NS SCOREBOARD – SSN Round 14

NS SCOREBOARD – SSN Round 14

Contributors: Georgia Doyle, Katrina Nissen, Drew Kennedy, Esther Nelson, Ian Harkin, Jenny Sinclair

Photographer: Simon Leonard

 

RESULTS

NSW Swifts 58 defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 53 (15-10, 16-17, 17-11, 10-15)

Queensland Firebirds 62 defeated Melbourne Vixens 58 (16-13, 11-19, 15-14, 16-16)

NSW Swifts 69 defeated Sunshine Coast Lighting 64 (20-15, 20-14, 14-15, 15-20)

GIANTS Netball 75 defeat West Coast Fever 73 (19-25, 22-15, 21-18,13-15)

 

INJURIES

Kiera Austin (GIANTS) – ACL (season)

Liz Watson (Vixens) – foot (season)

Ash Unie (Lightning) – ACL (season)

Tara Hinchliffe (Firebirds) – ACL (season)

Jemma MiMi (Firebirds) – upper calf tear 

Gabi Simpson (Firebirds) – calf strain 

During the fourth quarter of the opening match, Thunderbird midcourter, Maisie Nankivell sustained a knee injury. She left the court to receive treatment and spent the rest of the match on the bench with ice on her knee. It was later confirmed she sustained a hyper-extension and bone bruising to her knee.

Lightning goal attack, Steph Wood sat out her side’s Round 14 match due to an ankle injury, while Paige Hadley (Swifts) didn’t take the court at all. There was no official news about whether she was rested or managing a niggle.

Maddy Turner (Swifts) received a knock to the head or nose, and left the court appearing a little dazed. Hopefully she passes concussion protocols, otherwise she will automatically be ruled out of semi-finals. 

GIANTS Netball played with a squad of 8 for their match, with April Brandley and Tilly McDonell both sitting out the match due to ankle injuries. Due to strict COVID restrictions, Giants were unable to bring in any local replacement players. Both athletes will be monitored and reassessed ahead of their semi-final.  

 

Maddy Turner was left dazed after a collision. Image Simon Leonard.

ROOKIE OF THE ROUND

Gun midcourter Maddie Hay takes the chocolates again this week with another exceptional performance in her side’s win over the GIANTS. The short, sharp attacking movements from the GIANTS frontline were crucial in limiting defensive gains from the Fever. Hay led her team for goal assists and centre pass receives and had a crucial intercept when the game was on the line. 

Special mention to Hulita Veve who looked comfortable back in a Firebirds’ dress for the first time since 2016. Brought into the side as injury replacement for Gabi Simpson, Veve plays a similar tagging game. While she did take a quarter to find her bearings on court, once settled she shut down Hannah Mundy’s attack. Veve blocked Mundy’s drive to the ball which resulted in fewer feeds from Mundy with each quarter. Veve finished the game with 2 gains and only 1 turnover. 

Special mention also goes to Tara Hinchliffe’s injury replacement, Ruby Bakewell-Doran who came on during the second quarter. The young defender had the most gains for her side, including the match winning intercept. 

 

Maddie Hay had an exceptional game with 42 feeds and 26 centre pass receives. Image Simon Leonard.

 

PLAYS OF THE ROUND

After an injury to Maisie Nankivell during the match, the Swifts Tayla Fraser ran over to her after the match to give her a cuddle and see if she was okay. While many of the athletes are friends, it’s always heartwarming to see the extra support they give each other in difficult times. 

TEAM OF THE ROUND

The GIANTS take the cake for this week with a strong win over the more favoured West Coast Fever. After they went into the game missing two key defenders and with just eight players for the game, many thought the Fever would take the win. Boosted by a stellar performance from their captain Jo Harten, the GIANTS forced a nervous looking Fever into uncharacteristic turnovers and used their supershot prowess to perfection. They go straight to the major semi-final against the Swifts next week, while the Fever enter a must-win minor semi-final to keep their premiership hopes alive. 

 

Friendly fire between Jo Harten and Jamie-Lee Price. Image Simon Leonard.

TALKING POINT OF THE ROUND

The GIANTS entered their final round game with just eight fit players, and due to border and Covid restrictions were unable to bring in any replacements. They had an exceptional win, but with their starting seven playing the full sixty minutes, and two injured players – April Brandley and Tilly McDonnell – will need the full week for rest and recovery. Fingers will be firmly crossed that Brandley and McDonnell recover on time, and that having so many weary bodies doesn’t impact the finals. With no end in sight to Covid issues that are plaguing the world, the GIANTS’ plight makes a strong case for benches to be extended to 12.   

In celebrating their club’s 25th year, NSW Swifts chose to go back to their origins. They dusted off their traditional blue and yellow colours, although avoided the bodysuit and stuck with a dress. It did lead to some confusion for fans viewing on TV, with the Swifts wearing the Lightning’s usual home strip. 

 

The Swifts retro dress. Image Simon Leonard.

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

 

Netball Australia CEO said it for all of us.

 

STAND OUT STATISTICS

 

INDIVIDUAL

Shooting Volume
Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 55/55 100%
Romelda Aiken (Firebirds) – 52/58 89.7%

Supershots
Jo Harten (GIANTS) – 5
Alice Teague-Neeld (Fever) – 4 

Feeds
Lara Dunkley (Firebirds) – 42
Maddie Hay (Giants) – 42

Goal Assists
Maddy Proud (Swifts) – 30 (v Lightning) 
Verity Charles (Fever) – 24 

Gains
Sarah Klau (Swifts) – 10 (v Lightning – 4 intercepts, 2 deflections with gain, 4 rebounds)
Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) – 6 (5 intercepts, 1 rebound)

Pickups 
Paige Hadley (Swifts) – 3 (v Thunderbirds) 
Mwai Kumwenda (Vixens) – 3 
Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS) – 3 
Jo Weston (Vixens) – 3 

Centre Pass Receives
Lara Dunkley (Firebirds) – 28 
Maddie Hay (GIANTS) – 26 

Turnovers 
Mwai Kumwenda (Vixens) – 7 
Maddy Proud (Swifts) – 7 (v Thunderbirds)

Penalties 
Kristiana Manu’a (GIANTS) – 19 
Kim Jenner (Firebirds) – 18
 

Nissan Netpoints
Cara Koenen (Lightning)  – 115.5 (33/37 regular shots, 3/4 supershots, 7 goal assists from 9 feeds, 2 intercepts, 2 deflections, 8 rebounds, 10 centre pass receives, 1 penalty, 2 turnovers)
Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 112.5 (54/54 regular shots, 1/1 supershots, 2 goal assists from 5 feeds, 2 deflections (1 with gain), 2 rebounds, 1 pickup, 4 penalties, 3 turnovers)

With the ball about to fly over the sideline, an exceptional piece of aerial play by Helen Housby allowed the Swifts to keep possession. Image 1. Image Simon Leonard.

 

With the ball about to fly over the sideline, an exceptional piece of aerial play by Helen Housby allowed the Swifts to keep possession. Image 2. Image Simon Leonard.

 

With the ball about to fly over the sideline, an exceptional piece of aerial play by Helen Housby allowed the Swifts to keep possession. Image 3. Image Simon Leonard.

 

TEAM 

Shooting Accuracy
Swifts (v Lightning) – 94.5%
Fever – 94.4%

Supershots
GIANTS –  8 
Fever – 6

Gains 
Swifts (v Lightning) – 13 
Swifts (v Thunderbirds) – 12

Penalties 
Thunderbirds – 74 
Firebirds – 66 

Turnovers 
Fever – 21 
Vixens – 20 
Swifts (v Lightning) – 20 

Verity Charles has been one of the top performing midcourters in the competition, and had an enthralling encounter with rising star and potential Diamond squad member, Amy Parmenter. Image Simon Leonard.


 

MATCH REPORTS

NSW SWIFTS 58 def ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 53

by Georgia Doyle

 

WHO dominated?

Sophie Garbin got her first start at her preferred position of GS in this game, and it paid dividends for Swifts. She has a good record playing against Shamera Sterling, despite her being a holding shooter who opts to receive the ball in the air. This is usually Sterling’s playground, but Garbin’s strength, timing and elevation were unable to be broken by Sterling. In the first three quarters Sterling had four gains, then when Sam Wallace made her small cameo in the fourth quarter she was able to work her way into the game and pick up an additional three. While Garbin took a while to warm into the game, recording a held ball and a blocked shot within the first five minutes, once she settled in she put out a strong performance, notching up 33/37 attempts plus two rebounds.

WHAT worked?   

Despite Swifts ending up with the win, Thunderbirds had their best game of 2021 in regards to turnovers. They were able to keep to a record low of 16, with their next best having been 20 in their win against Vixens in Round 6. This is a stark contrast to their season average of 27 per game, and record high of 37 in Round 11 against Fever!! This is largely in part due to mid-court treasuring the ball, as shown with Garrett at GD having the most turnovers for the side, with four during her 51 minutes. The steady hands of Elle McDonald at both C and WA have been a big contributor to this, she seems to take that extra second to assess the options in front of her and as a result tends to make a more successful passing choice.

Petty has been particularly expensive in terms of turnovers this season, and while as Captain you’d expect her to be on court her time at WD this game allows her to still have an impact without throwing away the ball. Nankivell also had an impressive game, with only one turnover in 45 minutes. Against a team like Swifts, that play a possession based game, by being able to minimise the ball they threw away, Thunderbirds kept themselves in a close contest. While unfortunately, they couldn’t push through to get a win, it shows their growth across the season, and bodes well for 2022 provided they are able to maintain the majority of their line up.

WHAT needs improvement? 

Thunderbirds continue to struggle with a high penalty count, 71-56, especially at the hands of Garrett who recorded a total of 17 consisting of 14 contacts and three obstructions. While Sterling had similar numbers with 15 total penalties, it’s the timing of penalties that is concerning. The majority of Garrett’s are outside of the circle, which not only releases the defensive pressure the team works hard to build but also leaves Sterling in a two on one position in the circle. 

In her first year getting consistent court time, after three years at Collingwood mostly on the bench behind the likes of Sharni Layton, April Brandley, Jodi-Ann Ward and Geva Mentor, it can be a learning curve adjusting to the physicality and umpiring at the highest level. This will be key in Garrett pushing her to being one of the top Australian defenders in the next few years, she has a strong combination already with Sterling so the more she is able to stay in play the better they will be at winning back possession for the team.

Swifts are still rotating through their WD position, with the latter part of the season seeing the position shared between Tayla Fraser and Lauren Moore, while Paige Hadley spent some time there in earlier games. Thunderbirds had two different players at WA in this game, with Maisie Nankivell and McDonald racking up 28 feeds during their time at WA. Conversely, Hadley spent 60 minutes at WA for Swifts and only accrued 21. While Moore managed three gains during her 31 minutes on court, the inability to shut down some of the younger and more inexperienced WAs in the league is a concern, and raises questions around Swift’s recruiting for this position in 2022.

WHERE was it won? 

Swifts were able to put their foot down in the third quarter, outscoring Thunderbirds 17-11 in what is commonly referred to as the premiership quarter, which allowed them to push out to an 11-goal lead at the start of the final term. This scoreline was a result of scoring from 86% of their centre passes and 67% of their gains. It was also their quarter with the highest number of gains, with six. While Swifts will be pleased with their ability to come out of the half time break and dominate early in the second half, their inability to maintain this intensity, demonstrated by their 15-10 point loss in the final quarter, for 60 minutes heading into finals will be of concern to players and coaches alike.

WHERE was it lost? 

Despite the loss, this was arguably one of Thunderbirds better games of the season so it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment, pattern of play or tactic that cost them the game. The attacking end in particular has really clicked into gear in the latter half of the season, and the defensive end seems to have somewhat run out of steam with them not collecting as many gains as in early games. Unfortunately this disconnect in form between each end of the court has meant that early in the season the defenders were making gains that weren’t capitalised on, and now there aren’t enough gains for the attackers to be able to push the score line out. 

This game seemed to just boil down to the finer details of the game to decide the result, with penalties and gains being two statistics that negatively favoured the Thunderbirds. However, there is no doubt this is a team capable of big things if they’re able to get all seven players to bring their best performance on the same day.

HOW did she do that?! 

Mid-way through the second quarter, Elle McDonald attacked the ball defensively off a Swift’s centre pass and was able to get a hand to it but she ended up out of court while the ball was still in play. She had the smarts to quickly ground her foot back on court then jump up and direct the ball to teammate Petty – meaning there was no out of court call, much to the dismay of Paige Hadley.


 

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 62 def MELBOURNE VIXENS 58

by Katrina Nissen

 

WHO dominated?  

Kadie-Ann Dehaney came on in the third quarter and had an immediate impact. She bodied up on Romelda Aiken enough to cause doubt on the feeds. Her footwork around the body allowed her to get her hands to deflections. What’s more, she got those deflections with a mostly clean outing, only notching five penalties for her 30 minutes of court time. 

WHAT worked? 

Vixens got out to a good start with a 3-1 lead. They had multiple leads to the ball and used swift ball movement to out-manoeuvre the Firebirds. The circle movement between Mwai Kumwenda and Kaylia Stanton produced many openings in the first quarter but went missing in the second when Stanton began to fatigue. 

In defence, Vixens switched smoothly between a zone and wall style. Their ability to push the Firebirds wide created headaches for the feeders as they couldn’t punch down the middle. They also cleverly pushed the Firebirds into the pockets, where they could easily pluck the balls off as they were passed back across the court.   

The Firebirds turned the game in the second quarter with Gretel Bueta, Kim Ravaillion and Lara Dunkley moving smoothly. Bueta utilised fakes and quick 1-2 interplays to set up a direct line to the post.  

WHAT needs improvement?

In the first quarter, the Firebirds were guilty of clogging the transverse to the point that they stalled. Rather than clearing out and reoffering, they found themselves with nowhere to go. This allowed the Vixens to apply easy arms over pressure and win balls from wayward passes or through clean intercepts. 

Vixens will want to look at their entries into the circle. On several occasions, they failed to sight Stanton when she was on or took too long – while waiting for Kumwenda to open. This cleared up a little bit once Ruby Barkmeyer entered the game, as she is a more agile attacker than Stanton. 

Defensively, the Firebirds need to work on their penalties next season. They were one of the most penalised teams, and with several years in the competition, they should be tidying up by now. Tonight they had 65 penalties, with Kim Jenner conceding 18 of those (10 contacts, eight obstructions). Coaching staff were smart to take Rudi Ellis out of the game as she had nine penalties in her 23 minutes of court time and could have become too costly in such a tight match. 

WHERE was it decided? 

In such an evenly fought and untidy match, it ultimately came down to conversion of gains. The Vixens got eight gains but were only able to convert four of them. The Firebirds had 11 gains and converted seven. 

In every other statistic, the teams were equally measured: both had an unforced turnovers to goal rate of 62%. Both had eight goals from unforced turnovers. They had almost identical centre pass to goal rates as well. 

HOW did she do that?! 

Elevated training partner Ruby Bakewell-Doran took the intercept, which secured the game for her side. In the dying minute of the match the Vixens telegraphed a pass across the goal third. Bakewell-Doran took off and deflected before it reached Hannah Mundy then chased it down into the centre third and flicked it all the way to Romelda Aiken. Such dogged hunting from an injury replacement player set the entire Firebirds bench alight.

Quotes: 

Lara Dunkley (Firebirds)

“It was a team effort. I am proud of the girls with everything we have been through this month. And to see the young ones step up: we are so proud.”

 

Former Firebird, Hulita Ve Ve was back in purple for the first time since 2016. Image Simon Leonard

Firebirds wounded (L-R) Jemma Mi Mi, Gabi Simpson, Tara Hinchliffe. Image: Simon Leonard

Vixen, Hannah Mundy had an outstanding first season. Image, Simon Leonard

Ruby Bakewell-Doran keeping the match winning intercept in play. Image, Simon Leonard


 

NSW SWIFTS 69 def SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 64

By Andrew Kennedy

 

With a place in the major semi final next week the reward for victory, the two evenly matched teams played a scintillating encounter in two halves. The Queenslanders had their shooting stock depleted, with Diamonds star Steph Wood out with an ankle injury. Swifts showed the best attacking structure of any team in 2021 for the first 30 minutes, scoring 40 goals with no supershots, but the Lightning rejigged their personnel and defensive tactics to win the second half. Excellent attacking rebounds and some supershot heroics from the Sunshine Coast were not enough, as Swifts moved up to second on the ladder, winning 69-64.

WHO dominated?

Maddy Proud was the key to the sizzling attack of NSW in the first half, where she got 21 goal assists, timing her sprint to circle edge perfectly to double-play Sam Wallace into nice scoring position. She easily cut around Cassidy and especially Shimmin, the latter totally out of position and chasing on many occasions.

Sarah Klau was a rock for Swifts. Her 10 gains were more than the entire team total for Lightning, and her task was easier when Peace Proscovia was benched and Binnian Hunt moved into goal attack, taking advantage of the nerves and inexperience of the Lightning goal attack.

Sam Wallace’s return to peak form can’t be ignored – she landed 50/51 from 1-point range, only missing a super shot first in the 45th minute. The balance of her and English star Helen Housby was back to near-perfection in the first half.

For Sunshine Coast, it was Cara Koenen who shone brightest, even without her usual partner Wood. Accruing a match-high 115 net points, she shot at 88%, had two intercepts, two deflections, and best of all an amazing EIGHT rebounds, outdoing Klau’s mere four.

Their starting lineup from centre back to keeper had struggled. Once Shimmin moved to keeper, with McAuliffe centre and Cassidy wing defence, the new intensity allowed both Shimmin and Pretorius to pick up possession.

WHAT worked?   

Scoring 40/41 in the first half, the Swifts executed a beautifully clear attacking plan against non-existent midcourt defence from Lightning. The goal attack and wing attack perfectly shared the centre pass receives, aiming on second phase for Sam Wallace in front position. Wallace wouldn’t look to the post, instead the next pass went to a feeder driving directly at her – usually captain Maddy Proud. They would land on circle edge and immediately re-feed the goal shooter, who shot calmly from mid range. When Maweni attained front position, Wallace was also brilliant on the lob to backspace, and when Pretorius and Maweni double teamed, Housby instantly was available on a drive to the baseline or a front cut. Swifts had an outstanding 82% conversion of centre passes for the match, highly consistent across all quarters.

The other key to this strategy was not crowding the goal third. Proud and Haythornthwaite waited until Wallace truly was ready to pass back out, and then completely deceived and outpaced the Lightning’s Shimmin and Cassidy to easily get prime feeding position.

The Swifts also took total command of the middle channel throughout the first two quarters. This was seen in attack with the dodges of Housby and Haythornthwaite in the goal third, but also in transition from turnovers and gains. Lightning were completely lost in the mid court defence, such that Turner and Fraser found it simple to drive and double-play to the transverse line. Sunshine Coast failed to identify and correct his, allowing NSW to convert all 7 gains for the half at 100%.

BUT! – it wasn’t all over at half time. Sunshine Coast got a major rev-up from coach Byrne, gradually found the right spots for each defensive player, and intensified their defence, especially forcing the Swifts wide and slowing them markedly in the midcourt. While in the first half the Swifts converted 65% of gains and turnovers, in the second they managed to get goals from only 29%. Their defenders provided the same amount of opportunities each half with 17, but they no longer had the freedom to carry the ball to attack so quickly.

In contrast, the Queenslanders were more organised and confident across the entire court in third and fourth quarters. Their conversion of turnovers and gains went from 63% to to 83%. That combined with Koenen’s hefty haul of rebounds and supershots closed the gap from 11 goals down to five in the last seven minutes.

WHAT needs improvement? 

Sunshine Coast definitely have the squad and adaptability to take the championship in 2021, but they need to tweak their play faster and earlier on the court. It also seems that their starting seven isn’t clear to coach Kylee Byrne, and there is no room for error next week in the sudden death playoff. They should be helped when Wood returns, but they won’t have the confidence they need to dominate Fever from the get-go in a matchup they often struggle in. Lightning have won just one of the last five tussles with Fever so they will have to be near-perfect to get to the elimination final.

The Queenslanders also need to balance their challenges and penalties. While 34 penalties is an admirably low total, nine gains is poor by their standards, and shows that they weren’t anticipating and throwing themselves into the contest enough. Meanwhile, seven penalties and zero gains from Maweni in her 21 minutes at the opening were disappointing, and she and the coaches will need to fix her timing and footwork before facing classy shooters like Wallace or indeed Fowler again in the next weeks.

Swifts, whose lowest score in this round was 14 in the third quarter, don’t have major worries going into finals. All they need is to keep their flow and attitude, as they did maintain their consistency across the court all match. If anything, they need to stay cool when the opposition ramps up defensive pressure, as Lightning did in the third quarter, causing seven turnovers from NSW. If Swifts can quickly and calmly adapt and wait out such challenges, they will be a favourite for the title. This also applies to their key shooters – Housby and Wallace have also had form slumps and dud games during the season, and it’s vital they keep at their peak for the next three weeks. This is a mental game as much as it is physical.

WHERE was it won? 

The Swifts were unstoppable in attack in the first half, scoring 20 in each of the first two quarters. Their attacking pattern was flawless, and Lightning didn’t identify or adjust.

Lightning’s run in the last seven minutes coincided with Turner’s time spent injured on the bench due to a blow to the nose. Lauren Moore replaced her at goal defence and it was now more open for Lightning to get the ball flat from long range to Koenen. This was their chance to take the win, but it came too late.

WHERE was it lost? 

The Sunshine Coast had two main flaws in the first half – not blocking the third phase pass from Wallace out to a feeder and the fourth phase re-feed, and some silly over-cooked passes in their attacking third. After timeouts and new instructions, Maweni started to cover the front but she never truly threaten to interrupt the Swifts short sharp play. Eventually she was benched, replaced by Shimmin. And the bad passes, breaking, and confusion in the first half allowed the Swifts to jump out to such a lead that couldn’t be pulled back.

Hunt unfortunately languished in her accuracy. While the injured Wood hits 77% of 1-point and 52% of 2-point shots, the young replacement managed only 50% and 33% respectively.

HOW did she do that?

After Swifts leapt out to a 6-0 lead, Proscovia took a pass at the circle edge with no defender between her and the post. What looked like a setup for layup was actually her taking a lovely huge skip to the post, where she passed to herself off the pole and nailed the easy shot.

Starting lineups

Swifts: GS Wallace, GA Housby, WA Haythornthwaite, C Proud, WD Fraser, GD Turner, GK Klau

Lightning: GS Proscovia, GA Koenen, WA Scherian, C Cassidy, WD Shimmin, GD Pretorius, GS Maweni

Peace Proscovia pulling in the ball against Sarah Klau. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Nat Haythornthwaite was in exceptional form after spending much of the season on the bench. Image Simon Leonard.

 

While it was great to see the Swifts honour their former colours, it led to some confusion out on court, as the dress was similar to Lightning’s usual home strip. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Maddy McAuliffe tip toeing around the circle edge. Image Simon Leonard.


 

GIANTS NETBALL 75  def WEST COAST FEVER 73

By Esther Nelson

 

It was the last game of the regular SSN 2021 season. Although the top four teams playing finals were locked in (Swifts, Lightning, GIANTS and Fever), the GIANTS and Fever were playing for top spot and the minor premiership. This meant that the losing side would move to third place and play the minor semi-final against the Lightning next week.

The GIANTS were only able to play with eight of their usual ten players as April Brandley and Matilda McDonnell were out with ankle injuries and the GIANTS were limited in their choice of replacement players since they couldn’t bring anyone from NSW due to the SSN COVID-19 restrictions in place. This resulted in the starting seven for the GIANTS playing the full game with only Matisse Letherbarrow available on the bench.

It was an attacking game and each side led at various times. Fever was in the lead 25 to 19 at the end of the first quarter after Alice Teague-Neeld took two successful super shots in the last few minutes. The GIANTS came back winning the second (22 to 15) and third quarters (21 to 18). The final quarter Fever won 15 to 13 but the GIANTS were able to hang on to victory.

It was satisfying for the GIANTS to win not just the game but also the minor premiership after a very up and down season. Coming out of the pre-season the GIANTS looked unstoppable and dominated their opponents in the first four rounds. Their round five trip to Perth against the Fever, the quarantine requirements imposed on them and the devastating one goal loss as well as the subsequent social media trolling affected captain Jo Harten, and in turn the play of the rest of the GIANTS, significantly. Since then, the GIANTS have rebuilt their form and confidence despite a gruelling travelling schedule due to the continued COVID-19 disruptions that have plagued the whole SSN 2021 season.

Who dominated?

Maddie Hay did an amazing job for the GIANTS finishing with 96.5 NNP and the highest number of circle feeds (42) and centre pass receives (26) for the game. Hay has been a revelation for the GIANTS during the 2021 season. Originally a WD, Hay has become one of the best wing attacks in the competition. Given her background she has great defensive ability with hands over pressure on the ball and achieved one intercept and three deflections to her name in just this game.

Amy Parmenter was impressive with six deflections and one intercept. She worked hard the whole game and had significant impact by tagging the fast-paced Verity Charles in WA for most of the game. This meant that the feed by Charles into Jhaniele Fowler in the circle was slowed and gave the GIANTS an opportunity for turnovers. Parmenter had the same effect against Emma Cosh who came on in the fourth quarter when Fever changed up their positioning in an attempt to overcome the GIANTS.

It was good to see Harten back to her best in GS, shooting at 35/36 goals (97%) and 5/6 super shots (83%). Harten kept Courtney Bruce busy in GK by staying on the move throughout the game. There were a few fumbles by Harten in the fourth quarter, perhaps due to fatigue, which allowed Fever to pull some goals back. But it was clear in the dying minutes of the game that Harten was not going to allow a repeat of their round 5 loss to the Fever. Harten directed the team, so they were able to hang onto the ball and their two-goal lead until the final buzzer went. 

What worked?

The GIANTS had a consistent game across the four quarters. In previous rounds they often tail off in the third quarter, but in this game they were able to maintain the pressure on Fever.

It was great to see Kristiana Manu’a back on court for a full game in the absence of Brandley. Manu’a has not had a lot of court time due to her injury early in the season. Manu’a really stood up during the game, keeping the pressure on Teague-Neeld and Sasha Glasgow in GA. In her tried and tested combination with Sam Poolman they did well to keep Fever busy and frustrate Fowler at times.

Despite all of this Fowler had another brilliant game, shooting 54 goals at 100% and one super shot. Stacey Francis-Bayman also did a lot of attacking work for the Fever, helping to move the ball down court when she played WD in the first three quarters.

What needs improvement?

Bruce didn’t have the same impact that she usually does as Dwyer and Harten were able to share the shooting load between them. This often means they are more difficult to defend as both are prepared to shoot from long distances even outside of the super shot period.

Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich unsuccessfully tried a number of different positional changes in an attempt to disrupt play by the GIANTS. Replacing playmaker Teague-Neeld in the second quarter left the Fever attack end meant less structure in their attack. Teague-Neeld appears to be the key to Fever’s success, doing a lot of work out front to feed the ball into Fowler. Given she is able to sink the super shots she is a must have player on court.

Where was it won?

The GIANTS were able to attack the ball down court and confuse the space, limiting Fever’s defensive abilities and usual intercept prowess. Unusually Sunday Aryang had a quiet game against Sophie Dwyer and came off the court in the third quarter to be replaced by Bruce and later Francis-Bayman. 

Jamie-Lee Price was also back to her exceptional SSN 2021 season form and won the battle in centre against Anstiss and later Charles. With only three penalties and one general play turnover to her name, Price finished the game with 94.5 NNP.

Where was it lost?

Everything was fairly even at full-time with the Fever having a higher shooting percentage at 94% to the GIANTS’ 91% (with the majority of goals shot by Fowler) and four more gains. Their penalty count (54 to 47) and turnovers (21 to 18) were slightly higher than the GIANTS. In the end the GIANTS were more successful at scoring off turnovers and able to get the edge over the Fever.

Interestingly the Fever utilised a number of positional changes at different stages, including moving Courtney Bruce into GD, and bringing on Olivia Lewis at GK in the third quarter then moving Bruce back into GK, moving Francis Bayman into GD, Jess Anstiss into WD and Verity Charles into C in the fourth quarter. These changes had some impact in parts but the GIANTS, with their original seven on court were able to battle through the changes. 

How did she do that?

Parmenter had a magnificent intercept on a pass from Olivia Lewis to Bruce with 13 seconds left to play in the third quarter. Parmenter caught the ball on one leg and passed to Harten who scored a goal to finish the quarter with the GIANTS ahead.

Quotes:

Jo Harten

“We have learnt lessons from other teams about holding onto the ball and being really precise and finishing off games and I really thought we were smart today. Everyone had a calm, cool and collected approach to the last quarter even with a lot of pressure being thrown at us.”

MVP Jo Harten guided her team to the minor premiership. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Jhaniele Fowler looked visibly frustrated by Sam Poolman’s close attention. Image Simon Leonard.

 

A desperate lunge from Stacey Francis-Bayman tipped the ball out of court. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Sophie Dwyer kept her nerve to shoot 27/32, in an exceptional performance. Image Simon Leonard.


 

WHAT’S NEXT 

Major Semi-Final (winner through to Grand Final – Loser to Prelim)

Saturday 1pm:  GIANTS Netball v NSW Swifts. Nissan Arena

Minor Semi-Final (knockout)

Saturday 3pm: West Coast Fever v Sunshine Coast Lightning.  Nissan Arena

 

PODCASTS

This year, Netball Scoop has teamed up with The Netball Show Podcast and The Netty Life Podcast to bring you all of our Suncorp Super Netball post-match interviews. Hear from your favourite players and coaches as they dissect the matches and get candid about ways they can improve throughout the season. 

Listen now on your favourite podcast aps.  

 

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