WITH April Brandley announcing her pregnancy and subsequent time off netball who will the Magpies look for to replace her? Brandley has been a great contributor to the club working hard in defence and absorbing the pressure throughout her tenure. She has provided stability in the defensive end throughout Collingwood’s short history with Sharni Layton retiring and Geva Mentor only joining this year. But with the goal defence position up for grabs the Magpies will have to assess their options with Matilda Garrett already committed to the club we look at other possible options ahead of the trade period.
Karla Pretorius: Sunshine Coast Lightning
The Lightning goal defence is no stranger to the big stage dominating both on the international and national stage. The dynamic defender is out of contract at the end of season and if Collingwood want to bolster their defensive stocks should look to the lanky goal defence who oozes class and composure with ball in hand. Pretorius has played with both Mentor and Kelsey Browne throughout their time at Sunshine Coast making her a viable option given the connections and understandings. The South African international offers plenty of skill, pressure and an uncanny ability to make something out of nothing. Her defensive pressure is undeniable, smothering her opponents every move while providing a strong drive through the midcourt to surge the ball forward. She can quite easily turn a game on its head and knows what it takes to work her way back into the match. With the Magpies prized as a premiership favourite filled with plenty of stars gaining Pretorius would be a huge coup for the club and could help push them one step closer to a grand final.
Kristiana Manu’a: GIANTS Netball
The goal defence has had a stand out season for the GIANTS this year but is out of contract and may be looking for a new home. She has really come into her own relishing the court time and standing up to the occasion more than once throughout the year. Though she is not the tallest defender her aerial ability is highly impressive, able to read the high ball and contest them while her tagging style of defence can nullify her opponent. Her speed is a huge asset of her game able to make up space effortlessly. She could be a great acquisition for the Magpies who will be looking for someone to replace Brandley. Manu’a is not afraid of the contest throwing herself into every situation and working hard to win the ball one on one. With the guidance of Mentor down back the combination between the two could cause real headaches given their ball winning ability and defensive intent.
Layla Guscoth: Adelaide Thunderbirds
Despite the England Roses international injuring her achilles at the World Cup, she could still play a role next year for a Suncorp Super Netball club and given her connection with Collingwood goal keeper Mentor could find herself at the Magpies. The uncontracted co-captain did not have the impact she would have wanted, forced to the sidelines in the latter part of the season but has plenty to offer with her experience and defensive pressure. She knows how to win and already has an imposing connection with Mentor making it a logical move if she was to jump ship. The Adelaide Thunderbirds goal defence is strong around the contest and reads the play well while her teamwork with Mentor could be what the Magpies are looking for ahead of season 2020. With injury to consider the Magpies might search for someone else but Guscoth has plenty of class around the court making her a real possibility next year.