Tag: susan pettitt

Memorable Matches: Firebirds defeat Swifts in 2015 ANZ Championship Grand Final

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is the Queensland Firebirds’ come-from-behind victory over the NSW Swifts in the 2015 ANZ Championship Grand Final.

It was the culmination of a massive ANZ Championship season which set the Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts against one another, and the Swifts never looked like losing – before the Firebirds stunned in the final minutes of the match. It was a slow start for both teams and while the Swifts had the early lead, the Firebirds did not back down, contesting every single ball. With star players across the court it was all about momentum and the Swifts were swimming in it early, with Caitlin Thwaites and Sharni Layton impressing at both ends and connections all down the midcourt.

The feisty matchup saw neither team leave any stone unturned, with Laura Geitz and Kim Green seeing more of each other than a goal keeper and wing attack typically would. Meanwhile, quality defensive pressure from Julie Corletto and Layton saw the Swifts duo dominate much of the play, with Firebirds goalers Gretel Bueta and Romelda Aiken stopped in their tracks and unwilling to make risky moves. The Swifts had the accuracy going for them on court, with Thwaites and Susan Pettitt firing on all cylinders, unfazed by the persistent defensive pressure from the likes of Geitz and partner in crime, Clare McMeniman who continually pushed the shooters to attempt risky shots – though those shots continued to pay off. It was the Firebirds’ penalty count which saw them struggle for much of the match, almost doubling the Swifts’ at half time and finishing with a higher contact penalty count alone (66 and 16 obstructions) than the Swifts did overall (50 and 10).

While Swifts continued to prove too strong across the court, the Firebirds started to regain some control bit by bit, working their way into the match and continuing to pressure the Swifts and fight for a chance to win the second half. A quality third term from Geitz was part of the reason why the Firebirds were able to steal back momentum, holding Thwaites to just 12 goals in the second half – five in the third – while Aiken stepped up to ply her trade, shooting 28 in the second half to well and truly take the game by storm. While Geitz racked up the stats in the second half, the Swifts slowed down. Despite still holding the lead, it was clear the hosts were on their way back and were not about to lie down.

With the premiership in sight, Queensland unleashed at the right moment and with 30 seconds left on the clock levelled the scores, with the next centre pass going their way making for a tense countdown. The Firebirds played keepings off to finish, patiently chipping the ball around before Bueta went to post to deny a last second chance for the Swifts – with her only goal for the quarter seeing the Firebirds hit the front for the first time. With 14 seconds left on the clock, only a massive save would stop the Swifts from scoring, so Geitz did just that – taking a game saving intercept and passing the ball off, seeing the Firebirds defeat the Swifts 57-56 and sending the purple army into hysterics.

While not the most accurate of the day, sinking the winning goal was enough for Bueta, who shot 10 from 17 to provide a quality support for Aiken (47 from 51). It was a shared effort for the Swifts goalers however, with both Thwaites (30 from 34) and Pettitt (26 from 28m, 35 centre pass receives) providing scoreboard pressure and proving influential in attack. Bueta’s wealth of work to get the ball to Aiken was second to none, leading the assists with 20 from 32 feeds and 33 centre pass receives, while Swifts midcourter Green came in second with 17 from 38 and doing a lot more second phase work alongside Pettitt. It was a battle of the goal keepers, with both Geitz and Layton finding a wealth of turnover ball, though Geitz was the big performer with six intercepts (eight gains). Layton was not far behind with three intercepts (four gains but seven deflections) and shared the defensive stats with Corletto (two intercepts, three gains).

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 11 | 14 | 16 | 16 (57)
NSW SWIFTS 14 | 16 | 15 | 11 (56)

Queensland Firebirds

GS: Romelda Aiken
GA: Gretel Bueta (Nee Tippett)
WA: Caitlyn Nevins
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: Clare McMeniman
GK: Laura Geitz

BENCH: Bec Bulley, Verity Charles, Laura Clemesha, Beryl Friday, Amy Wild
COACH: Roselee Jencke

NSW Swifts

GS: Caitlin Thwaites
GA: Susan Pettitt
WA: Kim Green
C: Paige Hadley
WD: Abbey McCulloch
GD: Julie Corletto
GK: Sharni Layton

BENCH: Jade Clarke, Erin Hoare, Taylah Davies, Micaela Wilson, Steph Wood
COACH: Rob Wright

SHOOTING STATS

FIREBIRDS

Romelda Aiken 47/51
Gretel Bueta 10/17

SWIFTS

Caitlin Thwaites 30/34
Susan Pettitt 26/28

Top 20 players over 30: #9 Jo Harten

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 up next at number nine is England Roses and GIANTS Netball tall timber, Jo Harten.

Another highly talented goaler in our countdown who proves that age is just a number. While Harten has only just hit 31-years-old, she has more than shown over the past years that she is capable of adapting her play to be a more creative and versatile goaler. Typically sitting back in goal shooter with the Roses, Harten added another string to her bow playing in the Suncorp Super Netball, playing out in goal attack first with Susan Pettitt during the 2018 season before plying her trade out in front of Caitlin Bassett in 2019. 

While there was a real adjustment period for Harten and Bassett, Harten rarely skipped a beat throughout making the change, using her cleanliness and endurance to provide a tough option to stay on top of down the court. Standing at 188cm, Harten was unfazed jumping into goal attack, plying her trade at the post and playing a solid role defensively thanks to her long arms and wingspan, forming a threatening defender down the court.

With accuracy and an ability to shoot a high volume, Harten is a quality goaler if not for those traits, but also adding in her versatility and range of movement in the goal circle. A player driven by excitement and confidence, Harten can shoot from far and wide in the circle to form a crucial part of any attacking lineup, using her game smarts to interpret the play and adapt with grace. 

While Harten can at times allow the match to get the best of her, her craftiness allows her to find plenty of ball and work her way back into the game while her experience and range of abilities finds her in a real leadership role at the GIANTS. Just inside the top 10, Harten’s position is credit to consistency with the tall timber clever with her movement and unsuspectingly quick on her feet.

TOP 20 PLAYERS OVER 30:

#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)

Memorable Matches: Roses make history with 2018 Commonwealth Games gold

WITH netball taking a back seat to the coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is England’s inaugural Commonwealth Games gold, defeating Australia by one goal on home soil in 2018.

A memorable match for many Aussies – and not in a good way, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal match was one for the ages as England quite literally pipped Australia at the post to reign supreme. While Australia led the competition in majority of the stats, this was England’s opportunity to topple to Diamonds for the first time and they were not about to let their greatest gold medal chance slip away. England may have been the underdogs, playing in their first ever Commonwealth Games gold medal match, but it was that goal which saw the Roses turn it out on Australian soil.

With ultimately one of the greatest lineups England has ever hand – perhaps only rivalled by their current list – they were just too strong for the overconfident Diamonds who faltered at the final hurdle and could not compete with the tenacious Roses when it came down to the nitty-gritty. For the Diamonds, the match came down to extensive rotations which the side had dealt with throughout the entire tournament. The Roses however came in with a different mindset, only rotating as they saw fit and able to form a consistent barrier against the formidable Aussies. 

It was an even start by both teams, with neither team really able to find much momentum such was the impact all 14 players were having on court. The two sides were evenly matched with both goal keepers in Laura Geitz and Geva Mentor forming tough barriers in their respective circles. Mentor racked up a whopping 12 gains throughout the match, putting on a clinic with her cleanliness and the ease with which she found the ball, using goal shooter Caitlin Bassett’s consistency against her. Geitz and April Brandley were solid as ever, fairly clean in their defence and finding plenty of loose ball. 

While Australia started out clean, not finding much whistle, the two sides evened up as the match went on, seeing the Roses clean up their act and forcing errors from the Diamonds who seemed out of sorts with the closeness of the game – which saw both teams even at 25 goals apiece at half-time. Liz Watson entered the game to take on the likes of Serena Guthrie, providing some real gut-running against the star centre. While it took some pressure off the attack with Watson’s quick hands doing wonders, Guthrie’s overall athleticism is tough to overcome while her immense endurance saw the midcourter continue to ply her trade and propel the ball back up the court.

The Diamonds got back into the groove in the third but while they had the goals on the board, the side seemed out of sorts thanks to the constant pressure applied down the court from the Roses. That being said, Australia’s full court defensive pressure impressed with just the four goalers not picking up gains – but it was the constant changing of goalers that seemed to work in England’s favour.

For the Roses, there were little changes throughout, with only some small impact options taking the court to ply their trade. Goalers, Jo Harten and Helen Housby were consistent from the start and had a couple of patches where their defenders were on top, namely the beginning of the first and third quarters thanks to Australia’s rotation for fresh feet in Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston, but ultimately continued to ply their trade and coming into the final quarter were well aware of what had to be done to win the game despite a slower third term.

Full credit has to be given to England’s final quarter effort, shooting 16 goals to overcome Australia’s three quarter time lead and forcing error upon error from the Diamonds. England was just much cleaner with ball in hand, treasuring possession where Australia seemed to throw away far more ball than their typical game. Australia all but fell apart in the final term, collecting a whopping 25 penalties – 22 contacts – compared to England’s 10 overall. When you compare that number to Australia’s seven penalties overall in the first quarter, it’s hard to not think of what could have been if the consistency had remained from the beginning to end.

It was a goal on the buzzer from Housby which cemented the win for England, making history as the Roses collected their first Commonwealth gold, well and truly earning the win against the reigning champions, 52-51. At the post, Harten topscored with 34 goals at 87 per cent accuracy, while Bassett was not quite as influential with 22 goals from 24 attempts – though she did miss out on the third quarter. Housby came in next with 18 goals while Steph Wood and Susan Pettitt shot 12 and 11 goals respectively to provide another option in the circle. 

The consistency of Gabi Simpson was impressive, with the athletic midcourt defender the only Aussie to play out the full 60 minutes. Simpson used every inch of her pressure to impact on the Roses’ ability to find the goal circle, impeding former Australian representative Chelsea Pitman from finding avenues to the ring and providing impressive speed and pressure up the court. Pitman racked up 18 goal assists from 28 feeds, while Watson was not far behind with 17 assists from 27, only having played the three quarters. Geitz racked up five gains in her half on court and was well and truly missed in the final quarter, while Simpson’s consistency and pressure saw her collect four gains and Guthrie three with her threatening speed.

AUSTRALIA 14 | 11 | 13 | 13 (51)
ENGLAND 13 | 12 | 11 | 16 (52)

Australia

GS: Caitlin Bassett
GA: Susan Pettitt
WA: Madi Robinson
C: Kim Ravaillion
WD: Gabi Simpson
GD: April Brandley
GK: Laura Geitz

BENCH: Caitlin Thwaites, Courtney Bruce, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Steph Wood
COACH: Lisa Alexander

England

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

BENCH: Ama Agbeze, Nat Haythorthwaite, Jodie Gibson, Jade Clarke, Kadeen Corbin
COACH: Tracey Neville

SHOOTING STATS

Australia

Caitlin Bassett 22/24
Steph Wood 12/14
Susan Pettitt 11/12
Caitlin Thwaites 6/6

England

Jo Harten 34/39
Helen Housby 18/21

Memorable Matches: Lightning win inaugural 2017 Suncorp Super Netball premiership

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is Sunshine Coast Lightning’s maiden premiership over GIANTS Netball in 2017.

The inaugural season of Suncorp Super Netball in 2017 was filled with highs and lows, with the ultimate high of expansion side Sunshine Coast Lightning winning the premiership in their first year together. The side boasted key names and combinations across the court which pushed them over the line, leaving the GIANTS in the lurch, 65-48. This was a memorable match for many, with the star-studded Lightning ruthless in their quest against the GIANTS exposing every flaw in their game plan and dominating across the board. The top two teams met twice prior to their grand final battle with both finishing in dramatic fashion – both collecting a one goal win apiece, but this time around the Lightning were relentless in their approach against a GIANTS outfit that had been smashed by injury throughout the season.

GIANTS may have won the first quarter, but it was Lightning that came out from then on and dominated the contest, relentless in their approach in the second quarter and taking an unprecedented five goal lead  into half time. Lightning relegated the GIANTS to less goals every quarter as the home side gained more and more confidence, rendering GIANTS unable to play their game and eventuating in the 17 goal victory.

The GIANTS were left wondering how it went so wrong. Geva Mentor had a starring role down back pairing with Karla Pretorius for one of their best outings for the season for the Lightning, constantly on top of Jo Harten and Kristina Brice. In the absence of Kim Green who was forced to the sidelines with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in Round 5, goaler Susan Pettitt took the wing attack bib and faced off against champion Laura Langman – who played her usual game, running laps around her opposition and finding plenty of turnover ball with four intercepts and a deflection to her name. While Pettitt did her job well, racking up 18 goal assists, it was the absence of midcourt backup that was exposed once she rotated into the circle that saw the Lightning well and truly take control, with Sarah Wall only managing the one assist in her 21 minutes on court while the Lightning seemed impenetrable.

While the defensive partnership of Bec Bulley and Sam Poolman was solid as ever, the duo was completely at the mercy of Caitlin Bassett and Steph Wood in the circle, who had the ball on a string thanks to speedster Kelsey Browne in wing attack, who took advantage of Jamie-Lee Price’s messiness in wing defence. Price impressed with one intercept and seven deflections – but only gathered gains off two – but it was her 15 penalties that allowed Browne to take full control. Bassett and Wood proved once again why they were one of the most threatening pairings in the circle with their ball use and sharing of the space throwing the GIANTS off at every turn. Lightning’s goalers were vastly more accurate than their GIANTS counterparts, combining for 91 per cent compared to the GIANTS’ 79 per cent, credit to the respective feeders. Brice was unable to compete with Mentor at the post, with Mentor collecting eight gains while Brice turned over the netball eight times and Harten five times. 

While Lightning revelled in the atmosphere, with the home court advantage certainly boosting their confidence, the GIANTS floundered and were unable to bring the same excitement and speed to their game play. While Serena Guthrie was doing a good job defensively to open up opportunities to get forward, it was a lack of offensive pressure that allowed the likes of Laura Scherian and Langman to get on top of the GIANTS while messiness across the court allowed Lightning to take full advantage of errors and penalties – with GIANTS collecting 20 more penalties overall.

A shared effort at the post between the GIANTS goalers was not enough, with the Lightning just far too good on the day for their counterparts and the Lightning going on to win their inaugural premiership by 17 goals.

LIGHTNING 13 | 19 | 16 | 17 (65)
GIANTS 15 | 12 | 11 | 10 (48)

STARTING SEVEN

Sunshine Coast Lightning

GS: Caitlin Bassett
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Kelsey Browne
C: Laura Scherian
WD: Laura Langman
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Geva Mentor

BENCH: Erena Mikaere, Maddy McAuliffe, Cara Koenen
COACH: Noeline Taurua

GIANTS Netball

GS: Krissie Brice
GA: Jo Harten
WA: Susan Pettitt
C: Serena Guthrie
WD: Jamie-Lee Price
GD: Bec Bulley
GK: Sam Poolman

BENCH: Sarah Wall, Toni Anderson, Taylah Davies
COACH: Julie Fitzgerald

SHOOTING STATS

Lightning:

Caitlin Bassett 49/51
Steph Wood 16/20

GIANTS:

Kristina Brice 24/29
Jo Harten 20/25
Susan Pettitt 4/7

Netball fantasy team: All-Star Vixens v. All-Star Swifts

THERE is no denying that over the years both the Melbourne Vixens and NSW Swifts have welcomed their fair share of star players and have played in some epic battles to ignite the Sargeant-McKinnis Cup. Therefore, Draft Central has decided to create a fantasy team taking into account players that have been at each respective club for two or more seasons in order to form an all-stars list.

All-Star Melbourne Vixens

GK: Geva Mentor
GD: Bianca Chatfield
WD: Renae Ingles
C: Madi Browne
WA: Liz Watson
GA: Sharelle McMahon
GS: Caitlin Thwaites
BENCH: Mwai Kumwenda, Kate Moloney, Julie Corletto

The Melbourne Vixens have always had a plethora of stars wear the dress since their inception making them one of the biggest powerhouses in Australian netball history. Starting in defence, the influence of Geva Mentor was profound with the English international winning a whopping four best and fairest medals for the club ranging from 2012 to 2017 highlighting just how much of an influence she had down back with her impressive timing, defensive pressure and keen eye for intercepts. Fellow defender Bianca Chatfield was also renowned for her immense pressure over the shot, smothering style of play and ability to create turnovers while wing defence Renae Ingles is in a league of her own. Ingles has simply got better with time, credit to her high level of endurance, speed off the mark and deceptively long arms constantly able to force tips to disrupt any form of attacking flow for the opposition. Prior to joining the black and white in the Suncorp Super Netball, Madi Browne was a key cog in the attack unit for the Vixens with her precise movement, speed and well-weighted passes on full show. Browne is strong around the top of the goal circle able to hustle for position much like fellow teammate in this fantasy side Liz Watson. The wing attack is arguably one of the world’s best when it comes to consistency, vision and most importantly cleanliness hardly ever throwing away balls thanks to her impressive skillset. Talking of impressive skillsets cue Sharelle McMahon, the talented goal attack was a great servant to the Vixens guiding them to a premiership in 2009 with her accuracy to post, smooth movement and reliability on full display. McMahon never failed to disappoint for the Vixens faithful much like goal shooter Cailtin Thwaites who made her much awaited return in 2019 after somewhat of 10 years. Thwaites is consistent under the post, able to use her strength to hold space and most importantly score freely. She is not afraid to back herself from range and uses her quick feet to reposition and go to post. Unlucky not to make the starting seven is Mwai Kumwenda who has been a star for the Vixens since signing with them thanks to her aerial ability along with captain Kate Moloney through the midcourt. When it comes to defence Julie Corletto just missed out given the influence both Mentor and Chatfield at the club.

All-Star NSW Swifts

GK: Sharni Layton
GD: Mo’onia Gerrard
WD: Abbey McColloch
C: Kim Green
WA: Paige Hadley
GA: Susan Pettitt
GS: Catherine Cox
BENCH: Sam Wallace, Maddy Proud, Sonia Mkoloma,

Another powerhouse of netball in Australia is the NSW Swifts who have found their straps in recent seasons winning the premiership last year but have boasted impressive line-ups previously with the likes of Sharni Layton leading the way down back. Although she made the move in 2017 to the Magpies, Layton played a wealth of her career in the red and white where she made a name for herself with her physical style of play and ability to relentlessly hunt the ball. Throw in the likes of Mo’onia Gerrard and the Swifts had one of the toughest defence units given their physical pressure and tenacity. Gerrard was not afraid to put her body on the line throwing herself into every contest that came her way and using her quick feet to get around the body of her opponents. Through the midcourt, former captain Abbey McColloch was solid, consistently able to do the little things well and build pressure with her tagging style of defence. Centre come wing attack, Kim Green was renowned for her ability to do the unthinkable and thread the needle with her impossible passes. Green was in a league of her own and was a key contributor the Swifts early success with her high endurance, speed and workhorse mentality before switching to the GIANTS in 2017. Fellow midcourter Paige Hadley has developed into one of the clubs strongest leaders with her hard work, ability to hustle around the goal circle and versatility to switch between attack and defence with ease. Moving into the goal circle the Swifts boast one of the most stacked line-ups with veteran Susan Pettitt consistently showcasing her ability to glide across the court and hit the scoreboard. Her impressive netball IQ and ability to score from anywhere made her a handful but it is hard to go past the likes of Diamonds star and Swifts favourite Catherine Cox. The goal shooter could turn a game on its head with her accuracy and volume, not afraid to demand the ball under the post with her strong holds and fancy footwork. With so many players to choose from, current Swift Sam Wallace and Maddy Proud were unlucky to not make the starting seven while veteran Sonia Mkoloma just missed out.

Who would win?

It is near on impossible to decide who would win but given the Vixens star power both in the goal circle and defensively, one could argue that the scales would tilt in favour of the Vixens. Having the likes of Thwaites, McMahon under the post puts them in good stead to put up a hefty total while the defensive pressure through the midcourt coming from the likes of Ingles and Chatfield would be hard to quell. However, the Swifts are not without their own star power in the likes of Cox and Layton.

Which All-Star team would win?
All-Star Vixens
All-Star Swifts
Created with Quiz Maker

SSN: Round 12 preview – Finals-defining round awaits

WITH finals spots on the line, Round 12 of Suncorp Super Netball is shaping up to be a huge weekend filled with plenty of intense match-ups and milestones. Nat Medhurst will equal the record of 232 national league games played currently held by Susan Pettitt while Tegan Philip is set to notch up 1000 Super Netball goals.

GIANTS v. Sunshine Coast Lightning

The Lightning have barely put a foot wrong all season and will be hoping to build on their momentum again this round against the GIANTS. The last time these two sides met the Sunshine Coast showcased their netball prowess, exploiting the GIANTS’ attacking end and running out 11 goal victors. The GIANTS’combination in the goal circle has well and truly developed between Jo Harten and Caitlin Bassett with the two proving to be a lethal duo under the post. Kiera Austin has displayed her versatility switching between wing attack and goal attack providing dynamic movement and clever ball placement while Jamie-Lee Price has been crucial through the midcourt for the GIANTS making for an intriguing battle between the two sides. The Lightning will be wanting to stamp their authority on the game and snatch top spot from the NSW Swifts with the likes of Karla Pretorius and Laura Langman steering the ship. There are a plethora of options in attack with Cara Koenen having a breakout few games with her accuracy to post, silky movement and strong holds while both Peace Proscovia and Steph Wood have showcased that they can stand up under pressure and perform.

NSW Swifts v. Melbourne Vixens

The Swifts will be wanting to get back on the winners list after going down by two goals to the Sunshine Coast Lighting last round. Although they were without goal attack and play maker Helen Housby the Swifts showed great intent and drive making for an exciting Round 12 match-up against old foes Melbourne Vixens this round. The Vixens have found good form of late credit to their strong connections down court and explosive speed. Both teams play a very similar game style, treasuring possession and using their ball placement to exploit their opponents making for a close match. Unfortunately, the Swifts have been struck by injury with Kate Eddy and Maddy Proud both set to miss the rest of the season however the inclusion of Katrina Rore has paid dividends with the Silver Fern renowned for her defensive pressure and strong drive through the midcourt. The Vixens are spoilt for choice in attack with Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip both in career best form while Mwai Kumwenda has shown that she can be an impact player on return from an ACL injury suffered in June 2018. Both Thwaites and Philip have been instrumental in the goal circle with the two able to turn and shoot from anywhere. creating a hot contest for Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner.

Queensland Firebirds v. Adelaide Thunderbirds

In a battle of the birds Queensland will be hoping they can register their first win of the season in what is likely their best opportunity to do so. The Firebirds only sit four points behind Adelaide on the ladder despite not having won a game all season, showcasing their ability to score quickly and accurately making them an ominous threat for the Thunderbirds. In their last encounter the Thunderbirds just scraped over the line by three goals, making for a hot contest this round. The connection between Romelda Aiken and Gretel Tippett could cause real headaches given their aerial skill, attacking flair and physicality while Lenize Potgieter is also a deadly option under the post. After a week of heavy umpire scrutiny, youngster Kim Jenner will be hoping to stay away from the whistle while applying her trademark defensive pressure and strong intent. The T’birds will be hoping Shamera Sterling continues her break out season, currently leading all comers in intercepts, deflections and rebounds to nullify the influence of Aiken under the post. Without Layla Guscoth Adelaide have been forced to make changes in the goal defence position with Kate Shimmin and Shadine Van Der Merwe both getting a run, making for an interesting match-up on the in form Tippett. Emma Ryde has been a handy inclusion pairing well with Maria Folau while Sasha Glasgow has showcased her versatility switching between goal attack and shooter.

West Coast Fever v. Collingwood Magpies

After a surprising draw last round the Magpies will be seeking vengeance against West Coast Fever. There will be plenty of feeling involved in the game with Medhurst returning for the first time since her departure at the end of last season and playing in a milestone match for the entire competition. Collingwood have struggled away from home this season but with a potential finals chance on the line they will be wanting to pull out all the stops and keep their dreams alive. Ash Brazill has been a revelation in centre over the past few weeks using her strong drives and aerial ability to spur the Magpies on while Geva Mentor has been a rock down back winning back plenty of ball. For the Fever, bookends Jhaniele Fowler and Courtney Bruce are the real barometers of the side. Fowler has showcased time and time again that she has the skill to score quickly and accurately credit to her strong holds while Alice Teague-Neeld will have to lift her load in the goal circle if the Fever are to get on top of Collingwood. Youngster Beryl Friday provides plenty of excitement and potential for the Fever while Ingrid Colyer and Verity Charles will have their work cut out for them against the likes of Brazill, Kim Ravaillionand Kelsey Browne. After a shaky week under the post Shimona Nelson will want to put the critics to bed and post a hefty total to regain her confidence.

GIANTS Netball Season Preview

THE GIANTS once again found themselves at the top of the table once again after a dominant 2018 season, knocking off ladder leaders the Fever in the last round to claim top spot and go into the finals with a spring in their step. But unfortunately, it was not to be enough going out in straight sets. This year, led by Julie Fitzgerald the GIANTS will be aiming to go one better and claim that elusive premiership.

2018 bid farewell to some notable players for the GIANTS with the likes of veterans Rebecca Bulley and Susan Pettitt both retiring after a highly decorated career. Another big loss was England Roses representative, Serena Guthrie, who provided that spark and electricity through the midcourt with her athletic prowess, hunt for the ball and impressive ability to read the flight of the ball.

In their place the GIANTS have elevated training partner, Amy Parmenter who has shown she has that doggedness and willingness to put her body on the line to win that hard ball. One of the biggest coups was signing Australian Diamonds goal shooter, Caitlin Bassett. Standing at 193cm, the GIANTS could arguably have one of the tallest shooting combinations with Jo Harten tipped to be out in front of Basset in goal attack. Both goalers are prolific and if the combination and connection is right they could form a formidable duo that could trouble many defenders. Shooter, Kiera Austin also signed on with the GIANTS which will be a great help in the attack end given her speed.

The GIANTS have backed in their young players this season with the likes of Matilda McDonell getting the call up after fellow youngster, Teigan O’Shannassy injured herself and is set to miss the majority of the season. McDonell is an exciting prospect for GWS with her speed and defensive ability a real feature of her game. She will be paired with Sam Poolman and Kristiana Manu’a who will both have to stand up in defence if the GIANTS are a chance to continue their finals run.

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We also previewed some of the teams in detail in the return episode of the Centre Pass Podcast now hosted by Draft Central. Listen to the link below to hear about the Adelaide Thunderbirds, as well as Collingwood Magpies, NSW Swifts and Melbourne Vixens:

Diamonds H2H Battle: 2000s vs 2010s

WITH the upcoming Netball World Cup looming, we decided to take a trip down memory lane and come up with our definitive Diamonds of the 2000s side and Diamonds of the 2010s (so far) side. Both sides consist of some familiar names, with players put in a specific side based on when they played the brunt of their international netball career.

The 2000s side consists of a number of household names in Australian netball, with three of Australia’s elite most-capped players taking the court. Sharelle McMahon, Liz Ellis and Cath Cox have almost 350 caps between them, more than half the amount of the entire 2010s’ starting seven. Shooters Cox and McMahon dominated in goals together for the majority of the 2000s, while Ellis, with the help of key defenders through the years, Mo’Onia Gerrard and Peta Squire, remained the stalwart backend goal keeper throughout her ten years in the side. Though Gerrard and Squire played majority of their respective careers in goal defence, both players took the court in wing defence towards the later end of their time as Diamonds. Natalie Bode stole the top spot of centre, with 76 caps to her name and captaining the side from 2010 – 2012. Lauren Nourse took the last starting position on court at wing attack. Despite only 25 caps for the Diamonds, Nourse was clinical at circle edge when paired with Bode.

More familiar names line the bench, with the likes of defenders, Bianca Chatfield, Susan Fuhrmann, Alison Broadbent and Janine Ilitch all in the side based on their respective successful stints in the Diamonds throughout the course of the 2000s. Eloise Southby-Halbish was the only other shooter to be named in the 2000s list, playing second fiddle to the dominant pairing of Cox and McMahon throughout her career and collecting 34 caps to her name.

 

Diamonds team of 2000s:

GS: Cath Cox (2002 – 2014), 108 caps
GA: Sharelle McMahon (1998 – 2011), 118 caps
WA: Lauren Nourse (2007 – 2011), 25 caps
C: Natalie Bode (nee von Bertouch) (2004 – 2013), 76 caps
WD: Peta Squire (1999-2004), 54 caps
GD: Mo’Onia Gerrard (2004 – 2013), 68 caps
GK: Liz Ellis (1993 – 2007), 122 caps

BENCH:

Bianca Chatfield (2001 – 2009), 42 caps
Eloise Southby-Halbish (1998 – 2006), 34 caps
Janine Ilitch (1995 – 2006), 51 caps
Susan Fuhrmann (2006 – 2011), 33 caps
Alison Broadbent (2001 – 2006), 28 caps

 

The Diamonds of the 2010s (so far) is just as star-studded as the 2000s list, with a number of familiar faces in the line-up; some retired but some still taking the court. Champion, Laura Geitz has been selected in goal keeper, seamlessly taking over from the likes of Ellis through the late 2000s. Joining Geitz in defence is Bec Bulley and Renae Ingles, who were both first named in the Diamonds line-up in the late 2000s, but were pivotal in the early 2010s. Taking the court in goals is speedster Nat Medhurst and current Diamonds captain, Caitlin Bassett, who is already at 90 caps for her career and showing no signs of slowing down, sitting in the top ten most capped Australian players alongside Ellis, McMahon, Cox and Medhurst. Nabbing centre and wing attack are Kim Ravaillion and Kim Green, respectively. Ravaillion applies plenty of defensive pressure throughout the centre court and her effective ball movement helps produce turnovers, while Green’s speed and grit through the midcourt and attacking third helped to boost goal shooting opportunities.

On the bench are some well-known players who just missed out on a starting position due to the number of caps they have played. Goal attack Susan Pettitt has shared the role with Medhurst and McMahon throughout the years, with Medhurst pipping her at the post this time with more caps to her name. Caitlin Thwaites has also been effective on the Diamonds stage, but with a number of dominant goalers shooting at high accuracy throughout the past 20 years, has been overshadowed on court by the likes of Cox and Bassett. Defenders Sharni Layton and Julie Corletto also dominated while on the court, narrowly missing out on a starting positions. The final player in the 2010 side is Madi Robinson who stepped up in the absence of Kim Green, with her ability to get ball to post quickly and use the angles to set up clever plays.

 

Diamonds team of 2010s:

GS: Caitlin Bassett (2008 – present), 90* caps
GA: Natalie Medhurst (2007 – 2017), 86 caps
WA: Kim Green (2008 – 2015), 74 caps
C: Kim Ravaillion (2013 – present), 57* caps
WD: Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan) (2009 – 2017), 57 caps
GD: Bec Bulley (2005 – 2015), 42 caps
GK: Laura Geitz (2008 – 2018), 71 caps

BENCH:

Sharni Layton (2009 – 2017), 46 caps
Julie Corletto (nee Prendergast) (2007 – 2015), 42 caps
Susan Pettitt (2006 – 2018), 71 caps
Caitlin Thwaites (2012 – present), 47* caps
Madi Robinson (nee Browne) (2009 – 2018), 61* caps

*At time of publish

Watson dominates at Netball Australia Awards

WITH the Netball Australia Awards done and dusted for season 2018, it was Liz Watson who once again cleaned up thanks to her dominate performance at both the domestic and international level.

The Vixens centre-court player is no stranger to the big stage and this year was no different taking out the Liz Ellis Diamond and Australia’s International Player of the Year, credit to her incredible performance on the world stage. But the accolades did not stop there for the superstar wing attack, also winning the Vixens Sharelle McMahon Award handed out to the clubs best and fairest. Watson is renowned for her pin point precision around the goal circle, her timely feeds and most importantly her ability to read the play and make an impact. She has also shown her versatility rotating through wing attack and centre at times to provide that attacking prowess across the court. The 24- year old has speed to burn and can run all day making her a valuable asset to any side.

Watson was amongst a host of other players recognised at Netball Australia’s night of nights with Jhaniele Fowler taking out Suncorp Super Netball’s Player of the Year. The Jamaican goal shooter had a major influence on the West Coast Fever providing that spark they needed to make it to the finals. Scoring a whopping 783 goals for the home and away season the 198cm tall shooter proved to be a dominant force in the goal circle with her accuracy second to none.

While Fowler herself was a revelation for the Fever so too was their head coach Stacy Marinkovich who claimed the Joyce Brown Suncorp Super Netball Coach of the Year award. After finishing the 2017 season in seventh position the Fever climbed their way up the ladder, showing they were a real force to be reckoned with. Marinkovich’s acquisition of the star Jamaican shooter, strong defensive combination of Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis along with the experience of Natalie Medhurst made West Coast a clear threat in the Suncorp Super Netball league.

Former Diamond representatives were also acknowledged with the likes of retiring superstar Laura Geitz, Sharni Layton, Erin Bell, Susan Pettitt and Madi Robinson being honoured. Robinson is set to continue with the Magpies but has stepped away from international competition allowing Collingwood to be her main focus.

Suncorp Super Netball movers and shakers

THE 2019 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) series will play host to a range of different look teams with many players finding new homes across the league. The 2018 season bid farewell to many fan favourites with the likes of Laura Geitz, Rebecca Bulley and Susan Pettitt pulling on the dress for the last time. But the Magpies were hit the hardest with Sharni Layton, Shae Browne and Erin Bell all retiring.

Layton ended her career on a high racking up 37 deflections, 38 intercepts and 12 rebounds for the season capping off a highly decorated career. The former Diamonds captain played for the Magpies in the SSN but before the competitions establishment she played for the New South Wales Swifts and with the Adelaide Thunderbirds after debuting in 2004. Another big retiree was Laura Geitz who made her netball comeback after giving birth last year. Geitz led the Firebirds to three premierships and captained Australia to a host of international titles such as World Cup and Commonwealth gold.

Amongst all the retirements there was also plenty of dress swapping with the Sunshine Coast Lightning losing three big names. English goal keeper Geva Mentor has found a new home at Collingwood returning to Melbourne after a two-year stint with the Lightning. Speedster Kelsey Browne is also set to join Mentor and her sister Madi Robinson in the black and white. Lightning goal shooter and Australian captain Caitlin Bassett also departed the club signing with the GWS GIANTS. In reply to the loss of key players across the court, Lightning recruited New Zealand netball royalty, Laura Langman along with South African defender Phumza Maweni. The Lightning also picked up Ugandan shooting sensation Peace Proscovia in hope to replace Bassett.

Not only did the Magpies sign Mentor and Browne they also secured former Diamond Natalie Medhurst who had a stellar season with the Fever. Her timely passes and experience will pay dividends in the shooting circle with former Adelaide Thunderbirds goal shooter Shimona Nelson pulling on the black and white dress next season filling the absence of Caitlin Thwaites. Thwaites is set to make her highly anticipated return to the Vixens after nine years with current goal shooter, Mwai Kumwenda set for a stint on the sidelines.

In hope to rise-up the ladder the Adelaide Thunderbirds have signed a wealth of experience and talent with New Zealand long bomb specialist Maria Folau set to take the court along with England Roses defender Layla Guscoth. The Thunderbirds also managed to secure Beth Cobden, former Collingwood goal attack Cody Lange and impressive young defender Shamera Sterling.

While some teams had major changes to their line-up the likes of the Queensland Firebirds, West Coast Fever, Melbourne Vixens and NSW Swifts kept their lists relatively the same in hope to build on their impressive form.