2022 Quad Series – Finals
Contributors: Katrina Nissen, Rona Hunnisett, Ian Harkin, Jenny Sinclair
Who would have predicted the finals to play out the way they did? An unexpectedly close game between the Silver Ferns and the Proteas, and a blow out between the Diamonds and Roses. After an entertaining day’s play, congratulations go to all nations for putting in the hard work and sacrifices to get to the Quad series, England for running such a terrific event, and Australia for taking home the gold medal.
Player of the Series: Congratulations to Gretel Bueta
3RD PLACE PLAYOFF: SOUTH AFRICAN SPAR PROTEAS v NEW ZEALAND SILVER FERNS
New Zealand 51 def South Africa 50
Starting Line Ups:
GS – Ine-Mari Venter
GA – Lefebre Rademan
WA – Izette Griesel
C – Bongi Msomi
WD – Monique Reyneke
GD – Nicole Smith
GK – Phumza Maweni
GS – Maia Wilson
GA – Tiana Metuarau
WA – Gina Crampton
C – Claire Kersten
WD – Karin Burger
GD – Kayla Johnson
GK – Kelly Jury
Player of the Match: Claire Kersten (New Zealand)
Ine-Mari Venter 35/36 (97%), Lefebre Rademan 15/21 (71%)
Maia Wilson 39/44 (89%), Tiana Metuarau 12/14 (86%)
Umpires: Louise Travis, Alison Harrison with Anso Kemp
Congratulations Kayla Johnson for reaching 50 international test caps today.
Happy Birthday, Bongi Msomi!
With Zanele Vimbela unavailable for today’s match due to injury, it created an opportunity for coach Dorette Badenhost to test her young defensive line. When naming her starting seven, she noted she also wanted to reward her fourth-quarter Round 3 seven by giving them the start again, but will tinker with the defensive combos.
Sticking true to her word, and despite Nicola Smith combining well with goal keeper Phumza Maweni, Badenhorst opted for a change to start the second quarter, by bringing on Simone Rabie. The baby Protea added more mobility and speed in transition, but her physical defensive pressure was not as noticeable as Smith who returned to the court before halftime.
Have New Zealand finally settled on a midcourt? For the first time this series, the Silver Ferns did not tinker with their midcourt, leaving Gina Crampton, Claire Kersten and Karin Burger to run out the game. The trio repaid coach Noeline Taurua’s faith in them, with Kersten and Burger picking up four gains, while simultaneously keeping their combined turnovers to just five.
While rising star Tiana Metuarau didn’t put up a large volume of shots, her three gains showed just how valuable a defending midcourter is in creating opportunities for her team. Without that impact, the Silver Ferns would have lost the game.
Stand out Players:
Bongi Msomi toed the line receiving a caution early for persistent contact, but she didn’t let that stop her from leading by example. Despite turning 34 today, she had the energy of a rookie, consistently reoffering in attack and being a pest in defence. She was instrumental in attack; using her full bag of tricks to move her defenders to set up angles and create space for her shooters. She used her timing well, knowing when to play with speed and when to show patience. She ended the game with 29 feeds, 19 goal assists, 3 picks up and 1 deflection (no gain).
Tiana Metuarau has grown throughout this tournament. New Zealand really benefited from her defensive pressure through the midcourt. Early in the first quarter of this match, she got a crucial deflection (with gain) which helped her side pull ahead. And again in the fourth her transverse line defence rewarded with another tip which allowed her side to pull out to a 3 goal lead.
New Zealand captain, Gina Crampton flew under the radar in this match. She didn’t do anything speccy in terms of intercepts but she provided solid leadership and reliable hands. She put in a staggering 38 feeds and 21 goal assists and was spectacularly clean in defence, not giving away a single penalty but managed to collect 3 pickups for her side.
Both teams kept their turnovers well under control, with the Silver Ferns finishing with just 13 to the Proteas 16. In the pressure cooker final quarter, New Zealand gave away just one, giving them the edge in the dying moments of the match.
The Silver Ferns, who’ve been heavily penalised throughout the series, worked hard on reducing this error rate. They finished on just 36 penalties, the cleanest of any games across the finals. Of the Proteas 56 penalties, it was unusual to see a midcourter -Bongi Msomi – give away a costly and game high 13.
The new-look Proteas team have been improving their metrics across the series. In today’s game, they were able to convert all 10 of their turnovers to goal, at an incredible 100% accuracy. In contrast the Silver Ferns converted just 4, at 67% accuracy.
FINAL: ENGLAND ROSES v AUSTRALIAN DIAMONDS
Australia 58 def England 46
Starting Line Ups:
GS – Ellie Cardwell
GA – Helen Housby
WA – Nat Metcalf
C – Serena Guthrie
WD – Beth Cobden
GD – Layla Guscoth
GK – Geva Mentor
GS – Gretel Bueta
GA – Steph Wood
WA – Liz Watson
C – Paige Hadley
WD – Ash Brazill
GD – Jo Weston
GK – Courtney Bruce
Player of the Match: Gretel Bueta (Australia)
Ellie Cardwell 30/32 (94%), Helen Housby (14/16 (88%) , George Fisher 2/4 (50%)
Gretel Bueta 41/42 (98%) , Steph Wood 17/18 (94%)
Umpires: Gary Burgess, Kate Stephenson with Elizna van den Berg
Happy birthday Helen Housby.
Three of the Australian players picked up cautions, including Courtney Bruce and Sarah Klau in defence, and shooter Steph Wood for deliberate delaying in the last minute of the first quarter.
After being 0-4 down at the start of the game, England took the lead and didn’t relinquish it until the fourth quarter. Leading at every change, a fourth quarter capitulation saw their opponents run out to a 12 goal win, Australia’s largest against England since 2016. After being five down at one point, it was an incredible 17 goal turnaround for the Diamonds across the match.
Personnel changes were a major talking point for Roses’ fans, with Laura Malcolm substituted at centre half way through the third quarter, while Geva Mentor, Ellie Cardwell and Serena Guthrie were all sent to the bench in the fourth quarter. Their replacements, Eboni Usoro-Brown, George Fisher and Beth Cobden, all struggled for impact, as the Roses shot just 5 goals for the quarter.
With the experience of Mentor, Guthrie and Clarke all out of the game, together with their best performing shooter in Cardwell, it was an interesting series of decisions by the coaching staff.
For most of the match Australia played a short and safe passing game, minimising the Roses’ ability to create gains despite a swarming, smothering defence. Just three players – Mentor, Gusgoth and Cobden – were able to win ball (6 gains). Defensive efforts slowly dropped across the game with 3 gains in the 1st quarter, 2 in the second, 1 in the third, and none in the fourth. The drop of defensive intensity in the fourth quarter allowed Australia’s attacking third to open up, with players finding more freedom to roam. It’s an area that the Roses will need to address.
In contrast, Australia chimed in with a full court defensive effort, with six players taking 13 gains between them. Pleasingly, Wood, Watson and Hadley contributed four gains between them, while the team’s combined six in the last quarter was an exceptional effort.
Stacey Marinkovich has been roundly criticised since her announcement as Australian coach, for a variety of reasons. However, she and assistant coach Nic Richardson appear to have instilled a happy and healthy team culture, a workable game plan, and strategically tested combinations, all on the back of minimal court time together. While there’s still some significant tests ahead in the Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup, there are promising signs for the Diamonds, and coaches and support staff should be congratulated for their efforts to date.
Stand out Players:
Gretel Bueta picked up Player of the Match as well as the Series, in an incredible series of performances since returning from maternity leave. It was a coming of age for Bueta, who combined lethal accuracy – shooting 41/42 at 97.6% in this game – with strength and steadiness under the post. Her movement around the circle, and ability to provide an outlet in the goal third, was impressive, and her error rate was low, giving away just one turnover.
Sarah Klau proved pivotal in the defensive end as the Diamonds searched for an answer to the strength of Ellie Cardwell. Coming off the bench in the second quarter, Klau’s footwork to move around her opponent tightened up the Roses’ feeding combinations, and she also picked up three valuable gains.
Liz Watson played a great captain’s game, finishing with a game high 37 feeds and 19 centre pass receives. While on the receiving end of a number of bumps, she continually offered and reoffered around the circle and in the goal third, and reduced Beth Cobden’s usual impact in picking up stray passes.
For England, Ellie Cardwell had another fine game, finishing on 30/32 despite spending just half the game at goal shooter, rotating to goal attack before finally being subbed off with 9 minutes to go in the game. Cardwell is deceptively quick and always strong in the circle, and will shoot from anywhere.
Layla Gusgoth was her usual menacing presence in defence, harassing every pass and leaving the Diamonds with few easy passes into the circle. Her ability to cover ground and hunt the ball continues to impress, and she finished with three gains in the match.
Courtney Bruce attracted a significant amount of whistle during the game, particularly at the end umpired by Gary Burgess. She sat on 0.4 penalties per minute of game time, compared to Sarah Klau (0.22) and Jo Weston (0.27), meaning that there’s work to be done in tidying up her game. Frustratingly 5 of Bruce’s 12 penalties were obstruction, which is a relatively easy fix, but one that she is finding difficult to make at the international level.
Team metrics had a few discrepancies, but the most glaring difference was in gains to goals. The Roses converted just 33% of their opportunities, while the Diamonds were able to convert 32%. In other measures, the Diamonds scored from 80% of their centre passes (Roses 70 %) and 70% of their turnovers (Roses 64%).
Hear from the players and coaches thanks to our friends at The Netball Show Podcast.
The Road to Birmingham 2022
South Africa goes away from this Quad Series without a single win. But they have improved with each game, culminating in an outstanding performance in the 3rd place playoff. While no doubt disappointed to lose, today’s game must have given coach Dorette Badenhorst a much needed confidence boost ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Suddenly, the team starts to look more settled, and it all stems from the best shooting display seen from the Proteas for some time. Ine-Mari Venter and Lefebre Rademan were both tremendous. If Lenize Potgieter comes back into the team, it will be interesting to see what approach Badenhorst uses. After Rademan’s game today, she should be persevered with.
The seven players who ran out the majority of today’s game should all have sealed their places. That includes goal defence Nicola Smith who is inexperienced at this level, but shows great promise. She could be first in line for the unenviable job of trying to replace Karla Pretorius. Khanyisa Chawane also had a fine game at wing defence. If Shadine van der Merwe returns, she can bolster both of those positions. Suddenly, things aren’t looking quite so grim for the Proteas.
If anything can be certain for New Zealand in the lead into the Commonwealth Games, it’s that the three shooters who featured throughout this tournament have all but booked their tickets to Birmingham. Tiana Metuarau has really stepped up as a replacement for Ameliaranne Ekenasio. No doubt coach Noeline Taurua will be hoping Ekenasio returns to the team and joins Metuarau, Nweke and Wilson.
The midcourt has been a big puzzle for the Silver Ferns, with nobody really stepping up to make the centre position their own. But Claire Kersten put in a strong, steady performance today and must surely have put her name on the Commonwealth Games team list. She has moved ahead of Sam Winders and Shannon Saunders for now. It will be interesting to see the final combination.
The Kiwis’ defensive lineup is still very much up in the air at this stage, but Phoenix Karaka has probably been the standout performer here and should certainly be among the 12 players named. Kelly Jury, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kaylia Johnson have all impressed at various times, although their penalty count has been challenging at times. One of the big questions now is what impact Burger’s versatility will have on selection? She is the first choice wing defence at this stage, but can also play in the circle. This allows for flexibility.
Now to England. They will be shell shocked after today, but there are still many positives to take away from the Quad Series. For all but one quarter, they were right in this tournament. At this stage, most of the Commonwealth Games team picks itself, but there are still some question marks.
The first of those is in the shooting circle. With Jo Harten to come back, she will no doubt be joined by Helen Housby and Ellie Cardwell. That leaves George Fisher and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis to fight it out for the last spot. Fisher got the nod in the final today, but then put in a very shaky performance in her eight minutes on court. Will that count against her?
In the midcourt, again, three players seem certain; Nat Metcalf, Serena Guthrie and Beth Cobden. So in all likelihood, it means Jade Clarke versus Laura Malcolm for the last spot. Malcolm has been given a good run in recent times, but it would seem unfathomable that Clarke could actually miss out.
Defensively, Geva Mentor, Layla Guscoth and Eboni Usoro-Brown appear certain to be named, which again leaves one spot. Stacey Francis-Bayman hasn’t had much court time here, so it’s hard to know where she stands. Maybe another defender from outside this squad could get the call up.
Today’s incredible win will have given the Australian team some much needed confidence heading to Birmingham. And lots of it. The eight players who took the court in today’s final will all definitely be on the plane, barring any misfortune between now and then. In the shooting circle, Gretel Bueta and Steph Wood have two places sewn up, while Cara Koenen and Sophie Garbin are also highly likely to be chosen.
In the midcourt, it appears that Jamie-Lee Price is in the box seat to beat Kate Moloney and claim the fourth place after Liz Watson, Paige Hadley and Ash Brazill. But neither player has performed well enough here to suggest that someone else couldn’t possibly come from outside this squad.
In defence, Courtney Bruce, Sarah Klau and Jo Weston have all sealed their selection, which leaves one spot open. Having been chosen in this final, perhaps that’s a clue that Sunday Aryang has the advantage over Maddy Turner, but it’s too early to tell on that decision just yet. It won’t be long before the Commonwealth Games teams are chosen and we will know for sure.