Tag: sasha glasgow

2020 SSN: Season preview- Adelaide Thunderbirds

AFTER an extended break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season is set to commence on August 1. Draft Central takes a look at each team, starting off with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. 

Coach: Tania Obst
Captain: Layla Guscoth and Chelsea Pitman
2019 finish: 7th 

Breaking their 27 game losing streak in Round 1 against the Fever last year, the Thunderbirds seemed to uncover a new lease on life attacking the ball with intensity. Unfortunately they could not maintain that style of play throughout the season only notching up two more wins. Riddled with injuries, England Roses midcourter Beth Cobden was ruled out early with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and co-captain Layla Guscoth missed the second half of the season after rupturing her Achilles. Sasha Glasgow also went down late in the season with an ACL topping off what had been a trying season for the Thunderbirds. They will be keen to put that to bed in 2020 and put their foot down. Adelaide well and truly proved they have the defensive firepower to change the course of the game, something they will be hoping to build on this season to register more wins. 

2020 predictions/expectations:

With the key loss and retirement of long bomb specialist Maria Folau and uncertainty surrounding Glasgow’s return the Thunderbirds shooting end oozes plenty of youth and inexperience when it comes to connections. Welcoming quickfire goal shooter and Spar Proteas star Lenize Potgieter the Thunderbirds attack will rely heavily on her to deliver while the likes of Samantha Gooden and Charlee Hodges will also have a challenge on their hands stepping into a new-look side. The midcourt remains relatively unchanged with Chelsea Pitman the key through the attacking third with her clever ball placement, speed on the pass, strong circle edge positioning and vision into the circle. Her output will be key to ensuring the goalers get good access. Defensively Adelaide are littered with ball winners, none bigger than Shamera Sterling. The Jamaican goal keeper took the competition by storm last year, using her long arms, speed off the mark and pressure over the shot to win ball back and cause havoc. The versatility of Kate Shimmin also worked wonders for the Thunderbirds while Shadine van der Merwe also slotted into the team seamlessly with her hands over pressure and strength to swing into circle defence or wing defence. The return of Guscoth will also be huge for the Thunderbirds with the England Roses representative able to have an impact with her calming nature, skill to win ball back and tagging style of play. 

Key player to watch:

New to the Thunderbirds this season, Potgieter is a real playmaker and staple hold under the post for any team. She is quick on her feet, able to change up the angles in an instant and more importantly score quickly and accurately. Having played with the Steel in the ANZ Premiership last season and spending time with the Queensland Firebirds midseason the Proteas goal shooter is well aware of what it takes to perform at SSN level. She is unfazed by the physical nature of the game, instead relying on her strong holds, baseline drives and range to do all the talking. She is an exciting prospect for the Thunderbirds this season given it will be her first full SSN season and has proven time and time again on the international stage that she is a true competitor, able to read the play and command the ball. 

Team list:

Sasha Glasgow
Samantha Gooden
Layla Guscoth
Charlee Hodges
Maisie Nankivell
Hannah Petty
Chelsea Pitman
Lenize Potgieter
Kate Shimmin
Shamera Sterling
Shadine van der Merwe

Who will improve the most in 2020?

WITH Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) set to commence on August 1, we take a look at a couple of teams that might rise up the ladder this season after struggling in 2019. The delayed start to the season has gifted some clubs with valuable time when it comes to potentially regaining injured stars and working on connections with new recruits.

Queensland Firebirds:

Unfortunately, last year was not the Firebirds’ year, struggling to win games and play their normal game flamboyant game style, but hopefully 2020 will be a different story. With the likes of dynamic midcourter Lara Dunkley joining the ranks and Spar Proteas goaler Ine-Mari Venter also in the fold, Queensland have more versatility in the squad, giving them more options when things don’t go to plan on court. The Firebirds have a core group of a-list players such as captain Gabi Simpson in wing defence while powerhouse shooting duo Romelda Aiken and Gretel Bueta headline the attacking third. But it is the combinations around them that many can expect to flourish this season with the likes of defensive partners Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe. The young defenders have come along in leaps and bounds already and entering their third season together, could be what sees them win more games. They are strong in the air and apply a wealth of defensive pressure both over the shot and in the third itself, often out hunting for ball. If they can maintain a high level of intensity throughout the matches and stimulate some drive out of defence it will go a long way in pushing the Firebirds to further success this season.

West Coast Fever:

After the highs of 2018, the Fever’s 2019 campaign was a little disappointing, unable to replicate that same intensity and strangle-hold over other teams in the competition. The loss of Nat Medhurst was substantial but with the likes of Kaylia Stanton and Alice Teague-Neeld in the mix for a second season, the Fever will be hoping to find a spark. While Stanton is known more for her goal shooter tendencies her ability to rotate into goal attack was solid, but at times lacked that play-making ability. On the other hand, Teague-Neeld struggled to find consistency in her game play and put up shots ultimately putting pressure on the Fever frontend. While there is no denying that Jhaniele Fowler is the go-to-girl, West Coast will be hoping to have ironed out their attacking issues and come back stronger than ever this season. With extra time to work on their connections in the goal circle the varying styles could be beneficial to the Fever and give them that edge to recapture their dominance.

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

After showing some promise early last season the Thunderbirds were hit with injuries that slightly derailed their season, but will be looking to build on their foundations in 2020. Experienced Roses defender, Layla Guscoth missed the second half of the season but given the extended break could make a comeback this season and have an impact. Her experience down back, pressure over the shot and tagging style of play will pay dividends and add that extra layer of class to the T’birds defensive unit. Her connection with Shamera Sterling, Kate Shimmin and Shadine van der Merwe could cause headaches for opposition attackers. While shooting sensation, Sasha Glasgow sustained an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury late last season, the recruitment of Lenize Potgieter will hopefully fill that hole. The South African goaler is accurate to post, quick on her feet and can hold her own in the goal circle but if Glasgow was to return she could offer another option under the post whether it be goal attack or goal shooter. With more time to develop their connections both in defence and through the midcourt the Thunderbirds will be hoping to use that defensive pressure to bring the ball down court and create attacking forays.

What if… the international players were not allowed to return to SSN?

WITH the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) hopeful to return in the coming months, star players from across the globe are slowly making their way back to Australia and their respective teams ahead of the impending season. The Adelaide Thunderbirds will welcome back three of their stars with Lenize Potgieter and Shadine van der Merwe returning from South Africa while Layla Guscoth is set to make the journey from England. Phumza Maweni will re-join the Sunshine Coast Lighting while Nat Haythornthwaite will make her way back to the New South Wales Swifts. Each player, plays an integral role for their respective side often forming the crux of the squad, providing that element of experience and class across the court.

But what if they were not allowed to re-enter the competition? How would that effect each club and the overall competition?

The Adelaide Thunderbirds would have been hit the hardest if Potgieter, van der Merwe and Guscoth were all not able to re-join the squad with each of them expected to earn a starting spot. While Guscoth missed the second half of last season due to an Achilles injury the talented defender will be eager to get back out on court and prove her worth. The lanky goal defence oozes class, understanding and a sense of calmness down back able to call the shots and apply pressure over the shot. With Maria Folau retiring last year and Sasha Glasgow out with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the goal shooter position all but falls to Potgieter. The South African is a sure shot under the post able to find space with ease and most importantly convert with ease. She is quick and unconventional on the shot and puts up a high volume of goals making her the go-to for any team. The final piece of the puzzle is van der Merwe with the versatile defender able to seamlessly transition from wing defence to goal defence when needed. Her defensive pressure, quick footwork and tagging style of defence makes her another key cog for the Thunderbirds. While Adelaide have a wealth of options without these international stars they could have been facing a very difficult year unable to generate scoring power and defensive pressure.

Maweni’s combination with South African and Lightning teammate Karla Pretorius is simply unstoppable when on song. The two work seamlessly together able to rotate through the defensive circle with ease and use their three-foot marking to create doubt in the goalers mind. The Spar Proteas goal keeper is light on her feet able to read the play and go out hunting for the intercept something that the Lightning would be missing from their line-up which is renowned for stimulating turnover ball. Without Maweni the Lightning would be lacking that extra layer of class and connection with Pretorius given the two work like clockwork.

Although the NSW Swifts have a wealth of depth on the bench with the likes of Tayla Fraser, Paige Hadley, Sophie Craig and the inevitable return of captain Maddy Proud the absence of Haythornthwaite would be sorely missed. The England Roses wing attack sees the game in a way no one else can delivering pin point passes into the likes of Sam Wallace and Helen Housby. She is nimble on her feet able to dart around the attacking third and hold strong on the circle edge while her ability to switch into goal attack adds another string to her bow. If Haythornthwaite was not able to return to the Swifts they would lose that versatility and composing presence in the attacking third.

What if … the 2019 season was not riddled by ACL injuries?

2019 PROVED to be the year of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries with a staggering amount of players succumbing to the injury and bringing their season to an abrupt end. With players forced to the sidelines, clubs had to find injury replacements and look to various other leagues such as the Australian Netball League (ANL) and ANZ Premiership to find someone to fill the void of their injured stars. Four out of the eight teams in Suncorp Super Netball got through the season unscathed when it comes to ACL related injuries.

But what if there were not as many ACL injuries? Would the Suncorp Super Netball ladder have looked different?

The Adelaide Thunderbirds were hit pretty hard with English international Beth Cobden struck down early in the season. With a relatively inexperienced line-up and new connections forming across the court it was hard to replace the high calibre player who oozed composure and versatility. Ruled out for the remainder of the season, the Thunderbirds missed her ability to stand up under pressure and think her way through the tricky passages of play. But unfortunately, the injuries did not stop there with youngster and shooting sensation Sasha Glasgow going down in Round 13 with an ACL injury of her own. Prior to that, the 21-year-old showcased her dominance under the post with her strong holds, accuracy to post and rangy shooting abilities. These two key injuries ultimately had an adverse effect on the Thunderbirds’ ability to compete consistently and at the highest level possible.

Despite making it to the finals, 2019 was a season of what ifs for the Magpies and one littered with injuries. Co-captain Madi Browne ruptured her ACL in the pre-season Team Girls Cup and failed to take the court throughout the season and it is fair to say that her presence was well and truly missed out on her court. Her slick ball movement, spatial awareness and dynamism makes her hard to stop when on song. Towards the tail end of the season sister, Kelsey Browne also fell victim to the ACL curse, ruling her out for the remainder of the season and putting a dampener on their finals hopes. It was clear that the connection both Browne sisters had with their goalers and fellow midcourters was lacking despite recruiting the services of Kimiora Poi to help fill the void.

Overall, it was a difficult season for the Firebirds, only winning a handful of games throughout the year and also riddled with injuries. In Round 5 Mahalia Cassidy’s season was cut short with the talented midcourter suffering her second ACL injury. Her speed and endurance was missed across the court with the fancy footed centre court player able to exploit any bit of space and deliver the ball into the goalers. Cassidy’s absence had an impact on the Firebirds’ drive through the middle and reliability with the centre known for her consistent and strong defence.

While the NSW Swifts went on to win the coveted 2019 SSN premiership it was without their inspirational captain Maddy Proud who did her ACL midway through the year. Proud was arguably in career best form with the midcourter consistently showcasing her strength around the circle edge and quick hands. The Swifts showed plenty of grit and determination throughout the season but with recruits like Kayla Cullen and Katrina Rore both plying their trade for the club it put them in good stead to come out on top. The versatility through the midcourt added an extra element of class to the already strong and well-connected Swifts outfit.

If the Thunderbirds were given a clear run at the competition free from injury they could have potentially registered more wins, while Collingwood could have gone further into the finals series given their midcourt depth and versatility. While the Firebirds struggled to generate wins, the option to bring Cassidy on could have given them that extra element of unpredictability to their starting line-up. Although the Swifts reaped in the rewards it would have been interesting to see how they competed with the likes of Proud amongst the mix for a whole season.

SSN potential 2020 line-ups: Adelaide Thunderbirds

WITH so much uncertainty surrounding the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a host of international players returning home as a result of the outbreak it sparks questions about how this season will look and which players will actually take the court. We take a look at how each side in the SSN might line up in 2020 if the season does commence with the Thunderbirds the first cab off the rank.

The key signing of Lenize Potgieter will have a huge impact on the Thunderbirds line-up in 2020 with the goal shooter renowned for her accuracy, high volume, smooth movement in the circle and unique shooting action. Potgieter was arguably one of the biggest acquisitions at the end of last year with long bomb specialist Maria Folau departing the club and young gun Sasha Glasgow succumbing to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. But with the season pushed until late June the return of Glasgow could be on the tables. The talented goaler proved that she could score from anywhere and was not fazed by the physical nature of the game, using her fancy footwork and strong holds despite her short stature to full effect. Newbie Samantha Gooden could also be a likely starter if the season goes ahead with the former Collingwood training partner able to have an impact with her movement across the court and high netball understanding. Gooden could add that sense of experience in the circle along with her ability to find space and exploit it to create attacking forays.

The likes of veteran of Chelsea Pitman will lead the midcourt and more than likely the attacking third given her innate ability to create space and thread the needle with her well-timed and highly executed passes. She is a crafty player that works hard to feed into the circle and provide easy avenues to goal, pair that with her strength around the circle and Pitman is arguably one of the most important links in the Thunderbirds line-up. Still developing her craft in centre is Hannah Petty. The 22-year-old works hard in transition plying her trade in both defence and offence to be a constant option. Petty is more attacking minded able to create space with ease and hit the circle edge with precision.  Rounding out the midcourt is South African Shadine van der Merwe, with the wing defence able to also slide into goal defence if needed. Van der Merwe is a bit of an unknown quantity but has shown time and time again that if the ball is there for the taking she will throw her body on the line. She is quick on her feet able to cover the court with ease and apply strong hands over pressure to help out her fellow defenders.

Defensively the Thunderbirds are set, with excitement machine Shamera Sterling expected to pull on the goal keeper bib once again. She took the competition by storm last year with her impressive aerial ability, constant pressure and defensive skill to gobble up any ball that came her way. Her tenacity and hunt for the ball is unquestionable and while she can be costly at times when it comes to penalties her ability to make up for her mistakes is what makes her such an integral member in the Thunderbirds line-up. Moving out to goal defence is partner-in-crime, Layla Guscoth. Her season ended abruptly after suffering an Achilles injury during the World Cup last year unable to see out the year with the Thunderbirds and leaving somewhat of a hole down back. Guscoth oozes class and patience, while she is not the flashiest player her ability to nullify the influence of her opponent with her tagging style of defence gives her that X-factor.

GK: Shamera Sterling
GD: Layla Guscoth
WD: Shadine van de Merwe
C: Hannah Petty
WA: Chelsea Pitman
GA: Sasha Glasgow
GS: Lenize Potgieter

Adelaide Thunderbirds snatch up Victorian Samantha Gooden for 2020

THE Adelaide Thunderbirds have bolstered their shooting line-up with the addition of Samantha Gooden as a permanent replacement player for the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season. Having lost Maria Folau at the end of 2019 and youngster Sasha Glasgow suffering a devastating ACL injury towards the latter half of the season the Thunderbirds were in dire need of more shooting power. Cody Lange also opted to take time away from the game leaving the Tbirds in the lurch, but the inclusion of Gooden will help to add some depth to their shooting trio.

Adelaide recruited shooting sensation and SPAR Proteas goaler, Lenize Potgieter who spent some time out in Australia joining the Queensland Firebirds in 2019 while Romelda Aiken was injured. Potgieter will have a different challenge heading into the 2020 season as a key cog to shoulder the load in attack, coming into the team as the most experienced shooter making her a key pickup for the new Thunderbirds line-up.

Gooden has spent time with Victorian teams Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Vixens as a training partner throughout her career, meaning she is well aware of the measures necessary to perform on the Super Netball stage. The young Victorian can switch between shooter and attack making her an exciting prospect amongst the likes of Potgieter and Charlee Hodges. The Thunderbirds will be hoping to better their performance from last year with the return of some key players and consolidation of new combinations across the court.

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS
Shamera Sterling
Hannah Petty
Kate Shimmin
Sasha Glasgow
Cody Lange
Chelsea Pitman
Layla Guscoth
Maisie Nankivell
Shadine van der Merwe
Lenize Potgieter
Samantha Gooden **permanent injury replacement
Charlee Hodges

GIANTS NETBALL
Caitlin Bassett
Jamie-Lee Price
Jo Harten
Matilda McDonell
Teigan O’Shannassy
Kiera Austin
Sam Poolman
Kristiana Manu’a
Amy Parmenter
Madeline Hay

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES
Ash Brazill
Geva Mentor
Molly Jovic* injury replacement for Kelsey Browne
Matilda Garrett
Nat Medhurst
Shimona Nelson
Gabrielle Sinclair
Melissa Bragg
Madi Browne
Jodi-Ann Ward

MELBOURNE VIXENS
Emily Mannix
Kate Moloney
Liz Watson
Jo Weston
Kadie-Ann Dehaney
Caitlin Thwaites
Tegan Philip
Kate Eddy
Mwai Kumwenda
Tayla Honey

NSW SWIFTS
Sophie Garbin
Maddy Proud
Maddy Turner
Sam Wallace
Helen Housby
Lauren Moore
Paige Hadley
Nat Haythornthwaite
Sarah Klau
Kayla Cullen

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS
Gabi Simpson
Gretel Tippett
Kim Jenner
Tara Hinchliffe
Romelda Aiken
Ine-Mari Venter
Rudi Ellis
Jemma Mi Mi
Macy Gardner
Lara Dunkley* injury replacement for Mahalia Cassidy

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING
Laura Scherian
Cara Koenen
Steph Wood
Annika Lee-Jones
Peace Proscovia
Phumza Maweni
Karla Pretorius
Maddy McAuliffe
Laura Langman
Jacqui Russell

WEST COAST FEVER
Alice Teague-Neeld
Courtney Bruce
Ingrid Colyer
Jess Anstiss
Jhaniele Fowler
Olivia Lewis
Shannon Eagland
Stacey Francis
Verity Charles
Kaylia Stanton

SSN Player focus: Sasha Glasgow

WHILE the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) might be done and dusted for 2019, we will review a number of talented players who stepped up this year and take a look at just what they have to offer and how they can improve further.

Sasha Glasgow

DOB 19/07/1998
Height: 187cm
Position: GS/GA

Season overview:

It was a breakout season for Sasha Glasgow with the talented goal shooter, growing with confidence throughout Adelaide’s 2019 campaign and relishing the opportunity to work with Maria Folau. But an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury in Round 13 put a dampener on her impressive year while stopping next years ambitions right in its tracks.

Assets:

She developed at a rate of knots throughout the season looking more and more at home as the games went on and enhancing her connection out the front with the likes of Chelsea Pitman and Hannah Petty. Glasgow well and truly came out of her shell owning the court with her strong movements, well placed holds and clean hands. She stood up under the pressure of Suncorp Super Netball, backing herself from range and using her feet to edge closer to the post and outmanoeuvre her opponents.

Improvements:

Glasgow will miss most of 2020 with her ACL tear but prior to the injury Glasgow was shaping up to be a prominent goaler for the Thunderbirds. Only being 21 Glasgow still has plenty of development left in her and will be hoping to gain experience in years to come once she is fully recovered. Although her influence under the post was solid she needs to increase her volume and add another layer of versatility to constantly change up her game play and remain a constant threat. Given her light frame, she can often be outmuscled or out-bodied by more imposing defenders and will be looking to strengthen up over the off-season.

2019 SSN season team review: Adelaide Thunderbirds

WITH a new coach at the helm, the Adelaide Thunderbirds kicked the year off in style, breaking the winless drought of the previous season with an emphatic win over the West Coast Fever in Round 1. But their season was plagued with inconsistency, unable to string together four quarter performances, while also being struck with multiple injuries to key players across the court.

Position: 7th
Percentage: 88.17%
Win-loss: 3-2-9

Overview:

After a hot start to the year the Thunderbirds faded in and out, showing glimpses of brilliance on the court. The newly formed side took some time to gel and were forced to bring in injury replacement players with England Roses pair Beth Cobden and Layla Guscoth both struck down with season-ending injuries. The recruitment of Shamera Sterling in the off-season brought plenty of excitement to the team with the Jamaican international renowned for her aerial ability and hands over pressure. She paired well with veteran Kate Shimmin who proved she still has plenty in the tank, running hard and regaining possession for her side. The Thunderbirds fought hard, challenging some of the top teams with Maria Folau and Chelsea Pitman showcasing their experience and composure in the front end with their silky movement and clever ball placement. The midcourt was subject to a lot of change throughout the course of 2019 with Shadine Van der Merwe brought into the squad for Cobden while Kelly Altmann and Hannah Petty rotated through centre providing good bursts of speed. Young up and coming goaler Sasha Glasgow also flexed her muscles in the circle with her silky footwork.

Shining light:

21-year-old goal shooter Glasgow really came into her own this season but unfortunately did not get the finish she would have liked, rupturing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in Round 13. Glasgow relished the opportunity of having Folau out the front, making full use of her shooting counterpart’s experience, ball placement and general netball know how. The goal shooter grew in confidence as the season went on, developing her movement in the circle and accuracy to post, often displaying impressive rebounding ability for a shorter goal shooter. She backed herself from range and worked the circle well to edge closer to the post, displaying her quick feet and connection with the midcourt. Although she will be sidelined next year with injury, Glasgow showed plenty of promise absorbing the pressure and owning the space with her strong holds.

2020 predictions:

The Adelaide Thunderbirds have secured the services of South African shooter Lenize Potgieter for next season and while her fellow starting goaler is still unknown, she will provide a good target under the post. Potgieter will offer good stability under the post with her accuracy and clever movement a real feature of her game. If the Thunderbirds retain long bomb specialist Folau the two could create a damaging duo given their experience, accuracy and movement.

Lightning storm home to claim minor premiership

SUNSHINE Coast Lightning secured the minor premiership after a dominant performance against Adelaide Thunderbirds in the final game of the home and away season (58-37). Lightning walked away with seven points to snatch top spot from the NSW Swifts and claim rights to a home final while restricting the Thunderbirds to their lowest score to date.

The opening couple of minutes was played at a frenetic pace with the ball flying up and down the court before the Thunderbirds settled into a routine. With both Emma Ryde and Sasha Glasgow out with knee injuries, Cody Lange got the nod at goal shooter and did not look back. Lange was composed at the post and made the most of her opportunities with two goals straight, albeit playing second fiddle to New Zealand international, Maria Folau who slotted 13 goals at 100 per cent. Adelaide were determined not to go down without a fight, striking first and establishing a four goal lead in the opening term thanks to Shamera Sterling putting on a show in defence with her impressive aerial skill. Sterling put on a clinic denying easy entry into the circle with five gains; three intercepts, two deflection and one rebound. But Karla Pretorius proved that anything you can do I can do better, taking her fair share of intercepts in the first quarter to keep the Lightning in the match and create doubt in Adelaide’s minds. With two minutes left in the quarter Cara Koenen made her way onto the court replacing Peace Proscovia who struggled to make an impact in the goal circle only registering five goals. Sunshine Coast were not the only side to make changes with Maisie Nankivell replacing Shadine Van der Merwe.

Down by four goals at quarter time the Lightning well and truly flipped the script, piling on the pain both in attack and defence. Although they did not post a huge total they kept the Thunderbirds to a mere seven goals highlighting their defensive prowess and pressure to limit their transition and impact under the post. Koenen made her presence felt in the goal circle with eight goals straight while Laura Langman lifted her intensity, hitting the circle edge repeatedly with pace and precision. Her offensive work was just as impressive as her defensive efforts amassing one gain, one intercept and one pick-up. Goal keeper Phumza Maweni also upped the ante applying strong hands over pressure, clogging up space and forcing errors in the defensive third. After a solid start Lange struggled to find the net, not sinking a single shot from her three attempts and forcing Folau to carry the load in the circle. Tania Obst rung in the changes with Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin making their way to the bench while Hannah Petty switched into wing attack. Kelly Altmann also entered the game in centre while Van der Merwe took the court once more in goal defence in hope to reclaim their first quarter form.

The Lightning continued to go from strength to strength, unphased by Adelaide’s wholesale changes. Former training partner, Charlee Hodges made her way onto the court but simply could not find the post, struggling to have an impact under the post with one goal from three attempts. Folau continued on her merry way but Pretorius outshone her with an impressive four gains and three intercepts credit to her defensive nous and cleanliness to win ball back. Up the other end, Steph Wood took control in the circle for Sunshine Coast with her cuts and drives on full display. Meanwhile, her ability to turn and shoot created headaches for the Thunderbirds with the goal attack scoring seven goals at 100 per cent. Sunshine Coast won their second bonus point thanks to an 18 goal to eight third quarter.

With one hand on top spot and the minor premiership crown, the Lightning pushed hard to end their home and away season on a high. Annika Lee-Jones replaced Maweni in goal keeper while Proscovia also re-entered the game late in the final quarter. Maddy McAuliffe donned the centre bib with Langman heading to the bench. Even with the changes the Lightning were slick with ball in hand while the Thunderbirds simply looked out of sorts across the court. Folau finished the match with 33 goals from 39 attempts at 85 per cent while Koenen topscored for the Lightning only missing two of her attempts to finish with 30 goals.

STARTING LINE-UP:

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

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

Adelaide Thunderbirds:

GS | Cody Lange
GA | Maria Folau
WA | Chelsea Pitman
C | Hannah Petty
WD | Shadine Van der Merwe
GD | Kate Shimmin
GK | Shamera Sterling

SSN Round 14 Preview – Final round to determine minor premier

THE final round of 2019 has hit Suncorp Super Netball, with both Collingwood Magpies and GIANTS Netball still fighting for one spot in the top four while the title of minor premiers will be decided by this round’s results. The only position secured in the top four is the Melbourne Vixens in third, while all three of their fellow top four sides will take on teams far below them on the ladder.

GIANTS Netball v. West Coast Fever

The opening match of Round 13 will see GIANTS fight for their spot in finals, currently sitting in fourth but needing a big win to ensure they finish ahead of the Magpies on the ladder. The Fever are well and truly out of the finals race after a breakout season last year crumbling with injuries aplenty in 2019, once again missing Courtney Bruce this round after scans revealed a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) meaning she is unable to fly, let alone play. While the GIANTS’ physicality on court has been called into question in recent weeks, their ability to get the job done under pressure is credit to their connections and combination of experience and youth across the court. Amy Parmenter has starred this season in wing defence, adding a new element to the GIANTS’ defensive lineup while Kim Green will play her final home game – and potentially final game altogether – after announcing her retirement today. While goalers Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett had a shaky start to the season there is no questioning their ability to turn and shoot, while Kiera Austin continues to provide an exciting alternative rotating through both goal attack and wing attack. For the Fever, Olivia Lewis is another youngster coming through the ranks with adaptability and talent to boot, and while lacking experience Lewis has been a solid option in Bruce’s absence this season pairing with the likes of Stacey Francis and Shannon Eagland. Ingrid Colyer has had a mostly inconsistent season and was held well by Firebirds’ Gabi Simpson last round so will be under the pump against Parmenter.

NSW Swifts v. Queensland Firebirds

In a big switch compared to the last time these sides met, the Swifts come in to Round 14 after a loss last week while the Firebirds finally got their maiden win for the season against the Fever. With NSW looking for a home final, this match will also see the Swifts look toward a top spot finish after being bumped into second by the Lightning. Last time these sides met the Swifts came out 22 point victors despite captain Maddy Proud going down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. They will welcome back dominant shooter Helen Housby after missing the past two rounds with injury. While both Sophie Garbin and Nat Haythornthwaite have rotated through goal attack in recent weeks with relative success, it does mean more pressure is on Sam Wallace at the post. The big goal for the Swifts will be to stop Gretel Tippett, who has been arguably the best goal attack in the competition this season with accuracy, volume and excitement going in her favour. Katrina Rore has been a big in for the Swifts in recent weeks with her versatility key, meaning she could line up against Tippett if the scales start to tip, making for an interesting contest. Meanwhile, this will be the Firebirds’ final match for the season with Caitlyn Nevins and Laura Clemesha pulling on the purple dress for the final time before retirement. Romelda Aiken did not play last time the Firebirds took on the Swifts, meaning Sarah Klau will be under some pressure to keep her at bay while Lenize Potgieter can also provide a big threat at the post with her low-release shot and quick footwork.

Sunshine Coast Lightning v. Adelaide Thunderbirds

Sunshine Coast may already know prior to their match whether they have secured the minor premiership, however they are sure to finish the season strong regardless after another impressive season. Lightning are still the only side that has not played in a draw this season showing their ability to close out games. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds have showed some impressive fight this year but have well and truly succumbed to injury with Sasha Glasgow and Emma Ryde both out of the side with knee injuries suffered in Round 13, adding on to their already extensive list. While the Thunderbirds put up an impressive performance last time they met, going down by six goals after leading at three quarter time, the Lightning came back from a 10 goal deficit last week against the Vixens to win and are sure to switch on early this match to ensure they get a win on the board. The real question in this match is who the Thunderbirds will bring in as injury replacements, with both Charlee Hodges and Cody Lange viable options to rejoin the gameday squad. Maria Folau has been in form all season shooting a bag of goals every round from all over the ring while Shamera Sterling continues to prove a massive threat in defence with her height and agility to get plenty of ball back an asset for the Thunderbirds. But while the T’birds have plenty up their sleeve, Lightning not only match it defensively thanks to the skill and timing of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni creating turnovers out of nothing, but also have Laura Langman‘s speed through the midcourt and versatility in attack to be threatening all over the court.

Collingwood Magpies v. Melbourne Vixens

The final match of the season pits the two Victorian teams against the other once more, but this time with different stakes – the Vixens have already secured a home final, while the Magpies need a win to jump the GIANTS and make finals. While the Vixens will want to get one back after losing to the Pies for the first time in SSN history in Round 7, it will be interesting to see whether they look to try and knock the Magpies out of contention or rest some of their big name players in time for finals. The Magpies will be missing Kelsey Browne with their star wing attack going down with a devastating ACL injury last round against the Swifts. Defensive midcourter Ash Brazill has been in exceptional form since the Netball World Cup break, playing out in centre for the past few weeks and providing a massive threat through both attack and defence. Veteran defender Geva Mentor put out a vintage performance last week to spur the Pies to victory, meaning the Vixens will really be under the pump this week if she is on song. The Vixens have been feeling out different attacking connections in recent weeks with Mwai Kumwenda back in the mix with Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip, and while that is a huge luxury and threat to their opposition it has been their downfall against both the Swifts and Lightning over the past few rounds. Meanwhile Shimona Nelson and Nat Medhurst have been in great form over the past few rounds, finding the ball with ease making it a tough job for Jo Weston and Emily Mannix in defence.