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. In at number five is England Roses and Collingwood Magpies defender, Geva Mentor.
One of the most talented defender in the world, there are not many players who are more consistent than Geva Mentor. A livewire back in goal defence with that innate ability of knowing when to strike, Mentor is threatening figure if not for her stature and skill but also her daring and cleanliness. With flair, vision and a whole load of talent, Mentor is one who can turn a match on its head thanks to her netball nous and spectacular vision around the court, able to spot plays from a mile off and either rally the troops to turn the ball over or rack up the intercepts herself.
A general down back for both the Roses and Magpies, it’s Mentor’s consistency that makes her such a tough competitor, always out hunting but also able to play one-on-one to shut down her direct opposition and be that leader, with her boundless experience making it tough for goalers to take her on. Mentor’s footwork and speed to block and stop her opposition in their path is second to none, while her impressive wing span allows her to impede vision in and around the circle. Her height and tenacity see her rack up not only the intercepts and deflections but also provide a handy rebound with her clean hands pulling in the netball with ease.
With grace, impeccable netball know-how and speed to take an unexpected intercept, there is not much that Mentor cannot do defensively. She also provides a clear head driving the play up to attack from the defensive third, with great anticipation to turn the ball over and provide a steadying option thanks to her cleanliness with ball in hand. With consistency and an ability to perform regardless of the players she lines up beside, there is very little that Mentor can’t do on the court.
At 35-years-old, Mentor is yet to show any signs of stopping with the goal keeper continuing to be a real barometer for both her teams, forcing errors from opposition and consistently providing the pressure and impact required to turn over the ball and propel it up towards attack. With grace and speed, she is tough to stop when she gets going and is well deserving of this top five spot with an impressive career behind her and potentially another few years at the top level.
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)
#17 Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning/South Africa)
#16 Jade Clarke (Wasps Netball/England)
#15 Chelsea Pitman (Adelaide Thunderbirds/England)
#14 Romelda Aiken (Queensland Firebirds/Jamaica)
#13 Madi Browne (Collingwood Magpies/Australia)
#12 Nat Medhurst (Collingwood Magpies/Australia)
#11 Mwai Kumwenda (Melbourne Vixens/Malawi)
#10 Caitlin Thwaites (Melbourne Vixens/Australia)
#9 Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball/England)
#8 Jane Watson (Mainland Tactix/New Zealand)
#7 Caitlin Bassett (GIANTS Netball/Australia)
#6 Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever/Jamaica)
#5 Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies/England)