Tag: norma plummer

Sharelle McMahon: Pushing the boundaries

IN the midst of COVID-19 confusion, umpire supervisors at Melbourne-based Parkville Netball Competitions have taken it upon themselves to continue as much umpire-based learning as possible while matches are postponed. The competition is one of two umpiring Centres of Excellence in the state, seeing its Tuesday Premier Open division umpire cohort come together weekly during the pandemic to further their skills. 

With a combination of theory-based learnings such as now-disused umpiring papers and examining footage of the Victorian Netball League (VNL), the group has been gathering online every week during the unprecedented break and enjoying the odd Q&A throughout thanks to connections its supervisors have forged over the years – namely former VNL coach, Leesa Maxfield, internationally accredited umpire, Kate Wright and most recently, Australian netballer, Sharelle McMahon.

A player who redefined the goal attack position, champion netballer McMahon has become a household name in Australia over the years, pulling on the green and gold 118 times over the course of an outstanding 13 years internationally as well as a number of years with both the Melbourne Phoenix and Melbourne Vixens. McMahon has racked up the accolades over the years, debuting for Australia in 1998 and making her mark on international netball with her match-winning goal at the 1999 World Netball Championships final

Growing up in Bamawm in country Victoria, McMahon grew up playing a combination of netball and athletics, playing in footy-netball and association competitions. McMahon was eventually picked up for the Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) at age-16, with that aspect of her netball journey culminating in a move to Melbourne at a young age to pursue her netball.

“The legendary Marg Caldow rang me and asked me to move down to Melbourne and take up a scholarship at the VIS (Victorian Institute of Sport), so that meant going to school at Wesley College for year 11 and 12,” McMahon said. “That was really hard and initially I didn’t want to do that. Initially I thought ‘nah, I think I’ll stay, that sounds too hard!’” 

“With some encouragement and some really great support around me I took that jump at 16-years-old and moved down to Melbourne and, you know, it was a great experience, I’ve worked with some amazing people over the journey. And that started with Marg Caldow so I feel very lucky with the people that I’ve worked with.”

A big challenge at the time however was McMahon’s homesickness. While she had her support network in Melbourne, the young goaler still wanted some home comforts, one of which was getting to return to her hometown and close-knit family and friends to play in the footy-netball league where possible.

“One of the things we said to Marg Caldow when we were talking about whether I would come to Melbourne was as long as I can go home on the weekends and play! And so she allowed me to do that, but sometimes not as often as I would have liked.”

But heading home for the footy-netball league opened up a new can of worms for McMahon, who had progressed with Caldow from being a self-confessed ‘free spirit’ on the netball court, to having a bit more structure in her game play and having to adjust back to the country level.

“One of the things I do really clearly remember is working with my coach on my rebounding. I used to rebound from behind and kind of flick it over and take the ball, jump up and grab the ball, and I used to get called for contact a lot in the country doing that.”

“My coach got some umpires to have a look and was like, ‘she’s not touching them when she’s jumping up to get that ball!’” McMahon said. “I think my ability to be able to do that was surprising to some people and so I was getting called for contact when probably I wasn’t contacting, but you know there was that adjustment that I had to make when I was going back both with my play and what I was experiencing.”

Adjusting to the umpires continued throughout McMahon’s career, as McMahon brought up how there were times when, even at the top level, she sometimes had to adjust the way in which she played, not only for the players on court but the umpires who were officiating, whether it be at the domestic or international level.

“That happened right throughout my career. We spoke about this a lot in the Australian team … each country has a different style of play, each country has different strengths, so we would have to adjust what we did according to that. And we actually approached how we were being umpired in a very similar way.”

“Depending on which coach I had, Norma (Plummer) was very big on reading umpires and adjusting to that … we used to watch videos about what calls are being made and how we could adjust to that more quickly when we were in the game. So, you know, as you say at those different levels you have to adjust but that happens right through whatever level you’re at.”

With international umpires coming together from across the world to umpire world-class competitions such as the Netball World Cup (then-World Netball Championships) and Commonwealth Games, different interpretations between umpires and their respective experience can sometimes also factor into how matches play out and the quality of contests in those matches.

“They (some umpires) just interpreted things differently, they had a different style, just like us athletes, we had different styles when we were coming from different countries and I guess in those different levels that’s the same, everyone’s got a different style and different strengths and different ways of reading it, probably more so with the Australian level.”

McMahon says that where players and coaches have a massive influence over what happens on court, the umpires have just as big a role in how they officiate matches and to what extent they allow the contesting of play and testing of boundaries – with McMahon herself one who would time and time again try to push that boundary to the limits.

“One of the things I always liked about playing netball was not just the challenge against my opposition but the challenge against myself, looking at what moves I could make, how small was that gap that I could get through, really wanting to kind of challenge myself on that,” McMahon said. “And if I was allowed to get through that tiny gap, even though there was a bit of contact, well probably next time I’ll try and get through a smaller one!”

“If I was allowed to do that, probably next time I’ll do it a bit more until I find where that line is. And if the line is a little bit further than what you thought, well, that’s where the play will go. That’s kind of how I always approached it, rightly or wrongly, so I definitely think that the umpires can have a huge influence over the style of play and the contest, and how far that goes.”

While those were some of the on-court, boundary-pushing opportunities that McMahon took to gain the best positioning or access to the goals, she also spoke about some of the post-netball opportunities she has had in coaching and commentary roles after retiring from international duties in 2011 and netball overall in 2013.

“I think in many ways, when you’ve been around for as long as I had, you’re a coach even though you’re only a player anyway – you’re always working through tactics and helping your teammates out, figuring out what their strengths are and how to get the best out of them. So I’d always loved that part of it, and getting the best out of people is what drives me.”

“I went straight into broadcast, but I was given the opportunity to continue working with the group (Melbourne Vixens) and probably from a selfish standpoint, I was really keen to do that … I moved out of home when I was 16 and lived in an elite training environment where I had been around people like that, inspiring me I guess in many ways and supporting me for 20 years. So I think for me the thought of going cold turkey on that didn’t sit very well.”

“It’s always been about opportunity, you know, when I had the opportunity to move down to Melbourne I wasn’t sure but I took it and you know there’s been many moments like that in my life that I’ve kind of gone – ‘I don’t know if I should do that’. And it might be too hard or it might be outside my reach. But I’ve tried to always just say yes to those things, and give it a go.”

“People asked me how I chose netball over athletics. It was because the opportunity came up in netball first. And so that’s what I jumped at and went with,” McMahon said. “Those opportunities kept coming up in netball, and what I had to do was make a decision between coaching and commentary last year, which was really hard because I love commentary, I really enjoy that. But the opportunity to work with a group like this and Simone (McKinnis), and learn from her from that perspective was something I was really excited about.”

Tune in later this week for PART 2.

Thank you to Sharelle McMahon and the supervising team at Parkville – Joel Owen, Juleen Maxfield and Penny Carlson – for giving Draft Central access to this session.

Note – All questions throughout the meeting were contributed by the aforementioned umpiring cohort and supervisors, with just snippets of the hour-long meeting making the cut and much of the conversation revolving around umpiring.

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.

Commentators:

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.

 

Coaches:

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?
Commentators
Coaches
Created with Quiz Maker

NWC 2019: Five things we learned from the World Cup

WITH the World Cup officially over we take a look back at the event and analyse five of the biggest and most important things to have come out the competition.

1. Coaches should not be underestimated

It was a coaching masterclass from both Noeline Taurua and Norma Plummer the latter of which farewelled her international coaching career in style. Plummer’s South African side has come along in leaps and bounds credit to her hard-nosed approach, dedication and intricate knowledge and understanding of the game and while they did not claim a medal their performance on the big stage was one to be commended. On the other hand, Taurua pulled out all the stops to claim the unthinkable. She left many people in awe of her team’s performance credit to her tactical mindset and clever zone off the body defence system. Both coaches proved throughout the World Cup that they were not afraid to make big moves and enforce the changes when things were not working.

2. International netball is developing at a rapid rate

This World Cup proved that netball is developing at a rate of knots across the world with arguably one of the closest competitions in history. With five prominent nations the battle for top spot was on from the get go. But while the higher ranked teams all excelled the lower positioned countries stood up on the international stage relishing the exposure and staking their claim on the competition to push teams to their limits. This World Cup saw the highest number of African nations make the cut with four countries making it through such as Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi and South Africa showcasing the overall development of netball across the globe.

3. Star players do not make a star team

Jamaica went into the World Cup with a glowing record and plenty of hype holding second place on the world rankings. Although the Sunshine Girls were littered with star players across the court they struggled to gel as a team. Jhaniele Fowler steered the ship in the goal circle with her strong holds, accuracy to post and high volume of shots while up the other end Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Shamera Sterling were the lynchpins in defence. But despite the plethora of big time players Jamaica made little impact on the higher ranked sides given their inability to transition the ball from one end of the court to the other.

4. Stage fright and expectation can take a toll

Both the reigning World Champions and Commonwealth gold medallists had huge expectations on their shoulders but in the end they were unable to live up to all the hype. England were bailed out in the semi-final stage going down to New Zealand by two goals after coming into the series as fan favourites given their huge upset win in the Commonwealth Games and home advantage. The Roses lost Layla Guscoth early in the World Cup with injury but were still pinned as the team to beat given their class and experience across the court. The same could be said for the Australian Diamonds who once again fell agonisingly short in the gold medal match. with the stakes so high and both teams having such big expectations both nations struggled to make the most of their opportunities and live up to the anticipation of fans.

5. Netball is more than just a game

There was passion aplenty throughout the World Cup with many of the nations putting on a spectacle both on and off the court. Zimbabwe oozed charisma, excitement and passion meeting each game with fun and intensity. Their happy go lucky attitude made them near on impossible to stop when on song while Malawi down on star power compared to previous years did not lack their heart and energy on the court.

Netball World Cup Preview: South Africa

THE 2019 Netball World Cup sees 16 countries head to Liverpool, England, with 60 matches played over the 10-day period between July 12-21. Countries have been split into four pools, playing a round robin in that pool before going further depending on their respective success.

South Africa have perhaps one of the most intriguing lineups heading into the 2019 Netball World Cup, with a number of big names hitting the spotlight in recent years for what has the capacity to be the best SPAR Proteas squad yet. Coach, Norma Plummer has taken the side above and beyond in recent years, curating the side’s natural talent and creating a hunger to go one better with every match they play. South Africa have possibly the most difficult lineup of the top five countries as they are in Pool C, taking on Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Fiji in the opening matches before potentially proceeding forward in the competition.

With a number of big names coming out of South Africa in recent years, the Proteas will be a force to be reckoned with given the talent across the board. Eight of the side’s 12 players currently play in international leagues in England and Australia, proving the potential of this lineup. Captain, Bongi Msomi is sure to be the starting wing attack, courtesy of her stellar feeding ability and speed to find space in the goal third. Joining Msomi in the midcourt are fellow likely starters, Shadine Van Der Merwe and Erin Burger, followed by Izette Griesel and Khanyisa Chawane.

Defensively, the exciting defensive duo of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni has only grown in recent months, with the pair playing together in the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia’s premier netball league, Suncorp Super Netball. Pretorius and Maweni have proved they are one of the best defensive duos in the world currently, with an unwavering ability to generate turnovers and find the loose ball. Zanele Vimbela is the third defender in the squad, able to join the play and have an impact from the get-go credit to her agility and hands over pressure. A small hole in the Proteas’ line-up is the lack of a fourth circle defender, meaning in the case of emergency Van Der Merwe would likely move down court to circle defence rather than through the midcourt.

Likely starters in goals for South Africa are Lenize Potgieter and Maryka Holtzhausen, who have an uncanny ability to find the post credit to their footwork and speed with the ball. Potgieter’s quick, nontraditional low-release shot can be a big threat if not defended, while Holtzhausen provides a great backup in the rotating circle. Joining them is Sigi Burger, a goal shooter, proving her versatility with ball in hand, while Renske Stoltz provides a shorter, more agile option inside the circle with an impeccable long-range shot.

Magpies crossing codes

WHILE the Australian Diamonds are getting ready for a busy international calendar, two big name Aussie netballers have laced up their boots ready for another sport this summer.

Collingwood Magpies midcourter, Ash Brazill and recently retired defender, Sharni Layton have taken the field in 2019, with Layton crossing codes and joining second year footballer, Brazill at the Collingwood Magpies AFLW. Australian Netball League (ANL) midcourter, Taylah Davies is also taking the field in 2019, playing for GWS GIANTS ahead of playing for GIANTS Netball in the upcoming ANL season.

Brazill plays for Collingwood Magpies in both AFLW and netball, with all training conducted at Collingwood’s home, the Holden Centre, in Melbourne’s sports precinct. Fortunately the two sports are played at different times of year, allowing Brazill to play in both codes throughout their respective seasons.

“If I think about my journey it’s like, with netball, I’ve done it from such a young age that it just comes so natural … I’ve always loved football but there’s never been that path where you could even go anywhere,” Brazill said. “It’s pretty funny to just go like from netty to footy … when I’m on the court I’m a netballer, when I’m on the field I’m a footballer. I never am one time playing and feeling like I’m at the other so that’s a good thing!”

One of the most challenging aspects of making the switch between the two sports for Brazill is how the different dynamics of the grounds can change the outcome of a game.

“You know that stepping on a netball court it’s 30 metres long, the court doesn’t change no matter where you go in the world,” Brazill said, comparing AFLW to the indoor sport of professional netball. She jokingly told her AFLW teammates that on court ‘sometimes the aircon is like, a little bit high’, while training in wind, rain or shine on the field.

“With AFL every ground is different … our ground here that we practice on is a lot wider, and our first game was in Geelong and it’s so super narrow, so it completely changed the way we play,” Brazill said.

While the move from court to field has its own difficulties, Brazill says the switch to AFLW has been a big change because of the growth and amount of players as well as the immense skill displayed on the field.

“For me at the moment it’s trying to figure out who these girls are. In netball I know every single player, I’ve grown up with them, it’s going into my tenth season so, like – Kim Green, I could tell you what she’s gonna do before she’s gonna do it and she could tell you the exact same for me,” Brazill said. “Last year I tore my hammy and missed about five games or something, and came back in Round 6 and played against Sabrina Frederick-Traub, so that was probably the most kind of pressure playing on one of the best in the league.

“In netball you know these players inside and out and then you walk on the field like – Sabrina I knew because her face was everywhere for the AFLW, but how she plays? No idea. She’s just like a machine. So like I guess you can know them a little bit by watching her game but it’s so different playing them.

“You’re playing girls when you don’t even know their name yet, and it’s a mystery … sometimes you feel like you’re going in there blind but I kind of like that as well, because they don’t really know too much about you either.”

As for playing at Victoria Park, home of the Magpies long before the competition’s demand outgrew the stadium, Brazill said the feeling of running out onto the field for the Round 2 clash against Melbourne was “unreal”.

“Our fans at Collingwood are so loyal that it was like we were going back to like our home ground. We got told a bit of history before going out … Collingwood was the first ever club to have a female stand, so like, just having that history alone and then being the first AFLW team to play out there was pretty cool,” she said.

As for her phenomenal tackle on Melbourne’s Tegan Cunningham, Brazill said she was mostly focused on her tackling technique to ensure she did not get Cunningham in the back or injure herself.

“In that moment I think someone went to tackle her and she slipped them … I just saw her and no one was in front of her and you just like – instinct takes over. I can’t even really remember it to be honest,” tells Brazill. “I’m just like lucky that I got her, if I didn’t get her it would’ve been embarrassing!”

When it comes to balancing AFLW and netball, Brazill says that her training workload is managed to ensure she does not put her body under too much stress, though her 2018 season was completely different.

“With netball we train every day – we’re in here from like 7am to like 2pm, and then footy we train three times a week and so that’s from 6pm, we probably leave the club at 10pm at night,” Brazill said.

“At the moment we have a physio that’s overlooking both … he monitors what I do. Last year it was tough, like we didn’t have that so I just ran everything and then now he’s like ‘you’re doing this for this long, then do the last rep off’, so like I’m still doing everything but I might do like two less reps than everyone else.”

Australian Diamonds gold medallist, dual Netball World Champion and ex-Magpies Netball goalkeeper, Sharni Layton has joined Brazill on the field in 2019, making the hop to AFLW after announcing her retirement from netball at the end of the 2018 Suncorp Super Netball season.

Brazill said it was no surprise to see Layton make the change, having spoken about it when Brazill decided to take up footy in 2017.

“It’s very different for Sharns, like I played footy growing up, Sharns hadn’t … skill wise she’s gone from being like the best netballer in the world, to someone who’s learning how to kick a football. From her very first session to now, she’s improved out of sight,” Brazill says of Layton, who has been a close friend since age 18.

“She doesn’t have a leader badge in our team, but she’s definitely one of our leaders that has been really helping teach the young kids what work ethic is at training and how to recover properly,” Brazill said.

“When we’re training she’s full forward; I’m full back, so we’re on each other! It’s hilarious,” she said.

While Brazill is currently loving her footy, she says there are still some netball habits she can’t shake.

“I fake tan before every game – classic netballer – ‘look good, feel good, play good! When I was coached by Norma Plummer the only time she ever benched me was the day I didn’t fake tan, and she thought I was gonna pass out … I’m so weird about it, like even with footy the girls are like ‘you act like you’re this tough kid and then you come in fake tanned’. I’ve got to, I’m a netballer!” Brazill said.

Diamonds challenged in Quad Series victory

A late shock out for the Australian Diamonds threw a spanner in the works for their Northern Quad Series campaign, however after a tough first half the Diamonds were able to settle against fifth ranked South Africa to come out with a strong 45 – 62 win.

Losing Diamonds captain, Caitlin Bassett to a fractured forearm shook up the Diamonds camp last week, however with ex-Magpies gamemaker and new Melbourne Vixen Caitlin Thwaites sitting on the bench and GIANTS goaler Kiera Austin on standby for an international call-up, the Aussies were able to settle.

The South African Spar Proteas came out confidently to start the game, taking advantage of the Diamonds’ errors with quick hands and speedy passes early in the game, putting on a show of pushing through the Diamonds circle defence and putting the Aussies on edge.

The Diamonds had a messy start with crowding down their attacking end. The combined effort of Courtney Bruce, April Brandley, Gabi Simpson and defensive centre Kate Moloney worked tirelessly to hassle the ball back and move through the midcourt, effectively keeping the Aussies in the game through the first quarter.

South Africa capitalised on the Diamonds’ early errors, leading at the end of the first quarter 16 – 11, but it was the long arms of Phumza Maweni and agility of Karla Pretorius that kept the Spar Proteas in touch with the Aussies despite their own sloppy attacking end.

Maweni and Pretorius were gamebreakers in the early stages of the game, deflecting passes and making circle feeding difficult for the Aussies. Their jump time was impeccable, allowing for defensive rebounds and scaring the Australian side.

Down the attacking end for South Africa, Bongi Msomi was on fire with her feeds and passing into the goal circle with pinpoint accuracy. A slow start from Australian wing defence Gabi Simpson allowed Msomi space to move around the circle and gave opportunities to feed.

Lenize Potgieter starred early in goals for the Spar Proteas, making space and holding ground, shooting 35/40 at 87 per cent accuracy. The South African shooters were almost clinical in their approach to the goals, not fussing with extra feeds and taking the shot.

Australia started the second quarter with Jo Weston taking the court to start in goal defence and Jamie Lee-Price following into wing defence midway through the quarter, relegating April Brandley and Gabi Simpson to the bench after a busy first quarter. South Africa did not make any changes after a strong and confident first quarter, but did not seem to have the same confidence when faced with the changes made by the Aussies.

The attacking goal circle for the Aussies was a nightmare in the second quarter, with Maweni and Pretorius taking on every opportunity to make the attackers’ lives difficult. Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett had moments of greatness, but coupled with their shaky start they struggled with consistency against the tough defence.

Thwaites and Tippett settled in goals and were able to finish up the first half with a two goal lead (25 – 27), with Thwaites shooting 12 goals from 13 attempts in the second quarter to bring Australia back into the game.

Thwaites sat on the bench for the second half of the game as Steph Wood took over in goal shooter. Thwaites will be happy with her 94 per cent shooting average, shooting 17 from 18, but keen to prove herself over the next week to ensure full court time against New Zealand and England next week.

Steph Wood, regularly a goal attack, stood up confidently to play out the game in the unfamiliar position of goal shooter and shoot 15 from 18 for the half. Despite her skill in goals, Wood’s height was a big problem early in the third before settling into the game. Tippett played a full game in her native goal attack and starred in captain Bassett’s absence, shooting 30 from 32 for Australia.

Also taking the court in the third quarter was Kelsey Browne, replacing Liz Watson in wing attack as Watson took over from Vixens teammate Kate Moloney in centre. Down the other end, South African shooter Ine-Mari Venter replaced Maryka Holtzhausen in goals.

A tight third quarter looked to set up a close final quarter with Australia only ahead by five points at the end of the third term, but a strong 19 goal to seven final quarter brought the end score to a strong 17-goal win for Australia, 45 – 62.

Australian coach Lisa Alexander rotated all twelve players on the bench throughout the game, telling media that all players should be given the opportunity to play their role for the team and country.

South Africa coach Norma Plummer will be happy with her side’s performance in the opening three quarters, however will be rueing the chance of taking down a dilapidated Australian lineup after such a strong start.

RSA STARTING SEVEN

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Maryka Holtzhausen
WA: Bongi Msomi (C)
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

AUS STARTING SEVEN

GS: Caitlin Thwaites
GA: Gretel Tippett
WA: Liz Watson
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: April Brandley
GK: Courtney Bruce

BENCH: Kelsey Browne, Emily Mannix, Jamie-Lee Price, Jo Weston, Steph Wood

Quad Series opens international netball for 2019

THE January Quad Series is just around the corner, meaning it’s almost time to watch the Australian Diamonds, New Zealand Silver Ferns, England Roses and South Africa Spar Proteas battle it out once more. 

The September series in Australia proved no country is safe, when the English Roses, then ranked second worldwide, had a close call against fifth ranked South Africa. New Zealand struggled with shooting accuracy at times, while Australia struggled to settle into a set starting seven.

Hosted by England ahead of the Netball World Cup in July in Liverpool, the four countries will use this Quad Series as an opportunity to try out new options and solidify their lineups.

 

Australia

The Australian Diamonds will be back to defend their 2018 September Quad Series title after a successful Constellation Cup against their fiercest rivals, the New Zealand Silver Ferns. After taking a clean sweep of the September series, the Diamonds will look to back up their title once more and improve on their recent Constellation Cup victory. Midcourters Kate Moloney and Jamie-Lee Price have been given the call-up once more after their work in the Constellation Cup, with Kim Ravaillion still out on break ahead of the Netball World Cup in July.

INS: Kate Moloney, Jamie-Lee Price

OUTS: Kimberley Ravaillion

 

New Zealand

After recently reclaiming their second place World Ranking, the Silver Ferns will be looking to back up their improved run in the Constellation Cup after stealing a tough win on home soil over the Australian Diamonds in the third test. Despite not being able to back up their success with a second series win in New Zealand, coach Noeline Taurua looks to have found a regular starting seven and consistency through the goal circle, meaning the Ferns will be back stronger than ever for the Quad Series.

INS: Kimiora Poi, Whitney Souness, Erena Mikaere, Casey Kopua, Maia Wilson

OUTS: Aliyah Dunn, Katrina Grant, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Elisapeta Toeava, Samantha Sinclair

 

England

Following a Netball World Rankings drop from second to fourth place, despite a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Gold Coast 2018, the English Roses will be looking for success on home soil ahead of the Netball World Cup in Liverpool. With shooter Jo Harten back in the side after missing most of the September series due to a knee injury, the improved side will hope to challenge Australia this time around and assert their dominance over South Africa after a tight match.

INS: Jo Harten

OUTS: Eleanor Cardwell

 

South Africa

In a 2018 full of highs and lows, the South African Spar Proteas will be looking to continue with success after defending their title in the December 2018 Diamond Challenge across Africa. After a tight miss against England in the September Quad Series in 2018, the Spar Proteas will be back with a vengeance this series and ready for a surprise upset. Star defender Karla Pretorius will be looking to back up her stellar 2018, while coach Norma Plummer will be hoping to build up a consistent starting seven ready for the Netball World Cup in July.

INS: N/A

OUTS: N/A

 

Australian broadcast details: Live on Nine Gem, Netball Live App

ROUND 1: SOUTH AFRICA VS AUSTRALIA 
Monday 14 January, 2019
2:30 am AEST

ROUND 2: AUSTRALIA VS NEW ZEALAND
Sunday 20 January, 2019
3:30 am AEST

ROUND 3: ENGLAND VS AUSTRALIA
Monday 21 January, 2019 
5:00 am AEST

FULL FIXTURE