Tag: natasha chokljat

Netball fantasy teams: Melbourne Kestrels All-Stars v. Melbourne Phoenix All-Stars

THERE is no denying that Victoria has been home to some A-class talent throughout the years. Prior to the inception of both the ANZ Championship and Suncorp Super Netball, the Commonwealth Bank Trophy existed in which both the Melbourne Kestrels and Phoenix were a dominant force. But as netball developed the two Melbourne teams amalgamated to form the Vixens. We take a look back at the talent to grace each team and create an all-star team.

Melbourne Kestrels:

GK: Amy Steel
GD: Rebecca Bulley
WD: Julie Corletto
C: Shelley O’Donnell
WA: Madi Browne
GA: Ashlee Howard
GS: Caitlin Thwaites

BENCH: Cynna Kydd, Chelsey Tregear, Janine Ilitch

Starting in the goal circle it is hard to go past the likes of Australian Diamond and current Melbourne Vixens goaler, Caitlin Thwaites. The rangy goal shooter can score from just about anywhere in the goal circle and has accuracy to boot. Her strength on the take and positioning under the post makes her a challenging prospect for any defender. In at goal attack is Ashlee Howard with the goal attack acknowledged for her timing and accuracy to post.

There was no shortage of options through the midcourt given the amount of talent that worked its way through the Kestrels doors. Starting at wing attack is speedster Madi Browne. The talented midcourter is renowned for her pinpoint precision with ball in hand and attacking mentality, constantly looking to deliver the ball on a silver platter to her goalers. Centre, Shelley O’Donnell is another star to play for the Kestrels. She played a whopping 84 international caps for the Diamonds and was captain for the Kestrels while also making two comebacks her 10-year stint at the club. She was a key contributor with ball in hand able to drive the attacking plays and create defensive pressure. The wing defence bib goes to Julie Corletto with the versatile defender able to clog up space and cause turnovers with her timely tips and speed.

Down in the defensive circle, retired GIANTS star Rebecca Bulley takes out the goal defence slot. Bulley is a workhorse on the court, not often known for doing the flashy things but instead recognised for her dogged style of defence and tagging abilities. She wears players down with her constant nagging and physicality while her pressure over the shot caused plenty of headaches. In at goal keeper is the forgotten about Amy Steel. Although goal defence is her preferred position the highly skilled defender showed plenty of versatility and tenacity, willing to hunt the ball and cause a turnover.

Unlucky not to get a start was goaler, Cynna Kydd who was applauded for her efforts under the post and accuracy. Former captain Chelsey Tregear also earned herself a spot on the bench along with defender Janine Ilitch.

 

Melbourne Phoenix:

GK: Bianca Chatfield
GD: Fiona Themann
WD: Renae Ingles
C: Natasha Chokljat
WA: Wendy Jacobsen
GA: Sharelle McMahon
GS: Eloise Southby

BENCH: Abby Sargent, Sarah Wall, Jo Curran

The Melbourne Phoenix were littered with stars throughout their history and the attacking third is a testament to that. Australian Diamonds duo Eloise Southby and Sharelle McMahon take out the positions under the post. Across her 132 games for the Kestrels, Southby was cool, calm and collected under the post able to hit the scoreboard effortlessly. Her connection with McMahon was effortless with the two able to rotate through the circle with ease and cause all sorts of confusion for opposition defence units. Out in goal attack, McMahon was a real playmaker able to set plays up, deliver the ball into Southby and most importantly back herself from range in the circle.

Through the midcourt vice-captain Wendy Jacobsen takes out the wing attack position. Jacobsen was a key cog through the centre court with her quick footwork, ability to drive into the space and quick delivery into the circle. Teammate Natasha Chokljat pulls on the centre bib in the Phoenix all-star team thanks to her impressive contributions across the court. Her ability to run both ways and have an influence while also controlling the tempo of the game made her an easy selection.  It is no surprise that Renae Ingles takes out the wing defence position with the fancy footed centre court player making that position her own. Her strong hands over pressure, speed off the mark and ability to disrupt the attacking flow of the opposition made her a shoe in for the all-star team.

Moving down into the defensive unit in at goal defence is Fiona Themann. The highly skilled defender and Scottish Thistles representative took everything in her stride and used her lean over the shot to put doubt in the mind of the goalers. Her ability to swing around the body of her opponent and confuse the space allowed her to create turnovers and win ball back for her side. The final spot on the starting line-up goes to none other than Bianca Chatfield, with the defensive powerhouse and co-captain of the Phoenix a mastermind down back. Her skill to read the play and go out hunting for the intercept, intimidated plenty of shooters while her cleanliness also made her a daunting prospect.

On the bench is midcourter and slick ball user, Sarah Wall while versatile defender Jo Curran also earned herself a spot thanks to her defensive pressure and three-foot marking while Abby Sargent rounds out the all-star team.

Who would win?

While both teams boast some strong line-ups the Melbourne Phoenix seem to have the upper hand when it comes to the goal circle with both Southby and McMahon on their side. the shooting duo are arguably one of Australia’s most dominant combinations while they have a wealth of talent in the defence end. Although the Kestrels have some x-factor players across the court they lack that extra layer of class that the Phoenix squad seems to have given their international experience.

Who would reign supreme in Melbourne?
Kestrels All-Stars
Phoenix All-Stars
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Memorable Matches: New Zealand break Diamonds’ 16 year World Championship run

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is the New Zealand Silver Ferns’ drought-breaking victory over the Australian Diamonds for the 2003 Netball World Cup gold in Kingston, Jamaica.

It was a match of pure physicality and supreme determination from both sides, with the Aussies insistent on continuing their winning streak but the Ferns with a fire in the belly, having not won a World Cup trophy in 16 years. Both teams had some stellar players, with plenty of recognisable names among them. While Australia won the second half, it was New Zealand’s threatening first half that put them in with the lead, able to hold on throughout despite the Aussies’ fight.

New Zealand took an early lead, winning the first quarter thanks to the dominant pairing of Irene van Dyk and Belinda Colling, seemingly one step ahead of the Australians. It was van Dyk’s first World Cup with New Zealand and the South African dual citizen quickly paid dividends for the side, with the accuracy and drive giving the Ferns something they had been missing in previous years. While the likes of Kathryn Harby-WIlliams and Liz Ellis picked up a wealth of loose ball, the Ferns duo were unstoppable at the post, combining well and applying constant scoreboard pressure to put the Aussies on the back foot. 

Up the Australian attacking end, Sharelle McMahon had a constant barricade in Sheryl Clarke blocking easy access into the circle, and while McMahon’s clean footwork and speed allowed her plenty of crucial ball, it was a physical encounter between the two. Clarke’s five intercepts and game changing deflection resulting in a gain in the dying minutes – were critical for the turn of the match, with the final quarter going back and forth as the Diamonds fought to come back. 

Teaming up with Clarke in defence was Vilimaina Davu, who delivered constantly applying pressure on Cynna Neale and McMahon at the post and forcing errors from the likes of Natasha Chokljat and Rebecca Sanders on circle edge, putting doubt in their minds. New Zealand’s typical zoning play was critical throughout, holding onto the ball with ease and denying the Aussie any clean motion or movement through the centre third. Cath Cox joined the fray in Neale’s replacement later in the match, able to apply some extra fancy footwork.

The physicality hit its peak in the final term, with a young Temepara Bailey being sent off – something ultimately unheard of in netball today, but a call which marked Bailey as the first ever player sent off in a World Cup final. It was her tenth contact that saw the call made, forcing Lesley Nicol into the centre bib and enabling two quick goals from the Aussies to draw even with the Ferns down a player on court, but the two minutes on the bench only put more fire in the belly of the New Zealand outfit, with a bigger drive and desire to get that elusive gold medal. 

The dying moments saw deflections aplenty, with neither side able to steal momentum long enough to score, but the Ferns’ early efforts were enough to get the win over a stellar Australian opposition, breaking the drought 49-47.

AUSTRALIA 10 | 12 | 12 | 13 (47)
NEW ZEALAND 14 | 13 | 10 | 12 (49)

STARTING SEVEN

Australia

GS: Cynna Neele
GA: Sharelle McMahon
WA: Natasha Chokljat
C: Rebecca Sanders
WD: Peta Scholtz
GD: Kathryn Harby-Williams
GK: Liz Ellis

BENCH: Alison Broadbent, Cath Cox, Janine Ilitch, Nicole Richardson, Eloise Southby
COACH: Jill McIntosh

New Zealand

GS: Irene Van Dyk
GA: Belinda Colling
WA: Anna Rowberry
C: Jodi Brown
WD: Lesley Nicol
GD: Sheryl Clarke
GK: Vilimaina Davu

BENCH: Tania Dalton, Leana de Bruin, Temepara Bailey, Anna Scarlett, Adine Wilson
COACH: Ruth Aitken

Compare the Pair: Natasha Chokljat and Kim Green

THE Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two players from different Australian Diamonds eras, with the next showcasing midcourters, Natasha Chokljat and Kim Green.

Two players with plenty of class and speed between them, Chokljat and Green have been some big highlights in the midcourt for the Diamonds in recent years. While Green was a specialist wing attack with flair and impeccable hands to match, Chokljat had the flexibility to rotate when required and was always able to shock her opposition with her quick feet and ability to find the ball no matter where she was on court. While the two players had different styles and approaches to the match, their respective dominance on the court is a testament to the confidence, fitness and consistency they brought to their time as Diamonds. With recognisable names across their respective eras of international netball, these two players were as tough as they get.

Throughout the early 2000s Chokljat was a key name amongst the Diamonds with her tenacity and versatility coming in droves. While she only collected the 29 international caps across three years with the Diamonds, her ability to create plays and work well with the likes of Sharelle McMahon, drawing on domestic experience, made her a crucial member for Australia. Chokljat was a real unknown quantity moving into wing attack, having played as a wing defence for majority of her career prior to Diamonds selection, but well and truly proved her place in the side with her defensive mindset delivering in droves to turnover the netball and spur on her team in attack. With speed to attack the ball and no qualms under pressure, Chokljat led the way with her no-nonsense attitude and constant pressure. While Chokljat may not have had the most star-studded career, with only the one major tournament under her belt, her work ethic and constant drive to improve and win made her a handy inclusion to have an immediate impact upon entering the court.

Green’s relatively early retirement from international netball came to a surprise to many, with the talented wing attack certainly able to continue at her prime well past 2015. However Green had achieved everything she could have by her retirement, finishing on the ultimate high with a 2015 Netball World Cup title – her second following the Diamonds 2011 victory – and a Commonwealth Games gold in 2014. Her star-studded career was no fluke however, with impeccable vision, an uncanny knack to hit circle edge and ability to feed the ball on a platter to her attackers. Green’s vision both on and off the ball was credit to her constant vigilance and high workrate even when the ball was at the other end, always keeping a keen eye on the game and using her leadership skills to build up those around her. Green was one of the most agile and well balanced wing attacks often tiptoeing around the circle edge and using her burst of speed to leave her opponent high and dry while her strength was second to none, hardly ever outmuscled in the contest. 

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Natasha Chokljat

29 caps, 2003-2006

Kim Green

74 caps, 2008-2015

Which Diamonds wing attack would you pick?
Natasha Chokljat
Kim Green
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