Tag: south africa

Top 20 players over 30: #2 Karla Pretorius

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. Coming in at number two on the countdown is arguably the world’s best defender, Karla Pretorius.

The Spar Proteas goal defence is simply in a league of her own. There is no stopping Pretorius when on song, getting her hands in everything that comes her way. She is deceptively quick and while she is not the tallest defender standing at 181cm she has an uncanny ability to get up for the high balls and swat them away. Her on-court influence is second to none, able to spark something for her side and single handedly change the course of a game. The South African defender provides that element of excitement every time she steps out on court and often leaves people in awe, pulling off the unthinkable time and time again.

Her timing is extremely impressive, able to sense the moment, leave her player and take a breathtaking intercept while her ability to stay away from the whistle makes her a damaging prospect. Her cleanliness to get around the body of her opponent and use her inside arm is something to behold, applying a wealth of pressure on the entire attacking unit given her defensive prowess.

Just scraping into the age bracket at age 30, Pretorius still has plenty of gas left in the tank and has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down. Her ability to perform at an international level and domestic level is undeniable, constantly bringing her a-game and causing headaches for attackers. She was a key reason why the Sunshine Coast Lightning won back-to-back premierships in the Suncorp Super Netball with lean over the shot and skill to clog up space in the defensive third and suffocate the attacking options. Her adaptability to play with a changing defensive unit is impressive, unfazed by what is going on around her and simply digging deep and getting the job done. While the connection she has with Lightning and South African teammate Phumza Maweni, in the defensive goal circle is also integral to her game play, allowing her to go off hunting and create turnover ball.

Her quick change of direction, and drive down court is another key element of her game play, often providing that support along the transverse line to the frontend. Pretorius is not one to have a bad game, able to work her way into a match and wear her player down to help nullify their influence whether it be under the post or setting up attacking forays. She is a real barometer for any team and a true leader for the defensive end with her ability to read the play and shut down options.


#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)
#16 Jade Clarke (Wasps Netball/England)
#15 Chelsea Pitman (Adelaide Thunderbirds/England)

#14 Romelda Aiken (Queensland Firebirds/Jamaica)
#13 Madi Browne (Collingwood Magpies/Australia)
#12 Nat Medhurst (Collingwood Magpies/Australia)

#11 Mwai Kumwenda (Melbourne Vixens/Malawi)
#10 Caitlin Thwaites (Melbourne Vixens/Australia)
#9 Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball/England)

#8 Jane Watson (Mainland Tactix/New Zealand)
#7 Caitlin Bassett (GIANTS Netball/Australia)
#6 Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever/Jamaica)
#5 Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies/England)
#4 Katrina Rore (Central Pulse/New Zealand)
#3 Serena Guthrie (Team Bath/England)
#2 Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning/South Africa)

Fantasy Team: AUS/NZ v. Rest of the world

THERE is no shortage of talent across the netball world with stars hailing from a range of different countries. Draft Central has created two teams, one comprised of players from Australia and New Zealand the other made up of netballers from around the globe.

Australia/New Zealand:

GK: Jane Watson
GD: Katrina Rore
WD: Ash Brazill
C: Laura Langman
WA: Liz Watson
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
GS: Caitlin Bassett

BENCH: Gretel Bueta, Gina Crampton, Jo Weston

Starting in the defensive third it is hard to go past the tried and tested duo of Jane Watson and Katrina Rore. Watson has come along in leaps and bounds with her pressure over the shot, speed off the mark and impressive leap causing all sorts of havoc down back. Throw in the experience and class of Rore and the defensive unit is one to be envious of. Rore is electric, nimble on her feet and has proven to be a real barometer for any team, able to create tips and deflections time and time again.

The midcourt is littered with highly athletic netballers able to run all day and constantly do the unthinkable. Starting in wing defence is Ash Brazill, with the Diamonds midcourter renowned for her aerial ability and flashy style of play. Brazill can create plenty of turnover ball and has a high endurance to run toe to toe with her opponent all game. It is no surprise that the centre bib goes to Silver Ferns and netball legend Laura Langman. With experience to boot, speed off the mark, explosiveness and undeniable netball smarts Langman is one of the most exciting midcourters to take the court. She can single handedly turn the game on its head with a perfectly timed intercept or a pin-point pass into the circle. Diamond, Liz Watson takes out the wing attack position with the speedy centre court player strong around circle edge. Her vision is second to none and is constantly two moves ahead of her opponent such is netball understanding. Watson oozes class, dynamism and precision able to deliver the ball into the goalers with great ease.

The goal circle is headlined by two impressive shooters with Ferns goal attack, Ameliaranne Ekenasio getting the nod. Ekenasio is a smooth mover that glides across the court and is a real playmaker in the attacking third. She backs herself from range, able to shoot from anywhere in the circle and uses her quick footwork to reposition in the goal circle. In at goal shooter is Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett with the towering goaler renowned for her strong holds and high volume. Her positioning under the post is impressive able to ward off defenders with her angles and footwork, while also making the most of her long limbs to reel in passes going over the baseline.

The experience and class does not stop there with Gretel Bueta unlucky not to get the start but earning a spot on the bench, while versatile attacker Gina Crampton also earned herself a spot. The final place goes to Diamonds’ Jo Weston given her defensive pressure.

Rest of the world:

GK: Geva Mentor
GD: Karla Pretorius
WD: Vangelee Williams
C: Serena Guthrie
WA: Bongi Msomi
GA: Helen Housby
GS: Sam Wallace

BENCH:  Lenize Potgieter, Chelsea Pitman, Shamera Sterling,

Kicking things off down in goal keeper is England Roses and netball veteran, Geva Mentor. The highly talented defender is nothing but class with her silky footwork, lean over the shot and skill to pick off passes entering the defensive third. She is deceptively quick and applies a wealth of pressure. Pairing with Mentor is Spar Proteas goal defence Karla Pretorius. The South African defender is in a league of her own with her speed off the mark and uncanny ability to reel in intercepts. She is simply unstoppable when on song, causing all sorts of havoc down back with her menacing style of play, quick footwork and long arms to force turnovers and propel the ball back down the court.

Through the midcourt Jamaican defender Vangelee Williams gets the nod at wing defence. She is a highly versatile player that can drop back into circle defence when needed but has an impressive skillset around the circle edge credit to her balance and netball smarts. Meanwhile, t is hard to go past England Roses midcourter, Serena Guthrie in centre. Guthrie is a running machine that just keeps on going, throwing herself at everything that comes her way. She has speed to boot and while she is more defensively minded can apply plenty of attacking pressure with her well-weighted passes into the goal circle. The 30-year-old is a key cog for any side able to provide that steadying presence and spark up when needed. In at wing attack is South African speedster Bongi Msomi, with the nippy midcourter able to dart around the court and create space in the attacking third. Msomi has lightning quick hands, able to fire off passes into the circle and is strong around the circle edge despite her slight frame.

The goal attack position goes to the cool, calm and collected Helen Housby. The Roses shooter is hardly ever frazzled and can shoot from anywhere in the circle, given her impressive range and accuracy to post. She is quick on her feet and is not afraid to take the hard drive into the circle to receive the ball. Her pairing with Trinidad and Tobago goaler, Sam Wallace is highly impressive with the two able to seamlessly move in the circle and create plays. Wallace is arguably one of the most laidback and underrated shooters and uses that to her full advantage, getting up to the high balls with ease while also putting up a wealth of shots.

Rounding out the team is South African and unconventional shooter, Lenize Potgieter along with Roses midcourter Chelsea Pitman and Jamaican excitement machine Shamera Sterling.

Who would win?

Both teams are packed with plenty of x-factor, however given that Australia and New Zealand sit one and two on the rankings it is fair to assume they might have the upper hand. The experience of Langman, Rore and Bassett in each third will help give the Diamonds/Ferns team that competitive edge over the rest of the world while their strength through the midcourt is also another key indicator.

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)

Head 2 Head: Nations Cup – Round 2

THE second day of games is set to be a big one with Jamaica and New Zealand set to face off while the Spar Proteas will be hoping to claim their first win of the Nations Cup. We take a look at one potential matchup from each game and assess the likely outcome.

Shamera Sterling (GK) v. Maia Wilson (GS)

It will be an intense battle with both Jamaica and New Zealand coming off strong wins. Both players are up and coming within their respective countries but have the fire power to make a real difference across the court with their ability to turn it on when it counts. Sterling came off the court with injury late in the Day 1 match but will hope to take the court with a day’s rest behind her.

The Jamaican goal keeper is a real livewire for the Sunshine Girls, able to read the play with ease and use her leap to full advantage to cause disruption in the goal circle. She is deceptively quick for her height and while she is a real presence in the air her skill at ground level is just as impressive credit to her lanky arms. Sterling oozes excitement and unpredictability constantly looking to force a turnover and use her feet to get good elevation for a rebound or intercept. Her movement across the court is dynamic and while she is slight in stature she can mix it with the bigger and more physical bodies. She is often unfazed by the body on body style of defence and can change her game play up to have an impact throughout the match.

Youngster, Wilson is full of potential and growing with confidence. Her footwork is highly impressive, able to sneak closer to the post and open up space with her strong holds. Although she is still developing her craft, Wilson has proved that she has plenty of composure and nous to think her way through the pressure and deliver. She can change up her game style turning from a holding shooter to a moving goaler making her an exciting prospect for the Ferns. She is not afraid to turn to post given her accuracy and volume paired with her commanding presence, making her a real player to watch. Her combination with Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Bailey Mes could prove damaging for the Sunshine Girls if they cannot stop their shooter to shooter interplay.

Wilson is a confidence player so if Sterling can impose herself early and limit the easy transition down the court it will go a long way in getting Jamaica over the line. Sterling is renowned for her physicality and aerial ability meaning Wilson will have to work in overdrive to out think her opposition and ride through the constant body on body defence.

Eleanor Cardwell (GA) v. Karla Pretorius (GD)

South African, Karla Pretorius had a relatively quiet first game and will be looking to return to her dominant form against the less experienced Eleanor Cardwell who has plenty of versatility and skill. Both sides struggled in the opening match unable to find their rhythm, making for an intriguing battle in the circle.

Although she is typically suited to a goal shooter position Cardwell found her feet in goal attack and has shown she has the skillset to have an immediate impact there. Her movement is solid, able to take the hard drive on the baseline or float across the top of the circle depending on the situation while her ability to read the play and rotate through the goal circle with ease makes her a viable option out front. She is not afraid to take the long bomb and use her feet to switch up play.

Pretorius is no stranger to the big stage, able to pull a monkey out of a hat more times than not with her quick feet and nimble hands. She can dart across the court and pick off passes, with her deceptive speed making her a constant threat to any opposition line-up. The goal defence has proven time and time again that she is a real mastermind down back with her hands over pressure and lean over the shot. Pretorius is key through the midcourt playing a crucial role to help move the ball down the court and provide a back-up option on the transverse line. Her ability to confuse the space and force a turnover is second to none, constantly on the prowl to upset the opposition’s flow in attack.

Cardwell is quite tall for a goal attack and therefore will have to use her height against the likes of Pretorius to make the most of her opportunities under the post. But if Pretorius can shut down Cardwell and smother her movement, expect England to struggle to get out of the South African stranglehold.

Head 2 Head: Nations Cup – Round 1

THE first day of the Nations Cup is set to kick off on Sunday with all four nations hoping to get their first win on the board. We take a look at two potential matchups from each game and assess the likely outcome.


Fran Williams (GD) v. Ameliaranne Ekenasio (GA)

In the first international game of 2020, both players will want to have an immediate impact and kick start their campaign on a positive note. New Ferns skipper Ekenasio oozes experience and class while Williams is still perfecting her craft down in defence.

Williams has proven time and time again that she can be a game changer with her read of the play and attacking nature. Her ability to get hands to ball and cause confusion for the feeders is second to none, constantly getting in the way down in defence. Williams is persistent and does not give an inch, riding every bump to remind opponents of her physical nature. Her footwork is highly impressive, able to get around the body and collect a tip or force a turnover making her a constant threat. Although she is still young, she has plenty of drive and determination which is a key element of her game.

After a stellar 2019 at both an international and domestic level Ekenasio has been gifted the captaincy. The new Silver Ferns leader will be chomping at the bit to get on the court and cause havoc in the goal circle. Ekenasio can shoot from anywhere with high release and smooth action a key aspect of her game play. She sweeps across the top of the goal circle with ease but can change up her game play in the blink of an eye not afraid to take the hard drive along the baseline, or become a holding shooter. She does a wealth of transition work to bring the ball down the court and consistently re-offers to help reset play and surge forward. Ekenasio is highly versatile, able to slot into goal shooter when need be and can post a high total of goals credit to her accuracy and high netball IQ.

Ekenasio is a confidence player, so if Williams can get on top early it will go a long way in disrupting the attacking flow of the Ferns especially given the retirement of Maria Folau and the inconsistent form of Bailey Mes. Up against someone with the calibre of Ekenasio, the Roses goal defence will have to work in overdrive to cover her every move and remain a threat for a full four quarters.



Jhaniele Fowler (GS) v. Phumza Maweni (GK) 

There will be plenty of action in this match-up with both players renowned for their dynamic movement and athleticism. Jamaican shooter, Fowler is a mastermind under the post while Maweni is no slouch, often flying under the radar.

Fowler is as impressive as they come, not overawed by the occasion and instead thriving on the opportunity. She is a commanding presence under the post and can vary up her game style as shown in the latter half of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season. Renowned for her typical holding goal shooter style, Fowler has shown that she can get on the move and is not afraid to drive into the circle to create space. She is prolific under the post and remains close by the ring where she does the most damage. Her aerial ability is second to none, getting up high to receive passes while her ball control is just as solid. Despite her height, Fowler is quite light on her feet with balance another important element of her game play.

The South African goal keeper has come along in leaps and bounds in recent years, taking some decent scalps and minimising the impact of star shooters. Maweni does not take a backwards step, consistently working to better herself and frequently injecting herself into the game with her leap. Her read of the play and netball IQ is high, able to get into the right positions quickly and cut off any forward forays by the opposition. What she lacks in bulk and stature, Maweni makes up for in tenacity and skill, able to get timely tips and hunt the ball to take big intercepts. Her footwork is impressive, able to get around the body of her opponents with ease and cause confusion for the feeders with her quick change of direction and long wing-span.

If the Jamaican shooter can make her mark early with her commanding presence and proficiency the Spar Proteas will be on the back foot and forced into catch-up, a position they do not want to be in against Jamaica. It will take more than Maweni’s efforts in goal keeper to shut down Fowler meaning the South African defensive unit in Karla Pretorius and Shadine van der Merwe will have to work together if they are to reign supreme.

Weekly news wrap: Diamonds win Quad Series; VNSL starts up again

IN this week’s weekly wrap, we take a look at what’s making news in the netball world that we covered on Netball Draft Central.


Vitality Netball Superleague:


By: Sophie Taylor

ROUND three of the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) is upon us, and is sure to shake up the competition as it comes. With the competition still sitting wide open at this early stage of the season, we’re sure to see some more surprises come out of the 2019 VNSL league over the next few rounds.

Read the full weekend preview…

For all your VNSL news and information, head to our VNSL page.


Northern Quad Series:


By: Peter Williams

IN what was a remarkable two weeks of the Northern Quad Series there was plenty of individual success stories. While the world number ones, Australia took out the title once again, each side had at least one win and a loss, emphasising the tight competition between the four nations ranked in four of the top five positions in the world.

Read the full article…


By: Sophie Taylor

WITH so many star players in the competition, it can be hard to choose just one standout. The Draft Central compromise? Create a starting list of our best players of the series. Read on to find out who has been chosen for our Northern Quad Series starting seven and extended bench.

Read the full article…

South Africa scare New Zealand in Quad Series Overtime

By: Sophie Taylor

THE South Africa Spar Proteas had another astounding game to finish the Northern Quad Series, scaring world number two, the New Zealand Silver Ferns, in a double extra time blockbuster game. Despite a hard fight, New Zealand came out on top with a two-goal victory, beating the Spar Proteas 62 – 60 in a fast paced and evenly matched game.

Read the full match report…

Roses delight in front of home crowd

By: Sophie Taylor

THE England Roses battled the Australian Diamonds for the top spot in the Northern Quad Series on home turf, coming out with bragging rights after a tough 52 – 49 win over the world champions. After a slow and sloppy start, England was able to hold back Australia’s advances to gain victory after a tumultuous Quad Series at London’s Copper Box Arena in front of a hostile home crowd.

Read the full match report…

For all your Northern Quad Series news and information, head to our Quad Series page.

Stats Centre: Northern Quad Series by the numbers

IN what was a remarkable two weeks of the Northern Quad Series there was plenty of individual success stories. While the world number ones, Australia took out the title once again, each side had at least one win and a loss, emphasising the tight competition between the four nations ranked in four of the top five positions in the world.

South Africa caused a boilover when it toppled home side, England, while also pushing Australia and New Zealand all the way. A huge reason for South Africa’s improvement were the likes of goal shooter, Lenize Potgieger, wing attack, Bongi Msomi, and the defensive pairing of Karla Pretorius and Shadine Van Der Merwe.  All four made our Team of the Series, with Pretorius also named Player of the Series. Potgieter was clearly the standout scorer of the competition, and while she played more minutes than her other shooters due to the overtime game against New Zealand, she still recorded the fourth highest accuracy of the tournament.

Title winners Australia had two shooters in the top five for goals and accuracy, with Caitlin Thwaites scoring 63 goals at 95.5 per cent accuracy, just below Gretel Tippett‘s 67 at 95.7 per cent. Liz Watson was prolific through the midcourt with four more goal assists than any other player, as well as the second most feeds, but also conceded the second highest turnovers. Courtney Bruce had five rebounds which was the equal most of the tournament with New Zealand’s Casey Kopua and South Africa’s Phumza Maweni.

England came agonisingly close to stealing the Quad Series title in front of a home crowd, but just fell short on goal percentage. They had a number of standouts with Jo Harten scoring 68 goals and was the sixth most accurate shooter, while Chelsea Pitman (40 goal assists and 48 centre pass feeds) was crucial in the midcourt. Serena Guthrie was a rock in the centre spot, showing her experience on the court in crucial moments against the Diamonds. Guthrie recorded the second most deflections of the tournament, behind only teammate and arguably the world’s best goalkeeper, Geva Mentor.

New Zealand would have had disappointing moments knowing they missed out on capitalising at times against England and Australia, but got the job done against South Africa under immense pressure. Maria Folau was strong with 95 goals – the second most of the tournament – at 85.6 per cent accuracy. Fellow shooter, Ameliaranne Ekanasio was strong under the ring with four rebounds, one less than teammate and defender, Kopua. Gina Crampton had 45 goal assists to be third overall for the Northern Quad Series, while her 64 centre pass receives were the most of the series.


1 Lenize Potgieter (RSA) 114
2 Maria Folau (NZL) 95
3 Jo Harten (ENG) 68
4 Gretel Tippett (AUS) 67
5 Caitlin Thwaites (AUS) 63


1 Rachel Dunn (ENG) 96%
2 Gretel Tippett (AUS) 95.7%
3 Caitlin Thwaites (AUS) 95.5%
4 Lenize Potgieter (RSA) 91.9%
5 Maria Folau (NZL) 85.6%


1 Liz Watson (AUS) 54
2 Bongi Msomi (RSA) 50
3 Gina Crampton (NZL) 45
4 Erin Burger (RSA) 43
5 Chelsea Pitman (ENG) 40


1 Casey Kopua (NZL) 5
1 Courtney Bruce (AUS) 5
1 Phumza Maweni (RSA) 5
4 Ameliaranne Ekanasio (NZL) 4
4 Jo Weston (AUS) 4
4 Karla Pretorius (RSA) 4


1 Gina Crampton (NZL) 64
2 Bongi Msomi (RSA) 58
3 Kelsey Browne (AUS) 50
4 Chelsea Pitman (ENG) 48
5 Gretel Tippett (AUS) 46


1 Bongi Msomi (RSA) 95
2 Liz Watson (AUS) 75
3 Erin Burger (RSA) 71
4 Chelsea Pitman (ENG) 66
5 Gina Crampton (NZL) 61
5 Serena Guthrie (ENG) 61


1 Karla Pretorius (RSA) 8
2 Casey Kopua (NZL) 7
3 Karin Burger (NZL) 5
4 Courtney Bruce (AUS) 4
4 Jane Watson (NZL) 4
4 Geva Mentor (ENG) 4


1 Geva Mentor (ENG) 13
2 Serena Guthrie (ENG) 11
3 Karla Pretorius (RSA) 10
4 Jane Watson (NZL) 9
5 Shadine Van Der Merwe (RSA) 8


1 Phumza Maweni (RSA) 53
2 Casey Kopua (NZL) 51
3 Erin Burger (RSA) 45
4 Geva Mentor (ENG) 44
5 Jane Watson (NZL) 38


1 Bongi Msomi (RSA) 18
2 Liz Watson (AUS) 17
3 Serena Guthrie (ENG) 14
3 Gretel Tippett (AUS) 14
3 Lenize Potgieger (RSA) 14