SUNDAY 27th FEBRUARY 2022
Playoff for 7th / 8th:
GIANTS Netball 41 def. NSW Swifts 27 (13-7, 11-6, 7-5, 10-9)
With just two on the bench and particularly limited shooting stocks, this game was always going be a struggle for the COVID-hit Swifts.The GIANTS were strong throughout the game, blocking the easy pathway to the goal for the Swifts with hands over pressure on every pass. Amy Parmenter had an outstanding game against Maddy Proud and then Paige Hadley. As well as her defensive efforts, she played a key role in attack for the GIANTS and put the pressure on out the front, allowing Lauren Moore and Tilly McDonell behind her to reap the rewards.
Amy Parmenter, GIANTS Netball
On building combinations and sticking to the same seven for the final game – “It’s always good in these weekends to make sure you do get some of the youngsters out there. This is the time to get them used to this sort of intensity and expose them to the top level. But you also do want to work on the combinations that you’re going to have throughout the year – you can’t have the training partners on the bench the whole season, so you do want to work on those. When we weren’t producing the performances that we wanted, I think it’s really good to finish the weekend with our – that seven – to go into the next few weeks and into the season feeling confident in that combination.
On Amy Sligar’s performance – “She’s just come into the team this year. She’s an awesome wing attack so for her to come out and play against some of the best wing defences in the competition over the weekend was pretty impressive. She’s done really well – she’s just taken it on. She’s only 19 – I didn’t even have a contract then so to have that confidence and that composure is pretty awesome and she’s done a really good job in stepping into some pretty big shoes (Maddy Hay).
On the players to return to the side – “Sligar’s done awesome, but Maddy brings that experience and that cool head and Sophie Dwyer gets a lot of confidence from Maddy Hay – they’re a really awesome combination and they complement each other really well. That’s a really important combination to us and I think that it’s really important that we get her back out on court. Same as April – we really missed April this weekend. Loz (Moore) and Tilly (McDonell) are an awesome combination, but just to have another combination and to have that experience down the back end is so valuable.
On Lauren Moore – “I knew she’d be fired up for this Swifts game. That’s always a good rivalry and I think she just slotted in so well. She’s a breath of fresh air. I think the Swifts have some really amazing high performance culture and standards so I think she’s bringing a lot of that across, but yeah she’s just awesome to have around.”
On Round 1 vs Swifts – “It’s going to be really good. Obviously that win is going to give us a lot of confidence. But obviously they were missing two key players and I don’t think that’s a full reflection of what their side’s going to look like for 2022 but it’s always going to be a good game. I think the intensity will lift up a notch and obviously the 15 minute quarters brings a whole other element – fatigue starts coming in and that’s something that all teams have to work through so it’s going to be really, really good.”
Playoff for 5th / 6th:
Queensland Firebirds 52 def. Collingwood Magpies 50 (12-14, 16-9, 9-16, 15-11)
The Firebirds wrapped up fifth place with a close fought win against the Magpies. With both Geva Mentor (ankle) and Jodi Ann Ward (managed) out of the game, the new look defensive line saw Jacqui Newton start in goal keeper with training partner Zoe Davies in goal defence. Despite this, the Magpies had a strong showing defensively with the experienced Ash Brazill providing much needed guidance down the back. But the Firebirds were more than a match for them with Mia Stower starting well for them in goal attack, before Donnell Wallam entered the game at halftime at goal shooter. It came down to a supershot shootout in the final quarter which could have gone either way, but a couple of costly turnovers in the Magpies attacking end and some attacking magic from Gretel Bueta meant the Firebirds were able to walk away victorious.
Eboni Usoro-Brown, Queensland Firebirds
On the win: “We came into this Team Girls Cup – obviously I only arrived in February – so we haven’t built too many connections, so this weekend was all about exploring those combinations, building some confidence and I think we really built across the weekend and to finish today with a win just shows how far we have come, but also how much we have to do before the first round.”
On settling into the new defence end: “Yeah they’re exceptional athletes and to be fair the whole franchise has made me feel really welcome. I was just saying there’s been a lot of firsts for me this weekend – the two point shot, actually putting the purple dress on and getting to know some of the shooters in the competition. I’ve settled in really well. It’s good to be back on Australian shores and looking forward to the competition ahead.”
On Donnell Wallam’s performance: “Hasn’t she been exceptional. She’s absolutely unbelievable under the post. She was so nervous getting on court yesterday, but she absolutely killed it so kudos to her. She’s been working so hard in the gym and it’s really great to see her perform really well and her combination with Gretel is really coming along.”
On any difference between shooters in this league and the VNSL: “They’re taller. They’re stronger, but I’ve seen quite a lot of them on the international stage, but it’s just trying to work them out in this setting and also getting used to the umpires and the intensity and the pace of the game. I had a lot of fun out there today, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do – sharpen up my footwork and get some more video analysis under my belt. But again it’s a step in the right direction.”
On the weekend as a whole: “Yeah I think there were some really good patches of performance. Obviously there were some things we need to go back and have a look at to improve. In terms of what we set out for this weekend – building combinations, building some confidence, sticking to some of the game plans and focusing on ourselves before we hit Round 1, I think we ticked quite a few boxes so I think the coaching staff and the playing group and the support staff will be pleased.”
On personally settling into Queensland and Australia more broadly: “It’s been really wonderful. I’ve come back on these shores – I’ve got a one year old now. I’m definitely a different athlete. But it’s been really wonderful. Everyone has shown me such a warm welcome. The Queenslanders have been absolutely awesome all through social media and across the board and our fans have opened their arms and welcomed me. I’m glad we could put in a good performance for them this weekend and hopefully we take it forward into the season ahead.”
Playoff for 3rd / 4th:
Adelaide Thunderbirds 53 def. Sunshine Coast Lightning 32 (17-7, 12-11, 12-5, 12-9)
This was a strong showing by the Adelaide Thunderbirds, with the Lightning again slow to start the game and unable to play themselves back into contention as they had in previous games. The Lightning staged a small comeback in the final quarter, before succumbing to defensive pressure with the Thunderbirds managing to win every quarter. Lenize Potgieter started the game in strong form and only missed a single shot in her 30 minutes on court. The Thunderbirds were careful with the ball, with only eight turnovers for the game compared to 19 for the Lightning. They also appear to have an embarrassment of riches in the defensive end with Latanya Wilson, Shamera Sterling and Matilda Garrett all able to play in the defensive circle. The Lightning looked out of sorts and simply had no response.
Tayla Williams, Adelaide Thunderbirds
On the weekend: “Really good. I’m really excited. Had some really good hitouts against some quality SSN teams and a really good practice one for what the season brings and happy to walk away with three wins, but lots of learnings and some experience and exposure to the other teams, so it’s really exciting.”
On today’s game: “Yeah we were really happy – different opposition and a different style of play. But sticking to our game plan, executing our structures and what we intend to put out there really well. I think it was really exciting to see everyone on court and moving everyone around – it didn’t really matter who played where and we all stuck to the game plan and got what we wanted and it worked – who would have thought.”
On settling into the ten: “This is my fourth year with the team – I’ve obviously been a training partner for a few years now and it’s good we’ve been able to keep a similar bunch of girls together which is really exciting and building on what we’ve done previously and it’s really exciting.”
On adjusting from being a training partner to a contracted player: “I think there’s lots of similarities in terms of the training load and pre-season. Obviously when the season comes it will be a bit different, but pre-season we generally do most of the stuff, but it’s a level up again – more expectation and all of those other things that come with an actual contract. I feel like it’s been pretty good so far and nice to get a fulltime position and actually getting paid and all those lovely things that come with it, so yeah it’s really exciting.”
Anyone you were looking forward to matching up against this weekend? “I don’t think so. I think it doesn’t matter what team you come up against or what position you play, it’s always someone incredible – lots of Aussie Diamonds, lots of international players. There’s no one better or worse than anyone else – all really quality players that it’s always going to be a challenge no matter who it is.”
Positive things to take into the season. “I think we’ve had three weeks on the road now, so lots of quality opposition, lots of preseason hitouts, really good learnings, lots of experience and now we go back and we’ve got about a month to work on the things that we need to work on ready for Round 1 and hope we get some more wins then.”
On stemming the Lightning comeback in today’s game: “We know – and we showed in the first half – our game plan works when we execute what we need to and our structures they work really well. So we made some changes and it’s really just going back to that – no matter who’s on you stick to your structures and stick to the game plan. Everyone knows the game plan really well and to focus on us. To control what we can control and while it’s obviously in the back of your head knowing they can come back really well and they are a really strong team – no matter who you play, the game’s never over and you have to go to the final whistle but I think just focusing on what we can control and sticking to our game plan because we know it works.”
MELBOURNE VIXENS 45 def. WEST COAST FEVER 43 (16-14, 12-7, 10-10, 7-12)
The Vixens had their fairytale finish to the Team Girls Cup, winning narrowly against a West Coast Fever who were able to come back into the game,after the Vixens originally looked like running away with it. Sporting a relatively junior attacking end in Rahni Samason and Ruby Barkmeyer, the Vixens stamped their authority early. As she has throughout this series, Samason looked confident to shoot from anywhere no matter when in the quarter she did so. Barkmeyer had her best game of the series, piling on the goal assists and centre pass receives and helping to draw the defenders away from Samason to give her a clear run and drive at the ball.
Kate Moloney had a strong game across centre and wing defence for the Vixens. When she wasn’t running rings around her opposition, she was providing support to the players around her and had some key defensive plays late in the contest. She was announced MVP at the end of the game.
The Vixens rotated players throughout the game, with Emily Mannix starting on the bench and injected at the start of the second half. To their credit, they were able to adjust to the changes in personnel, with Liz Watson taking a spell on the bench for second quarter and ably replaced by Hannah Mundy. The Fever had strength all over the court, but struggled to contain the rampaging Samason, despite constant hands over pressure. Verity Simmons was well marked by Kate Eddy early in the contest, who was able to stem the flow of the ball that had been going into Jhaniele Fowler so easily throughout the tournament.
The Fever were down by as much as ten goals during the contest but showed their mettle to get back in it in the third and fourth quarters. The introduction of training partners Zoe Cransberg and Chelsea Pitman in centre and wing attack respectively changed the tone of the game and opened things up for the Fever significantly. They looked like drawing level at a couple of points late in the game, but were let down by some off-target passes in transition which were intercepted by Liz Watson.The Vixens finished victors with a margin of just two goals.
Samason 30/37 (81%)
Barkmeyer 10/11 (100%)
TOTAL 40/48 (83%)
Super shots: Samason 5/9 (56%), Barkmeyer 0/1 (0%)
Assists: Barkmeyer 14
Gains: Moloney 3
Fowler 30/31 (97%)
Glasgow 6/6 (100%)
Teague-Neeld 2/3 (67%)
TOTAL 38/40 (95%)
Super shots: Glasgow 4/4 (100%), Teague-Neeld 1/1 (100%)
Assists: Teague-Neeld 8
Gains: Ellis, Anstiss 2
Dan Ryan (West Coast Fever Coach)
On the tournament as a whole: “Incredibly valuable to be honest. Honestly this weekend’s been the first time we’ve been able to see any other SSN teams in our preparation and coming into it we’ve had four training sessions with the full squad so this whole purpose across the weekend was gathering as much information and getting as much exposure as possible and we walk away in a pretty good place with much left ahead of us in preparation and learning so much about the group and each other which has really been invaluable.”
On the result today: “Again huge learnings and great to play in a pressurised match with some great atmosphere and intensity and to see how we endured that at times and how we didn’t handle that well at times. Again, accessing the entire depth of the squad to try and find some flow and connection in a really challenging match – that’s what it’s all about for us. We don’t get a chance to see any other SSN teams now until Round 1. All other teams have their programs booked and with our border closure, we haven’t been able to access anything so hugely beneficial for us and it’s about demonstrating those learnings next time we get out there.”
On Zoe Cransberg’s performance today and across the weekend: “Zoe’s been brilliant. She packed up her life in 24 hours to move over to WA and is studying over in Western Australia and we got her straight into our training environment space. She’s really up and about for this level and what she showed over the weekend is a young athlete on the rise. She brings so much control and balance to the court and I felt we needed that when we brought her on and she did a terrific job for us.”
On close games not going Fever’s way: “It’s something you’ve always got to be very mindful of and you know for us it’s about being better than what we’ve been before. But it’s also a new year for us so just because we’ve been successful in previous years, doesn’t guarantee we’ll get there again. We’ve put in the work to make sure we get there and how we build and perform under pressure is just as important as our ability to perform when we’re in control so all of those areas are critically important and they’ll be highly focused on over the next couple of weeks.”
On travelling back to WA: “We couldn’t get any flights out to WA tonight so we have to fly back tomorrow morning and then we’re in quarantine for three and a bit days before we get released, so a pretty tough ask. There was a really high chance that we weren’t going to be able to come to this competition but luckily for the border dropping it’s only three days and we can continue on, but we’re grateful for what we’ve seen this weekend and will use everything we can to push forward.”
On new defensive connections: “Well I think they’re works in progress. I think when we think about the connection between Rudi Ellis and Courtney Bruce – they’ve had a handful of training sessions together and they’ve got a great presence in the circle and they’re big and intimidating and we want to have that tool when we want to use it. It’s a really agile team with great depth and versatility and you’re not going to win this competition with seven players – you’re going to need player nine, ten and the reality this year, player 11, 12, 13, 14 so all the combinations will take time but we want to keep nurturing our depth as best we can.
Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens)
On being back at this level and preseason games: “Yes it is really good. I think we’ve kind of played it perfectly in that we’ve almost played every team before Round 1 which is awesome so it was nice to play. Obviously we always play to win but I guess we wanted to get better every game. We kind of treated this like part of our normal training week to see what we could get from it. So I think overall very successful”
On midcourt connections with Kate Moloney and Hannah Mundy: “I’ve missed playing with them so much. Especially with Kate – we’ve been buddies out there for such a long time, so it’s nice and with the combination with our new shooters too.”
On feeding the shooters: “Yeah – I think because they just turn and shoot, it gives you so much confidence to just give them the ball. You know that they’re just going to back themselves in. It’s so demoralising as an opposition to see them keep shooting and shooting so that was the goal and I think they nailed that.”
Is it nice to win after struggling to get wins together in 2021? “The trophy we really want to win is the one at the end of the season, but we do take a lot of confidence from today’s win. I think it’s more than the win – the combinations, the things we were working on out there. We just wanted to really show the other teams that we mean business this season. We’ve got a really strong lineup. Obviously MJ (Kumwenda) is still not here as well, Kippa (Kiera Austin) to come in too, so we’ve still got options and players as well, so I think overall we did everything we wanted to do.”
On the growth of the more junior shooting combination in the absence of Kumwenda and Austin: “For Rahni to shoot those two points, even when it wasn’t in that two point time was awesome. Ruby impressed me the most. She’s been one that’s trained really hard – had opportunities and today and this weekend she really stepped up and took that. As much as we miss having MJ here, her not being here and forcing these guys to play on court and actually work it out and make it happen I think they did that.:
STAND OUT STATS
Amy Parmenter (GIANTS Netball) – 4 gains (all intercepts), 5 deflections, 7 centre pass receives, 1 pickup, 2 penalties, 1 turnover
On paper the Magpies should have won their match against Firebirds. Magpies had fewer turnovers (12 to Firebirds 15), more intercepts (6 to 3) and more time in possession (53% to 47%). No doubt Nicole Richardson will not be happy with her team’s loss but will take comfort in the team’s resilience without two of her world class defenders.
Again the Firebirds penalties were of concern. They were the most penalised team of the finals with a total of 50. 21 of those were from defender Kim Jenner who played 27 minutes of the match. Jenner’s penalty count has been a talking point for a couple of seasons and could hinder her chances of a Diamonds callup.
Thunderbirds defender Latanya Wilson had a standout defensive game against the Sunshine Coast Lightning. The Jamaican international collected 8 gains (6 intercepts, 2 rebounds) and was a menace as she broke down Lightning’s attacking connections. She was also quite economical in her penalties, only conceding 5 (3 contacts, 2 obstructions).
Swifts fill-in coach Bec Bulley sat out today’s game as a precaution after feeling unwell. Helen Housby and Sam Wallace took over coaching duties for the side. This left the Swifts with only two players on the bench for the second time in the tournament and with only two attacking circle players.
Lauren Moore was back on court for the GIANTS after leaving the court looking uncomfortable in their last round game.
Geva Mentor was not named for the Magpies after suffering an ankle injury. She entered the stadium wearing a moon boot which spread concerns throughout fans. However, she assured commentary that the moon boot was for show (and support). She believes that after rest and ice, she will be back for Round 1. Jodi Ann Ward was managed and also not named for the Magpies.
Vice Captain of the Firebirds, Lara Dunkley travelled with the side, but finished the tournament without having played a minute of the Team Girls Cup. She was not named in the side to face the Magpies, although no announcement has been made by the club about why she has not taken the court.
West Coast Fever have long been front runners in paying their respect to Noongar people and the Whadjuk land on which the team train and play. As a small part of that commitment, Indigenous artwork is permanently embedded in their playing dresses, bibs and other uniform. The artwork is crafted by respected local artists Peter Farmer and Kylie Graham, representing the culture and stories of local lands, water and people.
GIANTS and Swifts dresses also feature Indigenous artwork. The GIANTS have a circular symbol on the back of their dress. The Swifts have a turtle created by Indigenous pathways athlete Tarsha Hawley.
Generally speaking, it’s a thumb’s up to Fox Sport and Kayo for their work across the weekend. The new overhead cameras showed some great angles and how the teams worked through court, and Madi Browne in commentary was a highlight. On the flip side, a number of the player’s names were butchered – which needs to be tidied up urgently – and Sue Gaudion, one of the best commentators in the global netball, and Liz Ellis were very much missed. In previous seasons statistics have been used to help paint the commentary picture, and were noticeable for their absence.
For anyone who couldn’t tune in to the TV, Cluch Radio did a terrific job of covering the entire weekend, with Michael Hutchinson a stand out.
WHICH PLAYERS AND TEAMS IMPRESSED
Firebirds young shooter, Mia Stower saved her best performance for game 4. The versatile attacker was confident and seamless in her approach to circle. Her combination with Gretel Bueta – built over the last few years of Stower being a Firebirds training partner – was on show as the two easily passed the ball around the circle, to find each other in prime shooting position. A little of that fluidity was lost when Stower shifted out to wing attack, but her ability to play all three attack positions will be an asset to the Firebirds this season. Stower finished her 20 mins at goals with 9/9 including two supershots.
The Thunderbirds made a strong statement across the tournament with huge wins over the Collingwood Magpies and then the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the 3rd/4th playoff. With Lenize Potgieter looking strong after an off-season break, the shooting prowess of Georgie Horjus and the dynamo combination of Shamera Sterling, Matilda Garrett and Latanya Wilson down back, the Thunderbirds can put goals on the board quickly and dominate opponents. Could this be the year they break through to the finals?
Kate Moloney was named the MVP of the grand final. She finished the game on six goal assists from 12 feeds, three gains (one intercept, two deflections) and three pickups. She also showed her impressive leadership on court, keeping the communication up between the midcourt and attacking lines. She is no doubt pleased to see Liz Watson back and the duo simply continued as they left off in 2020. Rahni Samason kept up her impressive form, with another top shooting performance under the pressure of a final.
TWEETS OF THE FINALS
Swifts fans saw the lighter side of having their two international shooters on the bench with coaching caps on.
GIANTS Netball saying what we were all thinking.
A little Magpies midcourt speed appreciation.
THE TIE DYE PROJECT / CONFIDENT GIRLS FOUNDATION FUNDRAISER
All the teams and Suncorp got behind the most recent Tie Dye Project and Confident Girls Foundation fundraiser. Posts with updates, videos, Tik Toks, and rainbows of colour flooded every club’s Instagram platforms.
The fundraiser closed out raising almost $16,000 for the SCH Foundation.
Amy Parmenter said, “We’re going to do the raffle tomorrow so get in quick. It’s going to such an amazing cause. The work that the Confident Girls do really blows me away. Being a part of this collaboration has been really cool. I’m really grateful to all the players that have been so generous and gotten around it on such a busy weekend so it’s been really cool.”
“It reminds me that it’s such a bigger picture. We’re all out there on the court – we’re all going hard against each other, but then off the court we’re all pretty similar people with the same sort of passions and values and it’s really amazing to feel the support of the wider netball community. It’s been pretty special.”
SUNCORP SUPER NETBALL SEASON
The Suncorp Super Netball season kicks off in March. Here is the draw for Round 1 (times listed as local)
4:30pm Thunderbirds v Magpies Netball SA Stadium
7.00pm Swifts v Giants Ken Rosewall Arena
1pm Firebirds v Vixens Nissan Arena
1pm Fever v Lightning RAC Arena
All matches are live and ad-break free on Fox and Kayo.
For your chance to win a 6 month membership to Kayo Sports, stay tuned to Netball Scoop’s social media channels this week.