Tag: Nicole Richardson

Netball fantasy teams: Commentators v. Coaches

WHILE now renowned for their presence off court whether it be behind a microphone or boundary side these commentators and coaches were once known for their on-court prowess. Both sides consist of former players from across the globe now turned media personalities or coaches whether it be assistant or head.  To be eligible to make either team they must have held a position in either role in the past two years.


GK: Liz Ellis
GD: Laura Geitz
WD: Bianca Chatfield
C: Anna Stanley
WA: Tamsin Greenway
GA: Sharelle McMahon
GS: Cath Cox

BENCH: Anne Sargeant, Adine Wilson, Ama Agbeze

There is no shortage of talent behind the mic with each and every player in the squad showcasing their class and talent at both an international and domestic level. Starting in goal keeper is none other than fan favourite and Australian Diamonds royalty Liz Ellis. The talented defender was an easy pick given her influence on court, long arms, ability to clog up space and come out for a screaming intercept when needed. Much like her defensive counterpart, Laura Geitz was another sure starter even though she was pushed out to goal defence to accommodate for Ellis. The former Diamonds goal keeper turned commentator was an excitement machine down back, generating plenty of turnover ball and using her impressive timing to perfection. Moving out to wing defence is Melbourne Vixens great and fellow Diamond defender Bianca Chatfield. Although typically known for her presence in circle defence, Chatfield is no stranger to the wing position with her height and long arm span doing a wealth of damage to block her opponents vision into the circle. New Zealand commentator and former Silver Ferns representative Anna Stanley takes out the centre position with the highly skilled midcourter possessing class and speed to boot. Her experience and nous on the court was unquestionable able to thread the needle with her passes and good vision while wing attack and former England Roses star Tamsin Greenway oozes plenty of game changing attributes. Arguably one of the headline duos in the team is the goal circle pairing of Sharelle McMahon and Catherine Cox. The two Australian Diamonds dynamites lit up the court with their explosiveness and deadeye accuracy. McMahon is a smooth mover, renowned for using her light and quick footwork to glide across the court while Cox can play both the holding and moving shooter with great ease. one thing that is fair to say is they hardly missed with the two making the most of their opportunities inside the goal circle and most importantly were not afraid to back themselves from range. Unlucky not to get the start was Anne Sargeant while the likes of midcourter Adine Wilson also just missed out despite pulling the bib on 79 times for the Ferns. Rounding out the team is former England Roses captain and defender Ama Agbeze with the lanky goal keeper known for her hunt for the ball, quick movement and ability to create something out of nothing.



GK: Roselee Jencke
GD: Claire McMenimen
WD: Simone McKinnis
C: Temepara Bailey
WA: Noeline Taurua
GA: Vicki Wilson
GS: Irene Van Dyk 

BENCH: Norma Plummer, Tracey Neville, Nicole Richardson

This squad is filled with some of the most recognised and highly established netball coaches at either an assistant or head coach position in the world. They range from international and domestic leagues but most importantly were silky smooth on the court. Firebirds head coach and former Diamonds defensive coach, Roselee Jencke is a star in her own right. She represented the Diamonds 43 times and was a real commanding presence down back with her hands over pressure and quick footwork to get around the body and force turnovers. After playing under Jencke at the Firebirds the now Diamonds specialist coach Clare McMeniman is set to pull on the goal defence bib. With class, defensive pressure and three-foot marking a couple of her key attributes it would be hard to go past the skilful defender. Although she was not the flashiest player it was her ability to shut down opponents with her tagging style of defence and skill to drop back into space and cherry pick passes and propel the ball back down the court with ease. Successful Vixens coach, Simone McKinnis has a firm grasp on the wing defence position thanks to her dynamic movement while veteran and now coach with the Northern Stars Temepara Bailey was a sure start in centre. Bailey is one of the most durable players able to run all day and all night, using her change of direction to full effect and delivering the ball with ease into the circle. Arguably one of the most praised coaches in netball history, Noeline Taurua pulls on the wing attack bib with the classy netballer in a league of her own when it comes to awareness and tactics. Taurua was clever with ball in hand able to see the play with ease and create space to allow attacking forays to unfold. Vicki Wilson was a key cog for the Diamonds with her precise shooting, impressive ball movement, clever footwork and versatility to switch between goal attack and goal shooter. After spending time with the Central Pulse last year, superstar goal shooter Irene Van Dyk was an easy call up. Van Dyk is one of the most accurate shooters the world has ever seen and was never fazed by the physicality of the contest. Her strong holds, incredible ability to stand and deliver from right underneath the ring and silky footwork put her in a league of her own while her high volume of shots made her the complete package. On the bench is none other than the great Norma Plummer, along with the retired Tracey Neville while Collingwood Magpies assistant coach Nicole Richardson completes the team.

Who would win?

Although there is plenty of class across both sides the defence end of the commentators’ squad is stacked with a host of game changers. Both Ellis and Geitz are renowned for their impressive feats in big grand finals or gold medal matches making them a tough challenge even for the likes of the ever-impressive Van Dyk. Throw in the tried and tested combination of McMahon and Cox in the goal circle and the commentators side has the slight upper hand given their strong connections across the court and explosiveness.

Who wins in this hypothetical battle?
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Side by side the Magpies march to finals

WITH finals on the line the Collingwood Magpies rose to the occasion defeating the Melbourne Vixens by 11 goals (58 – 47) at Melbourne Arena on Sunday.

The Magpies needed to win at least three quarters and the match by seven goals or more to steal fourth place on the ladder from the Giants and sneak back into the top four for finals. Securing the first three quarters of the match and drawing the last, the Magpies did enough to rob the Giants of their position on the ladder by 0.6 per cent. Collingwood made the most of their opportunities early scoring from turnovers while the Vixens struggled to work the ball into their goal circle to convert.

Shimona Nelson and Nat Medhurst were composed in Collingwood’s attack end, moving around the goal circle with precision allowing Ash Brazill and Kimiora Poi to easily feed into them. While down the other end of the court, the Vixen’s were uncharacteristically stuck with superstar midcourters Liz Watson and Kate Moloney both recording their lowest number of feeds for the season, credit to the amount of work the Magpies did in defence. Collingwood wing defence Kim Ravaillion had every move from the Vixens covered while April Brandley and Geva Mentor were out hunting for the ball, putting pressure on passes entering the goal circle. Tegan Philip was a star for the Vixens throughout the match, driving into space well and confidently slotting goal after goal only missing one goal in the first quarter, while teammate Caitlin Thwaites nailed four from four of her first quarter attempts.

Only two goals ahead at the first break, the Magpies came out strong once again in the second with Mentor tipping the ball to Brandley for a Medhurst goal off a Vixens’ centre pass and a few minutes later scoring off another with a Brazill intercept. The Magpies were able to get ahead by eight goals at one point during the quarter but the Vixens settled as the quarter wore on. Emily Mannix and Jo Weston worked hard in defence to try to throw off the Magpies and when the opportunities came the Vixens took them with Renae Ingles, Moloney and Watson safely transitioning from defence to attack closing the gap down between the two teams to only three goals by halftime.

Collingwood swooped in the third quarter, winning it 17 goals to nine. The pairing between Medhurst and Nelson shone with both players scoring from 100 per cent of their attempts in the quarter, although Nelson put up 11 more goals the work Medhurst did out the front to open space for Nelson at the back was terrific. The Magpies were smarter with their ball use, treasuring it with only three general play turnovers for the quarter in comparison to seven from the Vixens. Tweaking with their line-up the Vixens tried to find a way to throw off Collingwood, however, the Magpies ended the quarter 11 goals up and with an important third bonus point.

The Vixens matched the Magpies during the final quarter, midcourters Watson and Moloney worked well together to feed the ball safely into the circle and found room to break free of the Magpies defence while Mwai Kumwenda brought some fresh movement to the Vixens’ goal circle. Aware of what was riding on the final margin, the Magpies remained strong not allowing the Vixens to trim down the margin they had worked so hard to build. Mentor deflected pass after pass to slow the Vixens while Brazill continued to apply pressure across the court. It was a four-quarter performance from the Magpies that sees them heading to finals on a high, leaving the Vixens with a week to bounce back before coming up against the Magpies again in the minor semi-final.

Speaking after the match Vixens head coach Simone McKinnis said she was disappointed in the loss but they still have next week.

“Magpies were all over us right from the word go, so disappointing but we have to look at next week,” she said. “We seemed a bit hesitant across the court particularly down in that attack so maybe it’s that confidence and that bit of belief that’s maybe missing at the moment so we’ve got to talk that through.”

“We went into this game wanting it to be about us and our season playing in preparation for next week, certainly playing against a team who’s playing for their season but heading into finals you should be able to withstand that sort of drive from a team and I don’t think that we handled it very well,” McKinnis said.

While assistant coach for the Magpies Nicole Richardson who along with fellow assistant coach Kate Upton filled in for Collingwood head coach Rob Wright again this week said she was proud of her team.

“If they were going to bring it, today was the day to bring it. We spoke to them before the game, I speak a lot about their heart and their head and I thought they brought that today. We also spoke about they had a choice, the door was ajar they just needed to take a foot through it and they were given a choice a choice in what they wanted to do and the performance they wanted to put out there and you can’t fault them. From a club we’re so proud of what the girls put together and I’m sure Rob back in Sydney will be just so proud and pumped of the performance the girls have been able to put out and it’s not just about today their past month’s been very good we knew they could play that brand of netball, it’s just taken a little bit to get it out of them so hopefully we’ve got some momentum going into finals and we’re actually there not to make up numbers we’re there to do some damage,” Richardson said.

“It is a massive step for the club to play finals you put it in the perspective of the year with Rob losing his mum and the two Brownes going down they are a big big part of our club and we spoke about that before the game. We spoke about the people who weren’t here today and the people who weren’t on the court it was about doing it for them and about doing it for themselves,” she said.

Brazill was named the Nissan Player of the Match for the third week in a row for the Magpies and Richardson had nothing but praise for the new-found centre.

“She just offers a different style of game, we felt that we were struggling to punch through down into the circle edge and when you’ve got such a post-up goaler like Shimmy you really need to try to get to the circle edge to create those feeds and Brazzy’s just raw athletic ability she’s able to punch through and get to the circle edge to create those easier feeds for us,” Richardson said.

Looking to next week and reflecting on the game Richardson said she does not think the Vixens held back knowing they were going to finish third on the ladder either way the day went.

“I think Vixens even though they had nothing to play, the rivalry between the two clubs is massive so what they had to play for today was to knock us out of the finals so they still gave it their all and their heart and soul so I would expect the same intensity of the game and we need to ensure that we can then lift to another level to can match it again,” she said.


Collingwood Magpies:

GK | Geva Mentor
GD | April Brandley
WD | Kim Ravaillion
C | Ash Brazill
WA | Kimiora Poi
GA | Nat Medhurst
GS | Shimona Nelson

Melbourne Vixens:

GK | Emily Mannix
GD | Jo Weston
WD | Renae Ingles
C | Kate Moloney
WA | Liz Watson
GA | Tegan Philip
GS | Caitlin Thwaites

Magpies overcome the Fever in Perth

THE Collingwood Magpies stayed in the hunt for finals with a six-goal victory over the West Coast Fever, 57-63. Collingwood were without Head Coach Rob Wright who was unable to travel due to an illness in the family, leaving assistant coaches Nicole Richardson and Kate Upton in charge of the Pies.

Despite the final margin the Fever kept up with the Magpies for much of the match, winning two bonus points and drawing another. There were 10 lead changes during the match showcasing the closeness and intensity of the game, however late in the third quarter Collingwood blazed away, scoring seven goals in a row to draw out the margin.

During the first quarter Fever looked confident, quickly transitioning from defence to attack where Jhaniele Fowler dominated the circle. The Magpies had trouble moving the ball forward off their centre passes early but once the connections clicked Collingwood made the most of them with Shimona Nelson holding strong in the circle, scoring eight goals from nine attempts then going on to finish the match with 43 goals from 50 attempts.

The Magpies started with Gabrielle Sinclair on the court for the second week in a row and while she made her presence felt early, two general play turnovers and a clogged up attacking third prompted a change to start the second quarter with the two sides sitting on 14 goals apiece. Veteran Nat Medhurst took the court and instantly the Magpies looked more dangerous in attack, with Medhurst’s experience opening up plenty of space for Nelson despite the physicality of Fever’s defence. Neck-and-neck for much of the quarter, it was Fowler’s shooting and Ingrid Colyer’s speed that saw the Fever edge ahead of the Magpies by a goal at halftime.

The Magpies took control of the match in the third quarter with Ash Brazill making the centre bib her own as she zipped back and forth across the court, applying pressure to the Fever while finding the circle edge and feeding with ease. Geva Mentor did enough to cause trouble for Fever’s feeders and it was on the back of a Mentor intercept that the Magpies were able to pull away.

Fever altered their line-up to start the final quarter with Shannon Eagland coming on court into goal defence, moving Stacey Francis to wing defence and Jess Anstiss to the bench. Despite the changes, the Magpies continued to outplay the Fever with Kelsey Browne, Brazill and Medhurst starring with hard drives and pinpoint connections.

With less than five minutes on the clock, Fever head coach Stacey Marinkovich pulled the trigger on more changes moving Courtney Bruce into goal defence and sending Eagland back to the bench while Olivia Lewis came on into goal keeper. Marinkovich also moved Verity Charles to the bench with Anstiss returning to the court to take the centre position. The changes did have an impact however it was too little too late for the Fever to claw back the margin by enough to win – though they did stop the Magpies from claiming another bonus point.

Despite the victory, Collingwood still sit outside the top four behind the GIANTS by one point with two rounds left before finals. It is still possible for the Magpies to make a finals appearance but with matches against ladder-leaders the NSW Swifts and the third-placed Melbourne Vixens on the cards, the GIANTS have an arguably easier run home with the Adelaide Thunderbirds and Fever in the coming weeks. Out of finals contention, Fever will be looking to finish their season off with a high coming up against the Firebirds on Sunday before travelling to meet the GIANTS.


West Coast Fever:

GS | Jhaniele Fowler
GA | Alice Teague-Neeld
WA | Ingrid Colyer
C | Verity Charles
WD | Jess Anstiss
GD | Stacey Francis
GK | Courtney Bruce

Collingwood Magpies:

GS | Shimona Nelson
GA | Gabrielle Sinclair
WA | Kelsey Browne
C | Ash Brazill
WD | Kim Ravaillion
GD | April Brandley
GK | Geva Mentor