Tag: VNSL

Top 20 players over 30: #18 Ama Agbeze

THERE are a host of international players across the world that, much like a fine wine, have simply gotten better with age. With netball on hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Draft Central takes a look at players that fall into the category of over 30 and still have plenty in the tank given their on-court prowess. Former England Roses captain Ama Agbeze comes in at number 18 on the countdown.

At 37-years-old, Agbeze is nudging the 40 milestone but is still one of the most reliable defenders to come out of England with her hands over pressure, lean over the shot and quick footwork across the court. Her ability to have an impact both in goal keeper and goal defence is what makes her such a talented player.

Her on court presence is not to be underestimated with the defender able to lead from the front with her netball smarts and impressive vision. She is not afraid to go out hunting for the ball and uses her long limbs to disrupt the attacking forays of the opposition team. The 184cm keeper has a strong aerial presence able to get up to the high balls and pluck them off while her attacking mindset allows her to propel the ball back down the court. Despite not being included in the 2019 Roses World Cup squad, Agbeze has not showed any signs of slowing down plying her trade in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) with the Severn Stars.

Her cool, calm and collected mentality on court allows her to take control and dictate the space in the defensive third. While she is not the most physical defender, Agbeze has proven that she is no push over able to hold her own in the goal circle and force doubt in the feeders minds with her intercepting ability and desperation to create a turnover.

She has been a key figure in the Roses side for years with her connection with Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown a prominent reason for their success in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Her ability to rotate through the circle and have a profound impact with her strength and skill to nullify the goalers influence under the post makes a challenge to match up against.

TOP 20 PLAYERS OVER 30:

#20 Stacey Francis (West Coast Fever/England)
#19 Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning/Australia)
#18 Ama Agbeze (Severn Stars/England)

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.

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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

Compare the Pair: Jo Harten and Ella Clark

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 netball goalers, Jo Harten and Ella Clark.

With height and versatility to match, Harten and Clark may play a similar position and role but are completely different in the way they take on the court. Both goalers have had significant time with Loughborough Lightning in the Vitality Netball Superleague, albeit at different stages of their respective careers. As impressive shooters with high accuracy and spectacular long-range capabilities, they are both a real threat in and around the circle. Despite their height both goalers can match it with anyone down the court with their respective speed and ability to apply pressure. 

Harten has been a key cog for the England Roses for a number of years now credit to her dominance in the goal circle. Able to play both a volume and feeder role, Harten’s consistency and ability to play under pressure is what enables her to continue her dominance for so many years. Harten has played much of her international career at home in the goal circle but can switch it up when required to apply further pressure up the court, creating a formidable figure to come up against at the post. Her accuracy from a distance and impressive split allows her to be a force to be reckoned with from anywhere in the circle while her continued consistency and ability to change up her game could see her continue this form and dominance for a few more years on the international stage. She is a real barometer for any side able to turn a game on its head with her composure and netball smarts to organise the attacking end and have a profound impact. 

A dual athlete for both netball and basketball, Clark is no stranger to being in the spotlight and has really formed herself as an exciting goaler to watch on court. With a strong drive down court and long-bomb ability similar to Harten’s, Clark is another who can work her way into a game with ease thanks to her versatility down the court and long arms to apply pressure. At 190cm Clark is an imposing figure and difficult to defend, especially when combined with her impressive speed off the mark and willingness to contest for the ball. While Clark has only the five international caps to her name, she has a drive to improve with her classy ball movement and clean hands, creating a name for herself as a difficult goaler to take on when she is on her game.

Jo Harten
107 caps, 2007-present

Ella Clark
5 caps, 2016-present

Who would you pick in goals?
Jo Harten
Ella Clark
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

Compare the Pair: Ama Agbeze and Razia Quashie

THE next instalment of Draft Central‘s Compare the Pair series will aim to analyse two fan favourites from across the netball world, with the first showcasing English defenders, Ama Agbeze and Razia Quashie.

Both defenders play in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) with Abgeze donning the goal keeper bib for the Severn Stars and Quashie pulling on the dress for the Saracens Mavericks. While they share the same position on the court their styles in defence are vastly different with a plethora of tactics and attributes separating them and ultimately helping to mould their respective game styles. Although Agbeze is in the latter stages of her netball journey at age 37, Quashie is at the other end of the spectrum. At 22-years-old Quashie has her entire career ahead of her and is making a strong case to be the next in line for a permanent position in the Roses line-up. While the duo are different in the way they approach the game, there are still a multitude of things they have in common, namely the constant drive to go one better than before and consistency – not to mention, they both stand at six foot tall and are able to challenge over the shot.

Former captain of the England Roses, Agbeze may not be part of the playing group anymore but has not entirely retired from international duties, leaving a small chance for the tenacious defender to return to the fray. With a decorated career behind her, Agbeze has collected more than 100 caps for the Roses and played in competitions across the world, making her name known across the world for her ability to impact the play and create something out of nothing. With impressive timing and footwork to boot, Agbeze has been a key cog as a shut-down defender throughout her career, always one step ahead of her opposition and able to find plenty of the loose ball. She uses her experience well to guide teammates on the court, while her knowledge of the game enables her to take back valuable ball.

Where Agbeze is at the tail end of her career, Quashie is still a newbie to the international scene at 22 but has herself in the right place for a future in netball, having collected the 11 caps since her international debut in 2018. She has an innate ability to create turnover opportunities and has a real drive to continue her improvement to hit her strides on the international scene. With intensity, timing and a constant work rate, Quashie can burst out of the goal circle for a critical intercept but also has the game smarts to hold back if need be, able to play that shutdown role when required making her a difficult player to anticipate in the heat of the game. Her timing to find the netball is impressive for her age, while her physicality on court sets her in good stead for future international campaigns given the constant push and shove to claim prime position in the goal circle.
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Ama Agbeze
100+ caps, 2001-2019

Razia Quashie
11 caps, 2018-present

Which goalkeeper would you pick?
Ama Agbeze
Razia Quashie
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.

Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown: #2

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. Coming in at number two is South African and London Pulse shooting sensation Sigi Burger. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

The South African product has class to boot able to turn a game on its head with her dominant shooting and commanding figure in the goal circle. Burger has proven time and time again that she is reliable under the post able to put up a wealth of shots and most importantly do so at a high accuracy. Since making the switch to the London Pulse in 2020 in the Vitality Superleague, Burger has not skipped a beat leading the way for her team with her clever positioning, strength on the take and netball nous. In her three games for the season, prior to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Burger managed a whopping 124 goals from 127 attempts at an average of 41 goals per game and a staggering at 98 per cent for the season highlighting her shooting prowess. She is strong on the take not often outmuscled by the likes of a-list defenders such as Eboni Usoro-Brown, Razia Quashie or Fran Williams consistently displaying her immense talent and smarts. Although she is still developing her connection with new teammates in Chiara Semple and Emma Thacker in goals along with Adean Thomas, Ashleigh Dekker and Michelle Drayne through the midcourt Burger has made herself a viable target with her strong holds. Her ability to read the play and drop back into the space or move her feet to reposition makes her an integral member in any team.

The 24-year-old has not spent a lot of time out on court for the Spar Proteas having only played 19 caps but has grown with confidence and stature each outing. Taking part in both the World Cup and Nations Cup, Burger has shown that she can hold her own out on court against some of the most dominant defenders but will want to make herself a more permanent member in the squad. The 194cm goal shooter often competes with the likes of teammate Lenize Potgieter and Ine-Mari Venter for the starting goal shooter bib but has shown that she can quite easily come on and have an impact thanks to her long arms and ability to reign in errant passes. Her timing in the circle is highly impressive while her quick hands to reposition under the post is another important element of her game play.

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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)
17. Tara Hinchliffe (Australia)
16. Aliyah Dunn (New Zealand)
15. Whitney Souness (New Zealand)
14. Amy Parmenter (Australia)
13. Cara Koenen (Australia)
12. Kate Eddy (Australia)
11. Kiera Austin (Australia)
10. Grace Nweke (New Zealand)
9. Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Jamaica)
8. Ine-Mari Venter (South Africa)
7. Kimiora Poi (New Zealand)
6. George Fisher (England)
5. Kim Jenner (Australia)
4. Maia Wilson (New Zealand)
3. Fran Williams (England)
2. Sigi Burger (South Africa)

Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown – #3

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 top three countdown begins with talented England Roses defender, Fran Williams. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

At only 22-years-old, Williams has made a name for herself on the world stage with her work rate and ability to switch up her game at the drop of a hat. Standing behind Geva Mentor and Layla Guscoth in the England Roses, Williams is well and truly learning off the best and has the ability to put that into practice upon hitting the court with her impressive timing, speed and tenacity. While not the tallest defender of the pack at 183cm, her lanky frame and quick feet see her find plenty of turnover ball, following Guscoth’s footsteps in goal defence to be the silent but deadly defender type that she is quickly becoming, while she has plenty of Mentor’s traits in the mix too. 

While Williams may not yet have a starting spot for the Roses sewn up, she has proved since her debut in 2018 that she is ready and willing to step up if given an opportunity regardless of the toughness of her competition, unfazed by the international stage and with plenty of room to continue to grow there is real potential for Williams to become a threatening mainstay in the Roses when the time comes, thanks to her ability to pressurise the contest, hands over pressure and consistency on court.

The speedy defender has the versatility and speed under her belt to rotate through any of the defensive positions, and while she looks most at home in goal defence her ability to move out to wing defence or drop back into goal keeper makes her a crucial and handy inclusion for any side, with her flexibility a useful asset in the case of injury. While she is not the flashiest player on the court, her ability to constantly apply pressure on the player and the ball handler makes her a tough opponent while her timing to go for the intercept or deflect the netball is impressive.

With only the 13 caps to her name, Williams has well and truly made the most of her opportunities on court and holds a starting spot for Wasps Netball in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

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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)
17. Tara Hinchliffe (Australia)
16. Aliyah Dunn (New Zealand)
15. Whitney Souness (New Zealand)
14. Amy Parmenter (Australia)
13. Cara Koenen (Australia)
12. Kate Eddy (Australia)
11. Kiera Austin (Australia)
10. Grace Nweke (New Zealand)
9. Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Jamaica)
8. Ine-Mari Venter (South Africa)
7. Kimiora Poi (New Zealand)
6. George Fisher (England)
5. Kim Jenner (Australia)
4. Maia Wilson (New Zealand)
3. Fran Williams (England)

 

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)
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Draft Central’s Top 25 International Young Guns countdown: #7/#6

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. Sitting comfortably inside the top 10 is New Zealand Silver Ferns representative Kimiora Poi and England Roses up and coming youngster George Fisher. With so much talent at our disposal, this countdown is purely opinion-based, taking into consideration recent form, individual potential and future development.

Poi often flies under the radar given the high calibre of talent coming out of New Zealand but really made a name for herself last year both in the ANZ Premiership and later in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) as an injury replacement player. The speedy midcourter has plenty to offer with her ball placement and natural netball understanding a couple of key components in her game play. Poi is renowned for her give and go around the circle edge able to quickly manoeuvre around the court and find a good feeding position. She is not overawed by the long arms and three foot marking instead uses her speed to dart around the court and create space. Her ability to switch between wing attack and centre with ease makes her an integral option in any side as shown last season coming into the Collingwood side in the backend of the year and having a lasting imprint. Poi’s ability to stop on a dime and deliver well weighted passes into a variety of shooters whether it be Shimona Nelson in SSN or Ellie Bird in the ANZ Premiership makes her an exciting prospect for future years. Having already made her debut in the black dress for the Ferns, Poi will be hoping to consolidate on her efforts thanks to her high endurance, light feet and skills to muster something out of nothing in the attacking third.

Just outside the top five at number six is George Fisher. The highly touted goaler has plenty of potential and has well and truly shown that throughout the course of her young career so far. At just 21-years-old, Fisher has left an immediate impact on her Vitality Superleague team, Saracens Mavericks thanks to her commanding presence in the goal circle. Her towering figure and ability to score accurately makes her an ominous threat for many teams while her high volume also makes her a big competitor. Fisher is still young and developing but has shown that she can stand up under the pressure not fazed by the defensive prowess of the likes of Eboni Usoro-Brown and Fran Williams. Her connection with shooting partner Kadeen Corbin has come along in leaps and bounds with the two able to create space seamlessly. Fisher is strong on the hold able to use her fancy footwork to claim prime position under the post something that has been on full display throughout her 12 international caps. While she is still in the infancy of her netball career, Fisher has shown she has the tricks to become a big time player with her ability to score quickly and come on and have an impact.

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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)
17. Tara Hinchliffe (Australia)
16. Aliyah Dunn (New Zealand)
15. Whitney Souness (New Zealand)
14. Amy Parmenter (Australia)
13. Cara Koenen (Australia)
12. Kate Eddy (Australia)
11. Kiera Austin (Australia)
10. Grace Nweke (New Zealand)
9. Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Jamaica)
8. Ine-Mari Venter (South Africa)
7. Kimiora Poi (New Zealand)
6. George Fisher (England)