Tag: Tayla Fraser

2019 SSN season team review: NSW Swifts

IT was a fairytale season for the NSW Swifts, claiming their first premiership since 2008. Despite being devastated with injuries throughout the season the Swifts maintained their structures and game plan, treasuring the ball and working it down the court with ease.

Position: 2nd
Percentage: 111.92%
Win-loss:10-1-3

Overview:

Goal keeper Sarah Klau had a breakout season, imposing herself on the contest up the defensive end with her hands over pressure, rotation through the circle and ability to read the play. Her combination with Maddy Turner steadily developed over the season with the duo posing a dominant threat, nullifying access into the goal circle and picking off passes. Prior to her season-ending ankle injury, Kate Eddy worked wonders with the towering wing defence able to ply her trade in a number of positions and force turnovers with her extra height and deceptive speed. But with Eddy gone the introduction of Katrina Rore paid dividends with the New Zealand international adding extra experience, netball nous and X-factor down back. Captain Maddy Proud’s season was cut short, tearing her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in Round 7 and while her absence was sorely missed, English international Nat Haythornthwaite along with Elle Bennetts and Tayla Fraser all did their bit to propel the ball forward. Paige Hadley also lifted her intensity, taking full control of the midcourt in Proud’s absence. Goal attack, Helen Housby was plagued with injury in the latter part of the season but showcased her class and skill to stand up in the big moments and command the ball when needed, while Sam Wallace lifted another gear, working tirelessly under the post. Wallace stood up in the goal circle using her strong holds and accuracy to post to cause havoc for the opposition.

Shining light:

The Trinidad and Tobago goal shooter is no stranger to the big stage, well and truly bringing the heat in season 2019. Cool, calm and composed under the post, Wallace looked unphased by everything that came her way, reeling in lobs and using her silky footwork to manoeuvre around the body of her opponent. She backed herself from range and showed she was not afraid to swing the ball around the circle edge to reposition when needed. Wallace constantly provided an option under the post using her commanding figure to slot goal after goal, making her an integral player for the Swifts.

Predictions 2020:

This year proved that the Swifts have plenty of depth despite being struck by injury time and time again. The likes of Fraser, Sophie Garbin and Turner all showed they have what it takes to make it to the big time and with further court time can clearly develop into stars of the future. The core group of players at the Swifts is already strong meaning the further development of the young up and coming players could cause headaches for the opposition. Garbin has showcased her versatility throughout the season switching between goal attack and goal shooter seamlessly while Fraser provides plenty of energy, speed and excitement to the attack end.

2019 Australian Development Team & Squad

WITH a big season of international netball set to commence, the Australian Diamonds have released a Development Team and Squad consisting of 20 players. The side is dedicated to strengthening the Aussie stocks and fostering the talent of young up-and-coming players to become future Diamonds.

Experienced heads Gabi Simpson, Kate Moloney and Emily Mannix have all been named in the team after missing out on Constellation Cup selection. The trio are renowned for their hard work, endurance and craft in their respective positions and will provide plenty of composure and wisdom on the court given the youth and inexperience.

After a breakout season, it is no surprise Sunshine Coast Lightning versatile shooter Cara Koenen got the nod in the team. The 23-year-old played an integral role in the Lightning’s finals berth with her accuracy, clever footwork and strong holds all but cementing her spot in the starting side. Given her scope the training squad could be just the beginning and a stepping stone for the talented goaler who oozes composure and class. Teammate Maddy McAuliffe also got the call up with the wing defence plying her trade credit to her hands over pressure and tagging style of defence.

Despite of a lack of court time in 2019 through injury Matilda Garrett has been named in the Development Squad thanks to her defensive pressure while fellow Magpie Gabby Sinclair has also secured a spot. After coming in as a replacement player for Maddy Proud at the Swifts youngster Tayla Fraser has earned a spot in the squad with her dynamic movement and speed to boot a real feature of her game. Fellow Swift, Sophie Garbin also got the nod in the Development Team after an impressive season with her accuracy and strength on full display throughout the year. Other shooters such as Kiera Austin and Alice Teague-Neeld have also been selected with Austin renowned for her versatility, silky movement and general netball know how able to adapt to just about any situation on the court.

Queensland Firebirds defensive duo Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe also landed a spot in the Development Team with their hard work throughout the season well and truly recognised. Both Hincliffe and Jenner have plenty of class paired with tenacity and a desire to hunt any cross-court ball making them a promising combination. Teammate Jemma Mi Mi also caught the eye of selectors with her speed, agility and ability to stop on a dime.

The GIANTS are well represented with Kristiana Manu’a and Amy Parmenter both in the team, along with 28-year-old goal keeper Sam Poolman who was selected in the squad. Parmenter burst onto the scene this season with her speed off the mark, ability to read the play and skill to cover the court. West Coast Fever duo Jess Anstiss and Olivia Lewis will also be hoping to have an impact while Hannah Petty is the only representative from the Thunderbirds after having a solid season in the midcourt with her drives and speed.

2019 Australian Development Team
Jess Anstiss
Kiera Austin
Sophie Garbin
Tara Hinchliffe
Kim Jenner
Cara Koenen
Emily Mannix
Kristiana Manu’a
Maddy McAuliffe
Jemma Mi Mi
Kate Moloney
Amy Parmenter
Gabi Simpson
Alice Teague-Neeld

2019 Australian Development Squad
Tayla Fraser
Matilda Garrett
Olivia Lewis
Hannah Petty
Sam Poolman
Gabby Sinclair

NSW Swifts dash Lightning dreams of a three-peat

IT was a miraculous performance by the NSW Swifts who reigned supreme against the Lightning (47-64) to clench their first premiership since 2008. The win ended a five-game losing streak against the Lightning but most importantly gifted them with the trophy after a dominant 2019 season.

From the first whistle, the battle was on with both sides competing hard and not giving an inch. But it was the Swifts that jumped out of the blocks going on a three-goal shooting spree thanks to Sam Wallace. Uncharacteristic turnovers from the Lightning gifted their counterparts with easy avenues to goal before Cara Koenen answered with a couple of goals of her own but it was not enough to quell the influence of the Swifts who threw everything at them. With momentum swinging back and forth the Swifts took the game by the scruff off the neck with Wallace and Sarah Klau completely dominating their opponent with their pressure and silky skills. Klau imposed herself on every single pass contesting the high balls time and time again and using her feet to cleanly get around the body of Koenen. The Swifts goal keeper notched up three gains, one intercept, two deflections and two rebounds. Inaccuracy cost the Lightning with Steph Wood missing a sitter resulting in a turnover and giving the Swifts another shot at goal. Wallace was on song early relishing the space and dominating under the post with her split and aerial skill. At the 12 and a half minute mark, Noeline Taurua swung the axe forcing Wood to the bench, pushing Koenen out to goal attack and Peace Proscovia into goal shooter. The combination between the two paid dividends, going on a scoring rampage to peg the margin back before the Swifts called a timeout to calm the troops. The Swifts headed into the first break up by four goals.

The game continued at a frenetic pace but it was the Lightning that struck first with a quick fire goal. But the Swifts did not ease up with Housby quickly answering before the Lightning mounted pressure with Proscovia and Koenen putting on a masterclass in the goal circle with their movement and ball placement. The ball bubbled up and down the court woth both sides unable to settle before Proscovia showed good composure under the post to take her three seconds and nail the goal to get the Lightning back within a goal. The Lightning were coming hard credit to the defensive duo of Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretouris winning ball back while Koenen lifted her work load in attack to deliver the ball into Proscovia and provide an option out the front. Pretoirus took a breathtaking intercept miday through the term but the Lightning lost it through transition with the ball firing back down into the circle resulting in yet another Wallace goal. With seven minutes down in the second term Sophie Garbin entered the game with the goal attack taking control and throwing her body around to work the ball into the circle. The physicality lifted up another notch with bodies flying everywhere with Pretorius finding the floorboards twice within a couple of minutes. But a costly turnover in the middle third for the Lightning allowed the Swifts to push back out to three goal lead and build from there. Lightning once again looked to the bench bringing Wood back on but it was not enough with the Sunshine Coast down by eight at half-time.

Up by eight goals after the main break, the Swifts maintained their intensity nullifying the influence of the Lightning and working in overdrive to extend their lead. Wood failed to impact the scoreboard missing a crucial goal in the opening minutes of the quarter and allowing the Swifts to pile on a quick couple of goals. Wood did not slot her first goal until four minute of the term but up the other end Wallace and Housby dominated with Maweni and Pretorius struggling despite a couple of good attempts to regain possession for their side. The Lightning nailed two goals in a row prompting a Swifts timeout but that attacking thrust was quickly quashed with the Swifts owning the rest of the term. Nat Haythornthwaite lifted her load in attack while Paige Hadley continued to find good space. Maweni took a ridiculous intercept but was equally matched by Klau up the other end reading the flight of the ball and propelling the ball back down the court with ease. the third quarter was dominated by plenty of whistle with the umpires having a huge influence on the Lightning defensive unit. With the Sunshine Coast struggling Jacqui Russell entered the game while Koenen made her way back on in goal shooter at the 13 minute mark but it made no impact with the Swifts nudging out to a 10-goal lead.

With only 15 minutes left in the game, the Swifts ran it home making the most of their opportunities under the post. They answered every challenge posed controlling the game with their clever passes and strong structures. In possibly her last game, veteran Laura Langman played her heart out running hard both ways but it was not enough to drag her side over the line. NSW were simply too good and ran rampant in the last term with the fans well and truly riding every bump, goal and intercept. Sophie Halpin made her way onto the court in the final five minutes while Garbin (six from seven) also re-entered replacing Wallace at the post. With three minutes left Annika-Lee Jones pulled on the goal keeper bib while Tayla Fraser also came on for the Swifts. Wallace dominated with (40 from 44) winning the Player of the Match award while Housby notched up (18 from 22). For the Lightning Koenen topscored with (23 from 27).

STARTING LINE-UPS:

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

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

NSW Swifts:

GS | Sam Wallace
GA | Helen Housby
WA | Nat Haythornthwaite
C | Paige Hadley
WD | Katrina Rore
GD | Maddy Turner
GK | Sarah Klau

SSN Team of the Week: Semi-finals

THE Melbourne Vixens and Sunshine Coast Lightning dominated our Draft Central Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) Team of the Week credit to their impressive performance in the semi-finals. After a disappointing performance in the semi-finals both the Magpies and Swifts failed to have players nominated for this weeks team.

GK: Emily Mannix (Melbourne Vixens)

The Melbourne Vixens goal keeper did her homework throughout the week, nullifying the influence of opponent Shimona Nelson under the post. Her ability to contest the hands of Nelson and block easy access into the circle put her side in good stead. Mannix set the tone early getting up high and using her footwork to get around the body of Nelson and confuse the space to pick off passes and clog the goal circle. She picked up five gains and four intercepts while staying away from the whistle with 11 penalties for the match showing her ability to stay in place and cause headaches for the Collingwood attack end.

GD: Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

It is no surprise Pretorius made the Team of the Week once again with another incredible performance reducing the impact of both Helen Housby and Sophie Garbin throughout the match. Her dynamic movement and strength across the court enabled her to get hands to ball with ease. Pretorius displayed her skill and netball know how to pick up ground balls and work the angles to manoeuvre around the body and get timely tips. Her quick feet and impressive vision was on full display collecting four gains, three intercepts and four deflections.

WD: Renae Ingles (Melbourne Vixens)

In what could have been her last game the Melbourne Vixens veteran left nothing to chance completely dominating Kimiora Poi. From the first whistle Ingles showed her intent using her long reach to block the vision of her opposition while also putting in a wealth of work off the body to limit the space. Her ability to block the drive of Poi and reduce her impact across the court was second to none while her skill to bring the ball back down the court played a huge part in the Vixens success.

C: Laura Langman (Sunshine Coast Lightning)

The Lightning captain set the tone in the opening seconds of the game making her a sure start in Draft Central’s Team of the Week. Langman is no stranger to the big stage, well and truly taking ownership across the midcourt for Sunshine Coast with her strong drives and immense defensive pressure. She took her game to a whole other level contesting every single pass and running rings around both Paige Hadley and Tayla Fraser amassing two intercepts and two gains. Although her defensive pressure was elite her ability to feed the ball into the circle was impressive with 46 feeds resulting in 18 goal assists.

WA: Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens)

After a quiet week Watson proved her worth and experience dominating in the attacking third with her strong drives, quick hands and ability to exploit space. Her timing was on full display throughout the game hitting the circle edge with precision and working the angles well to hold space. Watson varied her passes into the circle delivering ball into Thwaites and Philip effortlessly with 22 goal assists.

GA: Tegan Philip (Melbourne Vixens)

Philip had another stellar performance with the goal attack taking full advantage of the space she was granted. She ran hard throughout the game and proved to be a real playmaker for the Vixens setting up clever plays and sticking to her strengths driving through the circle and burning April Brandley on the entry. Her ability to stop on a dime and turn and shoot was second to none while her connection with Thwaites under the post proved hard to stop for the Collingwood defenders. Philip notched up 29 goals from 36 attempts at 81 per cent.

GS: Caitlin Thwaites (Melbourne Vixens)

The talented goal shooter made her presence felt from the get go showing her versatility coming out of the goal circle while also holding strong under the post. Her ability to turn and shoot from anywhere in the circle made her a real force to be reckoned with nailing 29 goals from 33 attempts at 88 per cent. Thwaites displayed her silky footwork and strength to out body Geva Mentor on more than one occasion.

BENCH: Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning), Cara Koenen (Sunshine Coast Lightning), Kate Moloneyy (Melbourne Vixens)

All three players dominated for their respective sides but were narrowly nudged out of their starting position and instead earned a spot on the bench for this rounds Team of the Week. Phumza Maweni was exceptional in defence holding up the goal circle for the Lightning with her quick feet and ability to get hands to ball. Her impressive timing and vision proved too strong for the Swifts who struggled to combat her defensive prowess with the goal keeper notching up three gains, two intercepts and nine deflections. Up the other end, Cara Koenen impressed while on court commanding the ball under the post and backing herself time and time again to slot a game high 30 goals from 32 attempts at 94 per cent. Koenen made no mistake in the goal circle positioning well under the post to pick up four rebounds while using her speed and vision to work the baseline. Through the midcourt Melbourne Vixens centre and MVP for the game, Kate Moloney highlighted her dazzling form. Moloney ran hard throughout the game constantly re-offering around the circle edge and using the ball cleverly to slice through the defence.

Lightning three-peat on the cards

THE Lightning put the minor premiership curse to bed, running out 10-goal victors against the NSW Swifts (58-48) in the first semi-final. It was neck and neck early, with both sides contesting hard before the Sunshine Coast pulled away, exploiting the Swifts’ vulnerabilities at every turn.

Lightning centre, Laura Langman set the tone within the first 30 seconds of the game with an impressive intercept off the centre pass and propelling the ball down the court. The Swifts quickly answered steadying the ship across the court and working well to reduce easy access into the circle for their opposition. Both teams were up and about going goal for goal for most the quarter and proving accuracy was no issue only missing two goals collectively. Upon returning from injury, Helen Housby showcased her dominance under the post slotting seven goals straight while also displaying her play making ability delivering the ball into goal shooter Sam Wallace with ease. Wing attack Natalie Haythornthwaite showed her experience and class carving up the attacking third with her strength, vision and second phase work notching up six goal assists for the term. With the Swifts gaining control Phumza Maweni stood up in defence with the goal keeper posing a dominant force getting hands to ball and using her aerial ability to pick up three gains and to intercepts. But with the clock counting down Housby once again delivered nailing her seventh goal to hand her side a one goal lead heading into the quarter time break.

Only down by one goal Sunshine Coast started with the centre pass but failed to capitalise giving the Swifts an opportunity to score consecutive goals. Wallace lifted her intensity in attack using her leap to reign in ball while piling on four goals straight before the Lightning wrestled back some momentum thanks to Cara Koenen. The young goal shooter put on a show in the goal circle standing strong and demanding the ball under the post nailing 10 goals from 11 attempts while partner-in-crime, Steph Wood pulled out all the tricks of the trade to create space and feed the ball in with ease. Wood used her dynamic movement, silky footwork and quick hands to work the angles and re-offer both in the circle and on the circle edge. With Housby still returning from injury and the Lightning starting to get on top defensively, Sophie Garbin made her way onto the court late in the quarter. Garbin had an immediate impact going to post and offering a good link through the midcourt to transition the ball into the goal circle. Despite the changes the Lightning suppressed the Swifts to 11 goals in the term while adding on 14 goals themselves establishing a two goal lead at the main break.

The third quarter or premiership quarter well and truly came to fruition with the Lightning running rampant across each third. Goal defence Karla Pretorius came to life denying the Swifts any movement in the attacking third and applying a mountain load of pressure. Pretorius contested every single pass and showcased her ability to read the play picking up two intercepts, two gains and one deflection for the term. Her work with Maweni caused headaches for the Swifts forcing Wallace to the bench after a relatively shaky performance under the post. With a five goal Lightning spree midway through the quarter the Swifts tinkered with the line-up bringing on Tayla Fraser and Sophie Halpin pushing Paige Hadley and Maddy Turner to the bench. Hadley struggled throughout the quarter to keep up with Langman who was putting on a show both offensively and defensively credit to her high endurance and netball know how. The changes did not stop there for the Swifts with Katrina Rore moving into goal defence in hope to reduce the Lightning’s attacking forays. But it was not enough with the Sunshine Coast adding 18 goals to their tally while keeping the Swifts to a mere 10 goals.

With one quarter left to play the Lightning left nothing to chance maintaining their intensity and running hard to shut down the Swifts options in attack. Peace Proscovia (six from seven) entered the game replacing Koenen at the post and offered a solid option under the ring with her strength and aerial skill on full display. Up the other end, Garbin made her presence felt in the goal finding her rhythm straight away only missing one goal for the quarter. Defensively Sarah Klau stepped up albeit a little too late picking up three gains, two intercepts and two deflections. Each Swift shooter nailed 16 goals apiece with Garbin and Housby notching up 16 from 18 at 89 per cent, while Wallace was slightly less accurate with 16 from 19 at 84 per cent. For the Lightning, Koenen was the go to girl slotting 30 goals from 32 attempts at 84 per cent followed by Wood with 22 from 29 at 76 per cent. The win secured the Lightning a home grand final and a shot at their third premiership.

STARTING LINE-UPS:

Sunshine Coast Lightning:

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

NSW Swifts:

GS | Sam Wallace
GA | Helen Housby
WA | Natalie Haythornthwaite
C | Paige Hadley
WD | Katrina Rore
GD | Maddy Turner
GK | Sarah Klau

Magpies triumph over NSW Swifts

THE Magpies claimed an emphatic win against ladder leaders NSW Swifts in Tasmania to keep their finals aspirations alive (64-56). Despite the impressive win, the Magpies’ victory was soured by an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury to speedster and playmaker Kelsey Browne midway through the second term.

Collingwood came out with a real spring in their step in the first quarter led by goal defence, April Brandley. She showed great intent from the first whistle contesting every single ball that came her way and getting hands to ball with two gains, one intercept and three deflections for the first term. The defensive pressure was up right across the court with Geva Mentor showcasing her class in the circle credit to her three-foot marking and cleanliness to build pressure on Sam Wallace and Sophie Garbin. Wallace was relatively unfazed by the physicality displaying her composed nature to slot nine goals straight while Garbin faded in and out of the game. The Magpies were relentless across the court pushing the Swifts wide and forcing uncharacteristic turnovers notching up seven compared to their five. NSW struggled to build momentum with their connections failing to fire allowing the Magpies to claim the first bonus point of the game with a 17-13 first term.

With the ball struggling to penetrate the Collingwood defensive end the Swifts made a host of changes across the court. Natalie Haythornthwaite moved from wing attack into goal attack and had an immediate impact, proving she was not afraid to turn and shoot. She was a real play maker in the attacking third and goal circle for the Swifts sighting Wallace on the lead while notching up seven goals. Paige Hadley switched from centre into wing attack while youngster Tayla Fraser stepped up into the centre. The Swifts took a while to adjust to the changes in the attacking third while Briony Akle tinkered with the defensive structure moving Silver Fern Katrina Rore into goal defence and bringing Sophie Halpin onto wing defence. The Magpies seemed relatively settled given the changes sticking to their structures and working through the Swifts bursts of energy. Shimona Nelson and Nat Medhurst put on a clinic in the goal circle with both shooters sitting at 100 per cent for the term. With the Magpies front end humming injury struck with Browne landing awkwardly sending shockwaves throughout the stadium. The dynamic wing attack left the court in the arms of trainers bringing Kimiora Poi into the game for the Pies.

The Magpies built on their four-goal lead after half-time with Ash Brazill lifting her load in attack. The dynamic and athletic centre dominated through the midcourt with her timely drives, clever feeds into the circle and vision to pierce through the defence with nine goal assists for the term. Nelson continued her dominance under the post with 16 goals from 17 attempts while Medhurst did a wealth of work out the front flinging the ball around the attacking third and using the angles to open Nelson up under the post. Sarah Klau struggled to have her usual impact in the defensive end for the Swifts with the ball sailing over the head of her time and time again credit to the placement from Brazill and Medhurst. Poi did not seem out of place connecting with the Collingwood attack end while Kim Ravaillion did the little things well, re-offering across the court. Unhappy with their output, the Swifts made more changes with Elle Bennetts donning the wing attack bib in the dying minutes of the third quarter while Maddy Turner returned to the court in goal defence but it was to no avail with Collingwood sticking strong and claiming their second bonus point of the game.

Still struggling to find their rhythm across the court the Swifts reverted to their starting seven before switching Rore into goal keeper and forcing Klau to the bench. Both Nelson and Medhurst were simply unstoppable in the goal circle with neither missing a shot in the final term. Nelson finished with 52 goals from 54 attempts at 96 per cent credit to her strength on the take and composure under the post. Both Mentor and Brandley went from strength to strength throughout the game with the English international amassing two gains, five deflections and one pickup while Brandley notched up two deflections and two pickups. Haythornthwaite lifted her load in attack feeding into Garbin and Wallace (39/41) with ease but the Magpies did not let up. The Magpies showed great intensity throughout the match pushing hard but on the other hand the Swifts failed to play their usual brand of netball frazzled with ball in hand and undisciplined.

STARTING LINE-UP:

Collingwood Magpies:

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

NSW Swifts:

GS | Sam Wallace
GA | Sophie Garbin
WA | Natalie Haythornthwaite
C | Paige Hadley
WD | Katrina Rore
GD | Maddy Turner
GK | Sarah Klau

Lightning strikes twice against NSW Swifts

THE Sunshine Coast Lightning asserted their dominance on the competition once again with a huge come-from-behind win over NSW Swifts in a top-of-the-table clash over the weekend. The Swifts had a chance to tie things up in the dying seconds of the game but a crucial miss from youngster Sophie Garbin saw the Lightning propel the ball down the court and slot another goal to run out two-goal victors.

Cara Koenen got the nod at goal shooter for the second consecutive week and did not disappoint with the tall and athletic goaler only missing one shot for the term. Koenen shouldered the load in attack piling on 10 goals while Steph Wood laboured, struggling to hit the scoreboard sitting at 50 percent for the first quarter with three goals from six attempts. Although she did not capitalise under the post Wood did a wealth of work out the front delivering the ball into Koenen and setting up the play in the attacking third. The Swifts had a new look shooting combination with Helen Housby back home in Sydney after sustaining a corked thigh and unable to make the journey. 22-year-old Sophie Garbin was poised with the task of goal attack with the typical goal shooter forced out of her comfort zone. Garbin had minimal impact on the scoreboard in the opening quarter with only one goal but shooting partner Sam Wallace stood up time and time again, reigning in errant passes and using her silky footwork to claim clever positioning under the post nailing nine goals. The Lightning were firing on all cylinders with their slick ball movement and connections through attack, stunning the Swifts claiming a three goal lead at quarter time.

The tables quickly turned in the second quarter with NSW showcasing their attacking prowess and lifting their intensity right across the court. Silver Fern, Katrina Rore made her debut for the club replacing Sophie Halpin in at wing defence using her long arms, quick feet and experience to cause havoc and slow down the Lightning attack. Rore slotted right into the defensive unit allowing Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner to go out hunting and pick off passes with Klau notching up three gains, one intercept and four deflections. With the back end lifting their load, Swifts coach Briony Akle made a change through the midcourt bringing on youngster Tayla Fraser. The wing attack found good space, hit the circle edge hard and showcased her impressive vision to sight Wallace and Garbin under the post with eight feeds. Wood continued to struggle in attack for the Lightning not hitting the scoreboard while Sunshine Coast goal keeper Phumza Maweni did her role winning back ball for her side and doing it cleanly. The South African international showcased her ability to read the play, clever footwork to get around the body and netball nous with two gains and one intercept for the quarter. Scores were tied at half time at 25 goals apiece however the Swifts claimed their first bonus point of the game with a 15 goals to 12 quarter.

The Swifts had all the ascendancy throughout the third term, slicing and dicing through the defence while also winning their fair share of the ball back. Klau, Rore and Turner all forced turnovers while Paige Hadley showcased her speed and ball placement to fly through the midcourt and transition from one end to the other with ease. Garbin came into her own in the third quarter shooting four goals with her feeds into the circle a real feature of her game, helping to set up the Swifts attacking foray. Although the Swifts seemed to have all the momentum the Lightning were never out of the contest with dynamic defender Karla Pretorius putting on a masterclass. Pretorius amassed three gains and three intercepts while doing a wealth of work at the centre pass to bring the ball down the court with three receives. Wing defence Jacqui Russel was crucial down back applying good hands over pressure with one gain and a deflection but it was not enough to stop the Swifts who well and truly found their rhythm in attack.

Down by four goals at the final change Noeline Taurua made a handful of changes. Wood made her way to the bench forcing Koenen into goal attack while Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia pulled on the goal shooter bib. Madeline McAuliffe relieved Russel in wig defence with the changes taking no time to settle. Laura Langman and Laura Scherian stepped up feeding into Proscovia with ease while Pretorius took a game changing intercept. The Lightning had an extra spring in their step contesting hard for every ball and forcing turnovers to help mount their comeback. With added pressure Natalie Haythornthwaite made her way off the bench and into wing attack providing good leads and clever ball placement but it was little too late. Proscovia nailed 11 goals straight while Wood re-entered the game with less than two minutes to go sinking a long bomb in the dying seconds to claim victory.

STARTING LINE-UP:

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING:

GS | Cara Koenen
GA | Steph Wood
WA | Laura Scherian
C | Laura Langman
WD | Jacqui Russel
GD | Karla Pretorius
GK | Phumza Maweni

NSW SWIFTS:

GS | Sam Wallace
GA | Sophie Garbin
WA | Natalie Haythornthwaite
C | Paige Hadley
WD | Sophie Halpin
GD | Maddy Turner
GK | Sarah Klau

SSN Preview: Round 11

ROUND 11 of Suncorp Super Netball will see a battle of one and two take place, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning taking on the NSW Swifts in hope to claim top spot. Meanwhile the improving West Coast Fever take on the Melbourne Vixens who are in hot form while Collingwood will be hoping to make their way back into the top four.

MELBOURNE VIXENS v. WEST COAST FEVER

The Melbourne Vixens are going from strength to strength and will be wanting to put the West Coast Fever away, given last time they met neither side could be separated ending in a 63-all draw. Both sides match up relatively evenly across the court given the star power up both ends but the battle could be won in the midcourt with the Vixens oozing a more dominant and experienced line-up compared to the Fever. Renae Ingles has been in career best form with her defensive pressure and drive through the midcourt an integral part of the Vixens’ play. Liz Watson and Kate Moloney control the attacking third with their clever ball placement and speed, making for an interesting match-up against Jess Anstiss, Verity Charles and Ingrid Colyer. Meanwhile, Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip are near-on unstoppable under the post when on song. While Fever have no shortage of match winners themselves with Jhaniele Fowler a commanding figure under the post, Alice Teague-Neeld and Kaylia Stanton must stand up if West Coast are of any chance to claim a big scalp against one of the most in form sides in the competition. The Vixens have plenty of options in defence with Emily Mannix, Jo Weston and Kadie-Ann Dehaney all able to win ball back and apply good physical pressure to attack opposition hands and cause turnovers.

SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING v. NSW SWIFTS

In a top of the ladder clash the Swifts will be seeking vengeance in the reverse fixture after going down to the Lightning by two goals early in the season. Having only lost to the Lightning this season the Swifts will want to notch up a win against Sunshine Coast before finals to give them that edge and belief. The Swifts announced a big name recruit this week with Katrina Rore set to come into the side as a permanent replacement player for Kate Eddy. The New Zealand Silver Fern will add great defensive pressure to an already star-studded line up with the likes of Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner impressive in their own right. Both sides play a very different style of netball with the Swifts renowned for their ability to treasure possession while the Lightning are more flashy with ball in hand, making for an exciting contest. Sunshine Coast defenders, Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni have been in red hot form picking up plenty of ball, causing all sorts of confusion in the goal circle and using their speed to pickpocket opponents. The combination between the pair is developing with each game while Laura Langman and Laura Scherian have really steered the ship in attack, delivering good ball into the likes of Steph Wood, Peace Proscovia and Cara Koenen. Youngster Tayla Fraser stood up for the Swifts last round and will be wanting to bring that strong form into this match-up while the Swifts have a plethora of options with the likes of Natalie Haythornthwaite and Elle Bennetts also able to come on and play their role.

GIANTS NETBALL v. QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS

The Firebirds got within striking distance last round only going down by two goals to the Lightning and will be hoping to continue that final quarter performance this round against the GIANTS. However, the GIANTS have built nicely into the season with all the little things falling into place with Caitlin Bassett and Jo Harten well and truly living up to the hype with their accuracy and volume to post. The last time these two sides met the GIANTS claimed an eight goal victory credit to their attacking prowess and netball smarts. The inexperienced Firebirds defensive duo of Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe will once again be tested up against Harten and Bassett while Laura Clemesha could provide a good sense of leadership if brought on. For the GIANTS, the combination between Sam Poolman and Kristiana Manu’a has increased rapidly over the break with the two applying strong defensive pressure but will be tested athletically up against the likes of Romelda Aiken and Gretel Tippett. Both Tippett and Aiken are an imposing threat when on song given their clever shooter to shooter interplay, strong attack and aerial skill while Lenize Potgieter is also an option in the goal circle. Being the first and only game in Canberra for the season, the GIANTS will want to secure their fifth win of the season at their home away from home and stake a claim on the top four.

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS v. COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES

After dropping out of the top four the Collingwood Magpies will be wanting to work their way back into finals contention while the Adelaide Thunderbirds have shown that they can stand up under the pressure staying in touch and pushing teams to their limits. The Magpies have won the past five encounters and will want to keep their hot streak running. The Thunderbirds will be hoping to regain gold medallist Maria Folau after she was a late omission last week. The goaler has plenty of class both under the post and out on the outskirts of the circle while partner in crime Sasha Glasgow has showcased her dominance in the attacking third with her strong leads and accuracy to post, finding plenty of the ball no matter her opposition. Defensively the Thunderbirds could struggle in the absence of co-captain and goal defence Layla Guscoth, with Kate Shimmin and Shadine Van De Merwe both feasible options to rotate through while Shamera Sterling must stand strong in goal keeper if they are to stop Collingwood. For the Magpies, Gabby Sinclair could be a key member in attack with her accuracy to post and dynamic movement to aid Shimona Nelson at the post, a player who has come along in leaps and bounds throughout the season. The Magpies will hope Kelsey Browne bounces back to her regular form this week after a slow start last week.

NSW Swifts continue winning ways

THE NSW Swifts fought back after a slow start to run out four-goal victors over a determined West Coast Fever side, 53-49 and secure their spot at the top of the table. With new players across the court, it took the Swifts a while to adjust to the new combinations with Kayla Cullen and Tayla Fraser pulling on the dress for the first time.

Jhaniele Fowler continued her dominance in the goal circle with the towering shooter controlling the airways and reigning in every pass that came her way. She was unfazed by the early physical pressure applied by the Swifts defensive duo showcasing her ability to turn and shoot with 18 goals in the opening term. Goal attack Alice Teague-Neeld also asserted herself on the match with her strong drives across the circle drawing the attention of Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner. Though her accuracy was not on point only converting three of her five attempts her work out the front to feed the ball into Fowler and create space in the attacking third was second to none. Through the midcourt Verity Charles commanded the ball with her speed and quick hands paying dividends for the Fever who relished first use of the ball while her opponent Paige Hadley also impressed for the Swifts. Hadley showcased her skill and experience to take control through the midcourt and constantly re-offer and drive across the court to try and create space. Teammate, Sam Wallace reaped the rewards of Hadley’s work edging herself closer to the post and making the most of her opportunities in the goal circle with 11 from 13.

With Fever claiming the early lead the Swifts fought their way back into the contest credit to their strong structures and clever game play to flick the ball around the court. They treasured possession with 59 per cent compared to the Fever’s 41 showcasing the shift in the game. The shooting load evened up for the Swifts with Helen Housby and Wallace both combining well in the circle and turning it on in the goal circle with Housby nailing nine-straight for the term. Fraser worked tirelessly in wing attack, tussling hard to claim circle edge and feed into Housby and Wallace while her transition was equally as impressive from the youngster. Silver Fern Cullen replaced Sophie Halpin at the end of the second quarter and although she took some time to adjust and find the connections she made an immediate impact with her long arm span and quick feet blocking Ingrid Colyer at every opportunity. The Swifts were not the only side to make wholesale changes with Stacy Marinkovich throwing the bibs around in the midcourt. Jess Anstiss moved from wing defence into centre while Stacey Francis was injected into the game pushing Charles to the bench but it was not enough to stop the Swifts who had well and truly found their groove across the court to hold a two-goal buffer heading into half time.

Quarter scores were all tied up in the third with both sides nailing 12 goals apiece showcasing the increased intensity. Still searching for an answer through the midcourt and in defence, Fever made another change with Charles re-entering the game at centre and Francis pushing back into goal defence. Meanwhile Courtney Bruce continued to dominant down back with five deflections and one gain in the quarter working overtime on Wallace and Housby. The changes seemed to work with Fever going on an early run piling on four goals to two and cutting the deficit to break even. In attack Fowler continued to impose herself on the contest shooting goal after goal and making it look easy while Teague-Neeld struggled to find her radar only posting one goal and racking up two turnovers. But the Swifts stuck strong and kept themselves in the contest.

With the game on the line the NSW Swifts pulled out all the stops to claim the points and put Fever to bed. Marinkovich made another change to her line-up bringing Shannon Eagland back on after a rest in the third with the experienced defender working hard to limit the influence of Housby across the court. Halpin also came on to relieve Cullen in wing defence while Sophie Garbin showcased her shooting prowess for NSW capitalising on her opportunities under the post with seven goals from eight attempts. Fraser really built into the game for the Swifts with the youngster finding good space in the last term, using her dynamic footwork to cut and drive through the opposition defence and hit the circle edge. It was a close contest but in the end the Fever fell short unable to maintain a full four quarter performance.

STARTING LINE-UP:

WEST COAST FEVER:

GS | Jhaniele Fowler
GA | Alice Teague-Neeld
WA | Ingrid Colyer
C | Verity Charles
WD | Jess Anstiss
GD | Shannon Eagland
GK | Courtney Bruce

NSW SWIFTS:

GS | Sam Wallace
GA | Helen Housby
WA | Tayla Fraser
C | Paige Hadley
WD | Sophie Halpin
GD | Maddy Turner
GK | Sarah Klau

Victorian Fury claim eighth Australian Netball League title

A MASSIVE finals weekend in the Australian Netball League (ANL) saw the Victorian Fury come out victors for the eighth time in an ANL decider, with a one-goal win over NSW Waratahs on Sunday on home territory at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne. It was a fitting Grand Final between the two top sides of the competition, with Fury the minor premiers having only lost one game for the season and against the Waratahs. Meanwhile, the Tasmanian Magpies beat out Canberra GIANTS in the bronze medal match.

It was an even match across the board, with both sides unwilling to back down from the fight before a tug-of-war with the lead came to fruition in the final quarter. The Fury may have had the lead for much of the game, but the Waratahs refused to go down without a fight. Ex-NSW Swifts captain, Abbey McCulloch took the court for the final time before announcing her retirement, putting on a masterclass in wing defence against the likes of Lara Dunkley and forcing a change in wing attack for Eleanor Leydin, whose connection with Emma Ryde at the post became apparent right away. Fury coaches made constant changes through the midcourt courtesy of the ANL’s rolling substitutions, keeping the Waratahs on their toes with a number of Fury midcourt substitutions switching up the momentum as they forced changes of their own. Ball sneak and Swifts training partner, Sophie Halpin replaced McCulloch and did not skip a beat, challenging every ball and creating turnovers through the midcourt.

Defensively both sides impressed with their composure and hands-over pressure, producing some fantastic defensive efforts to force a battle through the midcourt to create turnover ball. Waratahs defender and Swifts training partner, Lauren Moore was injected early in the first in an effort to combat Ryde’s influence in the goal circle, before a seemingly innocent attempt at intercept saw Moore’s game end early with a suspected shoulder dislocation after a collision with Fury’s Elle McDonald. Starting goal keeper, Clare Iongi retook the court to play out the match, coming into her own against Ryde and causing turnovers to prove the Waratahs were not out of the race.

While one of the more dominant players for the Waratahs in Saturday’s minor semi-final against Tasmanian Magpies, Matisse Letherbarrow (15 goals from 17 attempts) was unable to have the same effect a second time around, seeing Sophie Dwyer shoulder the load and shooting from range to produce a dominant performance, finishing with 31 goals at 92 per cent and named Grand Final MVP for her efforts. While Alison Miller took the court and finished at 100 per cent with seven from seven, it wasn’t enough with Fury defenders challenging every loose ball. The Fury did not lack in connection across court, only switching up players through the midcourt with the ever-reliable Ryde holding strong in the circle (46 from 53) and combining well with Sacha McDonald (seven from 10) who played her feeding role well.

With the Fury leading at the final break it looked like they were ready to put the foot down, before a strong effort from the Waratahs saw the visitors take the lead early in the quarter thanks to some solid defensive work from Iongi and co-captain Nicole Styles, while Tayla Fraser in centre used her speed to find the circle edge and Dwyer from any range in the circle. But the Waratahs forced the lead too early, giving the Fury plenty of opportunity to time their fight back perfectly and finish one goal up by the final siren. Impeccable defensive work from Fury defenders, captain Jacqui Newton and keeper, Rudi Ellis all but cemented the match, producing a match-saving intercept to send the ball down the court and finish off the season on the best possible note.

In Saturday’s semi-finals, Fury defeated Canberra GIANTS by nine goals while the Waratahs came from behind to pip Tasmanian Magpies at the post by four goals to proceed into the Grand Final. In the bronze medal playoff, the Magpies beat the GIANTS by nine goals for a bronze medal to finish off season 2019. Having lost defender, Matilda Garrett after a dominant performance in the semi-final on Saturday, the Magpies came into this match unsure about their chances against a determined GIANTS side. Despite a solid start, the Magpies got the yips with Jane Cook (20 goals from 31 attempts) pushed early by GIANTS training partner, Teigan O’Shannassy. However a stellar performance from Sam Gooden (25 from 30) in goal attack and a miraculous change in goal shooter with long bomber, Zoe Claridge (14 from 15) rotated in for a moving circle, the Magpies were able to take back control and finish well with an 18 goal to 10 final quarter after only leading by one goal at the final break. Magpies keeper, Brooke Allen was impressive on Georgia Marshall (28 from 30), while GIANTS midcourter, Taylah Davies put on a solid performance in wing attack to find the circle edge and find Marshall and Angelina Frketic (22 from 25) in the circle.