NS SCOREBOARD: 2022 Quad Series Round 1

NS SCOREBOARD: 2022 Quad Series Round 1


Contributors: Katrina Nissen, Jenny Sinclair, Zara Collings, Ian Harkin




England 71 def South Africa 47

Starting Line-ups

South Africa:
GS – Ine Mari Venter
GA – Lefebre Rademan
WA – Bongi Msomi
C – Izette Griesel
WD – Khanysia Chawane
GD – Monique Rademan
GK – Phumza Maweni

GS – Elle Cardwell
GA – Helen Housby
WA – Nat Metcalf
C – Serena Guthrie
WD – Beth Cobden
GD – Layla Guscoth
GK – Geva Mentor

Player of the Match:  Layla Guscoth (England)

Shooting percentages:

George Fisher 36/38 (94.7%), Helen Housby 17/17 (100%), Ellie Cardwell 13/14 (92.9%), Sophie Drakeford-Lewis 1/1 (100%)

South Africa:
Ine-Marie Venter 35/37 (94.6%), Lefebre Rademan 5/7 (71.4%), Sigi Burger ⅚ (83.3%)

Kate Stephenson & Elizna van den Berg


A huge congratulations to English goal keeper Geva Mentor who celebrated her 150th international test match. Played across almost 22 years of elite netball, and debuting as a 16 year old against Irene van Dyk, Mentor remains at the top of her game and is an inspiration to all.  

Speaking post match about the milestone, Mentor stated that her nerves walking out tonight were the same as her debut. 

“I can’t remember much about my first test. I remember the All Blacks were in the crowd. Today was so special: my mum, godmother and partner were in the crowd. It was really special to see them. The video montage gave me goosebumps. I felt like today was all about me so I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. There are so many wonderful memories.”

Talking Points

South Africa struggled at times with the speed of the game, as the Roses flexed their muscles in both attack and defence. The Roses full court defence and transition into attack was impressive for most of the match. Eight of their players came up with intercepts or deflections, with attacking players such as Housby and Metcalf particularly adept at adding pressure across the transverse line. 

Before their retirement, Proteas Erin Burger and Maryka Holzhausen were institutions at centre and goal attack respectively. South Africa are still taking time to adjust to their absence, with Izette Griesel – more commonly seen at wing attack – running the game at centre.Griesel still has work to do in disguising rather than telegraphing her passes, a number of which were picked off around the circle. Her seven turnovers were the highest of the match. 

Stand out players

Natalie Metcalf was in exceptional form during the match, finding herself with an acre of space in which to roam. Her connection with all shooters was on point, and in her 50 minutes finished with 25 feeds and 21 centre passes. 

After a quiet Suncorp Super Netball season and Jamaican test series, Helen Housby was back to her lethal best. She rotated the circle beautifully, either clearing space for her goal shooter, or driving inwards when needed, and shot 17/17 at 100%. 

Lefebre Rademan had a baptism of fire against Layla Gusgoth. While the young goal attack wasn’t overawed, Gusgoth was in exceptional form, finishing with four gains including two intercepts, for just five penalties. While Rademan only finished with five goals, she was invaluable across the line, taking a South Africa high 18 centre pass receives.

Geva Mentor had a strong 150th match, making life challenging for her opponents and finishing with four gains.

While it’s impossible to single out everyone, the entire Roses team played to a formidable standard. 

Interesting statistics

England notched their highest score ever in a Quad Series match with 71 goals. 

Turnover conversion rates were uncharacteristically poor for both teams. England finished on 67% and the Proteas on just 40%.The Roses would have been particularly pleased with some of their other team statistics, scoring off an impressive 85% of their centre passes and 81% of their gains. 

Jess Thirlby (England Coach)

On  Defensive combo of Geva and Layla

“Both Layla and Geva have incredible range and it was great to see them reconnect. First quarter took a little while to build but they got braver at coming through to contest. 

On her first 12 months as national coach:

“I felt that in my first 12 months in the coach role, I needed to bring through the youth. Depth of talent was always an ambition and we’re starting to see that come to life on the court.” 

I think we need more than just two WA options. I  thought Sophie (Drakeford-Lewis) did well against Jamaica. Her ball placement today was brilliant.” 

On the win:

“It’s been a while since we had a chance to beat a side like South Africa by such a margin. I think they started well and they came back at us. We got sloppy at the end of the first quarter. But, I was pleased with our second quarter momentum shift. The task at hand now is purposeful combinations which still get impact off the bench. Everyone has had the chance to feel what it’s like to be part of the squad. I’m really pleased overall but there were things we won’t get away with tomorrow.”

Here more from the athletes and coaches on The Netball Show’s Round 1 wrap.

Nat Metcalf (*nee Haythorrnthwaite) was solid for the Roses. Image: Ben Lumley

Nat Metcalf (*nee Haythornthwaite) was solid for the Roses. Image: Ben Lumley



Australia 53 def New Zealand 39

Starting Line-ups

GS – Gretel Bueta
GA – Steph Wood
WA – Liz Watson
C – Paige Hadley
WD – Ash Brazill
GD – Jo Weston
GK – Courtney Bruce 

New Zealand:
GS – Maia Wilson
GA – Tiana Metuarau
WA – Gina Crampton
C – Sam Winders
WD – Kayla Johnson
GD – Karin Burger
GK – Sulu Fitzpatrick

Player of the Match:  Ash Brazill (Australia)

Shooting percentages

Gretel Bueta 29/29 (100%), Steph Wood 19/22 (86.4%), Cara Koenen 3/4 (75%)

New Zealand:
Maia Wilson 24/26 (92.3%), Tiana Metuarua 12/18 (66.7%), Grace Nweke 3/5 (60%)

Gary Burgess & Louise Travis


Happy 21st birthday to Tiana Metuarau


Karin Burger, Claire Kersten and Maia Wilson (all New Zealand) all had to leave the court at one point or another for blood. All players returned to the court once they were patched up. 

Talking Points

There was none of the fire of the English/Proteas match, but both the Silver Ferns and the Diamonds played patient, controlled netball – for the most part. Australia had just 9 turnovers to three quarter time, but were disappointing in the last quarter with more turnovers (11) than goals (6). While we haven’t dug into the record books, six goals in the fourth quarter must be one of the lowest on record for the Diamonds. 

Gretel Bueta and Steph Wood had to change their dresses part way through the second quarter as Karin Burger had a cut on her right hand which got blood on the back of Bueta’s, and presumably Wood’s, dresses. 

Kayla Johnson had a rough welcome back to international netball, receiving two warnings in the second quarter. Coach Noeline Taurua opted to err on the side of caution and take her off the court, but was forced to sub her on for Burger during the blood timeout. 

And, unbelievably, time was stopped in the third quarter for Maia Wilson to receive treatment for a bloody elbow. And AGAIN, in the fourth quarter for Claire Kersten to receive treatment for blood on her left arm and for her to change her dress. 

New Zealand’s young shooting line showed some promising glimpses, but their inexperience showed with 12 costly turnovers. Once again, nerves seemed to get the better of Grace Nweke, but she’s one of the most exciting up and coming players on the world circuit.  

View from the Sideline

Interesting insights from our sideline reporter, Zara Collings, who noticed how different the two teams were heading into the halftime break. The Diamonds were relaxed and taking in the halftime win, seemingly in no rush to head to the changeroom. The Silver Ferns were a contrast as they promptly gathered their belongings and headed out of the area. 

How special for Gretel Bueta, making her return to international netball with her husband and son watching on from the sidelines. 

Stand out players

The combination of Steph Wood at goal attack and Gretel Bueta in goal shooter was a thrill to watch. A lot of attention was given to Bueta not leaving her a lot of room for her usual theatrics. However she adapted well and used supreme footspeed to get around and reoffer. That meant that Wood had ample space to do her trademark step back and shoot. Wood directed play throughout her time on court, with the Diamonds looking far less organised without her on court. 

Ash Brazill had a great return to the green and gold. In a full 60 minutes, she collected 3 intercepts, 3 center receives and 1 deflection. She kept Silver Ferns captain Gina Crampton away from the circle edge and limited her to only 6 goal assists in the first half, before she was subbed off. 

Liz Watson celebrated her return to court with 23 centre pass receives and 30 feeds, and together with Paige Hadley were calm and controlled out on court. 

Kelly Jury picked up 4 gains during her 30 minutes on court, and was a far better match for the height of Bueta in the circle. It was also a welcome return for Kaylia Johnson, who despite being cautioned, came away with 3 gains. With added court time her timing should improve, with fans hoping she will return to her silky best. 

Key strategies

Unlike their last outing, the Diamonds opted to stick with the same starting seven for three quarters. The side looked relaxed, composed and unstoppable during this period. They played with varying speed and control in a short and sharp style while in attack. Defensively, the Diamonds worked overtime to shut down offers to the ball.

The Silver Ferns had no real answers for the Wood/Bueta juggernaut, however when Kelly Jury entered the match at goal keeper, Bueta was forced to rethink her aerial style of play. Jury blocked Bueta’s access to the post and was a menace by sticking to Bueta and forcing her to continually reoffer. For her efforts, Jury collected 4 gains including 1 intercept.

The combination of Tiana Metuaruau and Maia Wilson in attack for the Silver Ferns took a while to mature. During the first quarter Metuaruau looked rattled by the tall arms and physicality of Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston which forced some errors.  After some time on the bench, she was more settled in the final quarter, finding more space.

The Silver Ferns are usually a side which can rotate their bench with relative ease, knowing that any of their squad will have immediate impact when launched into the game. Tonight however, they took time to ease into the game which made play sloppy at times. Between the start of the second quarter and end of the match, the Silver Ferns made 12 positional changes (albeit some were forced due to the blood rule). This begs the question: should the Silver Ferns revert back to their former strategy of letting a settled lineup grind out a match?

Interesting statistics

With four relatively new head coaches in charge of their sides, Noeline Taurua is the only one who’s previously overseen a Quad Series. 

Three new mums returned to international match play tonight with Gretel Bueta (Australia), Kayla Johnson (New Zealand) and Phoenix Karaka (New Zealand) each playing the last match. Their children traveled with them and were spotted in the stands cheering their mums on. Eboni Usoro-Brown (England) and Phumza Maweni (South Africa) are the other mums within the four teams marking the first time that each team of the Quad Series has a mother representing their country.

The Diamonds were able to capitalise on turnovers, scoring from 93% of their opportunities. The Silver Ferns weren’t too shabby either, sitting on 80%. Both teams would be less excited about their gains to goals (Diamonds 50%, Silver Ferns 58%), and the New Zealand outfit would be particularly disappointing at scoring from just 53% of their centre passes. 


Gretel Bueta keeps the ball in play.

Gretel Bueta keeps the ball in play. Image: Ben Lumley

What’s ahead in Round Two

Game 3 – Origin Diamonds v SPAR Proteas
Game 4 – English Roses v New Zealand Silver Ferns

The Diamonds have made two changes to their 12, with Sunday Aryang and Kate Moloney in, while captain Liz Watson and Jo Weston will be rested.

The Road to Birmingham 2022

With the Commonwealth Games on the horizon, all four teams will be looking to bed down combinations during this series. England and Australia both had dominant wins on day one that will have their coaches feeling satisfied, while South Africa and New Zealand have lots to work on in coming days. Let’s talk about the winners today and how they’re looking heading to Birmingham.

The best starting seven for England looks largely settled now, with just a few battles for bench positions remaining. The Roses line-up was like a well-oiled machine for all but a small section of the first quarter when they allowed the Proteas back in. The Geva Mentor/Layla Guscoth defensive combination was on fire and is clearly a lock for those positions in England’s top seven.

Beth Cobden backed them up well at wing defence and captain and vice-captain, Serena Guthrie and Nat Metcalf (Haythornthwaite) also played strongly. After a slowish first quarter, Helen Housby had a tremendous game at goal attack. Barring terrible misfortune, all these six players are set in stone, and Jo Harten will surely come back to claim the goal shooter position.

That means there is just a fight over the bench places, including a fascinating three-way battle for two shooting spots. Ellie Cardwell has seemingly had the front running in recent games, but on this occasion, it was George Fisher who dominated. The main question is, are these two goal shooters vying for just one spot, or does the ability of Cardwell (and Harten) to play goal attack, mean that it’s a pure goal attack in Sophie Drakeford-Lewis who will miss out?

On to Australia, and this performance must have pleased coach Stacey Marinkovich greatly. The starting seven she named, surprised many, but they all did their job well. The major surprise was the listing of Gretel Bueta at goal shooter. Bueta didn’t let her coach down. Her athleticism and strong holding game seems perfectly suited for the position, and it’s really a surprise she hasn’t been used there more often.

There was still some hesitation on the feed into Bueta, but that will improve with time. Vice-captain Steph Wood combined well with her and was more than confident to take the heat off on occasions when her goal shooter was double-teamed. Wood’s long-range shooting was top class, but on another day, it might not be. That could be an issue.

The starting midcourt all had strong games. Coming back from a ten-month injury layoff, captain Liz Watson had the perfect foil in Paige Hadley who played solid mistake-free netball for three quarters. This game must have gone close to locking Hadley into that centre position. Then we come to Ash Brazill. Back in the Diamonds after three years, she was simply superb, and like Hadley, she may have gone a long way to cementing herself in that spot.

In Marinkovich’s first series in charge in 2021, a lot of players were played out of their regular position. Apart from the notable exception of Bueta, that wasn’t the case in this game. Brazill showed the advantage of having a regular wing defence in that position, and it was a similar story with the circle duo of Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston. The only area of concern would be the heavy penalty count against Bruce. Sarah Klau also played strongly at the back when she was given the chance.

At three-quarter time with the game well wrapped up for the Diamonds, several changes were made, and the performance fell away dramatically. The whole attack line misfired, but Cara Koenen and Jamie-Lee Price in particular, both had quarters they would rather forget. It will be interesting to see if they are given the start in game two and a chance to redeem themselves. While Koenen’s position in the team looks safe, the same can’t be said for Price, with a few quality midcourters waiting in the wings.  


Birthday girl, Tiana Metuarau played half the match. Image: Ben Lumley

Birthday girl, Tiana Metuarau played half the match. Image: Ben Lumley


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