Tag: team bath

Who is the biggest threat to Thunder’s crown?

THE 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague Season saw a massive rise in competitiveness across the competition with a number of teams vying for a spot in the finals. While it was Manchester Thunder that got the chocolates last year, any number of teams could have beaten another high flyer on their day in a fairly even season. 

But while 2019 was an exciting year for netball in England, 2020 has already had a phenomenal start with a number of teams proving their off-season pick-ups and form could be a big threat to Thunder’s chances of repeating their 2019 season.

With plenty of teams in the running for the 2020 crown, which teams have the most chance of knocking Manchester off after the first few rounds?

Team Bath

The blue and gold came so close in season 2019, falling at the final hurdle but ultimately coming in third with a six-goal win against Loughborough Lightning in the third place playoff. Where Bath may have fallen last season, they have been nothing if not threateningly consistent this year with three convincing wins under their belt, all by 10-plus margins. Worth noting is that while Manchester currently sits ahead of Bath on the ladder, the Thunder played one more match than Bath prior to the COVID-19 restrictions, meaning Bath could well and truly have been ahead if not for the pandemic. 

Bath lost major names in Serena Guthrie and Eboni Usoro-Brown over the off-season but do not appear to have skipped a beat with the likes of Kim Commane and Imogen Allison stepping up. Commane has so far posted bigger volume and accuracy in the goal circle, while Allison continues to be a barometer for success with her energiser bunny speed and drive through the midcourt. If Bath can continue its early domination when and if matches resume as normal, it could be a real force to be reckoned with come finals.

London Pulse

Ultimately the biggest bolter from a frustrating inaugural season wooden spoon, Pulse have locked down a spot amongst the top of the ladder with three wins from three matches, only behind Bath in percentage. While only one of Pulse’s wins was by a comfortable margin, the side is arguably in a better position than last year where they only managed the two wins – albeit with a very different looking team. 

Key pick-up Sigi Burger has had an immediate impact on court for Pulse, with the South African a dominant fixture at the post with an innate ability to find the ball. Add in speedy Jamaican recruit Adean Thomas through the midcourt and young defensive talent Funmi Fadoju and the new-look side has plenty of excitement up its sleeve. That being said, what the Pulse have in talent they could lack in experience playing together with so many new names, especially when you factor in an unexpected break from all aspects of the team-oriented sport, meaning there is no guarantee that the side has the experience to take it to an inaugural premiership if they were to get there.

Saracens Mavericks

The Mavs certainly have the talent to get there in season 2020 so it will be more about consistency when it comes to the rest of the year, with a very similar side to their 2019 campaign which slipped out of finals contention towards the latter stages of the season. With young talent heading up either end of the court in England Roses members George Fisher and Razia Quashie alongside more experienced names in Sasha and Kadeen Corbin, the Mavericks have plenty of potential to go far if given the chance. Another side with only three matches played prior to restrictions, the Mavericks won their first and third games – interesting both against Severn Stars – and had a close shave against Wasps Netball in Round 2.

Compare the Pair: Serena Guthrie and Imogen Allison

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing England Roses midcourters, Serena Guthrie and Imogen Allison.

The two Team Bath athletes – though Guthrie is taking a season away from the sport – have a plethora of experience together on the court and a similar gamestyle thanks to their midcourt defensive capabilities. Guthrie has been the perfect player for Allison to learn off with the pair sharing crucial attributes like their ability to create turnovers with their unselfish play.

Both are able to switch between being the playmaker holding their opposition at bay and zoning them out, while also being able to create intercepts of their own volition with respective impressive timing and ability to stay away from the whistle. With ability to provide hands over pressure and ply their trade under pressure, the two defenders are real playmakers who can dominate on both a defensive and attacking stage.

Guthrie is one of the leading midcourters in the world thanks to her athleticism and defensive-minded approach to the game. With an outstanding aerial ability and speed to run her opposition off their feet, Guthrie can impact anywhere across the court but still allows her teammates to shine. Her take-off and intensity allow her to fly in and take daring intercepts and deflect crucial ball, while her ability to create turnovers with ease allows her to utilise her athleticism and strength to propel the ball up the court and be ready for any pass through the midcourt.Her anticipation of the play is second to none and can make something out of nothing nine times out of ten, making her a highly exciting player to watch. A player who really builds off the crowd, Guthrie is a real excitement generator thanks to her constant drive and ability to apply pressure.

A highly touted midcourter with an ability to switch between wing defence and centre, Allison is a classy youngster who has a wealth of talent and experience despite her youth. Her ability to use the space to control ball-flow and create intercept opportunities for teammates is terrific while her versatility to switch between positions has allowed her to step up into centre this season in Guthrie’s absence.

Her ability to gather loose ball allows her to provide crucial ball to her teammates and with an ability to transition well down court and provide that extra cog through the centre, Allison is one to watch in the future. Her leadership potential is also impressive, having captained Team Bath while Guthrie and co-captain Eboni Usoro-Brown were away on international duties for the 2019 Netball World Cup, and is part of the 2019/20 England Futures squad.

Which Team Bath and England Roses midcourter is your favourite?
Serena Guthrie
Imogen Allison
Created with QuizMaker

Compare the Pair: Nat Haythornthwaite and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis

THE next instalment in the Draft Central Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the next showcasing England Roses, Nat Haythornthwaite and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis.

Two highly versatile players, Haythornthwaite and Drakeford-Lewis don’t entirely match up – with Haythornthwaite predominantly a wing attack and Drakeford-Lewis typically a goal attack – but both can rotate into the other’s position with ease to create an extra option in and around the circle. With speed and netball nous driving down the court, the pair can both have a big impact on circle edge and have an ability to apply pressure on the scoreboard, throwing an extra spanner in the works for their opposition. The pair were both in the Roses squad for the three-match test series against South Africa in late 2019 and again for the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in January, with Haythornthwaite heading the team.

Haythornthwaite’s eye for the ball and ability to find open space is testament to her work off the body, using her quick feet to evade her opposition and create chaos through attack. Her clean hands and ability to land on circle edge make her a crucial option in attack for the NSW Swifts in the Suncorp Super Netball, working in tandem with fellow England international Helen Housby and crafting a solid partnership in and around the circle. Haythornthwaite does not find herself inside the circle all that often for the Swifts but is a solid option at the post if need be, able to control the ball well and slot in seamlessly. Her ability to get out at the centre is credit to her speed off the mark, quickly gaining ground and propelling the ball down the court.

21-year-old Drakeford-Lewis is still a relatively unknown quantity on the international stage with just the two caps under her belt, but has crafted an impressive pairing at the post with Australian Kim Commane at Team Bath over the past season. She sat at a shooting accuracy of 87 per cent for the 2019 Vitality Netball Superleague season, winning the VNSL Young Player of the Season Award for her effort. With clean hands, quick footwork and an uncanny ability to evade her defender, Drakeford-Lewis continues to ply her trade in the goal circle with accuracy and volume alike. She is not afraid to shoot from distance or play more of a feeder role, able to provide that versatility that the Roses tend to have in the side. Drakeford-Lewis is one of 25 young players we put in our International Young Guns countdown, coming in at number 23.

__

Nat Haythornthwaite
50 caps, 2015-present

Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
2 caps, 2017-present

Do you opt experience or youth of the England Roses in the attacking third?
Nat Haythornthwaite
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
Created with QuizMaker

Netball fantasy teams: ANZ Premiership All-Stars v. VNSL All-Stars

BOTH the ANZ Premiership and Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) play host to a wealth of a-list talent making for some impressive squads. The ANZ Premiership is filled with a multitude of Ferns players while the VNSL also has a couple of Roses featured in the team creating an interesting contest between the two sides.

ANZ Premiership All-Stars:

GK: Jane Watson
GD: Katrina Rore
WD: Karin Burger
C: Shannon Saunders
WA: Gina Crampton
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
GS: Maia Wilson

BENCH: Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Whitney Souness, Phoenix Karaka

The ANZ Premiership is littered with New Zealand Silver Ferns representatives as shown by this stacked line-up. But their strength really lies in their defensive end with Jane Watson taking out the goal keeper position. Watson is a machine down back with her cleanliness, hunt for the ball and ability to shut down opponents with ease a couple of her key attributes. The goal keeper is not afraid to back herself, often out hunting for an intercept with her quick feet doing all the work while her lean over the shot is highly intimidating. Fellow defender and veteran Katrina Rore is one of a kind. Just like a fine wine she continues to get better with time, able to read the play with ease and disrupt the attacking flow of the opposition with her aerial ability and long arms. Rore is never out of the contest always able to weasel her way back into the play and is strong in transition thanks to her offensive minded style of play. Wing defence and partner-in-crime at the Central Pulse, Karin Burger is another key cog down back. Burger has really come into her own in recent seasons with her tenacity and tagging style of defence often wearing opponents down. Her long arms and height causes havoc in the wing defence position while her deceptive speed gives her another competitive edge around circle edge to swat away any passes into the goal circle. Throw in her ability to move into goal defence or keeper and Burger is one of a kind for the All-Stars line-up. Through the midcourt, the tried and tested duo of Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton adds another strong element to the already stacked squad. While Saunders is more defensively minded, she can hit the circle edge and provide an option in attack while teammate, Crampton consistently showcases her impressive vision into the circle with her pinpoint precision passes and good timing. Crampton has good balance around the circle edge and is not often worried by the physicality of the game. Headlining the goal circle is none other than fan favourite Ameliaranne Ekenasio. The highly talented goaler has class to boot able to sink them from just about anywhere in the circle while her impeccable timing is envious. Ekenasio is renowned for her smooth movement in the circle, strong baseline drives, quick ball movement, accuracy and most importantly ability to stand up under pressure. Youngster Maia Wilson takes out the goal shooter position with the towering shooter able to hold strong and provide a commanding target under the post. Unlucky not to make the starting All-Stars squad are Silver Ferns shooter Te Paea Selby Rickit, speedy midcourter Whitney Souness and Northern Mystics defender, Phoenix Karaka.

Vitality Netball Superleague (VNLS) All-Stars:

GK: Razia Quashie
GD: Fran Williams
WD: Nat Panagarry
C: Jade Clarke
WA: Caroline O’Hanlon
GA: Eleanor Cardwell
GS: Rachel Dunn

BENCH: Sigi Burger, Adean Thomas, Eboni Usoro-Brown

Although the VNSL has less Roses players in the competition due to the majority of them joining the Suncorp Super Netball League, there are still plenty of classy players amongst the ranks. When it comes to options in the goal circle there was no shortage of possibilities, however it was veteran and deadeye shooter Rachel Dunn that claimed the starting goal shooter position. Dunn is one of the most experienced shooters in the league with her silky footwork, strong hands and impressive timing consistently on display along with her accuracy. While Eleanor Cardwell is typically suited to the goal shooter position she has proven that she can do just as much damage out in goal attack with her clever ball placement into the circle and strong movement. Through the midcourt Caroline O’Hanlon provides plenty of experience with her gut running and ability to hit the circle edge time and time again. Adding to the experience through the midcourt is Jade Clarke with the Wasps centre consistently able to do the unthinkable. Clarke oozes class, netball understanding and is cautious with ball in hand able to dish off well weighted passes making her an easy pick for the all-stars squad, while also able to move into wing defence given her defensive abilities. Loughborough Lightning’s Nat Pangarry dons the wing defence position thanks to her defensive skills, long arms, speed off the mark and ability to cause havoc down back to propel the ball into the attacking third. She can clog up space with her shadowing movements and can read the play often forcing turnovers. Roses representative Fran Williams takes out the goal defence position. Williams is an excitement machine and works tirelessly down in defence to build pressure and cause confusion with her quick feet and three-footy marking. She is not afraid to go out and hunt the ball and has a good netball nous to sense the moment. Rounding out the starting seven is goal keeper Razia Quashie. The goal keeper is strong, not often outmuscled under the post and uses her long arms to intimidate shooters when going for goal. Making their way onto the bench for the VNSL all-stars is London Pulse and South African goaler Sigi Burger, Jamaican Adean Thomas and former Roses defender Eboni Usoro-Brown.

Who would win?

With plenty of talent amongst both sides it is tricky to decide who would have the edge however given that the ANZ Premiership All-stars team is virtually filled with Silver Ferns players it is fair to say that they should have the upper hand. Their strength clearly lies in the defence end and while the VNSL All-stars line-up has a couple of handy goalers in the mix they would have to be on their a-game to overcome the prowess of the Ferns. The ANZ Premiership squad is strong through the midcourt with their dynamic movement and experience further adding to their competitive edge.

Which All-Stars team would win in this match up?
ANZ Premiership All-Stars
Vitality Netball Superleague All-Stars
Created with Quiz Maker

Commane shooting goals overseas

WITH COVID-19 still holding up much of the sporting world, we will take a look at some Australian names that are making waves overseas, starting with New South Wales born goaler, Kim Commane.

A handy past player for the NSW Swifts (ANZ Championship), Melbourne Vixens and through various Victorian netball pathways, Commane was thrown back into the netball ring in 2018 when Vixens goaler Mwai Kumwenda went down with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, giving Commane an opportunity to rejoin the national league for the first time since 2016 – when she was an injury replacement for Tegan Philip. While being an injury replacement has its downfalls, Commane took it upon herself to make it clear why she deserves a spot on the court and, though it was the final match of the Suncorp Super Netball season, it saw clubs overseas in the Vitality Netball Superleague take notice of her shooting prowess with new and exciting international opportunities coming to fruition.

The goal shooter joined Team Bath for the 2019 season, making an immediate impact. The crafty goaler well and truly cemented her spot in the side, teaming up with the likes of Serena Guthrie, Eboni Usoro-Brown and plenty of other key names, having the ball on a platter for much of the successful season which saw Bath take home the bronze. Commane made herself a key cog in the defensively minded side, transitioning the ball into attack with ease and creating a formidable option at the post with her height, strength and accuracy, using her experience and game smarts to work her way around the goal circle. She collected the Team Bath Players’ Player and Coaches’ Awards in 2019, won multiple match ‘most valued player’ awards and was named Fan Favourite for the season.

Looking towards the 2020 season, Commane once more signed with Team Bath and was named captain this season, leading the new-look side as they hope to go one step further in 2020. Team Bath won its first three rounds before the competition was postponed, sitting in second on the ladder – but having played one less match than its ladder leading rivals and 2019 premiers, Manchester Thunder.  

Commane has impressed on the stats sheet again this season with 137 goals at 92 per cent from just the three appearances and the one turnover to her name. With a never-say-die attitude and a constant drive to improve, Commane is one to watch with plenty left in the tank thanks to her cleanliness and ability to get the job done under pressure.

Commane wrote a preseason Player Diary on the BiG Showdown, which you can read here.

Netball fantasy teams: Australia A v. England A

THERE is no denying that both Australia and England have a wealth of talented players coming up through the ranks therefore Draft Central has created two teams filled with players named in each country’s respective development, extended or futures squads and have played less than 15 international caps.

Australia A:

GK: Tara Hinchliffe
GD: Kim Jenner
WD: Amy Parmenter
C: Jess Anstiss
WA: Jemma Mi Mi
GA: Kiera Austin
GS: Cara Koenen

BENCH: Sophie Garbin, Tayla Fraser, Matilda Garrett

No player in this Australian team has made their international debut yet, but have been named in the development squad credit to their potential. When it comes to weaponry inside the goal circle it is fair to say Australia has a couple of damaging options. Coached by Noeline Taurua for the past three years, Sunshine Coast Lightning goaler Cara Koenen is a force to be reckoned with thanks to her ability to glide across the court, smooth transitions, versatility and ability to shoot from anywhere. Koenen has quickly become an integral member in the Lightning squad and given she is only 24 still has plenty to offer for future years. Fellow goaler Kiera Austin is another handy inclusion with the GIANTS shooter able to switch between both goal attack and wing attack seamlessly. Although she does not put up a wealth of shots her ball placement and precise movement makes her a constant threat in the goal circle. Defensively Australia has a couple of viable options with Firebirds duo Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner both leading the way. The talented defensive unit have shown that they have class to boot with their hands over pressure, deceptive speed and ability to cause timely turnovers. Throw in their versatility able to seamlessly transition between goal keeper and goal defence with ease and both Hinchliffe and Jenner could build a formidable duo for years to come thanks to their tenacity and team work. Wing defence Amy Parmenter had a flash in the pan season in 2019 well and truly bursting onto the scene with her defensive prowess. Her connection with Jenner and Hinchliffe could hypothetically be the connection of the future down back with her gut running and speed a couple of key components of her game. Parmenter quickly became renowned for her pressure inside the defensive third, shadowing her opponents every move and clogging up space to pick off intercepts. Through the midcourt, defensive minded centre Jess Anstiss is another exciting prospect constantly hunting the ball and working hard to propel it back down into the attacking third. Meanwhile speedy wing attack, Jemma Mi Mi will bring plenty of excitement to the Australia A frontline with her dynamic movement, quick ball movement, fancy footwork and deadeye precision. Mi Mi is the third Firebirds player in the line-up showcasing just how much young up and coming talent they have in the ranks, with Mi Mi able to use her dash to create space in the attacking third and feed into the shooters easily. While there is plenty of class on the court, the bench is littered with a host of talent in the likes of Swifts duo Sophie Garbin and Tayla Fraser. Both showcased their dominance last season with Garbin doing the hard yards in the circle and Fraser highlighting her class with ball in hand. Matilda Garrett rounds out the Australia A team, with the highly touted defender able to use her height and smarts to cause havoc.

 

England A:

GK: Summer Artman
GD: Kate Shimmin
WD: Vicki Oyesola
C: Imogen Allison
WA: Gabby Marshall
GA: Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
GS: George Fisher

BENCH: Ella Clark, Yasmin Parsons, Halimat Adio

This team is based off England’s extended squad and players named in the Roses Futures programs. The players named have taken the court less than 15 times internationally and have plenty of potential to develop into key cogs for the Roses in years to come.Starting in the goal circle it is hard to go past the efforts of George Fisher. The talented Saracens Mavericks goal shooter has racked up 12 international caps and will be looking to become a regular in the squad. Renowned for her height, strong hands, clever holds and ability to score freely, Fisher has a bright future ahead of her. In goal attack is Sophie Drakeford-Lewis who was also named in the extended Roses development squad. Drakeford-Lewis is only 21 and is an exciting prospect able to glide across the circle and drive into the circle with confidence. While she does not put up a wealth of shots her ability to detect the space and command the ball under the post makes her an exciting prospect for the future. Through the midcourt the likes of youngster Gabby Marshall is another one to keep your eye on given her success at such a young age. Her on court leadership is something to be envious and knows what it takes to win under pressure taking out the Bronze medal in the 2017 Netball Youth World Cup. Her ability to find space in the attacking third and deliver the ball on a platter to goalers sets her apart from fellow midcourters. Team Bath’s Imogen Allison takes out the centre position with the up and coming centre court player named in the Roses Future squad. She is classy with ball in hand but most importantly is renowned for her immense defensive pressure and gut running. Similar to the likes of Serena Guthrie, Allison has a no-nonsense approach constantly throwing her body on the line to win the ball back and propel it down the court. At just 21 Vicki Oyesola has locked down the wing defence position but can move into circle defence such is her skill and netball smarts. Rounding out the defensive end is Kate Shimmin and Summer Artman. Shimmin is no stranger to the big stage with her lean over the shot, aerial ability and impressive timing just a couple of things in her extensive netball repertoire. In three games, so far in the Vitality Superleague for London Pulse the goal defender has mustered up 10 intercepts showcasing just how damaging she can be, with her read of the play and quick footwork to get into position. Artman also provides plenty of excitement with her spatial awareness to mirror her opponents every move and stop any easy entrance into the goal circle. Unlucky not to get the start in the fantasy squad is Ella Clark with the talented goaler making her way back after time out with basketball, Yasmin Parsons through the midcourt and Halimat Adio down back.

Who would win?

It is a tricky decision given the fact that a couple of players in the England squad have in fact pulled on the Roses dress but are yet to lockdown a permanent position at an international level. However, given the wealth of talent Australia has and exposure majority of players named in the fantasy side have, to the highest level of domestic competition it is feasible to believe that the girls in the green and gold will have the edge. Most players, frequently take the court for their respective Suncorp Super Netball squads meaning they are constantly tested against the highest echelon of players in the world and get time to hone in their craft and while England have a wealth of highly talented players may lack the extra physicality and stamina.

Who would win this clash?
Australia A (Yet to make a debut)
England A (15 caps max)
Created with QuizMaker

Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown – #19/#18

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 25 players under 25-years-old across the netball world. The countdown continues with Team Bath midcourter Imogen Allison and New Zealand Silver Ferns youngster Kelly Jury. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

After a couple of impressive seasons in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL), Imogen Allison has made herself a household name with her ball winning ability and hands over pressure. Playing with the likes of Serena Guthrie in 2019, the up and coming midcourter has modelled her game play off the highly talented star with her gut running and defensive mindset. Allison has been a key cog for Team Bath throughout the season so far despite there only being three games in which she has already mustered up five intercepts and three deflections. Her ability to treasure possession and quick transition down the court is another key element of her game play. Allison has proven that she is a versatile player able to move between centre and wing defence with ease while her speed across the court to gather loose balls or force turnovers makes her an exciting prospect for future England Roses selection.

Slotting into number 19 is Kelly Jury with the 196cm defender renowned for her long lanky limbs and immense defensive pressure. Although Jury is not the quickest player on the court her ability to read the play and get her body cleanly around her opponent is what makes her so damaging. 2019 was a year of development for Jury with the likes of former Ferns captain Casey Kopua guiding the 23-year-old defender at Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic while her game has come along in leaps and bounds once again since making the switch to the Central Pulse in 2020 with the likes of Katrina Rore and Karin Burger surrounding her. Their influence has had a huge impact on Jury’s game with the goal keeper not afraid to back herself to go out hunting for cross-court balls or under the post. Jury still has plenty to develop with her ability to remain a constant threat for a full quarters an area she will be hoping to improve on in the coming season to become a permanent fixture in the Ferns side. However, Jury has played at the top level notching up 22 caps showcasing that she does have the talent and class to nullify world class shooters while also experiencing World Cup glory in 2017 with the New Zealand Youth Cup team.

Top 25 so far:

25. Latanya Wilson (Jamaica)
24. Summer Artman (England)
23. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (England)
22. Matilda Garrett (Australia)
21. Razia Quashie (England)
20. Sophie Garbin (Australia)
19. Imogen Allison (England)

18. Kelly Jury (New Zealand)

Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown – #23/#22

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 25 players under 25-years-old across the netball world. The countdown continues at number 23, with English shooter and recent Roses addition Sophie Drakeford-Lewis along with up and coming Australian defender Matilda Garrett in at 22. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

Recently named in the Roses squad in the series against South Africa, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis has plenty of promise and will be hoping to continue her development. Although she has only played two international caps the goal attack has plenty of upside at 21-years-old that will excite the England fans. The up and coming shooter is a smooth mover, able to effortlessly glide across the court and while she does not put up a wealth of shots makes her presence known on the scoreboard when need be. She is cool, calm and collected under pressure and has played a good support role to the likes of Kim Commane at Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) level for Team Bath. Her high netball IQ and natural instincts are what makes her such an exciting prospect. She has plied her trade at the development levels with the Roses taking part in the Youth World Cup where she won bronze highlighting just how much class and skill she has.

Coming in at 22 is Collingwood Magpies defender, Matilda Garrett. She has had an up and down Suncorp Super Netball career so far, struggling to find her feet last year after suffering a calf injury in the early stages but has shown plenty of potential. She is an exciting prospect that has a bright future ahead of her, given her ability to read the play, get hands to ball and create turnovers. Her lean over the shot is one to be envious of, able to upset goalers with her hands over pressure and has had some high quality role models throughout her career playing with the likes of Geva Mentor, April Brandley and Sharni Layton all of which have represented their respective countries at the highest levels. Having played for Australia in the World Youth Cup in 2017, Garrett is not afraid of the big stage able to stand up under pressure and perform something she will have to do this season given the Pies list.  2020 will be a big year for Garrett with the highly touted defender looking to ramp it up a gear and have a profound impact down back with her quick feet and skill to shut down players.

Top 25 so far:

25. Latanya Wilson (Jamaica)
24. Summer Artman (England)
23. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (England)
22. Matilda Garrett (Australia)

Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown – #25/#24

WITH a number of netball leagues across the world being suspended due to COVID-19, the Draft Central team is making a case for the top 25 players under 25-years-old across the netball world. The countdown begins with a pair of defenders in teenage Jamaican Latanya Wilson and England A’s Summer Artman. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

At number 25 is Jamaican young gun Latanya Wilson, with the feisty defender a new addition to the Celtic Dragons in the Vitality Netball Superleague in 2020. While her cleanliness on court may leave something to be desired, there is no question that Wilson has the ceiling to grow into a massive threat in international netball. After only two matches from four rounds for the Dragons, Wilson sits on a whopping 14 intercepts – and while one of those matches was missed due to suspension, Wilson remains a real key player to watch on court with her timing sure to improve once the season continues. Wilson has been fortunate to learn off fellow Sunshine Girls defender Shamera Sterling, playing a similar game style with her hunt of the ball and long limbs.

Fellow Superleague defender Summer Artman sits at number 24, with the English goalkeeper a significant reason for Team Bath’s success so far in 2020. Artman’s timing and hunt for the ball is impressive, and while she is on the shorter side for a defender, she makes up for it with her vertical leap and timing on the jump. She has found her form in recent seasons, working alongside and learning from veteran Eboni Usoro-Brown and has shown significant signs of improvement as the last line of defence for Team Bath in Usoro-Brown’s absence this season. Artman’s communication and constant pressure makes her a crucial player for the side while her youth proves she has plenty left in the tank. Artman has four caps to her name for the English Roses, debuting in 2017. Since then she has been a key defensive rotation in the newly coined “England A” team as a real impact player where required, with the hope of landing a coveted spot in the Roses in the future.

Top 25 so far:

25. Latanya Wilson (Jamaica)
24. Summer Artman (England)

Vitality Netball Superleague stats: The story so far

WITH the Vitality Netball Superleague postponed until April 30, only two Round 4 matches went ahead over the weekend and the final three matches suspended until further notice. Manchester Thunder took top spot by default with a win this round, with no other leading sides taking the court. We take a look at some of the key players across the league this season so far.

Veteran Rachel Dunn hit the top of the leaderboard this week with a solid performance against Severn Stars (45 from 47 attempts), overtaking Georgia Rowe for most goals, but with key shooters Mary Cholhok (146 goals from three games), Kim Commane (137 from three) and George Fisher (131 from three) all hot on her tail and down one game at this stage in the season. Sigi Burger remains the most accurate (shooting at 98 per cent) despite not yet playing this round, while Rowe was clinical at the post on Saturday, missing only one shot (47 goals from 48 attempts) and leading her side to victory. While undefeated Manchester Thunder does not have any goalers on the leaderboards for accuracy or volume, the side has a wealth of skill thanks to a rotating circle of Ellie Cardwell (125 goals from 146 attempts at 86 per cent), Joyce Mvula (101 from 116 at 87 per cent) and Kathryn Turner (28 from 38 at 74 per cent) and trust in their players to get the job done, not relying on just the one player to carry the load. Sophie Drakeford-Lewis and Lynsey Gallagher are up there in the tally in at goal attack, shooting 56 and 55 goals respectively to start the season on a high.

Out in defence, Razia Quashie and Latanya Wilson lead the way in intercepts with 15 and 14 respectively. Neither player took the court this week due to match cancelation but somehow still sit ahead of the likes of Towera Vinkhumbo (13 intercepts), Emma Dovey (12) and Fran Williams (11) who have all played four games apiece. Wilson has only taken the court on two occasions this season thanks to a match suspension, making it all the more impressive that she is up there in the intercept count, with the talented Jamaican laying out her physicality and tenacity on the court. Vinkhumbo remains the most highly penalised in the competition with 58 penalties to her name, though Loreen Ngwira and Williams are close behind with 56 and Williams leading the turnover count at 22. Both Severn Stars and Wasps Netball sit on only one win from four matches, meaning messiness in defence could be a real catalyst for the sides dropping much needed matches so early in the season – but also shows a real opportunity for improvement if they can work on the penalty count while matches are postponed. Leah Middleton and Ngwira should be happy with their respective output in defence with 15 deflections apiece after four rounds, contesting the ball well and Middleton especially not finding a heap of the whistle.

Through the midcourt, the likes of Laura Malcolm, Imogen Allison and Adean Thomas remain crucial and influential for their respective sides, holding up well defensively to turn over the ball and feeding with ease in attack. Jamaican speedster, Thomas has proved a handy cog through the midcourt for Pulse, which had nowhere to go but up after a disappointing inaugural season in 2019 – something the side has certainly done despite not playing yet this round. As for the likes of Malcolm (Manchester Thunder) and Allison (Team Bath), it’s their innate ability to rotate through any position in the centre court that makes them such tough contenders, especially in undefeated teams. While both sides boast great defensive capabilities, they can both go forward when required to put their feeding ability to the test and show off their defensive pressure in attack. Veteran midcourters Jade Clarke, Nat Panagarry and Sasha Corbin may not be able to boast being undefeated thus far, but have kept the wheels turning across the court for their respective sides and are known for their consistency and ability to create something out of nothing to spur their side to victory.