Tag: Roselee Jencke

Memorable Matches: 1991 Netball World Cup – Frantic final sees Australia win sixth title

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 Australia’s 1991 World Netball Championship triumph in Sydney over New Zealand, with the one-goal victory the start of a decade of Australian netball dominance on the international stage.

The 1991 World Netball Championships saw a new dawn in netball, with the sport getting further support and a then world record crowd of over ten thousand fans showing their support in Sydney. It was the first year that the knockout phase had been introduced, with the final four predictably being undefeated Australia and New Zealand, closely marked by England and Jamaica. One for the history books, it was also the first time an Australian Prime Minister had been present at an all-female sporting event with Bob Hawke in attendance for the first Australian World Netball Championship triumph on home soil.

New Zealand was the team to beat heading into the tournament, as the world number one nation and the most recent world champions in 1987, but Australia would stop at nothing to get the green and gold over the line. With regular wing attack in Sue Kenny unable to take the court with injury following Australia’s semi-final win against Jamaica, the side was not at its usual firepower but did not let it stop them from achieving that final goal. 

But where Australia had the drive to win, New Zealand was always one step ahead at every change, maintaining that ounce of control to lead the Aussies who, to their credit, never stopped in their pursuit. Vicki Wilson was spectacular as ever throughout, holding down the fort in goal shooter for Australia with 42 goals to her name, aided by Catriona Wagg in goal attack who did not find much of the post but was accurate when she did so. Wagg teamed up well with Shelley O’Donnell to deliver ball on a silver platter to Wilson, whose footwork was remarkable evading the tight double defence in the circle.

Wilson was threatening at the post but the likes of Waimarama Taumaunu and Robin Dillmore were relentless, rendering Wilson to a lower accuracy than she typically recorded, as Wagg’s low tally placed more pressure on the talented goal shooter. At the other end of the court, Tracy Eyrl-Shortland and Julie Carter were that bit more consistent in their sharing of the load, forming a tight attack line that Australia defenders, Michelle Fielke and Keeley Devery at times could not contain, seeing Roselee Jencke come off the bench and have an immediate impact with her vision and ability to confuse the space.

Eyrl-Shortland and Carter were phenomenal at the post, with poise and accuracy seeing New Zealand combine for 87 per cent of their attempts, as opposed to Australia’s 77 per cent. None of the four goalers were afraid of attempting the long bomb, making every shot a crucial opportunity for a defensive rebound to propel the ball back up the court.

The speed with which both teams ran down the court was impressive, with the centre battle between Carissa Tombs and Sandra Edge spectacular as both players used every ounce of their endurance and speed to evade the other, driving with precision and constantly applying hands over pressure to limit vision down the court. Where O’Donnell used her smarts to find circle edge, she was well and truly dogged by her wing defence in Louisa Wall who applied a constant pressure, unafraid of the contest, while Simone McKinnis was formidable with her speed and hands over pressure to block Joan Hodson’s vision in attack.

With the match likely to go toe-to-toe throughout, the final quarter saw neither team willing to give up any momentum. The Aussies had managed to stop New Zealand in their tracks at the end of the third, holding up an almost certain goal to ensure they were only down by the one goal heading into the final term. Overall, Australia was cleaner than the Kiwi outfit, and while the green and gold missed more attempts on goal, they also put up eight more shots than New Zealand. Add on that the Kiwis doubled Australia’s penalty count in majority of the quarters, and it’s a hard stat to look past when the margin comes down to a single goal.

While Australia had the first centre pass of the final quarter, they were continually thwarted by New Zealand’s patient approach in attack, equalising again and again to build up pressure on both teams. As the two teams continued to battle, real flair began to come out as the speed of the match lifted once more. With a two goal lead with under five minutes left to play, New Zealand only needed to maintain some clarity down the court to go back-to-back world champions, but the Aussies had other ideas, turning over on a crucial New Zealand centre pass and evening up the ledger with just over two minutes on the clock and frantic play to ensue. 

Two late intercepts from opposing defenders in Taumaunu and Jencke settled the score with under 30 seconds left in the match, as Taumaunu foiled Australia’s plans in attack before Jencke turned over the ball, and with confusion as to whether the final whistle had been blown, Australia claimed its sixth World Netball Championship title.

AUSTRALIA 13 | 13 | 14 | 13 (53)
NEW ZEALAND 14 | 13 | 14 | 11 (52)

Australia

GS: Vicki Wilson
GA: Catriona Wagg
WA: Shelley O’Donnell
C: Carissa Tombs (Nee Dalwood)
WD: Simone McKinnis
GD: Michelle Fielke
GK: Keeley Devery

BENCH: Sharon Finnan, Roselee Jencke, Jennifer Kennett, Sue Kenny
COACH: Joyce Brown

New Zealand

GS: Tracy Eyrl-Shortland
GA: Julie Carter
WA: Joan Hodson
C: Sandra Edge
WD: Louisa Wall
GD: Waimarama Taumaunu
GK: Robin Dillmore

BENCH: Tanya Cox, Leonie Leaver, Ana Nouvao, Carron Topping, Sheryl Waite
COACH: Lyn Parker

SHOOTING STATS

Australia

Vicki Wilson 42/56
Catriona Wagg 11/13

New Zealand

Tracy Eyrl-Shortland 34/40
Julie Carter 18/20

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

Who steps up? Potential Diamonds coaches

WITH Lisa Alexander and Netball Australia parting ways today, the hunt for a new Diamonds coach is underway. There is no shortage of candidates willing and able to take a shot at the top job. Here are some of our potential coaches:

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Briony Akle:
The New South Wales Swifts coach is a smoky chance to be awarded the head coach position considering her stellar season last year and ability to build a team filled with young talent. Akle showcased her belief to back her players on the netball court and use her netball nous to find good fit players for her specific game style. Her traditional style of netball caught many teams off-guard with the Swifts coach prioritising careful and considered movement rather than any form of erratic play. Her ability to drill in the importance of treasuring the ball and slow and steady pace could add a different dimension to the Diamonds line-up.

Megan Anderson:
The former Australian Diamonds attacker is a definite chance to be selected as the next coach given her experience at the highest level and high level knowledge of the game. The current specialist coach oozes plenty of understanding credit to her strong grasp on the game having played it for an extensive period of time. Anderson knows what success tastes like winning three premierships with the Swifts while her knowledge of the New Zealand game plan could pay dividends having played with both the Mystics and Southern Steel.

Roselee Jencke:
The Queensland Firebirds coach is no stranger to the Diamonds outfit or success having spent a couple of years with the green and gold as a specialist coach. Her defensive knowledge is second to none, developing and nurturing the young up and coming talent through the ranks making her an exciting prospect to take the reins. Jencke has coached the Firebirds to back-to-back grand finals in the ANZ Premiership and while she has not had the same luck in Suncorp Super Netball has a wealth experience and skill that could provide a different perspective to the Diamonds.

Julie Fitzgerald:
The former Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic coach and current GIANTS netball coach has plenty to offer to the Diamonds who are embarking on new era. Fitzgerald is a true servant of the game dedicating her life to the game with her in-depth knowledge in both an attacking and defensive mindset. She has coached over 300 national league games highlighting her extensive knowledge of the game and sheer commitment to not only developing the league but so too the players involved at the club. She knows what it takes to win, yielding four premierships throughout her coaching tenure. Fitzgerald offers a different perspective to the game able to see varying patterns across the court and exploit opposition teams.

Simone McKinnis:
With 63 international caps under her belt the now Melbourne Vixens coach is a chance to step up to the plate and take control of the ever-developing Diamonds. McKinnis has spent plenty of time at the top with the Vixens guiding them to multiple finals and grand finals and while she has fallen short on recent occasions has an undeniable ability to bring the best out of her players. Her more defensive style of play could suit the Diamonds who have a wealth of options down back. McKinnis has spent many years coaching and could use her knowledge and understanding to formulate a new look game plan.

Dunkley on the move to Firebirds

ANOTHER Melbourne Vixens player has made the move up north to the Queensland Firebirds with Lara Dunkley set to take the court as a replacement player for Mahalia Cassidy. The talented midcourter will provide plenty of excitement for the Firebirds with her attacking and defensive pressure able to cover the court with ease and consistently provide an option. Dunkley can switch between wing attack, wing defence and centre highlighting her versatility for the Firebirds playing with the likes of emerging speedster Jemma Mi Mi and Gabi Simpson through the middle third.

Despite not getting a wealth of court time during 2019 with the Vixens, Dunkley has shown that she can have an impact when given the chance. Paired with the likes of Australian Diamonds goal attack Gretel Tippett and Jamaican shooting machine Romelda Aiken, Dunkley could prove to be the missing piece in the attacking end for the Firebirds and will be hoping to have a profound impact on court with her precision passing and quick feet.

Dunkley is not the only Vixen to take the plunge with South African Ine-Mari Venter also pulling on the purple dress in 2020 while Rudi Ellis has also jumped ship after spending time with the Vixens Australian Netball League team – Victoria Fury.

Still in the infancy of her netball career, the 24-year-old captained Vic Fury in 2018 highlighting her strong leadership skills and netball nous. Surrounded by the likes of Renae Ingles, Liz Watson and Kate Moloney during her time with the Vixens, Dunkley will have plenty to offer for the developing Firebirds midcourt.

Firebirds coach, Roselee Jencke is excited about having Dunkley on the court and what she can bring to the team.

“Having the flexibility to use Lara across three positions is beneficial and will give us added advantages when it comes to match-ups and opposition strengths,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing how all these athletes work together. “It’s going to be an exciting season.”

Sky is the limit for Hinchliffe

A DIAMOND of the future, Queensland Firebirds defender Tara Hinchliffe was dropped right into the thick of it throughout the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season with the 21-year-old tasked with the challenge to hold up the defence end.

The young defender started playing netball at age seven, relishing the opportunity to get off the sidelines at her older sister’s game and get onto the court with twin, Maddie who is a training partner with the Firebirds.

“I absolutely love having a twin sister. We used to do everything together whether it was different sports but netball always seemed to be the thing we looked forward to the most.”

But Hinchliffe was not always a defender. In her junior years she often found herself under the post going for goal rather than defending it, but a stroke of genius from her coach saw her switch ends and pull on the goal defence bib.

“We both started playing shooter, we were always down the same end together so that was always fun,” Hinchliffe said. “I went down the other end and I didn’t really mind it and the coaches liked it because we were both tall. That’s how it all started, then I stuck in defence.”

Hinchliffe was lucky enough to be mentored by former Firebirds and Diamonds captain Laura Geitz last year, with the youngster picking up plenty of tricks of the trade from Geitz and crediting the talented goal keeper to making her feel so welcomed at the club.

“I guess for me coming in as a young player it was all sort of new for me so I could look to Gabi on one side and Geitzy behind me and know that they backed me in any situation and know what to do,” she said. “They would always be the first ones to respond and tell me what to do. I was more than happy to just follow their lead. That was a really good experience in my first year to know what it was like.”

The Firebirds struggled throughout the 2019 campaign only notching up the one win for the season ,but that did not stop captain, Simpson, from spurring on her troops and encouraging them to play their game and try their hardest.

“When you have a good leader you just want to play for them. You want to work hard for them,” Hinchliffe said.

“Gabi just likes to have fun. I love it when she smiles at you on court, she’ll make a joke and just lighten the mood so that’s something different that she brings and I think that works for our team because we are younger and we like to just enjoy it as well.”

Despite the trying season the Firebirds faithful have remained as boisterous and passionate as ever, with Hinchliffe absorbing the colourful and decorated culture associated with the club.

“I know this season has been one of the toughest seasons we’ve had, knowing the fans are still there makes it really exciting and you want to turn up and you want to work even harder for them which I think is special to the Firebirds, that I’m not sure all the other clubs have.”

The young defender has taken it all in her stride, absorbing the pressure and stepping up to the plate time and time again while her partnership with fellow 21-year-old Kim Jenner developing at a rate of knots.

“We both know we are young and are the biggest critics of ourselves. To know that we can both look at each other and trust each other. We often just get on court and look and say let’s just play netball, we don’t need to overthink it,” Hinchliffe said.

“We are both still very young to be playing SSN and both being 21 I guess we both look at each other and say can you believe that we are really here?”

Hinchliffe was immersed into the Firebirds last year with coach, Roselee Jencke a key figure in her life, helping to guide her down back and foster her netball skill.

“Sure there’s a lot of hard work but she’s also a great person and relationship builder. As soon as I came in I knew she’d look after me, she’s your biggest defender and protects us as well which we are grateful for,” she said.

Hinchliffe has already had a highly decorated career playing in the Under 21 World Cup in Botswana and was recently recognised for her impressive performance on the court with a call up to the Diamonds Development Team, an accolade she was not really expecting.

“Yeah it’s pretty crazy, I see myself being two years in SSN so I definitely wasn’t expecting anything to do with Australian netball. But it’s very exciting, I think the squad is a great opportunity to have a mix of the younger and more experienced girls,” she said.

“Any day to wear the green and gold dress is a good day, I remember Geitzy sending that to me a few years ago.”

GIANTS overrun winless Firebirds

GIANTS Netball have held off a gallant Queensland Firebirds in a high intense and physical game to maintain fourth spot in the Suncorp Super Netball thanks to a six-goal win. Neither side was willing to take a backwards step and bodies were flying everywhere throughout the four quarters, but in the end it was the GIANTS’ experience that shone through in the 63-57 win.

The Firebirds got off to a flyer claiming the first bonus point credit to their strong connection in attack and sheer desperation across the court. Gretel Tippett and Romelda Aiken put the GIANTS on notice with the two showcasing their skill, aerial ability and dynamic movement while also proving accuracy was no issue. But that flow was quickly halted with Tippett copping a stray elbow to the nose forcing her from the court and causing a stop in play. The goal attack had blood streaming from her nose and all over the court sending club doctors into overdrive. Once the court was cleaned, Tippett was replaced by Abigail Latu-Meafou who slotted in seamlessly. Though not as tall and strong, Latu-Meafou found good space and held her own feeding the ball into Aiken time and time again. Up the other end, Jo Harten put on a masterclass for the GIANTS with the England international showcasing her range with 10 goals from 11 attempts. The goal attack well and truly outscored the Australian captain in the opening term with Caitlin Bassett only managing three goals. The Firebirds held a two-goal buffer heading into quarter time credit to their tenacity and daring ball movement.

Patched up and ready to head back onto the court Tippett continued her accurate ways nailing nine from nine and shouldering the load in attack. Both Jemma Mi Mi and Erin Burger lifted their intensity through attack feeding the ball into the shooters and creating good speed to fake the ball one way and then go the other. Burger was a real play maker in attack amassing five goal assists while also doing the defensive things well. The shooting load evened up for the GIANTS with Bassett commanding the ball under the post and using her smarts to get off the body of Laura Clemesha and find good space. Bassett did not miss a shot during the second term nailing seven straight while Jamie-Lee Price displayed her defensive pressure across the court with two deflections. Price really stood up in the second quarter varying her passes into Bassett and Harten while also providing strong leads to the top of the goal circle with five feeds. Wing defence, Amy Parmenter impressed with her hands over pressure, closing speed and read of the play to win the ball and force turnovers. The GIANTS did enough to wrestle back the momentum and forge ahead and secure their first bonus point but were still down by a goal heading into the main break.

The GIANTS came out with a point to prove piling on a whopping 21 goals their highest quarter score for the season thus far. Unhappy with the flow in attack, GIANTS coach Julie Fitzgerald brought on Kiera Austin. The wing attack replaced veteran Kim Green who was locked in a tight battle with Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson, with Simpson arguably winning the tussle. Austin made an immediate impact with eight feeds, five goal assists and a deflection highlighting her ability to come on and blow the game wide open. Defensively both Kristiana Manu’a and Sam Poolman upped the ante clogging up space and causing confusion. Poolman showcased good elevation and her quick footwork to get hands to ball picking up two gains, two intercepts and two deflections. Struggling to combat the GIANTS pressure Roselee Jencke brought on daughter Macy Gardner in centre who provided good speed while Caitlyn Nevins also made her way onto the court in wing attack. The battle between Kim Jenner and Harten steadily intensified with the two going toe to toe. The young Firebirds defender proved she was not afraid of the contest going out hunting and laying her body on the line but in doing so caught plenty of attention from the umpire with 11 penalties for the term. Clemesha worked tirelessly picking up two gains and two intercepts but it was not enough.

The Firebirds fought back in the final term to claim another bonus point but could not muster up enough to secure their first win of the season. Aiken lifter her load nailing 12 goals from 14 attempts while the swelling on Tippett’s face increased. The GIANTS oozed class and composure with ball in hand and all but secured their spot in the top four.

STARTING LINE-UP:

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS:

GS | Romelda Aiken
GA | Gretel Tippett
WA | Jemma Mi Mi
C | Erin Burger
WD | Gabi Simpson
GD | Kim Jenner
GK | Laura Clemesha

GIANTS NETBALL:

GS | Caitlin Bassett
GA | Jo Harten
WA | Kim Green
C | Jamie-Lee Price
WD | Amy Parmenter
GD | Kristiana Manu’a
GK | Sam Poolman

Team of the Week: SSN – Round 3

ROUND 3 of Suncorp Super Netball brought plenty of excitement and interest, with only two sides remaining undefeated- the Swifts and Vixens, while last year’s minor premiers, finally got a win on the board. The Melbourne Vixens were dominant against the Adelaide Thunderbirds while the West Coast Fever had 80 goals scored against them for the second week in a row. The Sunshine Coast Lightning steamrolled their state rivals while the GIANTS shocked the Magpies. Strong performances from the Lightning and Swifts sees them dominate the Round 3 edition of Draft Central Team of the Week, with four players for the Lightning featured and three for the Swifts. While the Melbourne Vixens have one player selected from their match against the Thunderbirds. Despite the loss, one Thunderbirds player has made the team, alongside a standout from the Firebirds in their loss to the Lightning. Although, the GIANTS were good in their win against the Magpies, they were unable to take a position in this week’s team, missing out alongside the Fever and the Magpies.

GK: Shamera Sterling (Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Coming off an average performance last week, Shamera Sterling was outstanding against the Melbourne Vixens. Sterling had six gains and four intercepts in the last quarter alone which contributed to her haul of 13 gains and five intercepts for the match. She kept on her toes to confuse the space around Caitlin Thwaites and despite losing the match did well enough to earn herself a position in this week’s team.

GD: Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

Karla Pretorius returns to the team for the first time this season after an impressive match against the Firebirds. She worked well alongside SPAR Proteas teammate Phumza Maweni, their connection evident as she was able to drift from her opponent and intercept the ball throughout the match. Pretorius’ quick footwork and ability to read the play resulted in turnover after turnover going the way of the Lightning. Ending the match on eight gains and seven intercepts Pretorius was vital to the Lightning in their win over the Firebirds. Pretorius also claimed her 100th league intercept becoming the first to do so in Suncorp Super Netball.

WD: Renae Ingles (Melbourne Vixens)

After returning to netball halfway through last season, Renae Ingles often flies under the radar as many unsung heroes in the wing defence bib do, however, she shone against the Thunderbirds. Stealing the attention away from many of her other big-name teammates, Ingles finds herself in our team this week with her five gains and two intercepts. Not only did Ingles hunt the ball well, she effectively took Hannah Petty and Kelly Altmann out of the match, keeping their feeds low. Ingles also did a good job on Chelsea Pitman before Pitman suffered an injury that unfortunately took her out of the match.

C: Paige Hadley (NSW Swifts)

Paige Hadley is having a ripper start to the season. She has been consistent and driven for the NSW Swifts making her a key part of their undefeated run. Bringing a defensive edge to the centre position she was outstanding against Verity Charles on the weekend. Pairing well alongside teammate Maddy Proud, there is not much the dynamic mid-court duo cannot do at the moment. Finishing the match with the highest number of feeds for the round on 42 she worked well across the court, shutting down the momentum of Fever’s attack while firing in her own attack end.

WA: Maddy Proud (NSW Swifts)

It is hard to talk about one of the NSW Swifts key mid-court players without talking about the other. Maddy Proud was fantastic against West Coast Fever’s Jess Anstiss. Proud shared the workload with Hadley, only passing one less feed into the circle. Her feeds into the circle were solid and their accuracy alongside the accuracy of Hadley’s were part of how the Swifts managed to score 80 goals against their opposition. Proud was also quick at switching into defence alongside Hadley with both players adding an intercept and a gain to their names this week.

GA: Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds)

It may seem a little contradictory to have two players who were directly opposed to each other in the Team of the Week, however, no one else took on the role of goal attack like Gretel Tippett did this week. She put up a massive number of goals compared to her usual workload and nailed every single one of them, finishing the match with 40/40. Tippett did a wealth of work in the goal circle to open up room for her teammates and used her athleticism to burn off her opponent. Tippett also stepped up to the challenge of being her team’s primary shooter as Romelda Aiken was shut down and youngster Amy Sommerville struggled to break free of the strong opposition.

GS: Peace Proscovia (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

It was a tough decision over who should get the goal shooter bib this week, but in the end, Lightning’s Peace Proscovia won, for the second week in a row. Proscovia shot 53/55 during the match against the Firebirds. Her movement and dominance in the goal circle made it easy for her teammates to feed the ball in. On occasion when an off feed flew near her she was able to pluck it from the air with ease as if nothing were wrong. The inexperience of the Firebirds’ defence was exploited with how easily Proscovia was able to out-manoeuvre her opponents. In their struggle to find an answer to Proscovia and the Lightning’s fast attack, Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke threw their goal shooter Aiken down into goal keeper to try to make an impact. The move did work for a bit, however, Proscovia and the Lightning adjusted credit to her ability to hold strong and command the ball.

BENCH: Sam Wallace (NSW Swifts), Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning), Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning) Two more Lightning players in Laura Scherian and Phumza Maweni have made their way onto this week’s bench alongside Swifts superstar Sam Wallace. Goal keeper Maweni was massive against the Firebirds, keeping Aiken to only 10 goals in a half while doing plenty of work to give Pretorius space to chase the ball. Maweni also finished the match with six gains and five intercepts of her own. Lightning teammate Laura Scherian takes the mid-court position on our bench for her speed and agility which outclassed the Firebirds. Scherian was able to zip back and forth across the Lightning attacking end to hit the circle edge smoothly time and time again with 37 feeds and a strong unit around her she made it look easy. Rounding out our bench is Sam Wallace who missed out on our goal shooter position by the smallest fraction this week. Wallace has been up there as one of the top shooters so far this season but has gone under the radar a little. This week she was part of the Swifts’ record equalling 80 goals, scoring 62/66. Her command of the goal circle resulted in the Fever trying player after player in goal keeper to try nullify her, but they were unable to halt Wallace’s onslaught of goals.

Lightning triumph over the Firebirds in the Queensland derby

THE Sunshine Coast Lightning struck against their state rivals on the weekend, taking three bonus points in their 15-goal win against the Queensland Firebirds.

The Firebirds went into the match without their captain Gabi Simpson after straining her hip at training forcing the late change. Without Simpson on court the Firebirds lacked that experience and guidance down back but tried hard all game. Maddison Hinchliffe twin of up and coming defender Tara Hinchliffe was brought into the squad for Simpson, but did not get any court time.

It was goal-for-goal early, but a strong intercept from Phumza Maweni resulted in a Peace Proscovia goal which she then backed up, giving the Lightning a two-goal lead. During the rest of the quarter, the Lightning demolished the Firebirds with Laura Scherian and Laura Langman speeding through the mid-court, delivering the ball easily into the goal circle.

Down the other end, the Lightning suffocated the Firebirds’ attack with Maweni and Karla Pretorius making it hard for the Firebirds to get a clean feed into the circle. Although the Firebirds were finding it hard to score, Gretel Tippett slotted in her 1000th league goal during the first quarter and continuously injected herself into the game to make her an option both in the goal circle and across the court.

The Firebirds made some much needed changes in the second term to try and combat the brilliant start that the Lightning had with their quick ball movement, precision and accuracy to post. Coach Roselee Jencke tinkered with the defence end moving Hinchliffe from wing defence into goal keeper and forcing Laura Clemesha to the bench after an ordinary start. But the changes did not stop there with Mahalia Cassidy swapping the centre bib for wing defence while Jemma Mi Mi came off the bench onto centre in hope to provide some more speed and defensive pressure on the Lightning attackers. The Firebirds moved better, with Kim Jenner and Hinchliffe in the defensive circle, but Lightning’s Proscovia was still too good under the net, only missing one goal in the quarter following a 17/17 first quarter.

Often going under the radar, Madeline McAuliffe shone for the Lightning pairing well with Langman to effectively slow down the Firebirds mid-court. 11 goals down at half-time, the Firebirds swung momentum their way in the final minute of the first half with a clever pick up from Mahalia Cassidy quickly transitioning into a goal further down the court.

They carried that momentum into the third quarter, taking a risk that threw the Lightning off their game and stole a bonus point in doing so.

Firebirds’ shooter Romelda Aiken was moved into goal keeper as the Firebirds tried to find an answer to the Lightning’s Proscovia. Aiken appeared uncomfortable at first, but the switch worked well for the Firebirds. The move altered the dynamic of the Lightning’s attack as they slowed down, appearing unsure of where to place the ball. The defensive pressure from Aiken also seemed to throw Lightning’s goal attack Steph Wood who uncharacteristically only scored 3/8 of her goal attempts.

With Aiken playing in defence, the Firebirds brought Amy Sommerville on in goal shooter. Sommerville scored five from six of her goal attempts during the quarter proving she is a viable option in the Firebirds attack end.

Alongside Sommerville, Gretel Tippett shot 12/12 in the third quarter, her largest haul for the match. Tippett’s accuracy carried on from earlier quarters and went straight through to the last as she finished the match on a perfect 100%. Tippett’s work rate was impeccable doing a wealth of work to bring the ball down the court and recording a huge 40 goals for the match.

The Lightning returned to the court in fourth quarter, much more settled than the previous one. Despite the Firebirds having pulled back the margin to only nine goals, the Lightning were able to stretch it back out. The Sunshine Coast blitzed down the court with strong transitions making it easy to regain control against a Firebirds side who appeared to be tiring after a strong third quarter.

Proscovia backed herself under the post in her first full four-quarter performance of the season and was named Player of the Match, having racked up 116.5 Nissan NetPoints.

The match highlighted the youthfulness of the Firebirds’ defence and showcased the Lightning as serious finals contenders once again.

The Firebirds will face an in-form Giants next, while the Lightning will be looking to deliver the New South Wales Swifts their first loss of the season this weekend.

STARTING LINE-UPS:

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

GS | Peace Proscovia
GA | Steph Wood
WA | Laura Scherian
C | Laura Langman
WD | Madeline McAuliffe
GD | Karla Pretorius
GK | Phumza Maweni

Queensland Firebirds:

GS | Romelda Aiken
GA | Gretel Tippett
WA | Caitlyn Nevins
C | Mahalia Cassidy
WD | Tara Hinchliffe
GD | Kim Jenner
GK | Laura Clemesha

Battle of the birds sees the first draw of 2019

IT did not take long for the first draw of the season to happen, with both the Collingwood Magpies and Queensland Firebirds unable to be separated. After a disappointing start to the season the Firebirds came out with a fire in the belly, pushing out to an eight-goal lead at half time before the Magpies mounted a much needed comeback.

The first quarter was tight from the get-go but it was the Firebirds that edged ahead credit to the impressive work of goal shooter, Romelda Aiken who showcased both her attacking and defensive prowess, picking up a clever deflection and quickly transition back into attack to score off her own work. Defensively the Firebirds looked a lot stronger with both Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner combining nicely, with Hinchliffe taking a big intercept credit to her front position and ability to get around the body. While the play seemed to be going the way of Queensland, the Pies did not give up with Kim Ravaillion finding some good space and excellent feeding positions at the top of the goal circle into Shimona Nelson. Nelson was strong on the take and was accurate to post sitting on 100 percent with 10 from 10. However, the Magpies were forced to make a change in the front end, bringing on Gabby Sinclair after Nat Medhurst copped a nasty elbow to the face forcing her from the court. Sinclair found her range straight away with her strong drives and lovely high release to nail three goals. The Firebirds continued to hustle hard with Jenner taking an impressive intercept, getting a tip on the ball and then chasing it up to regain possession. But Ash Brazill showed that anything Queensland can do she can do better, with a stellar intercept on the edge of the goal circle and then a quick transition down the court to score.

The Firebirds came in two goals up after quarter time and had a real spring in their step with their connections down court on point. Given the defensive pressure of Brazill, Queensland coach, Roselee Jencke replaced Caitlyn Nevins with Jemma Mi Mi in wing attack to provide that extra spark in attack. Mi Mi was dynamic from the get-go, finding good space and feeding well into Tippett and Aiken, with Tippett making full use of the space with her lovely drives into the circle and sheer athleticism. After receiving treatment and getting stitches above her lip, Medhurst came back onto the court and was immediately into the action with a clever feed and then rebound to open her account for the quarter. The veteran displayed her general netball smarts, applying pressure on the transverse line and picking up a clever tip for her hard work. Positional swaps between Jenner and Hinchliffe seemed to pay dividends with Hinchliffe relishing the extra space in goal defence, picking up three gains and two intercepts in that quarter alone. Her three-foot marking to get up high and intercept the pass from Nelson falling out of court and then dishing off on one foot showed her impressive balance and intent to win the ball. The Firebirds put out a dominant display in defence with Simpson also getting amongst the action with a deflection on the circle edge causing a turnover and pushing out to an eight goal margin at half time.

After a poor first half, the Magpies kicked it up a gear to apply a heap more pressure down the court, working hard to cover their opponents’ drive and go hunting for any high or loose ball. The defensive partnership between Brazill, Mentor and April Brandley continues to grow with the three confusing the space well. Needing a lift, superstar, Mentor got a huge intercept, gathering the ball with an overhead pass back in play with Brazill reading the play and taking a big contested grab to spark the Pies into action. Mentor was a driving force down in defence, picking up two gains, an intercept and pushing both Aiken and Tippett high in the circle. Collingwood then went on a four goal to zero run, seeming to find their rhythm in attack and forcing the Firebirds to call a timeout. Ravaillion was finding good space, while Kelsey Browne was more prominent using her speed and vision to feed the ball into the circle. The intensity was up from both sides with Gabi Simpson in the thick of it trying to settle the Firebirds, picking up an impressive intercept by leaping into the air, tapping it down to her advantage and then gathering it on one foot. The umpires got heavily involved with Tippett and Aiken both receiving cautions, while Nelson and Browne were also put on notice. Collingwood continued to mount pressure, getting back within a goal at three quarter time.

With the final quarter underway, both sides went goal for goal with Brandley upping the ante on Tippett and limiting her ability to run freely across the court. However, Tippett was still accurate to post scoring seven goals at 100 percent for the quarter. Five minutes down and the Magpies evened things up, sitting at 46 goals apiece, and after breaking off the Firebirds centre pass, Collingwood held a one goal lead. Mahalia Cassidy worked hard through the midcourt to feed the ball into the Firebirds shooters and provide leads. With eight seconds to go Collingwood had the centre pass and looked set to score with quick work down the court from Ravaillion to Medhurst, but Nelson was unable to control the ball, fumbling it to Hincliffe and rendering the game a draw with neither side able to be separated finishing at 57 goals each.

STARTING LINE-UPS:

Firebirds:

GS | Romelda Aiken
GA | Gretel Tippett
WA | Caitlyn Nevins
C | Mahalia Cassidy
WD | Gabi Simpson
GD | Kim Jenner
GK | Tara Hinchliffe

Magpies:

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

Points to take from the #TeamGirls Cup

THERE was plenty to take away from the weekend’s pre-season competition with many of the teams unveiling a new look, while others did not live up to the hype.

Magpies finally living up to the ‘dream team’

Coming off an underwhelming season the Magpies took out the inaugural #TeamGirls Cup on the weekend. Collingwood were impressive throughout the tournament with just the one loss under new head coach Rob Wright who was not afraid to toy around with player positions.

Collingwood recruit Geva Mentor led from defence with her quick feet and pressure over the ball, creating plenty of problems for the other teams. Kelsey Browne starred in wing attack pairing well with her sister Madi Robinson to move the ball into the goal circle with ease.

Young gun Gabrielle Sinclair made her mark while she was on court, confident under the ring alongside fellow shooter, Shimona Nelson. Fan favourite Nat Medhurst also hit the court in the black and white putting up shots and feeding well into fellow recruit, Nelson who benefitted from Medhurst’s experience. Sinclair shot at 84 per cent, Medhurst 69 per cent and Nelson who did most of the shooting for Collingwood shot at 93 per cent making them a formidable trio under the post.

Dual code athlete Ash Brazill was as strong as ever in wing defence on Friday night before she returned to Melbourne for her AFLW commitments. Kim Ravaillion played well defensively as did training partner Mel Bragg who took the opportunity to shine.

Vixens are a force to be reckoned with

Like their Victorian rivals, the Melbourne Vixens flourished throughout the preseason tournament, only falling to the Magpies in the final match of the series.

Caitlin Thwaites, Ine-Mari Venter and Tegan Philip‘s accurate shooting of 90 per cent, 84 per cent and 93 per cent respectively was backed by a stacked midcourt of Diamonds superstars including Kate Moloney, Liz Watson and former Diamond Renae Ingles.

Thwaites in particular seemed to settle in well with her old side despite wearing the goal attack bib for some of the tournament. Thwaites in goal attack was an unexpected move that proved a success for the Vixens with defenders not familiar playing on her in goal attack.

Training partner, Lara Dunkley provided fresh movement to the mid-court when she was given the opportunity, slotting into the Vixens side with ease.

Lightning are still strong

They may have lost three big names in Bassett, Mentor and Browne during the offseason, however, the Sunshine Coast Lightning did not seem to suffer much without them.

Peace Proscovia dominated in the goal circle, shooting at 95 per cent for the tournament while shooter Cara Koenen looked right at home alongside Proscovia and Steph Wood.

Lightning struck in the mid-court with the speedy and experienced Laura Langman returning to the side.

Overall, the Lightning performed well, however they will be looking to tighten up their connections heading into the new season.

Giants are on the rise

The Giants played fairly well throughout the course of the weekend led by the experience of Jo Harten, Kim Green and Sam Poolman. However, it was some of their younger players who stood out.

21-year-old, Amy Parmenter came out firing from the first match making the centre position her own with smart play both offensively and defensively throughout the weekend.

Kiera Austin‘s connection with Harten in the goal circle was electric as the young player confidently put up goal after goal and moved quickly to lead defenders astray. Head coach Julie Fitzgerald is going to have plenty of options in the shooting circle during the season with Caitlin Bassett still to come into the side.

Although the Giants lost to the Lightning in their final match there are a lot of positives for them to take out of the #TeamGirls Cup.

Swifts calm and collected

The New South Wales Swifts took to the #TeamGirls Cup without their captain Maddy Proud but that did not seem to phase them as they continued to push sides to their limits.

Paige Hadley led for the Swifts, placing her feeds carefully into the safe hands of Sam Wallace who shot at 90 per cent and Sophie Garbin 79 per cent. Alongside Garbin and Wallace, versatile wing attack Natalie Haythornwaite also flexed her shooting muscle.

Defensively, Sarah Klau and Kate Eddy both did well, looking solid down back rotating well through the circle.

The young Swifts side was impressive throughout the tournament and managed to stay cool when scores were close. They put out a four-quarter performance in most matches and they will be wanting to keep that up heading into the new season.

Firebirds not firing on all cylinders

The Queensland Firebirds were up and down throughout the tournament, proving they still have areas across the court to improve on if they want to challenge sides in 2019.

True to form Gretel Tippett and Romelda Aiken paired well in the shooting circle, however at times failed to capitalise on their scoring opportunities.

Head coach Roselee Jencke also gave shooter Tippah Dwan some time out on court showcasing her dynamic footwork around her opponents and finding space in the goal circle often.

Defensively, the loss of Laura Geitz down back was evident for the Firebirds as young defenders Kim Jenner, Laura Clemesha and Tara Hinchliffe continued to figure out their combinations. Despite the loss of Geitz, each defender held their own and were able to create turnovers throughout the weekend.

Fever in trouble?

The West Coast Fever looked like a completely different team to the side that dominated the Super Netball league in 2018.

Missing star shooter, Jhaniele Fowler for most of the weekend, the Fever struggled to get the ball into the net. Kaylia Stanton did the majority of the work in the circle for the Fever shooting at 74 per cent. Accuracy and volume seemed to plague the Fever with Stanton lacking back-up in the goal circle.

Alongside Stanton was new Fever recruit, Alice Teague-Neeld. Teague-Neeld did well to free up space in the circle for Stanton, but she lacked the confidence to back herself and shoot. Training partner Emma Cosh did well when she was given the opportunity on court, scoring quickly after she came on.

Overall, the Fever seemed to be the team that struggled the most in comparison to where they were at last season. With still a few weeks to go until the season and Fowler coming back into the side at full capacity it would be wrong to write them off just yet based on one weekend.

Thunderbirds not to be underestimated

One of the most exciting things to take away from the #TeamGirls Cup is the spark that the Thunderbirds seem to have finally found.

After failing to win a match last season the new look Adelaide Thunderbirds, under new head coach Tania Obst, came out firing and seriously challenged their opponents.

The defensive trio of Shamera Sterling, Layla Guscoth and Kate Shimmin were dangerous with Sterling finishing the weekend with the most intercepts of any player racking up 17.

In attack Sasha Glasgow, Cody Lange and training partner Nyah Allen seemed confident. The Thunderbirds will be significantly boosted when experienced shooter Maria Folau joins the side after missing the #TeamGirls Cup due to commitments with the Auckland Cup.

After losing the experience of Chelsea Pitman on day one to a calf injury, Hannah Petty and Kelly Altmann impressed through the midcourt with their clever drives and attack on the ball.

Despite not winning a game during the #TeamGirls Cup, the Thunderbirds put out their best performance on day three against the West Coast Fever with the match ending in a draw, giving South Australian fans plenty to look forward to in the coming season.

Overall the #TeamGirls Cup provided a glimpse into the upcoming Suncorp Super Netball season. Though the matches were significantly shorter and some teams were missing players, the standard of netball was high. All teams will take plenty of positives out of the weekend but will also be able to identify areas that need more work before the season begins at the end of April.