ROUND 3 of Suncorp Super Netball brought plenty of excitement and interest, with only two sides remaining undefeated- the Swifts and Vixens, while last year’s minor premiers, finally got a win on the board. The Melbourne Vixens were dominant against the Adelaide Thunderbirds while the West Coast Fever had 80 goals scored against them for the second week in a row. The Sunshine Coast Lightning steamrolled their state rivals while the GIANTS shocked the Magpies. Strong performances from the Lightning and Swifts sees them dominate the Round 3 edition of Draft Central Team of the Week, with four players for the Lightning featured and three for the Swifts. While the Melbourne Vixens have one player selected from their match against the Thunderbirds. Despite the loss, one Thunderbirds player has made the team, alongside a standout from the Firebirds in their loss to the Lightning. Although, the GIANTS were good in their win against the Magpies, they were unable to take a position in this week’s team, missing out alongside the Fever and the Magpies.
GK: Shamera Sterling (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Coming off an average performance last week, Shamera Sterling was outstanding against the Melbourne Vixens. Sterling had six gains and four intercepts in the last quarter alone which contributed to her haul of 13 gains and five intercepts for the match. She kept on her toes to confuse the space around Caitlin Thwaites and despite losing the match did well enough to earn herself a position in this week’s team.
GD: Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
Karla Pretorius returns to the team for the first time this season after an impressive match against the Firebirds. She worked well alongside SPAR Proteas teammate Phumza Maweni, their connection evident as she was able to drift from her opponent and intercept the ball throughout the match. Pretorius’ quick footwork and ability to read the play resulted in turnover after turnover going the way of the Lightning. Ending the match on eight gains and seven intercepts Pretorius was vital to the Lightning in their win over the Firebirds. Pretorius also claimed her 100th league intercept becoming the first to do so in Suncorp Super Netball.
WD: Renae Ingles (Melbourne Vixens)
After returning to netball halfway through last season, Renae Ingles often flies under the radar as many unsung heroes in the wing defence bib do, however, she shone against the Thunderbirds. Stealing the attention away from many of her other big-name teammates, Ingles finds herself in our team this week with her five gains and two intercepts. Not only did Ingles hunt the ball well, she effectively took Hannah Petty and Kelly Altmann out of the match, keeping their feeds low. Ingles also did a good job on Chelsea Pitman before Pitman suffered an injury that unfortunately took her out of the match.
C: Paige Hadley (NSW Swifts)
Paige Hadley is having a ripper start to the season. She has been consistent and driven for the NSW Swifts making her a key part of their undefeated run. Bringing a defensive edge to the centre position she was outstanding against Verity Charles on the weekend. Pairing well alongside teammate Maddy Proud, there is not much the dynamic mid-court duo cannot do at the moment. Finishing the match with the highest number of feeds for the round on 42 she worked well across the court, shutting down the momentum of Fever’s attack while firing in her own attack end.
WA: Maddy Proud (NSW Swifts)
It is hard to talk about one of the NSW Swifts key mid-court players without talking about the other. Maddy Proud was fantastic against West Coast Fever’s Jess Anstiss. Proud shared the workload with Hadley, only passing one less feed into the circle. Her feeds into the circle were solid and their accuracy alongside the accuracy of Hadley’s were part of how the Swifts managed to score 80 goals against their opposition. Proud was also quick at switching into defence alongside Hadley with both players adding an intercept and a gain to their names this week.
GA: Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds)
It may seem a little contradictory to have two players who were directly opposed to each other in the Team of the Week, however, no one else took on the role of goal attack like Gretel Tippett did this week. She put up a massive number of goals compared to her usual workload and nailed every single one of them, finishing the match with 40/40. Tippett did a wealth of work in the goal circle to open up room for her teammates and used her athleticism to burn off her opponent. Tippett also stepped up to the challenge of being her team’s primary shooter as Romelda Aiken was shut down and youngster Amy Sommerville struggled to break free of the strong opposition.
GS: Peace Proscovia (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
It was a tough decision over who should get the goal shooter bib this week, but in the end, Lightning’s Peace Proscovia won, for the second week in a row. Proscovia shot 53/55 during the match against the Firebirds. Her movement and dominance in the goal circle made it easy for her teammates to feed the ball in. On occasion when an off feed flew near her she was able to pluck it from the air with ease as if nothing were wrong. The inexperience of the Firebirds’ defence was exploited with how easily Proscovia was able to out-manoeuvre her opponents. In their struggle to find an answer to Proscovia and the Lightning’s fast attack, Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke threw their goal shooter Aiken down into goal keeper to try to make an impact. The move did work for a bit, however, Proscovia and the Lightning adjusted credit to her ability to hold strong and command the ball.
BENCH: Sam Wallace (NSW Swifts), Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning), Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning) Two more Lightning players in Laura Scherian and Phumza Maweni have made their way onto this week’s bench alongside Swifts superstar Sam Wallace. Goal keeper Maweni was massive against the Firebirds, keeping Aiken to only 10 goals in a half while doing plenty of work to give Pretorius space to chase the ball. Maweni also finished the match with six gains and five intercepts of her own. Lightning teammate Laura Scherian takes the mid-court position on our bench for her speed and agility which outclassed the Firebirds. Scherian was able to zip back and forth across the Lightning attacking end to hit the circle edge smoothly time and time again with 37 feeds and a strong unit around her she made it look easy. Rounding out our bench is Sam Wallace who missed out on our goal shooter position by the smallest fraction this week. Wallace has been up there as one of the top shooters so far this season but has gone under the radar a little. This week she was part of the Swifts’ record equalling 80 goals, scoring 62/66. Her command of the goal circle resulted in the Fever trying player after player in goal keeper to try nullify her, but they were unable to halt Wallace’s onslaught of goals.