Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 8, 2020

Netball Scoop Newsletter – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 8, 2020

By |2020-10-01T12:28:30+10:00August 31st, 2020|Categories: AUS, Match Reviews|0 Comments

Netball Scoop – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 8, 2020

 

RESULTS

Melbourne Vixens 63 defeated NSW Swifts 60 (14-15, 16-15, 17-13, 16-17)

GIANTS Netball 69 defeated Collingwood Magpies 54 (11-19, 20-13, 21-11, 17-11)

Queensland Firebirds 54 defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 53 (20-12, 14-13, 12-17, 8-11)

West Coast Fever 80 defeated Sunshine Coast Lightning 56 (20-17, 24-8, 19-11, 17-20)

 

LADDER AFTER ROUND EIGHT

Position Points Percentage

  1. Vixens . 28 . 115.3%
  2. Swifts . 24 . 104.99%
  3. Lightning . 20 . 98.91%
  4. Fever . 16 . 104.41%
  5. Giants . 14 . 101.43%
  6. Thunderbirds . 12 . 95.53%
  7. Firebirds . 10 . 90.85%
  8. Magpies . 4 . 89.61%

 

INJURIES

Madi Browne (Magpies) – knee soreness from previous round. Did not start. 

Helen Housby (Swifts) – was taken from the court due to what looked like a calf cork, and didn’t return. 

Binnian Hunt (Lightning) 

 

MILESTONE GAMES

Congratulations to Nat Haythornthwaite on playing 150 national league games, Alice Teague-Neeld on 50 national league games and Jhaniele Fowler for scoring her 2000th national league goal. Caitlin Bassett is the only shooter who has topped this tally.

 

Jhaniele Fowler has become only the second person to reach 2000 goals in national league netball. Image Simon Leonard.

 

ROOKIE OF THE ROUND

Jodi-Ann Ward continues her run into some excellent form. In the Magpies game against the Giants, she ended up with 12 gains, which included 5 intercepts, 4 deflections, 6 rebounds and 1 pick up. As a combination, she and Geva Mentor are becoming increasingly dangerous. 

 

PLAY OF THE ROUND

Mahalia Cassidy landed a spectacular ‘goal’ on what was meant to be a feed to Romelda Aiken in the circle. The ball whistled cleanly through the net, leaving all the players dumbfounded. Luckily, Aiken knew what to do in this situation – snaffling the ball and calmly slotting the goal. The look on Cassidy’s face as she ran back to the centre court was priceless. 

 

TEAM OF THE ROUND

The West Coast Fever pulled off an impressive victory against a struggling Sunshine Coast Lightning, cementing themselves as finals contenders in the process. The Fever ended the game on 80 goals and turned over the ball just 16 times.  

This game showed the strengths the Fever have all over the court and they also had the luxury of running out their bench, even resting Jhaniele Fowler who has not been off court at all this season. 

The game was a perfect rebuttal to those who have queried Stacey Marinkovich’s selection as Diamonds’ coach. 

 

Social distancing by Courtney Bruce. Image Simon Leonard.

 

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Great minds think alike, according to the old adage, and great players obviously share some similarities too. In the Vixens v Swifts match, goal shooters Sam Wallace and Mwai Kumwenda both scored 46 goals from 50 attempts. 

Jodi-Ann Ward and Geva Mentor racked up 19 gains for the Magpies, but it still wasn’t enough to drag their team over the line. 

Kadie-Ann Dehaney made a big impact when she was introduced to the court. Here she is pictured leaping over Sam Wallace. Image Marcela Massey

 

TALKING POINT OF THE ROUND

Congratulations to Stacey Marinkovich who has been appointed as the 15th Australian Diamonds head coach, and will remain as West Coast Fever coach until her contract expires at the end of 2021. Stacey will bring a calm head, clear voice and thorough understanding of high performance systems to her new role. Netball Scoop will be speaking to Stacey shortly, with a profile to follow. 

 

Stacey Marinkovich is the newly appointed Diamonds’ coach. Image Simon Leonard.

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Once again, Lexi got clever, this time referencing Lightning’s biggest ever defeat in the Suncorp Super Netball league.

 

STAND OUT STATISTICS

 

INDIVIDUAL

Gains: Jodi-Ann Ward (Magpies) 11

Courtney Bruce (Fever) 9 

Stacey Francis (Fever) 7 

Geva Mentor (Magpies) 7

 

Penalties Jodi Ann Ward (Magpies) 18 

Kim Jenner (Firebirds) 17 

 

Feeds: Liz Watson (Vixens) 53 

Verity Charles (Fever) 41

Mahalia Cassidy (Firebirds) 36 

Jemma Mi Mi (Firebirds) 29 

 

Turnovers: Romelda Aiken (Firebirds) 10 

Kiera Austin (Giants) 7 

Shimona Nelson (Magpies) 7 

Laura Scherian (Lightning) 7 

 

Supershots: Jo Harten (Giants) 8/11 

Steph Wood (Lightning) 7/9

Georgie Horjus (Thunderbirds) 4/8 

 

TEAM 

Gains: Fever 22 

Magpies 21

Giants 17 

 

Turnovers Magpies 28

Thunderbirds 24 

Firebirds 23 

Lightning 23 

Giants 21 

Swifts 21 

Fever 16 

Vixens 16 

 

Chelsea Pitman keeping a ball in play. Image Simon Leonard.

 

MATCHES 

 

Melbourne Vixens 63 defeated NSW Swifts 60

by Kate Cornish

 

This was the match of the round as we saw a top of the table clash between the two of the three heavy hitters in the competition. It was a matter of bragging rights and the winner would secure top spot on the ladder with a four-point buffer going forward.

WHO dominated?

The Vixens and the Swifts both had players who dominated over the 60 minutes of this high intensity battle. 

Jo Weston from the Vixens ran a full game at goal defence, despite having fresh legs pitted against her with five minutes to go at the end of every quarter; she not only kept up with them, but got better as the game went on. Weston finished up as MVP with five gains, one intercept and four deflections. 

Paige Hadley started the game in wing defence and had the enormous task of shutting down Liz Watson. The urgency with which Hadley plays the game, like every ball is life or death, is one of the reasons the Swifts have become so successful and this game was no different; three gains and two beautiful intercepts helped to keep the Swifts in the hunt for most of the game. As mentioned, Hadley’s opposition was Watson and for two opposing players to each have such standout performances speaks to the high quality of how this game was played. 

Watson had 53 feeds during 60 minutes of netball, which is absolutely extraordinary and showcases the amount of work she is prepared to do to get her team across the line.

WHAT worked?

Two words: Mwai Kumwenda. In this match Vixens coach Simone McKinnis opted to start her Malawi shooting star, and she was repaid in kind. So much so that Kumwenda earnt her place on court for the entire 60 minutes and the combination of Tegan Phillip and Caitlin Thwaites worked around her. Kumwenda was strong in the air and solid under the post, delivering a steady supply of goals for her team and despite constant attention from Swifts defender Sarah Klau, who put in a performance that against any other team would probably have resulted in a win, Kumwenda scored 46 goals for the match and was a solid focal point for her teammates.

WHAT needs improvement?

What won the match was the consistency in the Vixens line up over the 60 minutes. McKinnis used only nine of her 12 available players, whereas Swifts coach Briony Akle used 11. 

While the Vixens look brilliant at the halfway point of the season, the improvement needed if this team is going to have the legs to run this competition into a grand final, will be in the ability for McKinnis to give her top-tier players a well-earned rest. The condensed format is taking a huge toll on players both mentally and physically, so it remains to be seen if the Vixens can get a close win using the rolling subs in greater capacity than they currently are.

In contrast the Swifts only just losing will not have raised panic in their camp. Using almost all of their bench and only losing by three goals will give them confidence that they have the ability to rotate players and use fresh legs without losing momentum as the season starts to take its toll.

WHERE was it won?

Both teams had momentum at different times of the game and they both shared the lead as the match see-sawed, however it was the cool heads of the Vixens in the last 10 minutes that found them in the driver’s seat. The Swifts had their opportunity to convert possession and though Swifts shooter, Trinidad and Tobago sensation Sam Wallace, netted three super shots during the game, with three minutes on the clock Wallace missed the one that would have tied the game. She did bring the game back within one with her next attempt, but it wasn’t enough and the Vixens went on to secure top spot on the ladder.

HOW did she do that?!

Sitting on 53 feeds and 32 centre pass receives, the question on every team’s mind is how do you stop Liz Watson. She is in phenomenal form and if she can continue to withstand the pressure of the tight turnarounds in the 2020 season then she will be a big part of the reason that the Vixens take the premiership this year. The consistent quality of netball from the top three teams has been outstanding and Watson has been the best on court for most games as we hit the halfway point in the competition.

MVP – Jo Weston – Melbourne Vixens

Tegan Phillip has had her shot blocked on a number of occasions. Image Marcela Massey

 

Not sure why Liz Watson is looking worried! Image Marcela Massey

 

Kate Eddy’s height and arm span were a real factor in winning the midcourt battle. Image Marcela Massey

 

GIANTS Netball 69 defeated Collingwood Magpies 54 

By Cara Gledhill 

 

WHO dominated?

The Magpies defensive three were incredible across the first half. Jodie Ann Ward showed why she’s one of the most exciting rookies this year. She and Geva Mentor combined for nine gains (three intercepts, three deflections with gain and three rebounds) in just the first quarter. Key to this was the ability of Ward to come off the body of Jo Harten and swoop into her space to pick up crucial tips.

The defensive work of Melissa Bragg on the circle edge against wing attack Kiera Austin was also instrumental in allowing the defenders behind her a go at the ball. Austin finished on three turnovers and three goal assists for the quarter.

Jo Harten was huge for her team in the last five minutes of the second quarter. The Giants cut a nine goal lead at the beginning of the supershot period to just one goal at halftime after Harten (five) combined with Austin (one).

WHAT worked?

The Magpies defence in the first and second quarters was simply exceptional. Caitlin Bassett started for the Giants, but the confusion of space from Mentor and Ward saw hesitation on the feeds into the circle. Mentor forced Bassett to receive the ball further away from the goal, knowing she wouldn’t shoot. This forced feeds in and out of the circle giving the Magpies a good look at the ball.

The supershot was what allowed the Giants to cut the lead so quickly, even after looking shaky for much of the second quarter. Many will have questioned the Giants coaches for bringing Bassett off when both she and Harten struggled in the opening part of the game, but her ability to put up shots when it counted and encourage Austin to do the same was impressive.

Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald’s wholesale defensive change is the second half was brave and worked in their favour. April Brandley came on four and a half minutes into the second quarter replacing Kristiana Manu’a and then youngster Matilda McDonell was sent on to replace Sam Poolman in the last few minutes of the second quarter. This gave a struggling Magpies line something else to think about and forced turnovers. The experienced line of Poolman and Manu’a had then had a good look at the game and came back on to close out the game.

WHAT needs improvement?

The Magpies have had a lot to contend with this year, losing some key experienced players to pregnancy and injuries and losing their shooter Shimona Nelson for a few weeks after potential exposure to COVID-19, so their lead in to the season was far from perfect. One hopes that with more training time in attack together, they can build their attacking midcourt combinations which will help them play out games with fewer turnovers. This will  be key if they are to win more games this season.

It’s still unclear what the best attacking combination for the Giants is and this could to some extent be dictated by which defensive combination they come up against. After coming on well in the last game, Bassett immediately struggled with the defensive pressure from Mentor and was benched for the rest of the game. The moving circle seems to work effectively for the Giants, but last week this went missing against the Firebirds and forced the change. 

WHERE was it won

While Harten’s supershot frenzy brought the Giants back into the game a lot quicker, their dominance in the second half suggests they just needed a moment to step back, look at what they were doing on court and to get some needed instructions from their coach. They came out a different team in the second half with Jamie-Lee Price starring in the midcourt and matching up well against Molly Jovic. 

The introduction of a moving circle can sometimes increase turnovers a little bit as the midcourt adjusts the new lineup. Yet once Harten, Austin, Hay and Price hit their stride, the Magpies couldn’t keep up. 

WHERE was it lost?

The Magpies simply ran out of steam and the attacking play which had served them well in the first half disappeared. They turned over the ball just three times in the first quarter yet finished the game on 28. While they still picked up plenty of defensive ball across the second half, it was their inability to score off it which saw the lead increase so quickly. When the Magpies were dominating in the first quarter, they used short, sharp accurate passes through the midcourt. This fell away for them towards the end of the second quarter and continued into the second half. The Magpies missed the experience of Madi Browne in the midcourt who sat out the match with knee soreness.

WHEN was the game won and lost?

The Giants set up their win in a dominant third quarter. The attacking combination of Harten, Austin and Hay built impressively and denied the prolific Magpies defence a run at the ball. Austin was a good match for Ward whose penalties started to creep up towards the end of the first half and struggled to come off the body and run at the ball as she’d done during the first quarter.

HOW did she do that?!

Jodi Ann Ward was simply sensational in the first half. She cut off Harten as an option in the first quarter and collected five gains, an exceptional outing for one quarter of netball.  

After struggling to land the supershots when it counted in the first few rounds, Harten made amends nailing five in just five minutes of play. 

MVP: Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS Netball)

 

Queensland Firebirds 54 defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds 53

By Ian Harkin

 

In one of the most exciting matches of the year, somehow the Firebirds managed to claim victory in an absolute nail-biter. They dominated early and led by nine at half time. Thunderbirds then fought back, eventually hitting the lead late in the match. In a frantic finish to the game, both sides had chances to claim the win, but it was an improving Queensland side who took the four points to keep their finals chances alive.

WHO dominated?

This really was a game of two halves. The Firebirds took command early on and went to the main break leading 34-25. Romelda Aiken was unstoppable to this point, with her direct opponent, fellow Jamaican Shamera Sterling, little more than a spectator. As the game wore on, Aiken’s dominance waned. She shot 40/44 at 91% for the match, but that was made up of 26 goals in the first half and just 14 in the second.

Firebirds’ defensive pairing of Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner was a constant menace to the Thunderbirds shooting circle. The two combined for 10 possession gains in the match and were strong throughout. Hinchliffe’s early pressure saw Lenize Potgieter sent to the bench, while Jenner chimed in with great defensive plays just when the Firebirds needed them.

Tippah Dwan and Georgie Horjus are proving to be two of the finds of the year. Neither of the young goal attacks seem to be overawed at all and they are handling the pressure brilliantly. Dwan played tremendously well for Firebirds yet again in this match, while Horjus controlled the Thunderbirds front line like an experienced pro. You have to remind yourself that she is just 18 years old. She was the Thunderbirds’ best player in this match. 

Another youngster who is having an incredible season is Maisie Nankivell. She starred for Thunderbirds once again. In the third quarter alone, she pulled off three intercepts and three deflections and was a major reason for her team’s fight back.  

WHAT worked?

The introduction of Sasha Glasgow late in the first period might have been a bit surprising to some, but this move was effective in turning around a poor start. Glasgow hasn’t seen much court time since returning from injury, but in this match she slowly warmed to her task, gained in confidence and looked to be back somewhere near her best. Her rebounding is just phenomenal. 

In a shock move, Tania Obst took the Thunderbirds team back to the dressing room at quarter time for a quick talking to, and it had the desired effect as the team lifted from that point. The move of Maisie Nankivell from centre to wing defence at the start of the second quarter, helped to slow down the Firebirds attack which to that point had been running riot. And with a tightened defence in front of her, this also allowed Shamera Sterling to come into her own after half time. 

Having been replaced as centre at three quarter time, the reintroduction of Mahalia Cassidy at wing attack midway through the last quarter was a winning move. She was everywhere in the dying stages and kept her head to help get a jittery Firebirds team home.  

WHAT needs improvement? 

Firebirds need to work on their ability to run games out strongly. In eight rounds so far, Firebirds’ three lowest scoring quarters have all been fourth quarters. The eight goals they managed to scrape together in the last 15 minutes of this match were just enough to see them over the line. In the second half of the game, the flow and quick ball movement Firebirds had displayed in the first half all but disappeared. The energy was gone, players weren’t providing leads or running on to the ball strongly, and as a result, an eager Thunderbirds defence picked off numerous passes. 

Given that situation, it is a mystery how the Thunderbirds didn’t come away with the victory. Having been torn apart by the Firebirds in the first period, the Adelaide team slowly but surely worked their way back into the contest. So much so that they looked likely winners when they took the lead in the final quarter and were up by two goals with just three minutes left on the clock. That was when players needed to keep a cool head, but instead a form of panic set in. Presented with several opportunities in those final three minutes, they failed to capitalise, leaving the door open for Firebirds to snatch a memorable win. 

WHERE was it won

When the pressure was on in the final quarter and the Firebirds’ attack was misfiring, it was the defence of their back three that kept them in the game, and then came up with the decisive plays in the dying stages. Captain Gabi Simpson led from the front at wing defence and with circle defenders Tara Hinchliffe and Kim Jenner, they repelled Thunderbirds time and again. With a noisy crowd cheering them on, they forced the errors that dramatically turned the game in Firebirds’ favour. 

WHERE was it lost?

In a match like this where the difference between victory and defeat is so tiny, it’s hard to pinpoint one single area of the game which ultimately cost the Thunderbirds. But there’s no doubt they would love to have the last three minutes of this match back to do over again. They appeared to have the winning of the game in their hands, but just couldn’t quite see it out. 

WHEN was the game won and lost?

While the match wasn’t decided until the final seconds, there was a crucial and contentious moment with just under two minutes left. With Thunderbirds up by one and in possession, Maisie Nankivell was awarded a penalty just outside the Firebirds shooting circle. She appeared to look down court for options, and seeing no players open, she put the ball down on the floor for Shamera Sterling to take the penalty. Before Sterling could get there though, Mahalia Cassidy quickly swooped on the ball. The umpire allowed play to go on, effectively deeming that Nankivell had taken the penalty. Firebirds scored from the ensuing play to equalise and went on to win after what was a truly chaotic finish.     

HOW did she do that?!

Mahalia Cassidy was involved in another rare incident in the second quarter. Taking a penalty on the circle edge she lobbed up a high pass for Romelda Aiken. The pass was just a bit too high as it turned out, because the ball went sailing through the ring. It was a beautiful goal. Except of course for the fact that it didn’t count. But Aiken knew the rules. She knew that it was play on from there, so she quickly caught the ball once it had dropped through the net and calmly sank the goal. Spectacular!

MVP: Tara Hinchliffe (Qld Firebirds) 

Shamera Sterling and Romelda Aiken had a mighty tussle. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Tara Hinchliffe was MVP. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Jemma Mi Mi on the run. Image Simon Leonard.

 

West Coast Fever  80 defeated Sunshine Coast Lightning 56

By: Janine Monneron

 

The teams met for the first time this season, both presenting with compelling potential. The Lightning, strong with international experience, was favoured pre-game, but a monstrous performance by Fever sent a strong message to the league about their cutting-edge brand. They deservingly won the game with a huge 80 goals – matching none other than their opponents record that was set in 2018.

WHO dominated?  

There was full-flush of green for the Nissan Net Point leaders this match, but the pick of the bunch went to Verity Charles. It was a remarkable effort against the world’s most potent centre-player, Laura Langman. Charles’ ability to dominate in centre across four quarters indicated her elite level of fitness. While Charles has been expensive in previous rounds, she finished the game with one turnover, an impressive feat given her ability to catch and pass on the run. Ingrid Colyer ably supported Charles, cutting through on the centre pass and to the circle edge.

Jhaniele Fowler starred in the circle with a lazy 57 goals, and was impeccably supported by Alice Teague-Neeld. The defensive trio of Courtney Bruce (9 gains), Stacey Francis (7 gains) and Jess Anstiss also shone.  

 “I think it’s a big mindset thing at Fever and everyone looks calm, cool and collected”

 Verity Charles

WHAT worked?  

The Fever built throughout the game, apart from a period in the last quarter when they rested weary legs. Their attacking line was explosive with Ingrid Coyler a perfect complement to Charles.  Alice Teague-Neeld joined the show and kept elite goal defender, Karla Pretorius, out of the circle whilst feeding target, Jhaniele Fowler who reached her 2000th goal in the SSN league.

For the Lightning Steph Wood was integral in goal attack. She was selflessly creating the screens in the circle whilst providing diverse shooting ability.  

WHAT needs improvement?

There was a relentless attempt by defenders Phumza Maweni, Annika-Lee Jones and Karla Pretorius to shut down Jhaniele Fowler, to little avail as they were kept relatively quiet in the statistic department.

WHERE was it won?

Whilst Lightning were unable to stem the Fever attack, the latter’s defensive end was robust enough to control Lightening’s strength. Courtney Bruce initially struggled against her moving shooter, Cara Koenen, but gained ascendancy. Ultimately, the rebounds contributed to Fever’s success with a decent 13 taken overall, compared to just 4 by their opponents.

WHERE was it lost? 

Lightning had few answers to the Fever’s dominance all over court. They had difficulty in penetrating Fever’s off- line defence, and few answers to the Fever attacking line. In past games Fever have struggled against midcourt height, but against Lightning’s shorter midcourt, the Fever attackers were able to use their speed to transition quickly through court.  

WHEN was the game won and lost?  

The game was won in a second quarter blitzkrieg by Fever, dominating 24 – 8. However, they took control right from the start of the game, with all the motivation they needed by playing for their newly appointed Diamond’s coach, to respect a family-loss, and with a clear brand which they all believed in.

HOW did she do that?!  

Bruce took an intercept in the third quarter – closing in from afar, lunging and twisting in midair with an extraordinary amount of hang-time, whilst saving the ball from out of court. What a scene!

MVP: Verity Charles – West Coast Fever

Locking arms. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Verity Charles was the MVP. Image Simon Leonard.

 

Ingrid Colyer was one step ahead of her opponent for most of the game. Image Simon Leonard.

 

WHAT’S NEXT 

Tuesday 1 September 5pm Giants v Vixens  Nissan Arena Telstra TV / Netball Live 

Tuesday 1 September 7.30pm  Magpies v Swifts Nissan Arena Telstra TV / Netball Live 

Wednesday 2 September 5pm Thunderbirds v Lightning Nissan Arena Telstra TV / Netball Live 

Wednesday 2 September 7.30pm Firebirds v Fever Nissan Arenda Telstra TV / Netball Live 

 

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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