Tag: shadine van der merwe

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 replace Bongi Msomi as captain of South Africa?

THE Spar Proteas have risen up the rankings, seen as a team to beat with star players across the court and speed to boot. Led by inspirational captain Bongi Msomi, South Africa have pushed many of the top four nations to their limits, collecting crucial wins and getting inside opposition heads. But in a look to the future, the question must be asked who will replace the role of captain when Msomi retires, with the midcourter celebrating her 32nd birthday this year. The two options listed have experience playing in both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL), showcasing their ability to perform both on an international level and domestic level, week in week out. 

Karla Pretorius:
There is no denying that the electrifying goal defence has skill, stamina and x-factor to boot. She is lightning quick and able to have an impact at every single contest such is her read of the play. The 30-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down and is already a key leader down back with the goal defence dictating the space and using her experience to lead the likes of Phumza Maweni and Shadine van der Merwe. Pretorius’ read of the play and calming presence pays dividends in the defensive third for the Proteas, able to swoop in and change the course of the game in an instant. Her go-go gadget arms and quick footwork makes her nearly impossible to stop while her endurance and durability makes her a crucial cog in the Proteas defence and attack, often able to feed the ball through the midcourt. Already the vice-captain, it would make sense for the defender to step up to the plate and deliver as captain if and when Msomi retires. Pretorius is the one that players look to to lift or inspire the side to create turnover ball and go on a scoring spree. She is hardly ever out-muscled despite her slight stature and is a real workhorse across the court with her ferocity and desire to win the ball. 

Lenize Potgieter:
The talented goaler is clearly a key cog in the future development of the Spar Proteas with her quick fire shooting style and accuracy to post. Potgieter is strong under the post and has been a permanent figure in South Africa’s line-up for the past couple of years with her ability to hold space, create scoring opportunities and pile on the attacking pressure. Her silky movement and strong hands makes her a commanding presence in the goal circle. At 26, Potgieter still has plenty of time left to continue her leadership and has proven to be a threat to be reckoned with under the post with her unconventional shooting style, high volume of goals and play making abilities. She can withstand the pressure and is not afraid to absorb it to act as the main goaler for South Africa as shown throughout all her international outings. Potgieter has developed her versatility throughout her career, able to switch from a holding shooter to a moving one, and occasionally pushes out to goal attack displaying her netball smarts and clever ball delivery. She can adapt to a wealth of shooting partners whether it be Sigi Burger, Ine Mari Venter or young gun Lefébre Rademan, such is her composure and leadership in the attacking third, something she will have to maintain if she does take over the reigns.  

While there are a wealth of other options such as Khanyisa Chawane, Venter, Maweni and Zanele Vimbela, expect the leadership role to fall to either Pretorius or Potgieter given they are both consistent figures for the Spar Proteas.

Players that got away: Kate Shimmin

THERE are a number of netballers in the world that have or could have pulled on the international dress for more than one country throughout the career. With netball on hold due to the outbreak of COVID-19 Draft Central has decided to take a look at those players and their international careers and what could have been. The next in line is Australian defender turned England Roses representative Kate Shimmin.

Although she never exclusively played for the Diamonds, there is no denying that Shimmin is one of the most electrifying defenders to grace the court with her impressive aerial abilities. After spending years training with the Diamonds squad and representing Australia in the 2014 and 2016 Fast5 series’, the talented defender decided to switch teams and countries in hope for more opportunities on the big stage. Shimmin also donned the green and gold dress at Under 21 level showcasing her skill and dominance but never quite managed to crack into the Diamonds team given the amount of star power.

Standing at 185cm she is not the tallest defender to pull on the goal keeper or goal defence bib but she well and truly makes up for it in the air, using her leap to bounce into the air and snatch the ball. She is never out of the contest, constantly throwing her body on the line to reel in an intercept and is hungry for turnover ball. She is a versatile defender that can also move into wing defence when needed and is quick on her feet. The long armed defender is able to cause doubt over the shot and deflect crucial ball to provide her team with a wealth of opportunities. She can switch her defensive mindset to a more attacking one in a heartbeat, and often provides that backup option on the transverse line. Her game play has gone to another level alongside the likes of excitement machine Shamera Sterling and Shadine van der Merwe at the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Now playing for the England Roses, Shimmin has proven that she has the class and skill to perform at an international level matching up against the likes of Silver Ferns shooters Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Te Paea Selby-Rickit. Having only played in five international games so far, the future is bright for Shimmin with the 28-year-old defender looking to cement her spot in the squad on a permanent basis. Playing alongside Geva Mentor, Stacey Francis and the experience of Jade Clarke out in wing defence, Shimmin has plenty of knowledgeable netballers to aid in furthering her craft. She is deceptively quick off the mark and can adapt her play accordingly depending on what the team needs. She can inject that element of surprise and physicality to keep the attackers on their toes and never settles in defence constantly on the look out for the next move.

Faced with the likes of towering Jamaican goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken in the SSN along with Australian captain Caitlin Bassett and power house Gretel Bueta, Shimmin has become accustomed to the tall timbers and the importance of quick footwork to get under the skin of her opponents. With talent to boot, it is fair to say that Australia well and truly missed out on the services of Shimmin when it comes to wearing the Diamonds dress, however the Roses will be extremely happy to have acquired the defender.

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.

Top 20 players over 30: #17 Phumza Maweni

THERE are a host of international players across the world that, much like a fine wine, have simply gotten better with age. With netball on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Draft Central takes a look at players that fall into the category of over 30 and still have plenty in the tank given their on-court prowess. In at number 17 on the countdown is Sunshine Coast Lightning defender and Spar Proteas representative Phumza Maweni.

Since making the move to the Sunshine State, Maweni has found a new lease on life with her immense defensive pressure and on-court coverage kicking up a gear. Her long reach over the shot and quick footwork has developed at a rate of knots able to dart around the defensive third and force turnovers. The 35-year-old has grown with confidence over the past 12 months and has become a commanding presence in the goal circle with her strong movement.

Despite her slight stature, Maweni has proven she has the footwork and netball nous to out-position her opponent and push them out of the circle. Her ability to read the play and pick off passes as they come in makes her a constant threat. Although she can be costly at times with errant penalties her workhorse mentality is one of her prominent traits working hard to regain the ball and then send it into attack. She can stand up under the pressure and uses her vision and spatial awareness to set up accordingly.

Maweni is constantly on the move not letting the goaler settle and putting doubt in the mind of the feeders. Her physical style of defence also gets under the skin of her opposition and makes her a force to be reckoned with.

Her pairing with arguably the world’s best goal defence Karla Pretorius is highly impressive with the two able to seamlessly rotate through the defensive third. Not only do they star on a domestic level in the Suncorp Super Netball but so too for the Proteas on the world stage. Their connection is simply unstoppable with Maweni able to direct traffic in the defensive third and use her long limbs to get tips and turnovers. Fellow defenders Shadine Van der Merwe and Zanele Vimbela also excel with the experience and guidance of Maweni down back with the defender able to sight the play before it happens.


#20 Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever/England)
#19 Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Australia)
#18 Ama Agbeze (Severn Stars/England)
#17 Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning/South Africa)

Memorable Matches: 2019 Quad Series – South Africa defeats England ahead of Netball World Cup

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look back at memorable matches. Next up is the 2019 Quad Series match between South Africa and England, where the Proteas shocked the reigning Commonwealth champions, England Roses on their opponents’ home turf ahead of the Netball World Cup.

The three-goal victory stunned the Roses who went toe-to-toe early on but were ultimately outclassed by the Spar Proteas over the course of the match, which saw Player of the Match Karla Pretorius team up with Phumza Maweni to make life difficult in the goal circle. Pretorius’ four intercepts were crucial with the stalwart defender pushing the likes of Jo Harten and Helen Housby to the limit, while Shadine van der Merwe was crucial on circle edge racking up the five deflections. England’s goalers were uncharacteristically inaccurate, shooting at a combined 81 per cent for the match while Harten was well and truly kept away from her regular goal tally, unable to put up her usual volume thanks to the Proteas’ constant defensive pressure.

But while South Africa came away with the win, England maintained their class and cleanliness throughout, collecting 11 less penalties while they were at it and winning the second half – albeit by a single goal. It was the second quarter where the Roses lost control, only shooting 10 goals and allowing the Proteas to take the lead, with the defensive pressure of Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown not entirely having the desired effect, leading to a change with returnee Layla Guscoth taking the court and playing out the match for three gains to Mentor’s four. But it wasn’t enough, with a solid partnership forming between Bongi Msomi and Erin Burger, seeing Burger use her gut running to constantly be a threat in centre while Msomi’s speed and feeding ability saw her collect 21 goal assists from 36 feeds, while her opposition in Jade Clarke collected two intercepts.

For the Proteas, Lenize Potgieter was the difference with her atypical – yet accurate – shooting technique accurate as ever, shooting 34 goals at 92 per cent. While England maintained some control in the second half, it seemed the second quarter had shaken the usually confident Roses, with the side ultimately unable to gain dominance and take a lead against the Proteas. Serena Guthrie was a good match for Burger through the midcourt but was moved back to control Msomi, while Chelsea Pitman racked up 18 goal assists from 29 feeds despite van de Merwe’s best efforts. But it was to no avail as the Proteas put themselves in good stead for the Netball World Cup with the 48-45 victory.

ENGLAND 13 | 10 | 11 | 11 (45)
SOUTH AFRICA 13 | 14 | 10 | 11 (48)



GS: Jo Harten
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Chelsea Pitman
C: Serena Guthrie
WD: Jade Clarke
GD: Eboni Usoro-Brown
GK: Geva Mentor

BENCH: Layla Guscoth, Rachel Dunn, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Razia Quashie, Fran Williams
COACH: Tracey Neville

South Africa

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Maryka Holtzhausen
WA: Bongi Msomi
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
COACH: Norma Plummer


Helen Housby 27/32
Jo Harten 18/22

South Africa:
Lenize Potgieter 34/37
Maryka Holtzhausen 14/16

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

2020 Nations Cup preview: Finals

AN entertaining 2020 Netball Nations Cup has almost come to an end with the final day of action taking place less than 24 hours after the round robin competition concluded. Following three rounds, New Zealand has remained undefeated, while Jamaica picked up two wins against the other two nations to book a spot in the final against the Silver Ferns.

New Zealand vs. Jamaica

These sides faced off in Round 2 of the competition with the Silver Ferns producing a crushing 26-goal defeat over the Sunshine Girls. In that match, New Zealand dominated from start to finish, winning 71-45 in a one-sided affair. Across the four quarters, the Silver Ferns scored 18 or more goals in three quarters, whilst restricting the Sunshine Girls to 11 or less in three of those terms. Both teams are capable of scoring when in form, with a 34-goal final quarter (20-14 New Zealand’s way) a testament to that. It was Maia Wilson who shone brightest with 42 goals from 45 attempts and was too strong for Jamaica’s defensive unit. Shamera Sterling‘s athleticism and X-factor is best used moving around the goal circle, hunting for cross-court balls or influencing play but will have to try and body up on Wilson to throw her off her game. Wilson is far from the only dangerous shooter, with captain Ameliarnne Ekenasio the most damaging shooter in the side. She has been able to continue her role in goal attack with the retirement of Maria Folau, and has not missed a beat so far, able to set up scoring opportunities and go to post when she sees fitting. In the clash between these nations, Ekenasio scored 18 goals from 22 attempts and had 13 goal assists from 16 feeds. Up the other end of the court, Jane Watson will have a massive job trying to quell the influence of super shooter Jhaniele Fowler. The towering goal shooter was at her best in Jamaica’s last round win over England, but will have a greater challenge against Watson and Karin Burger, with Phoenix Karaka likely to spend time on Fowler as well. In the last clash, Fowler scored 38 goals from 40 attempts, but will also likely be double teamed again given her high-volume production. Through the midcourt, Nicole Dixon and Kimiora Poi could have some great battles with Poi earning a start in the Silver Ferns’ win over South Africa and not putting a foot wrong. Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton will aide her in the midcourt, while Shanice Beckford‘s versatility between wing attack and goal attack is important for the Sunshine Girls. Collingwood Magpies fans will be keen to see how Jodi Ann Ward copes in the final with the Jamaican excitement machine to be a top inclusion for the Magpies this year in the Suncorp Super Netball. Overall, the depth of New Zealand should be too much, with star players both on the court and on the bench. Goalers Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Bailey Mes are impact players for the Ferns while Saunders and Karaka are equally important. Although the Sunshine Girls have some good young talents, they rely heavily on their top stars to get the win meaning New Zealand should take home the inaugural Nations Cup crown.

England vs. South Africa

The clash between two the two bottom sides from the tournament will be a fascinating one, with England getting up by five goals, 58-53, in the last clash between the teams in Round 2 of the competition. They were evenly matched for the most part, with only the Roses’ ability to stand up in crunch moments, particularly late in the contest being the key difference. Both sides have shown some strong signs this tournament, with the SPAR Proteas forcing the Silver Ferns onto the back foot in the Round 3 clash at times, but just not being able to produce it for long enough. England is in a similar situation, missing stars like Geva Mentor, Serena Guthrie and Jo Harten in each third of the court, they have had to rely on a lot of fresh faces getting increased roles against more experienced international players. South Africa on the other hand have gone through a little bit of a change, but ultimately have a close to full-strength outfit, and would be a bit disappointed not to pick up a win at this carnival after their World Cup showing by taking it up to the other nations. This game will likely come down to which nation will be able to hold up for long enough and play consistently through the midcourt to give their shooters the best chance of winning. Ine-Mari Venter was terrific in the mid two quarters against New Zealand and should be utilised well on court with Lenize Potgieter, making them a dual threat close to the post. While both prefer the goal shooter bib, their relationship inside the circle is crucial to South Africa putting up a big total here. Lefébre Rademan is another one to watch out for in the goal circle for the Proteas with the goal attack able to inject speed and dynamism to shake the opposition up. England might be missing a few names, but Jade Clarke and Nat Haythornthwaite provide a calming influence through the midcourt, with Haythornthwaite even spending time in goal attack in the absence of Helen Housby. Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin provide an Adelaide Thunderbirds feel to the line-up, while you can never discount the excitement of George Fisher and Amy Carter. The Spar Proteas rely a lot on their attacking end’s flow, and Bongi Msomi is a crucial part of that line-up with her ability to feed through to the circle and provide goal assist opportunities with great leadership on-court. The defensive pairing of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni is one that is always difficult to stop, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning duo consistently imposing themselves on the game and looking for opportunities to get involved. Shadine van der Merwe is the cog between those two and Msomi in the attacking end, and how they all operate on the day will determine their team’s fate. South Africa is a huge chance to win its first game of the tournament given the names on paper, but everything has to go right, and you can never discount England on home soil.

Silver Ferns head into Nations Cup undefeated following win over Spar Proteas

NEW Zealand Silver Ferns have triumphed over South Africa SPAR Proteas to book a spot in the 2020 Netball Nations Cup in Birmingham. The Silver Ferns went into the clash undefeated against a South African side yet to register a win, but the match proved that either side can stand up at different moments with the SPAR Proteas making a comeback at one stage, only for the Silver Ferns to settle and record a seven-goal win.

New Zealand started the stronger of the two sides, racing out to a three-goal advantage at quarter time with Maia Wilson shooting 11 of a possible 12 goals, while Gina Crampton had eight goal assists from 13 feeds. For the South Africans, the combination of Lenize Potgieter and Lefebre Rademan was working well with the experienced goal shooter scoring five goals from seven attempts, while her teammate had six from eight. Bongiwe Msomi was the key playmaker in the attacking end with seven goal assists from 10 feeds.

New Zealand continued its defensive stronghold in the second term, adding 13 goals to nine. The Silver Ferns headed into the half-time break with a seven-goal advantage as once again the defensive combination of Karin Burger (one intercept) and Jane Watson was doing well. Ine-Mari Venter came onto the court to carry the bulk of the scoring with seven goals from eight attempts, while Potgieter capitalised on both her attempts. Msomi’s work through the midcourt (six assists from seven feeds) was admirable to keep her side in it, while Zanele Vimbela timed her hands to perfection with two key rebounds.

South Africa made its move in the third term as Venter’s high-volume scoring ability helped the Spar Proteas cut the deficit back to three thanks to a 14-10 quarter. Venter shot 12 of her 13 attempts successfully with a 92.3 per cent efficiency. Potgieter managed the two from three, while Msomi had eight goal assists from 11 feeds. Karla Pretorius was managing the side superbly from the back half, now teaming up with fellow Suncorp Super Netball star, Phumza Maweni who immediately had an impact with a rebound in the term. For the Silver Ferns, Te Paea Selby-Rickit came on for Wilson and scored from all five of her chances, while Ameliaranne Ekenasio capitalised on a near-perfect five from six. Whitney Souness helped out with four goal assists from six feeds, but it was clear the side was thrown off a bit with Crampton and Watson both on the bench.

The Silver Ferns held firm though, backing in the side out there with Wilson coming on for Ekenasio, shooting seven goals from eight at 87.5 per cent and Selby-Rickit had four from six as the favourites scored 11-7 to run out 48-41 winners. Burger had two rebounds and an intercept in the final term, while Karaka had one of each, working well with Kimiora Poi (five goal assists from 10 feeds) in the centre. Venter’s goal scoring accuracy faded a little in the last term with just five goals from eight attempts as the Spar Proteas struggled to continue their flow down the court. Shadine van der Merwe had been consistent throughout and picked up another intercept, but the connection between the midcourt and shooters, and the shooters’ accuracy was not as effective as the quarter before and they faded away.

Wilson finished the match with 24 goals from 30 attempts at 80 per cent efficiency, teaming well with both Ekenasio (15 from 18) and Selby-Rickit (nine from 11) in the goal circle. Up the other end, Burger had two rebounds and two intercepts, while Karaka had one of each but also 12 penalties. The strength of the duo allowed them to rest Watson for a half, while Poi finished with 13 assists from 25 feeds in a strong performance. For the Proteas, Venter shone particularly through the middle quarters, finishing with 24 goals from 29 attempts, working best with Potgieter (11 from 15). Msomi was influential for the most part thanks to 23 assists from 31 feeds and an intercept, while van der Merwe had two intercepts and a goal assist too. Pretorius and Maweni combined for three rebounds but 24 intercepts as the pressure was constantly on the defence.

Now the Silver Ferns head into the final in less than 24 hours to take on Jamaica, while the Proteas go head-to-head against the home side, South Africa in the Bronze Medal playoff.