achieve that.

“Our guiding principles throughout this process have never changed, those being the health and wellbeing of the community alongside the financial viability of our sport. “There has been a collective commitment to those principles from the whole system including players, teams, partners and broadcasters and we will continue to take that approach as we look to get our season underway.

“I would like to thank our dedicated members and fans who have stuck by their teams and the sport through an incredibly challenging period. We look forward to showcasing our world class athletes once again from August 1.”

For full player profiles on each Suncorp Super Netball team, check out our team pages:

Adelaide Thunderbirds | Collingwood Magpies | GIANTS Netball | Melbourne Vixens | NSW Swifts | Queensland Firebirds | Sunshine Coast Lightning | West Coast Fever


Furthermore, the 2020 Constellation Cup between the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns will take place later this year, whilst the 2020 Quad Series that was meant to take place between the world’s top two nations, as well as England and South Africa, has been cancelled due to the impact of COVID-19 on international travel.

Top 20 players over 30: #13 Madi Browne

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. Coming up next in at number 13 is injured midcourter, Madi Browne.

While ultimately a class above plenty of names in her hey-day, Browne has stepped down from Diamonds duty and given injury has kept her off the court since early 2019, has not really had an opportunity to prove her skill in recent months. But with the Super Netball hopefully returning soon and the delayed start doing plenty for Browne’s recovery, fans will hope the impressive attacker will start back out on the court this season. With plenty of speed, cleanliness and experience, the 168cm energiser bunny can be a real barometer for any side, namely the Magpies – who will hope she can return to the court this season.

With wicked pace, clean footwork and impressive vision, Browne is a livewire and at 32-years-old has shown no signs of stopping. With an innate ability to not only find the ball but also use her vision to feed ball into the circle with ease, Browne is a constant threat whether she has possession or is held down by her defender, able to wriggle out of tough spots to find better positioning in attack. Browne’s ability to find circle edge allows her to always have pride of place to her goalers’ advantage, proving the star midcourter is a commanding presence with a real affinity for knowing exactly where she needs to be at any given time.

While her attacking prowess is undoubtedly her forte, the wing attack can be a hot option in centre thanks to her ability to transition from attack to defence with ease and her agile two-way running which allows her to change directions with speed to adapt to the situation. A fan favourite across the world, Browne retired early from the international scene with plenty of young talent coming through the ranks, but Browne would still be a quality opponent and tough player to come up against if she were to return to the Diamonds, with her experience and knowledge of the game second to none. The speedster can still be a constant pressure and threat even into the later stages of her career, and has not lost any of that speed or excitement that made her such an impressive player to begin with.

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)

Top 15 SSN training partners: #8 Sharni Lambden

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 eight is Collingwood Magpies midcourter, Sharni Lambden. This countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

A talented defensive midcourter, 22-year-old Lambden has caught plenty of attention on the international stage from a young age, part of the Australian Diamonds Development Squad 2016 with plenty of drive to improve and consistency through the centre despite not yet having that big opportunity to line up in the Super Netball. Lambden is a valuable partner with the Magpies, able to apply pressure on both the ball and the player while also being able to be that impact player where required. While unlucky on the Magpies part with injuries aplenty over the court last season potentially impacting the side again this season, Lambden could have a real chance to break into the Collingwood side if she puts her best foot forward at training.

With an ability to switch between centre and wing defence, Lambden can be a crucial link-up through the midcourt with her drive down the court and ability to switch between offensive and defensive mindsets with relative ease. Already familiar with the training partner role after being on the list for the past two seasons with the Magpies, Lambden will look to continue her development alongside midcourt injury returnees Madi and Kelsey Browne while Ash Brazill is sure to be a solid mentor playing a similar role at the club despite being highly unlikely to make her return in 2020. A crucial link through an already star-studded midcourt at the Tasmanian Magpies in the Australian Netball League, Lambden has been touted as a massive threat for a while coming so will look to put that into practice 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)
#10 Sunday Aryang (West Coast Fever)
#9 Latika Tombs (GIANTS Netball)
#8 Sharni Lambden (Collingwood Magpies)

What if… Kelsey and Madi Browne did not do their ACLs?

LAST season was shaping up to be the year of the Magpies in the Suncorp Super Netball after recruiting a wealth of A-list players. Fresh off back-to-back premierships, Lightning duo Geva Mentor and Kelsey Browne joined the black and white, while former Australian Diamond and West Coast Fever star Nat Medhurst was also among some of the key signings for the club. In the first pre-season tournament, Collingwood reigned supreme taking out the inaugural Team Girls Cup thanks to their slick ball movement, defensive strength and speed. But unfortunately, the tournament was marred by injury with co-captain Madi Browne succumbing to what was later revealed as a season ending anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Often criticised for having too many highly talented midcourters with both Madi and Kelsey Browne, along with Kim Ravaillion and Ash Brazill the Magpies were at a crossroads. Although it was hard to replace the co-captain on court, they made do with the skilled list they had shuffling players around and later bringing in the likes of Silver Ferns dynamite Kimiora Poi. But the injuries did not stop there with Kelsey Browne also rupturing her ACL in August that season, all but putting a dampener on their 2019 grand final hopes.

So what if Kelsey and Madi Browne did not do their ACL in season 2019? Would Collingwood have progressed into the next stage of finals?

It is fair to say that both Kelsey and Madi Browne are the heart and soul of the club often providing that spark both on and off the court with their flashy style of play and excitement. With Madi going down before the season officially started it put a clear strain on the Collingwood line-up with the side struggling to find their rhythm in attack. The classy wing attack oozes experience and is strong around the circle edge, something that the Magpies lacked at times. Her ability to move into centre and have an influence also allowed Collingwood to shake-up their midcourt and keep opponents on their toes, something they would have been hoping to have up their sleeve throughout the season. With new connections in the goal circle thanks to recruits Medhurst and Shimona Nelson it took some time for the feeders to adjust to their varying styles meaning the experience and presence of Madi Browne was sorely missed in the early stages. Although they have similar styles the speed of Kelsey Browne is what made her such an integral player for the Magpies, able to dart around the court and exploit even the tiniest spaces. She delivered the ball with confidence and precision a skill that would have been highly valued heading into the finals.

Towards the backend of the season the Magpies seemed to find some strong form trouncing crosstown rivals Melbourne Vixens by 11 goals in the final game of the home and away season to walk into finals. But when it came to D-Day Collingwood was all out of options missing the depth on the bench and reliability of both Browne sisters. There were changeups across the court with wing defence come centre Brazill announcing herself as a real powerhouse with her athleticism and endurance and while she along with Poi and Ravaillion worked gallantly it was clear that there was a piece missing in the jigsaw puzzle. Gabby Sinclair often found herself out in wing attack to provide another option out the front while training partner Kelsie Rainbow was elevated to add to the midcourt stocks.

Given the fact that both Kelsey and Madi Browne offer such unique talent, speed and netball understanding an assumption could be made that Collingwood could have gone one further if not all the way had they not been affected by injury from the very beginning of the season.

Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown – #23/#22

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 25 players under 25-years-old across the netball world. The countdown continues at number 23, with English shooter and recent Roses addition Sophie Drakeford-Lewis along with up and coming Australian defender Matilda Garrett in at 22. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

Recently named in the Roses squad in the series against South Africa, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis has plenty of promise and will be hoping to continue her development. Although she has only played two international caps the goal attack has plenty of upside at 21-years-old that will excite the England fans. The up and coming shooter is a smooth mover, able to effortlessly glide across the court and while she does not put up a wealth of shots makes her presence known on the scoreboard when need be. She is cool, calm and collected under pressure and has played a good support role to the likes of Kim Commane at Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) level for Team Bath. Her high netball IQ and natural instincts are what makes her such an exciting prospect. She has plied her trade at the development levels with the Roses taking part in the Youth World Cup where she won bronze highlighting just how much class and skill she has.

Coming in at 22 is Collingwood Magpies defender, Matilda Garrett. She has had an up and down Suncorp Super Netball career so far, struggling to find her feet last year after suffering a calf injury in the early stages but has shown plenty of potential. She is an exciting prospect that has a bright future ahead of her, given her ability to read the play, get hands to ball and create turnovers. Her lean over the shot is one to be envious of, able to upset goalers with her hands over pressure and has had some high quality role models throughout her career playing with the likes of Geva Mentor, April Brandley and Sharni Layton all of which have represented their respective countries at the highest levels. Having played for Australia in the World Youth Cup in 2017, Garrett is not afraid of the big stage able to stand up under pressure and perform something she will have to do this season given the Pies list.  2020 will be a big year for Garrett with the highly touted defender looking to ramp it up a gear and have a profound impact down back with her quick feet and skill to shut down players.

Top 25 so far:

25. Latanya Wilson (Jamaica)
24. Summer Artman (England)
23. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (England)
22. Matilda Garrett (Australia)

New Zealand Super Club: Magpies claim crown over Mystics

COLLINGWOOD Magpies have become the first non New Zealand-based side to take out the Super Club competition title, defeating Northern Mystics by seven goals yesterday. It was a tight affair throughout the contest, with the Magpies increasing the lead by a goal each term, before enjoying a bit more freedom in the last to secure the 49-42 victory. Nat Medhurst was named Most Valuable Player (MVP) after a mammoth effort of 17 goals from 18 attempts at 94.4 per cent accuracy, as well as 18 goal assists from 22 feeds.

The game started with Medhurst playing more than just an assisting role, nailing all five goals and assisting with four to partner-in-crime, Shimona Nelson. The Jamaican was strong under the post, grabbing a rebound and converting eight of her 10 attempts, while Ash Brazill and Gabrielle Sinclair combined for seven goal assists from eight feeds. Up the other end, Geva Mentor was using her experience to try and counter the talented Grace Nweke, taking a crucial intercept, but also giving away four penalties. Nweke scored 10 goals from 12 attempts and picked off two rebounds in the first term, while her fellow goaler, Bailey Mes had two goals from three attempts, as well as three goal assists from four feeds. Elisabeth Toeava was strong with six goal assists from eight feeds, while Phoenix Karaka continued her great form at goal defence with a couple of clever intercepts.

Leading by a goal at the first break, it was much of the same in the second term with the sides remaining the same throughout the first half. Three of the four shooters did not miss a shot in the quarter, with Nelson (nine) and Medhurst (three) combining for 12 goals, as Nweke (eight and a rebound continued to do everything asked of her). Medhurst had three turnovers, but also assisted with eight goals, making the most of her eight feeds thanks to her carefully crafted passes. Through the midcourt, Toeava was creating plenty of opportunities for the Mystics, racking up a team-high five goal assists from six feeds, while centre Tayla Earle had three from four and grabbed an intercept. Karaka and new defensive partner, Sulu Fitzpatrick also managed to intercept a Medhurst pass, with Matilda Garrett doing the same up the opposite end as both teams recorded five general turnovers for the quarter. Heading into the main break, the Magpies led by just two goals and the final was shaping up as a thriller.

Northern Mystics pulled the trigger on the first change of the match, bringing on goal attack Saviour Tui for Mes, joining Nweke in the goal circle. Tui shot five of a possible seven in the quarter, while her teenage goal-shooting partner did not miss from her limited five opportunities. Toeava continued her strong work aiding the goalers with six assists from seven feeds, while Brazill picked up the bid in midcourt with four from six herself. In the goal circle, Nelson (five goals) and Medhurst (six) were spreading the load perfectly and not missing a shot, while Mentor added another intercept to her name up the other end as her and Garrett were working on limiting the flow to Nweke. Melissa Bragg even picked up a goal assist – from wing defence – in the third term with a bullet pass into the circle. The Magpies had an extra turnover, but two less penalties in the quarter, and again increased their lead by a solitary goal to lead by three at the final break.

Nelson became an incredibly imposing figure under the post in the final quarter, shooting 10 of a possible 13 goals, and picking up three rebounds, though also giving away three penalties and a turnover. Medhurst shot three from four but had three assists, while Brazill was the key playmaker through centre with six assists from seven feeds and one of her memorable intercepts. Mentor had yet another intercept in the defensive goal circle as the Mystics forward half started to falter and make a few more errors because of the raised pressure stakes. Mes returned to the court in the only other change, nailing two goals from three attempts along with three goal assists, but also four had turnovers to her name. Nweke managed another seven goals from eight attempts and a rebound in the quarter despite the pressure, while Toeava had nine feeds, five of which were goal assists and two were turnovers. She had three penalties, one less than Karaka, though the Mystics recorded three less for the entire term compared to their opponents. It was the nine to six turnovers that cost them in the end, with the Magpies piling on 13 goals to nine and winning, 49-42.

Nelson played a crucial role beside Medhurst in the goal circle during the final, shooting 32 of a possible 37 goals at 86.5 per cent accuracy, but collecting four rebounds. Up the other end, Nweke had 30 from 33 at 90.9 per cent, and also had four rebounds, but an equal game-high seven turnovers. Her goaling partner had seven turnovers too, with Mes finishing the game with seven goals from 10 attempts, and eight goal assists from nine feeds. Toeava was arguably the Mystics best, assisting with 22 goals from 30 feeds, while Karaka picked up five intercepts and 12 penalties. The other Mystics player to hold up the defensive end in an honest, hard-working game was Michaela Sokolich-Beatson who had one intercept and just four penalties opposed to Sinclair, who played out of her traditional goal attack position to give off seven assists from 12 feeds. Brazill won the centre battle convincingly against Earle, helping herself to 17 goal assists and one intercept, while Earle had seven and one. Garrett picked up a rebound and an intercept for the Magpies, while Mentor was at her clever best, picking off three balls up the defensive end. The Magpies were slightly a class ahead which resulted in the win during a game that showed the best ANZ Premiership sides can compete with the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) teams for large portions of the game – granted the Magpies were missing a couple of Diamonds in April Brandley and Kim Ravaillion from last season.

OTHER RESULTS:

Central Pulse (47) defeated Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (45)

The Central Pulse bounced back from their loss to the Magpies to post a come-from-behind two-goal win over the Magic to claim third spot for the tournament. Leading by a goal at quarter time, the Pulse slipped up in the second term as the Magic slammed home 15 goals to nine to lead by five at half-time. The Pulse stole back the momentum with a 16-10 quarter themselves to lead by a goal heading into the final term, then extending that out to two by the final whistle in a 47-45 victory. Aliyah Dunn scored 32 goals from 35 attempts, while Tiana Metuarau had four from four, and a team-high 16 goal assists from 20 feeds. Katrina Rore was at her absolute best up the other end with three rebounds and an intercept, working well with Elle Temu who had one rebound and two intercepts as the Pulse rested Karin Burger. The Magic goal circle partnership of Kelsey McPhee (31 gals from 40 attempts) and Georgia Marshall (10 from 11) was strong despite McPhee’s inaccuracy, as Whitney Souness was the key in midcourt with a game-high 18 gaol assists from 26 feeds, and a key intercept.

Mainland Tactix (45) defeated by Southern Steel (50)

Southern Steel grabbed fifth spot with a terrific last quarter to overrun Mainland Tactix in a huge contest. The Steel burst out the blocks in the opening term to score 15-12 and take an early lead. The teams broke even in the second quarter before the Tactix took control, and the lead thanks to a 14-10 third stanza. The Steel decided to have none of that, blowing their opponents away in the final quarter with 14 goals to eight on the way to a 50-45 triumph. Jennifer O’Connell was massive at goal shooter, despite being inaccurate, posting up 38 goals from 51 attempts, as Kalifa McCollin managed nine from 11. Gina Crampton was busy through midcourt with 19 goal assists, but a game-high six turnovers, while Shannon Saunders had 14 goal assists from just the one turnover. In defence, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit had three intercepts and one rebound. For the Tactix, up the same end as her sister, Te Paea Selby-Rickit shot 10 goals from 15 attempts at just 66.7 per cent, while picking up two rebounds and handing out eight goal assists. Ellie Bird was the key goal shooter with 31 from 36, while having a game-high five rebounds in the contest.

Wasps Netball (41) defeated by Northern Stars (52)

In the battle of the two bottom sides, it was Northern Stars who handed the Wasps the last place honours thanks to a convincing 11-goal win. The Stars led by two goals at the first break then dominated the second to hold an eight-goal advantage by half-time. The Wasps hit back to make it a more manageable six-goal deficit by the final break, before Northern took control once again, piling on 15-10 in the final term to claim the 52-41 victory. Stars’ shooter, Maia Wilson poured on 34 goals from 44 attempts, had five rebounds and seven goal assists from eight feeds, while Jamie Hume had 14 goals from 17 attempts, as well as seven goal assists and an assist. Kate Burley was reading plays like a picture book up the other end with four of her team’s nine intercepts, while Mila Reuelu-Buchanan had a game-high 18 goal assists from 37 feeds. For the Wasps, veteran shooter Rachel Dunn scored 28 goals from 32 attempts, as well as three rebounds close to the post. Katie Harris helped out with 12 from 14, and five goal assists, as Beth Dix worked hard in wing attack thanks to 11 goal assists from 21 feeds. Up the other end, Josie Huckle managed three rebounds.

New Zealand Super Club: Semi-finals preview

WITH bragging rights on the line in the semi-finals of the New Zealand Super Club, expect all four teams to come out with a real fire in the belly and intensity. The Magpies are the only international invitee to make the cut after not dropping a game throughout the tournament while the Pulse, Magic and Mystics all represent the ANZ Premiership.

Collingwood Magpies v. Central Pulse

After going through the tournament undefeated the Magpies are set to face off against reigning ANZ Premiership champions, Central Pulse in the first semi-final of the day. Both sides have a plethora of players who can spark their side into action making for a high intensity battle. Collingwood have dominated their previous matches and will be looking to replicate that form against the Pulse who have shown that they can be beaten if not on from the first whistle.

The main battle will be in the goal circle with the Pulse boasting a highly experienced and classy defence unit that can quite literally shut down any attacking forays from the Magpies. Jamaican goal shooter Shimona Nelson has aerial skills to boot but her hands when under pressure can be a bit shaky and with the likes of Katrina Rore, Kelly Jury although she is yet to take the court, Elle Temu and Karin Burger will have to be on the ball early. Burger and Rore have worked well together throughout the Super Club showcasing their defensive talent, ability to read the play and cover each other’s opponent with ease making it a challenging task for the Magpies. But they are not without some star power of the own in the likes of Nat Medhurst renowned for her ability to run the attack end thanks to her vision and understanding.

Collingwood should have the upper hand through the midcourt with the likes of Ash Brazill controlling the court with her speed and sheer athleticism. Gabby Sinclair also showed her versatility to switch out to wing attack and have an impact feeding the ball into Nelson and Medhurst while youngsters Ella Bayliss and Maggie Lind have stood up when called upon using their quick change of direction to penetrate the circle edge. The Pulse are littered with youth through the midcourt in the likes of Maddy Gordon, Renee Savai’inaea and Paris Lokotui and while they have plenty of talent may struggle to match it with the Magpies. Claire Kersten however, will be a key cog for the Pulse and will have to carry a heavy workload to feed the ball into the shooters.

In the goal circle the Pulse have a wealth of talent with tall timber Aliyah Dunn a commanding presence under the post and able to hold strong. She can get on the move when needed and pairs well with the likes of goal attack, Ameliaranne Ekenasio who is renowned for her strong baseline drives, accuracy and sweeping action across the top of the circle. Tiana Metuarau is another handy option in the circle for Pulse able to come on and have an impact with her timing and skill. But Collingwood have showed they have a wealth of defensive stars with Geva Mentor able to read the play and pick off incoming passes while Matilda Garrett has taken her game to the next level with Mel Bragg showcasing her class switching between wing defence and circle defence.

 

Northern Mystics v. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

Despite both sides not featuring in the ANZ Premiership finals, some off-season recruits and change ups has seen them put out strong performances and finish second in their respective pools. The battle between the Mystics and Magic will be an interesting one with both sides not willing to give an inch, however the key difference will be the shooting circle.

The Magic have fiddled with their starting shooting combination with the likes of Georgia Marshall and Abigail Latu-Meafou rotating through the circle while Kelsey McPhee often held down the fort and led the way with her strong movement, accuracy to post and positioning. With a mix of youth and experience the Mystics defenders in Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka will have their work cut out for them. Fitzpatrick can contest the ball in the air thanks to her leap and athleticism while Karaka and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson are renowned for their smothering pressure.

Through the midcourt Whitney Souness, Ariana Cable-Dixon and Sam Sinclair have all combined to be a formidable force and move the ball through each third. Souness has not skipped a beat since switching to the Magic and will be aiming to keep that form up throughout the semi-final while Sinclair has showed her versatility to move between wing defence and centre. Emma Iversen, Tayla Earle and Elisapeta Toeava have also been key for the Mystics delivering carefully crafted passes into the circle.

Goal shooter, Grace Nweke has continued to be a revelation for the Mystics using her height, strength and general netball awareness to punish opponents. She can outmuscle most opponents while her positioning under the post is strong. Despite Nweke doing a bulk of scoring the likes of Bailey Mes and Saviour Tui do a wealth of work out the front and can hit the scoreboard.  The Magic lost Jury over the off-season however have not looked out of place relying on their young guns to carry the load. Holly Fowler has been a valuable pick up pairing well with the likes of Jenna O’Sullivan and Georgia Tong. But this could be one area in which the Mystics could exploit given their lack of experience.

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Day 3

COLLINGWOOD Magpies’ experience in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) showed on Day 3 of the New Zealand Super Club series, winning their final game of the group stage to finish on top, while a dominant display from Central Pulse over the previously undefeated Southern Steel sent a message to the rest of the competition.

Northern Stars (41) defeated by Collingwood Magpies (53)

Collingwood’s dominance within its group continued in the third and final match of the stage, downing Northern Stars by 12 goals to finish on top of its four-team group undefeated. The Magpies had a blistering start to the game, piling on 15 goals to seven in the first term, with Shimona Nelson carrying the entire scoring load from 16 attempts, as wing attack Ella Bayliss was working well in midcourt between the experience of Ash Brazill and Nat Medhurst, picking up seven goal assists. Up the other end of the court, Maia Wilson did not miss from her six attempts,  but as the second quarter showed, the Magpies were just a class above, extending the lead out to 13 goals with a 14-9 second term. Nelson (11 goals) and Medhurst (three) did not miss any of their attempts, while the partnership of Geva Mentor and Matilda Garrett up the other end was forcing turnovers. Wilson added another six goals to her tally, while Lisa Mather was working hard in centre for three goal assists, the same number as Vika Koloto who also scored three goals from four attempts in the quarter. Medhurst and Mentor were rested for the entire second half, while Nelson and Brazill came off for the fourth quarter, with the likes of Brooke Allen and Gabrielle Sinclair coming on to have an impact, while Nyah Allen shot seven goals from eight attempts in the last quarter. The Stars’ more settled line-up came back to reduce the final deficit to 12, but the damage was done by then. Nelson finished the game with 36 goals from 38 attempts, while Brazill had an equal game-high 14 goals assists, two more than Bayliss who was equally impressive. For the Stars, Wilson shot 31 goals from 33 attempts, as Koloto proved a valuable link in the scoring chain for the Stars, helping herself to 14 goal assists from 18 feeds, then going into the circle and shooting four goals from six attempts. Jamie Hume had four goal assists from 12 feeds, while up the other end, Kate Burley was solid in defence, picking up a team-high two rebounds, as well as one intercept and committing just three penalties. Juliana Naoupu also gave spectators a glimpse of her ability to play both the playmaker and target role, shooting six goals from nine attempts with six assists from seven feeds in just a half of action.

Northern Mystics (52) defeated Wasps Netball (31)

In one of the most convincing performances of the tournament to that point, Northern Mystics completely dominated Wasps Netball by 21 goals to record a 52-31 victory in what was crucial to the Mystics topping their group stage. Coming into the match sitting at 1-1, while Wasps were yet to win a game, the Mystics took control in the opening term, adding 13 goals to eight. Talented teenager Grace Nweke was surprisingly left on the bench, as Saviour Tui (seven goals from seven attempts) and the experienced Silver Ferns shooter in Bailey Mes (six from seven) both took control, while Elisapeta Toeava had a massive seven goal assists from 12 feeds to be the difference. Up the other end, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson was working hard to limit the supply to veteran Wasps’ shooter Rachel Dunn who could not miss in the opening term, nailing all of her eight attempts. The second term was even more dominant than the first for the Mystics, as they added a further 14 goals to six to lead by 13 at half-time. Tui (10 from 12) and Mes (four from four) were proving difficult to contain, while the addition of Phoenix Karaka in the defensive goal circle to join Sokolich-Beatson was impressive. Dunn scored five from six in the term, but the limited chances and turnovers in the midcourt – 10 turnovers to five – meant the Wasps were unable to retain possession. Nweke hit the court for the first time in the second half to replace Mes, while the move of English Roses’ midcourter Jade Clarke into centre worked wonders for the Wasps, having four goal assists from 11 feeds, setting up for Dunn (seven goals from nine) and Katie Harris (four from five), as the Wasps limited their turnovers and forced the Mystics to make a few errors (eight turnovers). The final quarter saw the Wasps decide to throw all the youth on, with Dunn and Clarke rested, and the Mystics regained control with a 14-6 final term to run out comfortable winners. Tui shot 23 goals from 25 attempts for the Mystics, while Nweke managed 19 from 24 despite only playing a half. Toeava had 13 goal assists from 20 feeds, while Karaka finished with a game-high intercepts in the story of the match with the Mystics finishing with 12 intercepts to zero. For the Wasps, Dunn was the standout with 20 goals from 23 attempts, while Alexia Baker (nine goal assists from 13 feeds, but 10 turnovers) and Amy Flanagan (eight goal assists from 16 feeds) were always working hard to get the ball through to the circle.

Mainland Tactix (43) defeated by Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (51)

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic earned second spot in their group, bouncing back from a Day 1 loss to Collingwood to earn back-to-back wins over Northern Stars and Mainland Tactix. The Magic did not have it all their own way, but a strong first term saw them move six goals clear at the first break. Kelsey McPhee shot eight goals from 12 attempts for the Magic, while partner-in-crime Abigail Latu-Meafou had six from eight, with Silver Ferns’ representatives Whitney Souness (seven goal assists from 10 feeds) and Samantha Sinclair forming a formidable midcourt. For the Tactix, Ellie Bird did the bulk of the scoring with seven goals from eight attempts, while the midcourt was struggling with retaining possession, having seven opening quarter turnovers, as well as 18 penalties, with goal keeper Sophia Fenwick committing 10 of those. The second quarter was more even as the Tactix settled into the game – Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit both added five goals each to the score, while Kimiora Poi was starting to influence the game with her movement in midcourt, producing six goal assists from eight feeds. McPhee was still proving a handful for the Tactix defenders, sinking nine goals from 11 attempts, while Latu-Meafou played the role of playmaker perfectly, sinking all three attempts and helping her teammate with seven assists from as many feeds. Both sides made some changes in the second half, with Latu-Meafou rested in favour of Georgia Marshall who scored from all five of her attempts, while converting her three feeds into assists. Despite this, the Tactix took control with elite shooting as Bird and Selby-Rickit did not miss from their 12 attempts. Poi (five assists from nine feeds) and Samon Nathan (four from seven) were also influencing the contest, cutting the deficit back to six at the final break. To ensure there was no comeback, the Magic shuffled the magnets in the final term with Sinclair heading to wing defence and Souness moving back to centre, allowing Ariana Cable-Dixon to enter the fray and have four goal assists from five feeds, with Marshall (five goals from seven assists) and McPhee (10 from 10) get the side back in control. They won the term 15-13 and enjoyed the eight-goal victory. Overall, it was the the composure with the ball in the first term that proved the difference for the Magpies, as McPhee finished with 32 goals from 40 attempts, while Souness (18 goal assists from 26 feeds) was crucial through the midcourt. For the Tactix, Selby-Rickit (20 goals from 22 attempts) and Bird (19 from 21) showed what they could offer as a partnership in the goal circle this season, while Poi showed once she settles into the game she can be a special player, having 18 assists from 23 feeds.

Central Pulse (51) defeated Southern Steel (28)

In the final game of the day, Central Pulse sent a message to group toppers Southern Steel, smashing their ANZ Premiership opponents by 23 goals. In a defensive effort that was almost beyond belief, the Pulse restricted the Steel to a combined seven goals in the first and fourth quarters, winning three of the four terms in a dominant display. The first term had plenty of spectators take notice of what the Pulse could do this season as ANZ Premiership favourites, with a full strength side really taking control. Ameliaranne Ekenasio continued her great form with six goals from eight attempts and three assists from six feeds, working well in partnership with Aliyah Dunn (eight goals from nine assists). Maddy Gordon was a key cog in the machine with seven goal assists from nine feeds in wing attack, as six general play turnovers from the Steel proved costly. Shooting at just 33.3 per cent, the Steel could only manage three goals for the term, as the most dominant defensive goal circle in the ANZ Premiership – Karin Burger and Katrina Rore had a combined three rebounds and one intercept for the term. The second term was a complete reversal for the Steel, showing why they were undefeated in the tournament to that stage, posting 12 goals from 14 attempts, and limiting the Pulse to just 10 attempts – of which Dunn and Ekenasio nailed all of them. Shannon Saunders had six goal assists from 10 feeds in wing attack after a disappointing first term, while Kate Heffernan worked hard in centre. The third term saw the Pulse take control once again, and extend the lead out to 16 goals at the final break courtesy of a 14-9 quarter. Ekenasio shot nine goals from 10 attempts with Dunn having four from six, earning a rest to give Tiana Metuarau (one from one and eight goal assists from nine feeds) a chance to shine. Kalifa McCollin was working hard for the Steel by converting all of her four chances and three feeds, with the coaching staff moving around the defensive end to give Abby Erwood and Della-May Vining a chance. The pair only committed a combined two penalties between them against a dominant shooting combination. The Steel returned to the defensive combination of Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita for the final term, but looked helpless to stop the machine of the Pulse, with Ekenasio even rested for the final term, and Rore earning a break. Dunn shot nine goals from 10 attempts, while Metuarau had four from five and seven goal assists. Overall, Ekenasio finished with 20 goals from 23 attempts, as well as seven goal assists from 10 feeds, while Dunn (26 from 30) was also prolific. Metuarau and Gordon combined for 31 assists from 38 feeds, while Burger had four intercepts and three rebounds in a dominant defensive effort. For the Steel, Jennifer O’Connell played her role by shooting 17 goals from 23 attempts, while Saunders had nine assists from 21 feeds, but the Pulse were just too dominant across the court.

Semi-Finals:

Collingwood Magpies vs. Central Pulse
Northern Mystics vs. Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic

New Zealand Super Club wrap: Day 1

DAY 1 of the New Zealand Super Club tournament saw some surprise losses and the rise of young stars putting their name on the international netball map. The Magpies got their campaign off to a hot start in the first game of the series while fellow international invitees the Wasps did not have the same fortune going down to the Steel. ANZ Premiership champions, Central Pulse dropped their opening match, with the Northern Mystics getting the wood over competition favourites early.

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic (33) defeated by Collingwood Magpies (52)

Collingwood led from the get-go all but doubling their opponents score in the opening quarter and did not let up for the remainder of the game. The Magic failed to combat the Magpies star-power in Geva Mentor who notched up seven gains, one intercept and five rebounds clearly denying any easy access into the circle for her opposition goalers. The addition of Brooke Allan brought plenty of spark to the Collingwood line-up, while goal defence Matilda Garrett staked her claim with a strong performance against the likes of Abigail Latu-Meafou picking up three gains, one intercept and six deflections. The Magic struggled to find a way forward credit to the Magpies strong defensive wall with Latu-Meafou only converting 11 goals from 16 attempts while partners-in-crime Kelsey McPhee (12 from 18 attempts) and Georgia Marshall (10 from 12) could not post a high enough total to keep in touch with their opposition. It was a clinical performance by the Magpies who were led by goal shooter Shimona Nelson who nailed 41 goals from 44 attempts at 93 per cent efficiency, while Gabby Sinclair played a nice cameo role with nine goals from 12 attempts. After making the switch from premiership winning side Pulse, Whitney Souness found her feet through the midcourt pairing well with Ariana Cable-Dixon and Sam Sinclair but it was not enough to get her side the win against a relatively full-strength Collingwood line-up.

Southern Steel (50) defeated Wasps Netball (36)

From the first whistle, the Steel had a point to prove racing out of the gates and scoring with ease able to transition from defence to attack in seconds. The Steel had no issues exploiting the gaps and capitalising on any turnover ball against Vitality Netball Super League team, Wasps in what was a convincing performance throughout. Despite boasting a highly experienced team with some key players, the Wasps struggled to make inroads against a dominant Steel team that would simply not give up led by the likes of Jennifer O’Connell in the goal circle with a team high 24 goals from 26 attempts at 92 per cent efficiency. Fellow shooter Kalifa McCollin followed that same vein of form only missing one of her 15 attempts while Georgia Heffernan also hit the scoreboard but not with the same accuracy nailing 12 goals from 19 attempts. Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton were up to their usual tricks through the midcourt slicing through the opposition defence and hitting the circle edge with ease. For the Wasps Jade Clarke stood tall switching between wing attack and centre, using her signature ball movement to penetrate the goal circle and create attacking forays with Roses goaler Rachel Dunn on the end of most deliveries thanks to her clever positioning. Dunn made the most of her opportunities under the post sitting at 88 per cent accuracy, with 29 goals to her name from 33 attempts.

Central Pulse (39) defeated by Northern Mystics (49)

The Northern Mystics had a point to prove and they well and truly proved it thanks to young gun and star goal shooter Grace Nweke who put on a clinic under the post. Nweke singlehandedly sliced up the Pulse defence with her dynamic footwork, strong holds and aerial ability. She carried the load in the goal circle sinking 37 goals from her 44 attempts at 84 per cent efficiency, meanwhile Bailey Mes and Saviour Tui chipped in to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The attacking end seemed to have all the answers despite being up against an ‘A’ grade defensive unit of Katrina Rore and Karin Burger who are both renowned for their physicality and ability to hunt the ball while up and coming defender Elle Temu also got some valuable court time. Up against her old team, goal keeper, Sulu Fitzpatrick pulled out all the stops defensively to quell the influence of towering shooter Aaliyah Dunn. Fitzpatrick and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson worked well to confuse the space and get hands to the high ball coming in, amassing 10 gains, five intercepts and nine deflections collectively. Silver Ferns goal attack Ameliaranne Ekenasio did not make an appearance for the Pulse leaving the shooting load to Dunn who converted 36 goals from 34 attempts at 77 per cent and youngster Tiana Metuarau who did a wealth of work out the front but was a bit shaky on the shot sitting at 13 from 21 at 62 per cent.

Mainland Tactix (46) defeated Northern Stars (43)

It was a high intensity filled final game of the day with the Mainland Tactix prevailing by a mere three goals after trailing in the first quarter. The Tactix worked their way back into the contest to edge ahead when it counted with new recruit Te Paea Selby-Rickit combining well with Ellie Bird in the goal circle to cause havoc for the Stars defenders in Storm Purvis, Kate Burley and Oceane Maihi. Despite only being on for a half Purvis made her presence felt Bird used her commanding presence to receive the ball and capitalise scoring 23 goals from 28 attempts while Selby-Rickit notched up 15 goals from 19 attempts in her debut game. Temalisi Fakahokotau was stellar down in defence for the Tactix picking up four gains, one intercept and five deflections highlighting her defensive prowess and ability to stand up under pressure. The Stars had a heavy rotation of shooters with Juliana Naoupu, Vika Koloto, Jamie Hume and Maia Wilson all influencing the scoreboard with Wilson the biggest contributor with 17 goals from 21 attempts at 81 per cent efficiency. Hume made herself useful switching between goal attack and wing attack meanwhile youngster Mila Reuelu-Buchanan was influential through the midcourt using her speed and strong connection with Wilson to deliver well weighted passes into the circle. But the Stars fell away in the dying minutes of the game unable to maintain their early intensity.