Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 14, 2020

Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 14, 2020

By |2020-09-29T14:45:20+10:00September 28th, 2020|Categories: AUS, Match Reviews|0 Comments

Netball Scoop – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 14, 2020

 

“Our very talented Netball Scoop photographers work hard to bring you exceptional images of netball. We are always happy to share these photos on request, but unfortunately this season there has been a significant increase in copyright breaches, where images have been reproduced without permission, digitally altered, and/or used without photographer credit. 

We will publish Round 14 images in black and white as an artistic protest that hopefully raises awareness of this issue.

Colour photos will be available on request.”

 

Jo Harten. Image Simon Leonard

 

RESULTS

Queensland Firebirds 65 defeated Collingwood Magpies 63  (19-18, 15-17, 13-16, 18-12)

NSW Swifts 77 drew with Giants Netball 77 (22-24, 17-17, 23-13, 15-23)

Adelaide Thunderbirds 64 defeated West Coast Fever 63 (13-19, 15-14, 19-16, 17-14)

Melbourne Vixens 58 defeated Sunshine Coast Lightning 54 (18-13, 13-13, 12-16, 15-12)

 

LADDER AFTER ROUND FOURTEEN

Position Points Percentage

  1.  Vixens .  46  . 113.13%   
  2. Lightning  . 36  . 99.64%
  3. Fever  . 34 .  107.47%
  4. Swifts  . 34  . 101.47%
  5. Firebirds  . 26  . 95.3% 
  6. Giants  . 24 . 99.33% 
  7. Thunderbirds  . 20  . 96.49%
  8. Magpies  . 4  . 88.3% 

 

INJURIES

Helen Housby (Swifts)  was suffering from a stomach bug but should be right for the finals. 

Caitlin Bassett (Giants) was ruled out of the round with knee soreness following a training injury during the week.

Liz Watson (Vixens) left the court midway during her game, most likely as a precautionary measure following an ankle injury two weeks ago. 

Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) exited the game late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, and didn’t return.  

 

MILESTONE GAMES

Congratulations to:

Romelda Aiken who sank her 7000th national league goal on Saturday. 

Jacqui Russell on her 50th national league game

Liz Watson on her 100th national league game

 

MOVING ON

Madi Browne (Magpies) has announced her retirement from elite netball.

Jacqui Russell (Lightning) will retire at the end of the 2020 season

Chelsea Pitman (Thunderbirds) wasn’t offered a contract by the Thunderbirds for the 2021 season. 

Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip (Vixens) have both announced they will retire at the end of the 2020 season.

 

Madi Browne says her farewell.

 

Chelsea Pitman on the look out for a new club. Image Marcela Massey

 

ROOKIE OF THE ROUND

Emma Cosh had another impressive game for the Fever. Since the injury to Ingrid Colyer, Cosh has slotted right into the line-up and has been composed under pressure and a key part of their push towards finals. She finished the game with 22 goal assists, 25 centre pass receives, a deflection, two pickups and just two turnovers.

 

PLAY OF THE ROUND

While Western Australia might have missed out on live Suncorp Super Netball games in 2020, it didn’t put a dampener on the season for Fever supporters. On Saturday night, RAC Arena hosted a giant watch party, with over 6000 fans turning up to watch netball on a big screen. Despite the lack of live action, it was the biggest crowd for a game this season. 

 

TEAM OF THE ROUND

There’s something to be said for teams who haven’t made finals, but have well and truly challenged teams that have. This week, the Thunderbirds took out a close win against the high-flying Fever. Despite starting with a different line-up, the Thunderbirds hit their straps once Chelsea Pitman took the court. Cool heads in the dying moments of the game and some on point shooting from Georgie Horjus helped them seal the one-goal win, with the Fever missing an opportunity to go into second spot on the ladder. 

It’s good bye to the Thunderbirds for 2020. Image Marcela Massey

 

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

The Magpies defence did an exceptional job of shutting down the super shot zone during power plays. They allowed Tippah Dwan just three goals from this range, and for the most part kept her well covered, allowing the ball to be passed to the less damaging zone under the post. With the supershot sure to have an impact in the finals, other teams should look no further than the Magpies’ example. 

Jo Harten showed the quick impact of the supershot, turning an 11-goal deficit into a draw in the last five minutes of the game. Harten landed six supershots in the final five minutes of play with the Swifts only able to score three goals in the final five minutes. 

 

TALKING POINT OF THE ROUND

There were emotional scenes following the Firebirds’ game, after Jemma Mi Mi played an integral part in their narrow victory. Her tears and some heartfelt hugs showed just what a stressful time it has been for the wing attack. Mi Mi didn’t take to the court during Indigenous Round, despite being the “face” used to promote it. Australian netball and the Firebirds were roundly castigated for their insensitivity during the round, and more broadly their inaction in increasing First Nations representation in netball. If there was any silver lining to be had, it was that a spotlight was shone on the issue, and hopefully will lead to some meaningful change. And if actions do speak louder than words, Mi Mi’s composure in the week since the debacle show what a champion she is. 

Chelsea Pitman wasn’t offered a contract by the Thunderbirds for the 2021 season, in what many have seen as a clear indication that benches will return to ten next year. The club captain has had an instrumental role in guiding the Thunderbirds over the last few years, and has been the glue that has held a young attacking end together. Pitman is exploring options for next year, and her international career will most likely depend on her finding a new home. Her leadership will be sorely missed by the Thunderbirds, who seem set to continue developing their youngsters. 

The Swifts have continued their season-long pattern of bench rotation and it will be interesting to see how this tactic pans out towards the end of the season with the Vixens, the Fever and the Lightning turning to the bench less frequently. With the condensed season drawing to a close, will this rotation pay dividends for the Swifts?

Today’s announcement that both Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Philip of the Vixens will be retiring at season’s end, continues the recent run of such announcements. A lot of the names that we are so used to seeing, will not be there when the 2021 season begins, but as we’ve seen this year, there will be new names ready to take their place.

 

Jemma Mi Mi. Image Simon Leonard.

 

An emotional game for Jemma Mi Mi. Image Simon Leonard.

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

 

Victorians lost the netball telecast when Channel 9 flashed to a press conference.

 

STAND OUT STATISTICS

 

INDIVIDUAL

Nissan Netpoints

Sam Wallace (Swifts) – 98.5

Maddy Turner (Swifts) – 97.5

Laura Langman (Lightning) – 96

 

Super Shots

Jo Harten (Giants) – 10/13 (77%) 

Georgie Horjus (Thunderbirds) – 8/9 (89%)

Kiera Austin (Giants) – 7/10 (70%)

 

Feeds

Mahalia Cassidy (Firebirds) – 51

Verity Charles (Fever) – 42

Emma Cosh (Fever) – 34 

 

Goal Assists

Mahalia Cassidy (Firebirds) – 26

Emma Cosh (Fever) – 23 

Gabi Sinclair (Magpies) – 22

 

Centre Pass Receives

Georgie Horjus (Thunderbirds) – 32 

Maddie Hay (Giants) – 29 

Kiera Austin (Giants) – 26

 

Gains

Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 11 (3 intercepts, 2 deflections with gain, 6 rebounds)

Geva Mentor (Magpies) – 8 (4 intercepts, 2 deflections with gain, 2 rebounds)

Sarah Klau (Swifts) – 6 (3 intercepts, 2 deflections with gain, 1 rebound)

Maddy Turner (Swifts) – 6 (3 intercepts, 3 deflections with gain)

 

Penalties

Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 18 

Tyler Orr (Magpies) – 15 

Maddy Turner (Swifts) – 13 

 

Turnovers

Sophie Garbin (Swifts) – 7

Tippah Dwan (Firebirds) – 7

Steph Wood (Lightning) – 7

Verity Charles (Fever) – 7

 

MATCH REPORTS

Queensland Firebirds 65 defeated Collingwood Magpies 63

By Katrina Nissen 

With pride on the line the Firebirds and Magpies left nothing in the tank in their final match of the 2020 season. 

 WHO dominated?

Molly Jovic and Shimona Nelson both produced their best games of the season. Jovic’s work over the transverse and her second phase offerings were a masterclass in effective attacking work. She skilfully utilised dodges and drives to rid herself of her defender to find the safe pocket feeds. 

Nelson finished the game with an impressive 82.5 Nissan Net Points. She shot 42/43, missing her first shot just three minutes before the end of the match. Nelson has improved across the whole season and was under immense pressure from the Firebirds defenders. She withstood a barrage of physical aerial contests and did well not to have any turnovers for the first three quarters.  

WHAT worked?

There were 21 loose balls in this match. That means there was a lot of scrapping. This has been an area of the Firebirds’ game which they have dominated in this season and it was not different today. They got to 13 of those scraps today. 

The Magpies ability to shut down the Firebirds attacking set-ups was also very impressive in this match. The pressing defence often forced the Firebirds to one side of the court. Jemma Mi Mi eventually saw through that and found space around the circle, but not before the Magpies pushed out to a lead.

Geva Mentor and Matilda Garrett also did a beautiful job of shutting down the 2-point zone, limiting Tippah Dwan’s ability to eat into the goal-deficit.   

WHAT needs improvement?

Turnovers have been an issue for both teams this year. Firebirds had been tidying up that area of their game toward the end of the season. However, Magpies forced the Firebirds into 23 errors (including 9 intercepted passes) today. 

18 of those turnovers came in the goal third for the Firebirds. This is an area which is definitely going to need improvement next season. 

For the Magpies their ability to score off their gains is an area to work on. They only scored off 57% of their gains for the match. By comparison, the Firebirds scored off 75% of theirs.  

WHERE was it won

The Firebirds found a hunger for the ball in the last quarter. It was spear-headed by Gabi Simpson who, earlier in the match, was spending too much time appealing to the umpires. Her trademark smile and slapping of the hands wasn’t there for the first half – thanks in large part to Molly Jovic who kept her exceptionally busy. But, with bragging rights on the line, Simpson came out for the last half and played like a captain should. She was smarter, came off the body but was also more menacing.  

WHERE was it lost?

In the last quarter, Shimon Nelson lost the cool that she had been playing with all game. The extra attention from Tara Hinchliffe got inside her head and saw her fumble the ball three times right under the post which utilised effectively by the Firebirds at their end.   

WHEN was the game won and lost?

The last quarter was edge-of-your-seat stuff for Magpies and Firebirds fans alike. The Firebirds’ comeback was building throughout the match. But it didn’t appear until two minutes into the last quarter. The Firebirds defence did the work to not draw the umpires’ attention. This allowed them to get their hands to everything which caused six deflections in the last quarter and by 7 mins in, they were back level. 

HOW did she do that?!

In the last quarter, Matilda Garrett caused a clever turnover by holding her ground and allowing Tippah Dwan to push the ball into her hands. Just as the ball was about to make it over the Magpies’ transverse line, Kim Jenner came from nowhere and took a screaming intercept which was converted for the Firebirds.   

MVP:  Gabi Simpson (Firebirds)

Shimona Nelson keeps a ball in play. Image Simon Leonard.

 

The match up between Geva Mentor and Romelda Aiken was one of the highlights. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Gabi Simpson had an MVP performance. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Kim Jenner and Gabi Sinclair tussle for the ball. Image Simon Leonard.

 

NSW SWIFTS 77 drew with GIANTS NETBALL 77 

By Kate Cornish

This was the last round of regular play before the finals series and both teams had very different reasons to hunt for a win. The Giants were now only playing for pride in a season where we have seen moments of brilliance and the NSW Swifts were aiming for a win to give themselves a potential shot at second spot on the ladder, and finish better than fourth. Not only were the Swifts looking to climb the ladder before finals, but a win against their western Sydney rivals would help with confidence and momentum as they try to recreate the devastating form they took into the finals in 2019.

Before the game Giant Caitlin Bassett, who has not been seen on court since round 10, was ruled out of the game with a knee injury picked up in mid-week training. She was not sitting anywhere near the bench, and had her head down in a book instead of watching her team warm up. It was a telling sign and a sad end to a season where she has struggled for court time. 

Another omission for this game was Swifts goal attack Helen Housby. Ruled out of the game with a stomach bug, it meant that Sophie Garbin would step into the attack end to partner goal shooter Sam Wallace.

WHO dominated?

As usual Sam Wallace was strong and dependable for the NSW Swifts, seemingly never fazed about what is happening around her, and she worked Garbin into the game nicely. There were a few connection issues between the two with Garbin turning over the ball seven times during the game. But as the game went on, their shooter-to-shooter combination hit its stride. Wallace is easily one of the most consistent players in the league. She had 44 accurate shots on goal during the game (six of those super shots) and she was the calming anchor in the Swifts attacking end.

Perhaps trying to prove a point (but more likely just playing as she always does), Amy Parmenter was electric in wing defence for the Giants. She had a rotating wing attack on her throughout the game in either Nat Haythornthwaite or Maddy Proud, but it didn’t faze her. Her closing speed and ability to attack the ball by playing a strong one-on-one defence improves with every game and Parmenter chased down a number of balls keeping her team in the game. She had four gains, three intercepts and nine deflections and was the worthy recipient of the MVP. The strength of Parmenter is how cleanly she plays the game. Not only is she able to contest the ball strongly and apply pressure without being pulled for contact, she is then able to position herself in front of her opponent with hands-over-ball. She is in play for most of the game, conceding very few penalties which means there is no easy moment for her opponent.

WHAT worked?

The swing and rotation of players that the Swifts are able to use in their attack end is a gift for coach Briony Akle. Paige Hadley started the game in centre and the matchup between herself and Jamie-Lee Price was incredibly physical. While it was obvious neither were prepared to take a back seat in this clash, they almost cancelled each other out as they went toe-to-toe. Throughout the game Akle tinkered with her attack line and when Maddy Proud moved into centre against Price, the sting was taken out of the contest and both were able to play stronger roles for the team. Proud, who has also just been named in the Diamonds squad, has built nicely over the season after coming back from an ACL in 2019. Her ability to find the circle edge is up there with the best in the game and her connection with her feeders seems effortless.

The position that the Swifts have struggled with in 2020 is wing defence. While Sophie Craig is a strong defender, she has usually played that role as an ‘impact player’. This year, she was elevated into the team and her role changed. She has been required to play in that position for many more minutes and she is still finding her feet in this space. Craig is pulled up for plenty of contacts and is out of play quite often leaving her goal defence and goal keeper exposed. However, in this game, Craig looked like she had found the balance of a strong yet composed wing defence, who was more calculated about the decisions she was making on court. It was a much tidier game from Craig and she had a solid impact with five deflections and only nine contact penalties to her name. If Craig can make the shift from her more physical style of play, to the more strategic and opportunistic style that we saw against the Giants, she will be very handy in the coming weeks.

The Giants moving circle of Jo Harten and Keira Austin was a highlight for the Giants in this game, in fact the entire attacking end of the Giants were on song, and for 50 minutes of the game, fans would have been wondering what exactly has gone wrong this season. It is obvious that the agility of both Harten and Austin is coach Julie Fitzgerald preferred option in the goal circle and they are building nicely into a combination that could be very hard to beat in 2021. Not too dissimilar to the partnership that former Giant, Susan Pettitt had with Harten, Austin has great timing, vision and bursts of speed when it is needed. Her direct opposition in Maddy Turner also had a fine game, both bringing out the best qualities of each other.

WHAT needs improvement?

The game felt very even for the first two quarters, and in fact the Giants seemed like they had a better flow through court and were finding their shooters with a bit more ease. Both Austin and Harten are happy to turn and go to post, while the Swifts generally like to play the ball around with a few extra passes to get under the post. However, both teams had severe lapses in concentration which almost cost them both the game.

In the third quarter the Giants switched off completely and allowed the Swifts to go on a scoring rampage. It has been typical of their 2020 season and something that Fitzgerald will need to address in the off season. In this league you cannot afford to switch off for even a few minutes and unfortunately for the Giants this has been a recurring theme for them. There has been speculation the off-court drama with Bassett may have played a part in the team’s overall season performance, and if that is the case it will either be a matter of mending bridges or moving on for this team to be considered contenders next year.

Just as the Giants switched off in the third quarter, the Swifts who needed to keep their foot on the accelerator in the fourth and finish the season on a strong win, released the pressure and their concentration and allowed the Giants back in the game. Two crucial back-to-back turnovers by Nat Haythornthwaite (who had five to her name by the game’s end) gave Jo Harten opportunities to sink supershots and she did not miss. Harten shot six supershots in the final minutes to bring the game back from the brink. Standing up as a leader for her team, the Giants will count that as a win as they have not come close to beating the Swifts since 2018. The Swifts retained the Carole Sykes Trophy on goal difference, but will be feeling a little shaky heading into finals after squandering an 11-goal lead. 

WHERE was it lost?

In the dying moments of the game, with scores tied up at 75 all, Garbin had the ball in hand and took a super-shot, missing. While there was not enough time on the clock for the Giants to go back and score, if Garbin had her time over again, she may have thought to pass the ball out once more to try and get better positioning under the post, as one goal was all they needed to win the game.

WHERE was it DRAWN?

Jo Harten stood up for her team when it mattered most and saved the game for the Giants, courtesy of the two-point shot, a new rule that she has been vocal about not liking much. Turnovers from the Swifts were capitalised on by the English Rose who had confidence in her shot and backed herself for the win. The Giants came close to a huge upset, and while they did not come away with the win, they will have put some doubt in the Swifts minds as they head into the finals.

MVP Amy Parmenter (Giants)

 

Jamie-Lee Price was influential. Image Simon Leonard

 

Amy Parmenter tackling Nat Haythornthwaite in an MVP performance. Image Simon Leonard.

 

What could have been. The draw relegated Swifts to fourth on the ladder.  Image Simon Leonard

 

Adelaide Thunderbirds 64 defeated West Coast Fever 63

By Jenny Sinclair

West Coast Fever blew a perfect opportunity to claim second place and the double chance in the finals. Leading by eight goals in the final quarter, they struggled to shut down the two point zone, allowing Georgie Horjus free rein at the post. The Thunderbirds’ win was a perfect send off for captain and match MVP, Chelsea Pitman, who hasn’t been re-signed by the club for next season.

WHO dominated?

Pitman’s influence, from the time she entered the court in the second quarter, was undeniable. She was a steadying and safe influence around the circle, varying her passing between a rapid ball and a thoughtfully held one. Moving back into the circle, Horjus was free to work her magic, with a far better connection with Lenize Potgeiter.

The defensive trio of Layla Gusgoth, Kate Shimmin and Shamera Sterling were also crucial to the Thunderbirds success. Gusgoth had Alice Teague-Neeld and Kaylia Stanton well covered, with her hands-over pressure making life difficult for the pair. Teague-Neeld ended up struggling, giving away two held balls, and shooting at just 33% (4/12).

Gusgoth’s foot speed also allowed her to drop back to help double team Jhaniele Fowler, forcing Teague-Neeld into inaccurate longer shots, helping Sterling to pick up any loose balls.

For the Fever, wing attack Emma Cosh had her best game of the season. More usually a goal attack, Cosh took 25 centre passes and fed the circle on 33 occasions. Her passes into the circle were a good blend of speed or careful weighting, and she gave away just one turnover to Verity Charles’ seven.   

At the back end Courtney Bruce had a game high 11 gains, but far too often the opportunities were wasted with the Fever converting just 56% of their gains. 

WHAT worked?

The Fever led in most of the games’ metrics. They had more gains, pick-ups, deflections and Nissan Net Points, and less turnovers. They managed to convert 72% of their centre passes, and have been sitting around this consistently high mark for the second half of the season.

In the first half, Fever’s court structures held up well, with Teague-Neeld driving through the middle corridor, and Cosh and Charles working around her. While Stanton was more accurate at the post, shooting 4/5 (80%) in her 22 minutes, her different timing altered the tempo of the attack end.

The Thunderbirds continued to apply pressure right to the end of the game, only hitting the front in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter. Defensively they worked hard to push Fever players to the sides of the court, limiting their ability to reset laterally before driving back into attack. Strong hands over pressure also forced a number of errors.

During the two point super shot period, Horjus was extremely crafty in facing the goal post, screening the two point zone with her back, then pivoting to receive a short pass from behind.

In  through court transition for the Thunderbirds, Gusgoth and Shadine Van der Merwe were strong in carrying the ball down court, allowing the attackers to make short sharp leads, rather than going on long runs with their riskier intercept rate. Horjus, Pitman and Maisie Nankivell formed a strong combination, with Horjus creative in the circle, Pitman steady outside it, and Nankivell a good supporting act. The latter was unrelenting as a defensive back up, coming away with four gains. 

WHAT needs improvement?

Fever rely on speed to get the ball into Jhaniele Fowler, but with Sterling’s speed and footwork making life difficult for her opponent, there needed to be a change in tactics. Instead of throwing up the ball and hoping, Fever could have used baulks to draw Sterling to one side, then pass to the opposite side away from her long arms.  

Selection decisions almost proved to be the Thunderbirds undoing, with Pitman starting on the bench and Horjus in wing attack. Without Pitman, the Thunderbirds attacking end looked disconnected, coughing up a game high eight turnovers in the opening quarter. Pitman’s leadership and influence will be missed in 2021, and they will have a lot of work to do to replace her. 

WHERE was it won?

The injection of Pitman into wing attack, the move of Horjus back to goal attack and her ability to find two point range, and the immense pressure applied by Gusgoth to disconcert her opponents were all key to the win. 

WHERE was it lost?

As has been the case for much of the season, Fever not only faded towards the end of the game, but failed to shut down the two shot scoring zone, allowing Horjus to sink eight super shots. Bruce and Stacey Francis need to recognise when the two point shot is in play, and protect that zone even if it’s at the expense of having one pointers scored against them.

Tactically, it could prove to be the difference between winning and losing in the finals series, with the other three teams all having long range shooters. Fever will need to do some quick homework, and should look no further than the Magpies this round, who did an exceptional job. 

WHEN was the game won and lost?

After a strong opening quarter, it was all down hill for the Fever, with the Thunderbirds winning each of the next three quarters. For most of the game, Fever would establish a lead, Thunderbirds would chip into it, before the Fever eased away again. They controlled most of the game, and only gave away the chocolates when Horjus sunk four super shots in the final minutes of the match.

Fever were leading by one goal, and in their attacking third, Nankivell won a desperate scramble for a loose ball. She prevailed, the Thunderbirds scored and tied up the game. They converted their following centre pass to hit the lead, and didn’t relinquish it from that point on.

The final thirty seconds were a tactical gaffe by the Fever. They should have gone straight to post to level the score or even draw ahead, but wasted far too much time playing the ball around. Instead of converting, they lost the ball to the Thunderbirds, allowing them to hang on for the narrow win. 

HOW did she do that?!

Despite being cut by the Thunderbirds during the week, and then started on the bench, Chelsea Pitman was all class. Coming onto court in the second quarter, she was a steadying influence, allowing the team around her to shine. Pitman led by word and example, and received the finish that she deserved by her teammates.

MVP: Chelsea Pitman (Fever)

 

The Thunderbirds’ defenders put immense pressure on Alice Teague-Neeld. Image Marcela Massey

 

Shadine Van Der Merwe has formed part of a formidable Thunderbirds back line. Image Marcela Massey

 

Chelsea Pitman – match MVP. Image Marcela Massey

 

Layla Gusgoth had a standout performance. Image Marcela Massey

 

Melbourne Vixens 58 defeated Sunshine Coast Lighting 54

By Jane Edwards

WHO dominated?

Mwai Kumwenda had a great day out, playing the whole game at GS and scoring 43 from 44 attempts. Even when Liz Watson left the court at half time to rest her ankle, she combined beautifully with stand-in WA Elle McDonald, who gave her plenty of quality feeds.

WHAT worked?

The coaches got to explore some strategic matchups in the second half. When Lightning substituted Peace Proscovia for Cara Koenen at GS, Vixens coach sent Kadi-Ann Dehanney to GK to see what she could do. This was a successful tactic – Proscovia scored only one goal in the last five minutes, drying up a run of five from six. Liz Watson also left the court in the second half to give her recovering ankle a break. Her replacement Elle McDonald had some lovely combinations with Tegan Philip at GA and Mwai Kumwenda at GS.

WHAT needs improvement?

Both teams would like to get a better return from their GAs’ game. The Vixens’ best quarter was the first, with Kumwenda scoring 12 from 12 and Thwaites 5 from 6. They didn’t win the second and third quarters, with all their shooters being restricted in access. While Kumwenda scored 14 at 100% in the final quarter, this resulted from a careful strategy by Thwaites to clear the goal circle and keep Pretorius busy, and Thwaites scored only 1 from 2 attempts in this quarter.

WHERE was it won?

The Lightning were manning up tightly on their opponents, and causing the Vixens to pause and wait for a free attacker on every passage of play. The Vixens had to slow down their ball movement, and see through the defensive disruption of Langman, McAuliffe and Pretorius, who were regularly switching from their direct opponent to seek intercepts in open spaces.  Defensive gains enabled them to transition quickly through the centre third to the top of the circle before the Lightning defenders.

WHERE was it lost?

The Lightning goal circle lacked consistent enterprise today. Steph Wood scored 8 points in the first half with one from a super shot, and 13 in the second half with eight from a super shot. She led the centre pass receives and goal assists, and it was when she was off the court in the first ten minutes of the fourth quarter that the Lightning had the scoring drought that cost them the game. Koenen had little impact at GA, and the Lightning will need to think about what is the strongest shooting combination for finals next week. 

WHEN was the game won and lost?

In the fourth quarter, Lightning had a seven minute period where they did not score a goal. They turned over the ball on five consecutive centre passes. Three of these turnovers were caused by Dehanney’s strong defence over the ball, in a fabulous patch of disciplined play on first Proscovia and then Koenen. The Vixens had established an eleven goal lead by the ten minute mark, and although Steph Wood was able to restore some respectability with three late two-point shots, the win was out of reach with five minutes left. Dehaney and Smith made the most of their speculative second-half court time to come up with some ingenious deflections, benefitting from a Vixens defensive strategy that forced the Lightning into ever shorter and lateral passing. 

HOW did she do that?!

Kumwenda’s strong holds and aerial takes are endlessly entertaining, but a fabulous display of footwork late in the game had her opponent’s heads spinning late in the game. With Pretorius pressed hard against her left side, she had McDonald at the top of the circle fixing her with an intention to feed the ball. In two fluid movements she rolled neatly to her right, convincing Pretorius to head left to the goal post to intercept, then danced back along the baseline to her right for a one-handed take. Hats off to McDonald for assisting in the duplicity by faking the pass to the goal post and delivering the ball at just the right instant.

MVP: Mwai Kumwenda (Vixens)

Mwai Kumwenda produced another great performance. Photo: Simon Leonard

 

Karla Pretorius defends the shot of retiree Caitlin Thwaites. Photo: Simon Leonard

 

Liz Watson celebrated her 100th national league game. Photo: Simon Leonard

WHAT’S NEXT 

Semi-Finals

Saturday 1pm (AEST) Vixens v Lightning Channel 9/Telstra TV

Sunday 1pm (AEDT) Fever v Swifts Channel 9/Telstra TV

NB – Please note that Sunday’s match is impacted by daylight savings. Those states without daylight savings – WA, NT and Qld – will need to check their match times carefully.  

 

NETBALL SCOOP PODCAST

Please tune into the Netball Scoop Podcast on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball Season. Co-hosts Alexia Mitchell and Phoebe Doyle cover the latest Suncorp Super Netball news, including post-match discussions and analysis, coach and player interviews, and have a special focus on the rookies of the competition. Just like the netball, the episodes are short and sharp – perfect for listeners on the go!

 

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