Tag: Temalisi Fakahokotau

ANZ Premiership: Southern Steel releases full squad while Pulse and Magic add to list

THERE has been plenty of player movement already in the ANZ Premiership with the Northern Stars and Northern Mystics releasing their player rosters a couple of weeks ago. Following on from that, the Southern Steel have announced their full squad for the 2021 ANZ Premiership season while both the Central Pulse and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have released their midcourt and defensive units with the shooters still to be announced.

Arguably one of the biggest signings was that of England Roses goaler George Fisher. The Roses shooter is set to join the Southern Steel in 2021 and will be a great inclusion with her strong holds and accuracy to post a couple of focal points in her game play. The Steel will have a completely different looking shooting duo next season with two-time premiership player Tiana Metuarau making the jump from Pulse to Steel. The goal attack oozes class, impeccable timing and is not afraid to back herself range making the goaling duo an exciting prospect. Metuarau is not the only one to depart the Pulse and join the Steel with former defender-come-midcourter Renee Savai’inaea also joining the fold in 2021. The Steel also welcome Shannon Saunders and Te Huinga Selby-Rickit back for another season with the duo taking up co-captaincy roles. Youngster Taneisha Fifita, who was named in the Under 21 New Zealand squad, returns with her tenacity and physicality paramount to the way she approaches the game, while exciting wing defence Kate Heffernan is set to return after a solid season.

After spending a season with the Magic, Whitney Souness has made her way back to the Central Pulse and is set to join a stacked midcourt with Claire Kersten and new Silver Ferns squad member Maddy Gordon both re-signing to the club. There is no denying that the Pulse will have speed to burn in 2021 with Souness and Gordon renowned for their quick hands, fancy footwork and speed off the mark. In terms of defence, captain Katrina Rore has committed for another season while Kelly Jury is also set to pull on the yellow and black dress again. the duo formed a formidable combination in 2020 and will be hoping to inflict the same defensive pressure again in 2021 albeit without the services of Karin Burger who has made the switch to the Tactix. The Pulse have secured some young up and coming players with Parris Mason and Paris Lokotui who will relish the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business.

It was a challenging 2020 season for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, however heading into next year the Magic have recruited some highly experience and talented players in Temalisi Fakahokotau down back and Grace Kara through the midcourt. Fakahokotau is a game winner, able to go out hunting and change the course of a game with her tenacity and excitement. Joining her down back are Erena Mikaere and Georgia Tong and while all three are typically accustomed to the goal keeper position, they have shown they can swing into goal defence when required. With Souness departing, Kara has made the change from the Stars to the Magic and will offer a great deal of experience in the frontend with her ball placement and composure. Captain Sam Winders returns for 2020 while newbies in Asher Grapes and Georgie Edgecombe round out the team so far.

2020 ANZ Premiership season review – Mainland Tactix

IT was an unprecedented season as the ANZ Premiership came to a halt after Round 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but later returned in June to round out the remainder of the season, bar Round 10. The season saw plenty of intriguing battles as teams plied their trade across the court in hope to work their way up the ladder. Draft Central takes a look back at the season that was, as the Mainland Tactix made it to their first grand final in history.

Win-loss: 9-1-5
Ladder position: 2nd
Captain: Jane Watson

Overall season review:

It was a history-making season for the Mainland Tactix and while they did not get the chocolates on the day the showed plenty of fight and class throughout the season. it took a couple of rounds for the Tactix to really get going but once their connections fell into place across the court they proved to be a dominate side filled with plenty of match winners. In her first season with the club Te Paea Selby-Rickit made an immediate impact with the goal attack acting as a crucial link into Ellie Bird under the post. Selby-Rickit was a real playmaker out the front while Bird steadily grew with confidence throughout the season and was an integral player in getting the Tactix to the grand final. The speed through the midcourt was another standout for the Tactix as Kimiora Poi elevated her game to another level thanks to her drive through the centre third and defensive attributes to pick up ball. Returning from injury, Erikana Pedersen was a force to be reckoned with in at wing attack using her drive to the top of the goal circle and improving on her connection with Selby-Rickit and Bird while Samon Nathan proved to be a handy rotation through the centre third. Given the amount of star power in defence, Charlotte Elley often flew under the radar but the young wing defence was highly influential for the Tactix, able to nullify the influence of her opponent and continuously win ball back for her side thanks to her three foot marking. Although they fell short in the big dance the Tactix proved they have all the ingredients to mix it with the best.

Star player:

Captain Jane Watson had a phenomenal 2020 season, so much so she won the Player of the Year award after leading her side to their inaugural grand final. The way in which Watson attacked the ball was second to none, often driving that defensive unit and most importantly did it cleanly to remain in play. Her lean over the shot caused plenty of headaches for opposition shooters while her skill to transition the ball down court was another key element of her game play, proving she was not afraid to take the game on, even in the unfamilar position of goal defence. Her fancy footwork enabled her to manoeuvre around the body of opposition goalers and force timely tips and turnovers to give her side a chance to score.

Surprise packet:

While many knew what Temalisi Fakahokotau was capable of, it is fair to say there were some questions surrounding her ability to have an impact for four quarters coming back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, but the goal keeper well and truly answered the call. She fit seamlessly back into the defensive mix for the Tactix, able to consistently re-gather possession for her side credit to her read of the play and aerial ability. Fakahokotau was a wall in defence, contesting each and every pass and pushing her opponent high to force them out of their comfort zone. Her connection with Watson left many in awe with the duo able to swat away passes and seamlessly rotate within the circle making it incredibly difficult for teams to penetrate the defence.

2020 ANZ Premiership – Season stats leaders

THE 2020 ANZ Premiership season has come to a close with Central Pulse claiming back to back premierships after a dominant season. There were plenty of star players across the competition as Draft Central reflects on the top five players in each key performance indicator. Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics impressed throughout the year with a couple of players featuring highly in the top five for their respective areas while Pulse also starred.

GOALS

Grace Nweke (471)
Maia Wilson (461)
Elie Bird (421)
Aliyah Dunn (340)
Kelsey McPhee (270)

It is no surprise that teenage shooting prodigy Grace Nweke tops the table for 2020 with the goal shooter once again starring for the Mystics with her high volume of shots week in week out and accuracy to post. Nweke proved to be a formidable force under the post credit to her sheer athleticism and strength. Hot on her heels in second place is Maia Wilson with the Northern Stars goal shooter guiding her side through the season acting as the go-to girl under the post. Wilson was consistent as ever and diversified her game in 2020 while Ellie Bird found some hot form towards the backend of the season to push her side into the grand final. Aliyah Dunn was influential for the Pulse sitting at the highest accuracy of the top 10 shooters in the league with 91 per cent highlighting just how damaging she was and the reason why the Pulse secured another premiership. The final spot in the top five goes to Kelsey McPhee who had somewhat of an up and down season but still managed to find the net to sink 240 goals for the year for the Magic.

CENTRE PASS RECEIVES

Gina Crampton (319)
Whitney Souness (311)
Grace Kara (250)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit (194)
Erikana Pedersen (182)

It was a testing season for the Southern Steel but that did not stop Gina Crampton with the wing attack plying her trade at the centre pass to receive a wealth of ball and create that flow in attack. Crampton showcased her speed and impressive timing to pop out at the line to take out number one spot while Whitney Souness was a key contributor for Waikato Bay of Plenty using her evasiveness to receive ball at the centre pass. Veteran and Stars captain, Grace Kara was strong at the line while two Mainland Tactix attackers round out the top five. Goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit was a real workhorse often involved in what felt like every second pass, while Erikana Pedersen showed no sign of slowing down, returning from injury this season.

FEEDS

Gina Crampton (434)
Grace Kara (394)
Whitney Souness (393)
Erikana Pedersen (384)
Peta Toeava (368)

Dominating the centre pass receives it is no surprise that Crampton starred around circle edge with her clever feeds credit to her exceptional vision into the circle. Kara was a real barometer for the Stars with the wing attack often controlling the tempo of the game and executing the pass into the shooter while Souness used her speed and give and go to hit circle edge for the Magic time and time again. Pedersen was solid for the Tactix varying her passes into the circle to keep the defenders guessing. Coming in at fifth was Peta Toeava with the speedy wing attack darting around the attacking third and taking advantage of her quick release to rack up the feeds.

REBOUNDS

Sulu Fitzpatrick (23)
Erena Mikaere (21)
Te Huinga Selby-Rickit (18)
Temalisi Fakahokotau  (16)
Katrina Rore (16)

In new colours for season 2020 Sulu Fitzpatrick did not skip a beat with the Mystics goal keeper oozing her class and experience to box out her opponents and gobble up rebounds. She was a tough competitor in the air often reeling in any shot that fell short while Erena Mikaere was also a commanding presence in the defensive third as her long limbs enabled her to collect a wealth of rebounds for Magic. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit toiled hard in defence for the Steel working in overdrive to reclaim possession while Mainland Tactix goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau came out with a point to prove after missing last season through injury. Fakahokotau was a menace on the rebound with her aerial ability and read on the shot while the experience and class of Katrina Rore shone allowing the Pulse defender to pick up plenty of ball.

DEFLECTIONS

Jane Watson (72)
Temalisi Fakahokotau (70)
Sulu Fitzpatrick (58)
Erena Mikaere (53)
Phoenix Karaka (49)

Mainland Tactix captain, Jane Watson led all-comers when it came to deflections with her long arms and read of the play causing a ruckus for opposition teams. Watson’s cleanliness at the contest and speed off the mark allowed her to impact the play. It is no surprise that partner in crime Fakahokotau took out second spot in the top five with the goal keeper injecting herself on the contest thanks to her fancy footwork to manoeuvre around her opponent. Fitzpatrick and Mikaere were consistent performers for their respective teams, often sitting back to read the flow of the game and then go out hunting to disrupt the attack. Captain Phoenix Karaka also proved to be a commanding force out in goal defence for the Mystics able to use her speed and long arms to force tips and chances to regain possession for her side.

INTERCEPTS

Kelly Jury (26)
Temalisi Fakahokotau (22)
Phoenix Karaka (22)
Kate Burley (22)
Karin Burger (22)

Swapping dresses in season 2020 and seeming to have recovered from a niggling shoulder injury, Kelly Jury showcased just how dominant she can be racking up a season high 26 intercepts. Jury was unstoppable in the defensive third, not afraid to go out hunting putting fear into the attackers. Fakahokotau was just as exciting as the goal keeper left no ball uncontested and used her footspeed to get hands to ball while Karaka also recorded 22 intercepts. Kate Burley was a silent achiever for the Stars showcasing moments of brilliance with her tenacity and relative cleanliness. The only non-circle defender, Karin Burger takes out fifth spot with the wing defence often leaving many in awe credit to her work around circle edge to not only stay on side but so too rack up the intercepts.

2020 Silver Ferns squad predictions

ONE day out from the Silver Ferns squad announcement, Draft Central has compiled a team of 16 potential players to don the black dress when the international season commences. We take a look at some new players likely to join the fray after an impressive 2020 ANZ Premiership season along with some familiar names also set to take the court.

Familiar faces:

There will be plenty of fan favourites raring to go for the 2020 international season with Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Katrina Rore and Karin Burger all likely to be named again in this year’s squad. The trio are a formidable force and are in scintillating form coming off a premiership in the ANZ Premiership and will be eager to replicate that level of intensity on the international stage, with Ekenasio the current Ferns captain. Other familiar names in Jane Watson and Te Paea Selby-Rickit have all but secured their spot once again in the Ferns outfit with Watson earning Player of the Year honours in the ANZ Premiership thanks to her dominance and cleanliness in defence while Selby-Rickit consistently showcased her playmaking abilities. Maia Wilson impressed with her accuracy, increased movement in the goal circle and heightened stamina while the midcourt combination of Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders is one of reliability and precision, something the Ferns will be hoping to take advantage of.

Next in line:

After starring throughout the ANZ Premiership season Kelly Jury has well and truly put her hand up for Ferns contention. The goal keeper has gone from strength to strength throughout the season working well with Rore and Burger in defence while her lean over the shot is an incredibly intimidating element to contend with for opposition teams. On the comeback from injury Temalisi Fakahokotau announced herself as a fierce competitor down back with her aerial presence and physicality under the post to win a host of possession and prime herself for selection. Up the other end in goal shooter, expect Aliyah Dunn to reclaim her spot in the black dress given her dominance to post, high volume of shots and increased versatility to come out of the circle and get on the move to shake up from her usual holding style of play.

The midcourt could have a new flavour with Kimiora Poi leading the charge for that starting centre bib thanks to her explosiveness and speed off the mark. She elevated her game to a whole new level throughout the domestic season and will be keen to carry that star power onto the international scene. Another possibility to re-join the Ferns for 2020 is Claire Kersten with the Pulse centre highlighting both her defensive and attacking attributes throughout the season to pick up ball and penetrate the attack. Magic captain, Sam Winders showcased her versatility to swing between wing defence and centre and could be a valuable inclusion into the Ferns midcourt and look to secure a permanent spot in the squad.

Maddy Gordon burst onto the scene in 2020 to well and truly cement her spot in the starting seven for the Central Pulse and put her hand up for Silver Ferns contention. Coming off an MVP performance in the grand final, the speedy midcourter injects enthusiasm and wisdom beyond her years to dart around the court and create space. Ultra-impressive in attack, her defensive efforts are just as captivating, able to track the ball with great ease to pick up intercepts or force deflections thanks to her incredible timing.

Who’s missing:

The Silver Ferns will be without a couple of key contributors, none bigger than veteran Laura Langman who announced on Monday her retirement from international duties. After being a key cog in the Ferns midcourt for the past 15 years it will be a huge loss for New Zealand and incredibly difficult to replace given her star power, gut running and reliability to do the unthinkable time and time again. Another notable absentee is Phoenix Karaka with the defender announcing her pregnancy while Michaela Sokolich-Beatson is also unlikely to be named in the squad, still recovering from injury.

Roughies:

While they might not get the call up to the Silver Ferns for the upcoming international season, Kate Heffernan and Grace Nweke are definitely knocking on the door. Heffernan was a quiet achiever for the Southern Steel across the ANZ Premiership season with the wing defence plying her trade and using her three-foot marking to block her opponents vision into the circle and pick up ball herself. Strong in defence, her work in transition was also impressive re-offering on the transverse line to allow her side to reset in attack. Nweke dominated under the post for the Mystics showcasing her sheer strength and athleticism week in and week out to topscore for her side. Her accuracy was second to none, often sitting in the high 90s and slicing up the defence, and most importantly withstanding the constant barrage of physicality under the post. Recovering from injury, it is yet to be seen whether or not Bailey Mes will be available to wear the black dress this year but if she is fit the experienced goaler will be a great asset to the Silver Ferns.

Predicted squad of 16:

Attack: Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Aliyah Dunn, Maia Wilson, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Bailey Mes
Midcourt: Claire Kersten, Kimiora Poi, Maddy Gordon, Gina Crampton, Shannon Saunders, Sam Winders
Defence: Karin Burger, Katrina Rore, Jane Watson, Kelly Jury, Temalisi Fakahokotau

Pulse send off coach in style to claim back-to-back premierships

CENTRAL Pulse have made it back-to-back premierships defeating the Mainland Tactix in a dominant performance from start to finish (43-31). In coach Yvette McCausland-Durie’s final game and captain Katrina Rore’s 150th match the Pulse stepped it up a gear the minute they took the court ,forcing the Tactix to play catch-up netball credit to their strong structures and star power across the court.

The reigning premiers came out with a real fire in the belly in the opening minutes of the quarter with Kelly Jury making her intentions clear, claiming front position up against Ellie Bird to notch up the first intercept of the game and most importantly score off the Tactix centre pass. The Pulse opened up a handy two goal lead with Aliyah Dunn nailing the first for the evening before Ameliaranne Ekenasio hit the scoreboard moments later. After missing the last round of the home and away season Maddy Gordon was determined to leave nothing to chance, showcasing her defensive attributes to set the tone early and reel in an intercept off the Tactix centre pass. Ekenasio dominated at the post and set up a wealth of play in the attacking third to create a four goal to zero lead.

The first goal for the Tactix came through the hands of Te Paea Selby-Rickit at the eight minute mark of the quarter as the side in red started to find their rhythm sinking consecutive goals. Jury continued to toil away doing a wealth of work in defence especially over Bird’s shot while through the midcourt Kimiora Poi highlighted her defensive prowess and read of the play to regain possession and disrupt passages of play from the Pulse. It was blow for blow once both sides settled into the rhythm of the game and got the nerves out of their system but the Pulse were not content with that, increasing their full court defensive pressure and capitalising off turnovers. Gordon was having a blinder getting hands to ball and using her speed to burn down the court and hurt the Tactix in transition as they pulled away in the final minutes of the term to hold a six goal buffer.

Pulse picked up where they left off with an early win through an errant pass in which they capitalised on through the hands of Ekenasio. Gordon continued to impress, playing out of her skin, collecting yet another intercept off the Tactix centre pass thanks to her hunting style of play. The Pulse kept the Tactix to their lowest quarter time score in the season and were intent in keeping it that way as they skipped out to a 15-6 lead. Jury led the way in defence with another intercept, using her feet to cleanly get hands to ball and stop Mainland in their tracks. Both Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau struggled to contain Ekenasio and Dunn as the two were having a field day under the post unfazed by the physicality of the Tactix defenders and lean over the shot.

It was a bit of a stalemate midway through the quarter with neither side able to easily hit the scoreboard, as the ball travelled up and down the court to no real avail. Ekenasio continued to prove just how influential she is not only in the goal circle but in general play linking up exceptionally well with Gordon around circle edge. The Pulse pushed out to a nine goal lead despite a scrappy couple of minutes as the intensity lifted a notch. Back to back goals from the Tactix allowed them to cut the deficit to seven goals before Pulse centre Claire Kersten showcased her experience and vision to deliver ball into the shooters with precision and create a 10 goal lead.

After starring in the opening half, Gordon found herself on the bench as Tiana Metuarau entered the court in wing attack. A missed shot from the Tactix allowed the Pulse to pounce and score the first goal of the half with Dunn dominating to post. Charlotte Elley plied her trade through the midcourt to dice through the Pulse defence and re-offer at the transverse line while Poi worked exceptionally hard to win ball back and create timely tips. Wing defence, Karin Burger dominated Erikana Pedersen to nullify her influence around the circle, credit to her three-foot marking and quick footwork to constantly get hands to ball. Her defensive efforts worked hand in hand with Jury as the goal keeper endeavoured to make life hard for Bird in the goal circle to contest every single pass.

The change in attack seemed to hinder the Pulse’s second phase play as the physicality stepped it up a notch in the goal circle with Fakahokotau and Watson wearing both Dunn and Ekenasio like a glove to limit them to eight goals for the term. Up the other end, Selby-Rickit and Bird connected well finding each other on the hold as they rallied across the court. Elley picked up ball in defence as the Tactix cut the margin back to eight goals despite the lead being as much as 11 goals. They were not done with yet reducing the deficit to six goals to give them a fighting chance.

With the game on the line Gordon re-entered the match at wing attack as Ekenasio slotted the first of the term. Gordon did not skip a beat, immediately having an influence across the court, however the Tactix were mounting an admirable fightback to get within five goals as their strong defensive zone cut off the Pulse’s options in attack. But the Pulse flicked a switch with Gordon lighting up the court with her speed and Burger inserting herself into the action with a big intercept. With the clock ticking down Pulse ran rampant as their connections across court and silky ball movement enabled them to enhance the lead to 12 goals and gift them back-to-back premierships.

It was a battle of the towering goal shooters with Dunn leading the way under the post for Pulse with 28 goals from 30 attempts while up the other end Bird was the mainstay with 19 goals of her own at 83 per cent. The input from the goal attacks was where the game was won and lost with Ekenasio converting 15 goals and Selby-Rickit managing 12 goals.

It was a defensive masterclass from both sides as Jury proved to be a menace with two intercepts and two gains while Rore and Burger combined for three intercepts and four deflections. Watson led the way for the Tactix with three intercepts and two goal assists, an usual stat for a goal defence. But it was the work of Gordon that stood head and shoulders above the rest and despite only playing three quarters secured player of the match honours thanks to her 13 goal assists and three intercepts to cap off a sensational season for the youngster.

>>> PULSE TEAM PAGE
>>> TACTIX TEAM PAGE
>>> FULL GAME STATS

Central Pulse 12 | 11 | 8 | 12 (43)
Mainland Tactix 6 | 7 | 11 | 7 (31)

STARTING SEVEN:

Central Pulse:

GS: Aliyah Dunn
GA: Ameliaranne Ekenasio
WA: Maddy Gordon
C: Claire Kersten
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Kelly Jury

Mainland Tactix:

GS: Ellie Bird
GA: Te Paea Selby-Rickit
WA: Erikana Pedersen
C: Kimiora Poi
WD: Charlotte Elley
GD: Jane Watson
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

ANZ Premiership – Head to head: Grand final

IN each round of the ANZ Premiership we will identify one key match-up, provide an in-depth analysis of both players and compare the two styles. This week marks the grand final between the Pulse and Tactix as a host of highly touted players take the court, none more exciting than the battle between a pair of Silver Ferns teammates.

CENTRAL PULSE v. MAINLAND TACTIX
Katrina Rore (GD) v. Te Paea Selby-Rickit (GA)

Both players know each other’s game style extremely well having been around a while and spending time together in the Silver Ferns, making the contest between Katrina Rore and Te Paea Selby-Rickit a hotly contested battle. Rore has been hot and cold in recent weeks while Selby-Rickit has really built into the season and rejuvenated herself in her new colours.

The captain of the Pulse is an inspiration down back with her ball tracking abilities and lean over the shot. Although she has been a bit shaky in her past couple of appearances, throwing away uncharacteristic ball, Rore is no easy beat. She is able to jump into action and provide an element of excitement to the defensive third with her leap and skill to consistently get hands to ball to disrupt the flow of her oppositions attack. Rore is a menace both under the post with her lean but so too out the front with her tagging style of play, to go toe-to-toe with her opposing goal attack and nullify every single one of their drives. Working well with Kelly Jury in the defensive circle, Rore has valued the extra centimetres Jury has to offer able to go out hunting more and look for those cross-court passes, while also collecting tips off the goal keeper. Her partnership with Karin Burger is also important to the Pulse’s set-up with Rore and Burger often working in tandem to shut down the attacking third with their hands over pressure, quick footwork and smothering intensity to clog up space.

Selby-Rickit is a real barometer for the Tactix and can spark her side into action with her attacking forays. The goal attack is crafty with each of her possessions, often receiving every second pass to set up walls in attack and slice through opposition defences. Her fancy footwork and ability to baulk the ball catches defenders off-guard and allows her clear vision into the circle. Her connection with Kimiora Poi and Erikana Pedersen both in the attacking and centre third is crucial to the Tactix game play, feeding off their speed to open space across the court. Selby-Rickit’s ability to get the give and go is another important element for her game play using her clever footwork to manoeuvre around her opponent with ease. Influential with ball in hand to link up with goal shooter Ellie Bird, Selby-Rickit is just as dominant in the goal circle with her ability to go to post from distance and close range. Although she does not put up a wealth of shots it is her composure to stand up and take ownership that often sets the tone for the Tactix in attack.

Selby-Rickit is a confidence player who thrives off having a strong start to any game, meaning if Rore can get in her head early and shut down her drive it will go a long way in tilting the favour towards the Pulse. The goal attacks’ accuracy and movement often suffers when she is down on confidence allowing the Pulse to reap the rewards and subsequently convert. However these two know each other’s game extremely well and know all of the tricks in the book making for an enthralling battle.

Other notable match-ups that should be taken into account is the battle between Temalisi Fakahokotau and Aliyah Dunn while Jane Watson up against Ameliaranne Ekenasio will also draw a lot attention given just how dominant each player is for their respective side.

ANZ Premiership: 2020 Grand final preview

IT all comes down to the final game of the season as the reigning premiers, Central Pulse look to make it two in a row while the Mainland Tactix are on the prowl for their inaugural piece of silverware. The Tactix will be riding a wave of confidence after knocking off the ladder leaders in Round 9 as their speed in transition and defensive efforts stifled the Pulse’s movement. On the other hand the Pulse know what it takes to win on the big stage and withstand the constant forays.

Central Pulse v. Mainland Tactix
Sunday, 23 August

With an extra week off the Pulse will be hoping that speedster Maddy Gordon is raring to go with the wing attack a key cog in attack with her drive, 1-2 punch around circle edge and quick feeds into the goal circle. Partner in crime through the midcourt Claire Kersten is another integral member of the Pulse attack and defensive unit given her skill and netball smarts to transition between the two roles seamlessly. She is often that link from the defensive third into the attacking third and controls the tempo of the game to ensure that possession is treasured for the Pulse. However she will have to compete with the speed of Kimiora Poi who has been in scintillating form towards the back end of the season for the Tactix. Poi has developed into a real barometer for the side, able to hit the circle edge in attack to deliver ball into the shooters while also pick up ball defensively.

Wing defence Charlotte Elley has also flown under the radar in season 2020 with the midcourter able to quell the influence of her opposition with her fancy footwork and intimidating three-foot lean to block their vision. Samon Nathan has also plied her trade in the wing defence position, using her speed and attacking mindset to match up on her opponents. Up the other end for the Tactix, Erikana Pedersen has not skipped a beat since returning from injury this season with the wing attack darting around the circle and using clever baulks to draw the attention of the defender and then release the ball into the circle. She will have her work cut out for her up against Silver Ferns and Pulse wing defence Karin Burger given her impressive footwork, height and deceptive closing speed to hunt the ball 24/7.

This game will be a game of defensive masterclasses with Katrina Rore and Kelly Jury both phenomenal athletes for the Pulse and able to win back a wealth of ball for their side. Jury is incredibly strong on the hold and in the air meaning that Ellie Bird will have to be on her a-game if she is to run a riot under the posts and give the Tactix any chance of winning their first premiership. Bird has shown in recent weeks that she is a real competitor and can adapt her game accordingly to ensure she has a profound impact on the scoreboard. It will also come down to whether or not Rore can nullify the influence of Te Paea Selby-Rickit not only in the goal circle but in the attacking third in general given she is a key playmaker for the Tactix with her crafty passes, vision, and spatial awareness. Selby-Rickit has proven to be a real barometer for her side, able to dictate the flow of in attack and often brings Bird into the game with her ability to draw the attention of the defender and isolate the 196cm shooter under the post.

The battles do not stop there as Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau head the defensive unit for the Mainland Tactix faced with the difficult task of shutting down the prolific Pulse shooting circle. Watson is an integral member of the Tactix line-up with the captain able to cleanly intercept the ball and remain in play to build pressure on the Pulse frontline and cause errors. Her defensive partner in Fakahokotau also builds pressure but through her physicality at the contest, aerial ability and vision to go out hunting and gobble up intercepts. However the Pulse are not without star power of their own in the goal circle with Aliyah Dunn able to hold strong in front position and use her footwork to edge closer to the post time and time again. She is a prominent figure and an easy release target down the line for the Pulse when in trouble something the Tactix will be hoping to shut down. The influence of Ameliaranne Ekenasio is also vital for the Central Pulse with the goal attack able to set the court alight with her silky movement, spatial awareness, and second phase play to continuously create movement in the attacking third. She is also not afraid to take the game on and engage in some body on body contact to win the ball under the post while also back herself from range making her a real threat. The Pulse also have a trump card in Tiana Metuarau with the 19-year-old able to swing between goal attack and wing attack with a blink of an eye and change the outlook of the game with her decision making and composure.

This game will go down to the wire as both sides boast formidable line-ups with game changers across the court. If Pulse regain Gordon and Ekenansio after they missed Round 9 they could be placed in a good stead to claim back-to-back premierships given their impressive connections across the court and quick transition through court.

ANZ/SSN Stats wrap: Round 9/2,3

LAST week’s stats wrap looked a bit different with both the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) and ANZ Premiership taking the court, and this week is no different with the SSN having an extra round of competition to add to the wrap. The two competitions saw some huge results over the combined 13 games across the last seven days – with at least one game played every night from Friday through Wednesday – and plenty of top talent stepping up to the plate. Like last week, it is important to take into consideration that the two leagues currently have different rules and matchplay times, with differing stats evident. 

ATTACK

Jhaniele Fowler continues to lead the goaling tally three rounds down and is likely to stay there thanks to her prolific volume and accuracy, combining for 111 goals at 90 per cent across Rounds 2 and 3. Next in line is Cara Koenen with the youngster backing up well between matches shooting 38 goals on the weekend and 30 to finish Round 3, while Caitlin Bassett racked up 47 goals in her 200th national appearance on Tuesday evening. Shimona Nelson took the court for the first time in Round 2, shooting 32 goals before going one better and backing up with 42 more to her tally on Tuesday night. Bassett’s partner in crime Jo Harten continues to have a huge influence on the scoreboard – especially when it comes to the super shot – shooting 20 goals in her first outing and 22 in her second, with 12 super shots converted across the two matches. Meanwhile, Lenize Potgieter sits fourth on the goal tally after three rounds, with 96 to her name from 101 attempts, shooting 43 from 45 in Round 2 but rested in her second match this week with 18 from 19. When it comes to the Vixens and Swifts, their respective rotating shooting trios do not lend to a leading stats performance, but given the two teams sit first and second on the ladder they must be doing something right. 

In the ANZ Premiership, Kalifa McCollin starred once more with a huge 32 goal haul in Southern Steel’s surprise victory over Northern Mystics, backed up with a 19 goal effort in her side’s loss the following day. Ameliaranne Ekenasio was also prolific in her single outing for the round with 19 goals at 95 per cent, while Abigail Latu-Meafou put up 15 from 17 in the Magic’s one goal loss to the Northern Stars. Looking to goal shooters, Maia Wilson was huge under the post as per usual with 37 goals at 90 per cent while her direct opposition in Kelsey McPhee was solid with 27 goals to go with Latu-Meafou’s haul. Of the players that took the court for multiple games, Grace Nweke (combined 78 goals), Ellie Bird (62 goals) and Aliyah Dunn (50 goals) led the tally.

MIDCOURT

A huge few rounds of SSN sees a couple of quality names lead the midcourt tally once more, with consistency coming in droves off the likes of Vixens co-captains Liz Watson and Kate Moloney, though it seemed to be goalers who racked up the assists this round with so many prolific wing defenders plying their trade. Watson and Moloney combined for 33 assists in the first outing and 40 in the second. Some impressive goaler-turned-feeders put on a show with their vision into the circle to spot their partner in crime, with Georgie Horjus, Kiera Austin and Alice Teague-Neeld stepping up across their respective performances. Austin led the assists tally for the week with 30 in her second match but just 10 in her first, coming away with a shooting accuracy of under 50 per cent against the Thunderbirds and only playing through the midcourt in her match against the Fever. Horjus managed 27 assists and 19 goals from 25 attempts across her two games, while Teague-Neeld may have only played 39 minutes in her second game she racked up 22 assists, but hit the scoreboard much better in her first with 11 goals and 20 assists. Mahalia Cassidy was a workhorse in both of her outings, combining for 35 goal assists and three pickups, while Amy Parmenter continued her strong start to the season, making up for a slower Round 2 with a huge seven gains (four intercepts) in her Round 3 outing. 

Peta Toeava and Gina Crampton are the repeat offenders over the past rounds through the midcourt, accounting for 45 and 37 assists respectively across their two games – both racking up 26 in their first match and nullifying each other – while Whitney Souness (19 assists, 33 centre pass receives, two intercepts) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (20 assists, four pickups) both put in solid efforts in their single match against the other. Karin Burger had a solid match with four intercepts in the Pulse’s losing effort, while both Kimiora Poi and Charlotte Elley were also impressive on the defensive front with two intercepts apiece against the Pulse. Claire Kersten also collected two intercepts in her first outing, while Kate Heffernan was influential in the Steel’s finals crushing victory over the Mystics, racking up four intercepts.

DEFENCE

Sarah Klau and Shamera Sterling lead the deflections tally three matches down, with the two even on 22 apiece though their teams mirror each other in second and seventh on the ladder. Sterling’s combined 18 gains saw her rocket up the leaderboard this round, while Klau’s partner in crime Lauren Moore has continued to stun with another six intercepts to her name across Rounds 2 and 3. Kim Jenner had an absolute blinder against the Magpies in Round 3, racking up seven gains (five intercepts) though was quiet in her first outing, while her partner in crime Tara Hinchliffe combined for five gains across the two rounds. With two more wins under their belt this round, Vixens defenders Jo Weston and Emily Mannix were consistent as ever with three gains apiece (one and two intercepts) in the first match while Mannix turned on the afterburners in the second game with eight gains (three intercepts), with both players having breaks off the court. Young defensive duo Olivia Lewis and Sunday Aryang proved they were more than capable of holding up defensively, combining for 15 gains across the two matches, mostly down to Lewis’ rebounding ability but also Aryang’s three intercepts against the GIANTS. The Magpies have continued to rack up the highest amount of penalties across the round with a combined 138 across two matches, with Geva Mentor (41 penalties from two games) leading the charge.

Defensively, there is no surprise that Temalisi Fakahokotau was impressive as ever with her work rate continuously paying off for a combined seven gains across the round (two intercepts) while her partner in crime Jane Watson had a quiet second outing but was influential as ever in the side’s win over the Mystics. Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick combined for 11 gains (five intercepts) across the round, with both Courtney Elliott (two gains, one intercept) and Dani Gray (three gains, one intercept) contributing to the tally. Erena Mikaere pulled off six gains in her standalone game as did Kate Burley (three of which were intercepts), while Kelly Jury racked up four intercepts in her second match but was quiet in her first – the complete opposite of her partner in crime Katrina Rore, who collected four gains in the first but just two in the second. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit had another solid week on the court, combining for four gains (two intercepts) across her two matches.

2020 ANZ Premiership – Team of the Week: Round 9

AFTER not registering a single player last week the Pulse were back amongst the mix having two players featuring in the Draft Central ANZ Premiership Team of the Week. In fact it was an even spread across the board as the Southern Steel, Northern Stars, Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics also registering two players apiece.

GS: Ellie Bird
GA: Kalifa McCollin
WA: Peta Toeava
C: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
WD: Karin Burger
GD: Kate Burley
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

BENCH: Grace Nweke, Kate Heffernan , Kelly Jury

The influence of Kalifa McCollin was pivotal for the Steel across the round with the goaler hitting the scoreboard easily. Her timing was second to none able to pop out on the baseline or dance around her opponent to claim front position. McCollin only missed seven goals across her two matches sitting at 88 per cent accuracy highlighting her accuracy to post. Joining her in the goal circle is Ellie Bird after the towering goal shooter once again dominated at the post with her commanding holds, body positioning and cool, calm temperament. Bird made the most of her chances in both outings only missing nine goals while registering 62 goals to highlight her prowess in the goal circle.

Although her side did not win either match, there is no denying that wing attack Peta Toeava had the ball on a string thanks to her her lightning quick hands and fancy footwork around circle edge doing a wealth of damage. Her vision into the circle was impressive able to dish off passes within an inch of a second to rack up 45 goal assists over the two games. Stars centre, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan makes it two weeks in a row thanks to her impressive effort in Round 9 to hit circle edge and penetrate through the defence. She did the heavy lifting in attack for her side weaving her way through the mess and delivering into her shooters as her timing and clever touch kept the defenders guessing. The final position in the midcourt goes to returnee Karin Burger with the wing defence putting on a show in her first outing using her long arms to full advantage to pick up four gains. Burger backed up her performance in her next game going toe-to-toe with her opponent and shutting down any easy avenue to circle edge; her three-foot marking and speed off the mark to amass another

Newcomer to Team of the Week goal defence Kate Burley impressed for the Stars in her sole outing, applying a wealth of pressure through the defensive third. Renowned for her aerial presence, Burley once again delivered making full use of her leap to get hands to ball and disrupt the oppositions attack. Burley pounced on anything that came her way but most importantly left nothing to chance in the final term when the game was on the line racking up two gains to clinch victory. It is no surprise to see Temalisi Fakahokotau join the ranks with the Mainland Tactix goal keeper a real general down back credit to her tenacity and ball winning ways on constant display. Her constant voice on court to direct traffic and terrific leap enabled her to regain possession for her side multiple times across the round collecting two intercepts and five gains.

Despite losing both games Grace Nweke was influential as ever under the post for the Mystics, earning herself a spot on the bench given her proficiency to nail a staggering 78 goals in two games. Steel wing defence Kate Heffernan impressed against the Mystics with her hands over pressure and constant niggle to notch up four intercepts and a gain. The final place on the bench goes to Kelly Jury after the Central Pulse goal keeper continued getting hands to ball and posing a real threat especially when it came to the high balls registering four gains and four intercepts.

2020 ANZ & SSN: Five talking points – Rounds 9/2

WITH the race to finals heating up in the ANZ Premiership and Round 2 of the Suncorp Super Netball done and dusted there were a couple of stellar individual performances that stood out. The Swifts managed a narrow win against the ever improving Fever while across the ditch the Tactix made history securing their first spot in a grand final.

Sophie Garbin’s third quarter blitz
Down by eight goals at half-time, the Swifts found themselves in an unfamiliar position but the switch up of Sophie Garbin into goal shooter seemed to be the answer they were looking for as she single-handedly altered the game. her individual effort of 21 goals left fans and teammates alike in awe as Garbin slotted 13 consecutive goals to draw level and then push her side into the lead for the first time in the match. Garbin showcased her impressive strength under the post and ability to control the tempo of the game to set the tone for her midcourters in Maddy Proud and Pagie Hadley while her connection with Helen Housby was also on song. Her blistering third quarter performance will be sure to put the rest of the competition on high alert.

Tactix set to secure first ever grand final berth
An impressive round of action from the Mainland Tactix gifted them second spot on the ladder registering two wins from two games to book a date with Central Pulse in the grand final. It will be the first time the Tactix have played in a grand final despite it still being two weeks around. They will take plenty of confidence coming out of their Round 9 performance downing reigning premiers Central Pulse and Northern Mystics who were hot on their tail in third. Ellie Bird has come into her own in the past couple of rounds with the goaler finding a wealth of space under the post and sitting at a high accuracy while her ever growing connection with Te Paea Selby-Rickit is one to watch. The speed through the midcourt or Kimiora Poi and Erikana Pedersen is damaging while in defence the consistent effort from Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau is undeniable. The defensive duo repeatedly won ball back across Round 9 and were a key reason for their success, shutting down the oppositions flow in attack as the shooters capitalised on their chances to send a warning shot to fellow grand finalists, Pulse.

Fever should not be underestimated
Coming up against the reigning premiers West Coast Fever burst out of the blocks against the Swifts and were keen to prove they mean business. Without captain Courtney Bruce down the back it was the youngsters in Olivia Lewis, Sunday Aryang and Jess Anstiss that stood up. Tasked with the challenge of quelling Sam Wallace at the post, Lewis stepped up to the plate ultimately forcing the goaler off the court thanks to her smothering style of play and ability to dictate the space. In attack, Jhaniele Fowler was dominant as ever owning the space both underneath the post and perimeter edge to sink four from six super shots. Fowler finished with an incredibly accurate 53 goals from 57 attempts while the improved efforts of Alice Teague-Neeld did not go unnoticed as the goal attack found the net more frequently and delivered the ball with great confidence into Fowler. Although they fell agonisingly short the Fever showcased their skill to score quickly and easily and win ball back in defence despite being undermanned.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Maddy Gordon are key for the Pulse
The Central Pulse suffered their second loss in as many weeks, this time at the hands of the Mainland Tactix. In saying that the top of the table Pulse were without a couple of key playmakers in the attacking third with Maddy Gordon and Ameliaranne Ekenasio both not taking the court. Claire Kersten also played out of position in wing attack gifting Renee Savai’inaea some valuable court time while Tiana Metuarau played out the full game in goal attack. They seemed stagnant in attack without Ekenasio and Gordon with the court, given how much the duo do off the ball and ability to create space to ensure the front end works like a well-oiled machine. The Pulse missed Ekenasio both in the goal circle and out the front credit to the mountain load of work she does to bring the ball down and accuracy to post while the speed and dynamic movement of Gordon was also sorely missed.

Steph Wood the barometer in attack for the Lightning
Flat on their feet in the opening half the introduction of Steph Wood paid dividends for the Lightning who immediately kicked into gear when the goal attack took the court in the final 90 seconds of the second quarter. Originally expected to start the game, a slight niggle saw Wood take a seat on the bench and Lightning throw the bibs around with Cara Koenen getting the nod at goal attack and Peace Proscovia in at goal shooter. Out of sorts in attack, Wood came on and had a profound impact despite not being accurate to post. Her  sheer presence shifted the entire momentum of the game with Laura Langman and Laura Scherian raising the bar in attack and feeding off Wood’s intensity. Her spatial awareness, exceptional delivery into the circle and fancy footwork injected an element of life into the Lightning who rallied in the third to claim their second win of the season.