NS SCOREBOARD – SSN Round 11

NS SCOREBOARD – SSN Round 11

Netball Scoop – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 11, 2021

 

Contributors: Georgia Doyle, Andrew Kennedy, Amy Cooper, Emily Klaffer, Cara Gledhill, Ian Harkin, Katrina Nissen, Jenny Sinclair

Photographers: Clinton Bradbury and Simon Leonard.

*Unfortunately we had no photographers available in Adelaide.

 

RESULTS

Collingwood Magpies 52 def. Melbourne Vixens 48 (11-12, 11-12, 17-14, 13-10)

GIANTS Netball 59 def. New South Wales Swifts 55 (16-15, 13-14, 18-13, 12-13)

West Coast Fever 69 def. Adelaide Thunderbirds 54 (14-15, 20-10, 16-11, 19-8)

Queensland Firebirds 59 def. Sunshine Coast Lightning 49 (14-16, 14-12, 15-13, 16-8)

 


 

INJURIES

Kiera Austin (GIANTS) – ACL (season)

Liz Watson (Vixens) – foot (season)

Ash Unie (Lightning) – ACL (season)

Steph Wood (Lightning) left the court in the first quarter after feeling a twinge in her knee. She briefly returned at wing attack before sitting out the final two quarters.

Laura Scherian (Lightning) came off the court with an ankle complaint after a collision in Monday’s game

Tara Hinchliffe (Firebirds) was also out on Monday with a leg injury.

Romelda Aiken (Firebirds) left the court 90 seconds before the end of the match after rolling her ankle several minutes prior. 

While not an injury, Tippah Dwan (Firebirds) sat out Monday’s game due to being at a Tier 1 exposure site in Melbourne. The Firebirds’ goaler will be in quarantine for 14 days and will likely miss Round 12 and possibly 13 if a midweek game is played. 

Sending a special shout-out to Kiera Austin, who refers to her knee as “she” rather than “it” when talking about her injury. One of the few lighter moments for a terrible injury. 

Laura Scherian was another casualty of a physical match, leaving the court with an ankle injury. (for more photos of the fall, see match report below) Image Simon Leonard

 

Romelda Aiken left the court with an ankle injury. Pictured here with Gretel Bueta. Image Simon Leonard

 

ROOKIE OF THE ROUND

We’ve had Maddie Hay’s name stuck on repeat over the past few rounds, and this week she and Sophie Dwyer both had an excellent game for the GIANTS. However, in Round 11 our award goes to Sunday Aryang, who was in blinding form for Fever. 

How good are these numbers for a goal defence? 4 gains, including 3 intercepts, 5 deflections, and 2 pickups, all with a miserly 4 penalties and 0 turnovers as she proved a reliable ball handling option during transition.

Aryang not only kept Georgie Horjus then Sam Gooden relatively quiet, but worked seamlessly in an offline defence that forced innumerable Thunderbirds’ turnovers. Her ability to win clean ball, while not attracting the ire of the umpire, is reminiscent of some of the great goal defences like Karla Pretorius and Julie Corletto.  

 

Sunday Aryang was a game changer in Round 11. Image Clinton Bradbury

 

PLAYS OF THE ROUND

To the athletes, clubs, coaches, support staff, umpires, officials, administrators, broadcast partners and family members who’ve done so much to keep the season alive:

Thank you, yanga, dankie, merci, gracias, arigato. 

 

The Harrison Hoist was impressive when it first unfolded on the scene, but Shamera Sterling has taken it to a whole new level – introducing the hoist-jump. Against the Fever she was spotted hoisting Latanya Wilson, then immediately following it up with a jump over the same shot. Only someone with the impressive speed and athleticism of Sterling could pull the move off.

For footage, check out the closing remarks on the match replay, where this incredible feat can be seen. Now all we need is a name – Lisa Alexander is suggesting the “Shazam”.

 

Not the ‘Shazam’ but Shamera Sterling flies for a touch in the circle. Image Clinton Bradbury

 

TEAM OF THE ROUND

Having looked out of sorts over the past few rounds, and in real danger of sliding down the ladder, GIANTS Netball out-Swifted the Swifts, to record a victory over their cross-town rivals. Their four goal victory sees them lift to first on the ladder.

The GIANTS were incredibly patient in attack, setting aside their usual flair for a more controlled, safe brand of netball. In contrast the Swifts threw long balls into the pockets, giving the GIANTS defence time and space to sniff out a disruption. 14 of the Swifts 18 turnovers were committed in and around their shooting circle, a credit to the backline of Sam Poolman, April Brandley and Amy Parmenter. 

 

The GIANTS are currently sitting on top of the ladder, after Round 11 matches. Image May Bailey

 

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING 

With Diamonds selection looming, picking a midcourt of just four is going to be an insanely difficult decision for the national selectors. While Liz Watson is sadly out of the equation for now, there are a host of athletes in good form. We decided not to draw up a statistical analysis from across the season, while Vixens and Fever athletes are on one less game than others, but there were some impressive numbers thrown out in Round 11.

Feeds were high (Verity Charles 44, Jamie-Lee Price 33, Maddie Hay 32, Kim Ravaillion 31) but what caught our eye was the low number of turnovers by some of the attacking middies. Losing a ball near the shooting circle is particularly painful, and often results in a two goal turnaround – the loss of a goal which is then scored by the opposition at the other end of the court.

So it was terrific to see Paige Hadley (0), Hay (2), Jess Anstiss (3) and Price (3) record some very low numbers. At the opposite end of the scale Kelsey Browne (10) and Maisie Nankivell (8) need to take more care of the ball.  

We also need to give a moment of appreciation for Sasha Glasgow who picked off five gains in her match against the Thunderbirds. It would be an impressive enough stat for a defender, but for a goal attack to manage it in only 24 minutes of court time – WOW!!

 

TALKING POINTS OF THE ROUND

With the Covid Delta variant moving more quickly than a Kelsey Browne pocket drive, the Vixens, Magpies, GIANTS and Swifts relocated to South Australia midweek, while the Thunderbirds headed west to take on the Fever. Unfortunately Sunshine Coast Lightning and Queensland Firebirds were denied entry unless they quarantined, so remained in Queensland for a Monday night clash. 

Unfortunately there has been a positive case in South Australia, with heavy restrictions applied to the state. What this will mean for the SSN is unclear as yet, nor is the fate of the Firebirds and Lightning known. Will they be able to travel, or have to quarantine on arrival? And if they do travel, it’s unlikely that they would be recovered from Monday night’s match in time to play in a midweek fixture, if the season does move to a condensed fixture. 

It was reported by Channel 9’s Paddy Sweeney that the Vixens/Fever clash was due to be played in South Australia on Wednesday night, but with the latest Covid restrictions and a 7 day lockdown, it appears unlikely that the game – or any weekend fixtures – will go ahead at this time.

While we’re sure the Netball Australia brains trust is working over time, all we can say, is watch this space!

In sticking to her promise of being more transparent, Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan gave a zoom press conference while making her way through the airport, then also fronted the media during one the Vixens-Magpies match. You can read a summary of the talking points here.

 

Stacey Marinkovich has most likely coached her last home game for West Coast Fever, with the team looking likely to move to South Australia to complete the season. Stacey has been at the Orioles/Fever since 2002 as an athlete, captain and now coach. After an incredible 20 years with the club, the Green Army was in a mood to give her a good farewell, partying hard and bringing down the rafters at RAC Arena with a standing ovation. Best wishes for your career as the Diamonds’ head coach, Stacey. 

Hi fives for Matthew Marinkovich as his mum, Stacey, says farewell to Fever after 20 years as an athlete, captain and coach. Image Clinton Bradbury

 

While Channel 9 have done some incredibly fancy footwork to keep their netball broadcast going, someone at Channel 7 forgot to do their homework. In a monumental clanger, it was announced on air that Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich was heading to the Olympics with the Diamonds.  

 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

 

NSW Swifts swaying one Giants fan at a time

 

Fans have decided that the Swifts social media team – who’ve been on song all season – deserve a raise. Their  ‘24 hours ago …’ video on Instagram was hilarious.

 

STAND OUT STATISTICS

 

INDIVIDUAL

Shooting Volume
Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 57/58 (98.3%)
Romelda Aiken (Firebirds) – 40/48 (83.3%)

Supershots
Sam Gooden (Thunderbirds) – 5 
Jo Harten (GIANTS) – 3

Feeds
Verity Charles (Fever) – 44
Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS) 33

Gains
Jodi-Ann Ward (Magpies) – 8 (3 intercepts, 4 deflections with gain, 1 rebound)
Sam Poolman (GIANTS) – 8 (2 intercepts, 5 rebounds, 1 deflection with gain)

Deflections
Amy Parmenter (GIANTS) – 8 
Geva Mentor (Magpies) – 8 
Jodi-Ann Ward (Magpies) – 8 

Pickups
Ash Brazill (Magpies) – 5 
Paige Hadley (Swifts) – 5 

Centre Pass Receives
Gretel Bueta (Firebirds) – 26
Helen Housby (Swifts) – 22

Penalties
Kim Jenner (Firebirds) – 23
Phumza Maweni (Lightning) – 22

Turnovers
Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 10
Maisie Nankivell (Thunderbirds) – 8 

Nissan Netpoints
Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 102.5
Jodi-Ann Ward (Magpies) – 102

TEAM 

Shooting Accuracy
Magpies – 94.4%
Fever – 86.8%

Penalties
Firebirds – 84 
Vixens – 71 

Turnovers
Thunderbirds – 37
Magpies – 34 

Gains
Magpies – 25 
Fever – 19


 

MATCH REPORTS

 

COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 52 def MELBOURNE VIXENS 48

By Georgia Doyle

 

WHO dominated?

This name has come up several times throughout the season, but yet again Jodi-Ann Ward had a sensational game at GD for Collingwood. Very reminiscent of Karla Pretorius in 2018 and 2019, Ward manages to get to ball many other defenders could not fathom, both managing to sneak around players and scrap at ground level and also use her elevation to contest in the air. Ward finished the game with nine gains while also staying out of penalty trouble, only committing eight contacts and no obstructions, a far cry from her 28 penalties against Lightning a few weeks prior. 

While she has always been capable of winning back plenty of ball for her side, the ability to adjust her game and stay in play more helps bring defensive partner Geva Mentor into the game, who finished with seven gains for the game, her equal highest for the season. It also keeps the pressure on her opponents and helps force them into error, evident in the high turnover rate in the Vixens attacking end, which accounted for 24/29 of the teams turnovers. 

While international netball is a while away, her likely combination with Shamera Sterling for Jamaica must have attackers around the world somewhat terrified.

WHAT worked?   

The switch between Kelsey Browne into C and Molly Jovic in WA at the end of the second quarter also proved pivotal to the game. In the first half Browne was sitting on -21 Nissan Net Points, courtesy of eight turnovers and only five goal assists, an area she was previously leading the league for. Her move to C for the second half saw her accumulate 52 NNP, thanks to 12 goal assists, one gain and only two turnovers. Jovic was consistent throughout her 60 minute performance, feeding the circle well, picking up six gains and committing only four turnovers across the game.

WHAT needs improvement?

Vixens were uncharacteristically high in their penalty rate this game, accruing a total of 71 penalties in 60 minutes. The biggest contributors to this were Emily Mannix with 17 and Kate Moloney and Jo Weston both with 11. Against a team like Collingwood, with a strong target shooter like Shimona Nelson, building defensive pressure through court is essential at giving the GK the best shot at being able to come away with gains. 

When players are out of play in the defensive third, this releases pressure and opens up vision into the goal circle, giving easy access for the feeders. If Vixens are able to clean up their penalty count and keep themselves in play, they will increase opportunity for both Mannix and Kadie-Ann Dehaney to either contest the high ball, or take a risk on the pocket ball – both of which the two defenders are capable of doing when they have effective protection out the front of them.

WHERE was it won?

The Magpies did an excellent job at sticking with the Vixens throughout the game, waiting for them to stumble so they could pounce and then push ahead. Neither team was able to take a strong hold over the momentum of the game, instead it was a consistent battle with small changes in score line throughout. While each team managed an unanswered five goal run at different period of the third quarter, it was Magpies who were able to make the most of their opportunities. 

In the second half they increased their centre pass conversion from 50%  to over 70%, a huge factor in them pushing out to win the half by a total of six. This can be attributed to their experience, with all players on court bar one, Gabby Sinclair, having played internationally. Overall it was a good win for Collingwood, showing they can stick with a team and push out when it really matters.  

WHERE was it lost?

Unfortunately for the Vixens, the substitution of Ruby Barkmeyer into GA for Kaylia Stanton at the end of the third quarter didn’t reap the rewards coach Simone McKinnis was looking for. In just under 10 minutes on court across the second half Barkmeyer only managed 1/4 goals, including missing a sitter under the post for which Mentor grabbed the rebound, and one turnover. She was good on the centre pass, taking seven and also managed five feeds displaying her court craft as a more natural GA than Stanton, but her lack of positive impact at the post is something Vixens will need to address if they are hoping to add another win to their season. 

Yet again we are seeing the importance of having a solid GA, a position many teams have struggled with in the past. While Stanton topped her team for turnovers with seven, her accuracy and shooting volume is improving, shooting 12/15 in the one point zone. Persevering with her and filling her with confidence, as Moloney did in a time out saying ‘you show them how bloody good you are’ could see them reap rewards in the future.  

MVP: Jodi-Ann Ward (Magpies)

Starting lineups:

Vixens: GS Kumwenda, GA Stanton, WA Mundy, C Moloney, WD Eddy, GD Weston, GK Mannix

Magpies: GS Nelson, GA Sinclair, WA Browne, C Jovic, WD Brazill, GD Ward, GK Mentor

 

Post Match Interviews

Liz Watson (Injured Co-Captain and Hub Assistant Coach)

On where the game fell away from them

“I think in the second half we stopped doing the things that we pride ourselves on, I don’t think Magpies changed up too much of what they were doing, I think it was just us not adjusting to what was happening out on court. It was just basic errors and our execution”

On filling the role of assistant coach

“It was stressful, I’m a bit tired. It was a great experience, Simone asked me this morning if I wanted to sit next to her on the bench and see how the coaches run on game day, it was a really good experience”

On what they’ll take away from this game

“The negatives from this game were not being able to put out a consistent four quarters, the numbers compared to Magpies were very close across the board. The positives were we saw some changes happen, players come on and make an impact, we saw things out on court that we’ve been working on all week at training”

 

Nicole Richardson (Collingwood Magpies Head Coach)

On the game today, and the rest of their season

“Finals is still a long way off, and the least of our worries at the moment to be honest with you. It’s great to come away with the win, but it was a very ugly game but winning ugly is good I guess. We’ve got a lot to work on…we struggled with our connections in the first half, it was a very physical game. The switch between [Jovic and Browne] in the middle worked well for us, they were finding [Nelson] under the post a bit easier, particularly in that third quarter”

On the adjustments Nelson made throughout the game

“I thought in the first half she was being pushed off the ball a little bit, so basically tried to get her to widen her base a little bit to see if she could take those knocks and I thought that opened up a bit easier for us in the second half. We got the ball in a little bit quicker to her too, so she wasn’t fighting off two defenders, so [with] the quick release…we were able to expose them in a one on one a bit easier compared to the first half”

On Jodi-Ann Ward’s impressive game

“[Ward] was outstanding today, one of her best games. She puts her heart on her sleeve each week and gives you 120% each time she steps out on court. She had a lot more intent today, we spoke about three phases of defense with her – there’s first phase on centre pass, second phase in the transition space between the transverse line and the top of the circle and I thought she really hassled and worked hard there, and then effort to go again once the ball is in the circle. Her and Geva are really growing in their combination, it’s not only what [Ward] did and her efforts out there on court but it was the work of [Jovic, Browne and Brazill] our the front of [Mentor and Ward] that allowed her to have some attack on some good balls”


 

GIANTS NETBALL 59 def NEW SOUTH WALES SWIFTS 55

By Andrew Kennedy

 

In a round full of derbys, the two New South Wales teams had the interesting task ahead of them of winning a home match in Adelaide. Both Swifts and GIANTS have had their moment on top of the Suncorp ladder this year, and in a fascinating game of musical chairs, either of them could reclaim it in round eleven. It was a total revamp of playing style by the GIANTS  that proved the key – their defenders got more ball and stayed away from the rough physical contests, and their attackers reduced the flair and improved their basic connections. 

Swifts appeared confused and never got any run on, with no more than three consecutive goals for the whole match. GIANTS Netball have thrown down the gauntlet to the competition by finally beating another top four team in season 2021, besting Swifts 59-55.

WHO dominated?   

Samantha Poolman stuck to her game plan admirably, cutting out the normally dynamite Sam Wallace. In their previous matchup, the Trinidad & Tobago shooter scored 58/58, down to 39/48 in round eleven. Poolman let Wallace move out along the baseline but then quickly bodied up in front, forcing the normally slick Swifts feeders to change the trajectory of the feed and make errors. Wallace was denied her lovely economical dodges for the entire game.

Paige Hadley served the best in a losing side, playing all sixty minutes with no turnovers, almost unheard of for a midcourter. She was pushed into all three positions, and used wide and middle channels with equal speed and calmness, first in her team for goal assists with 17.

WHAT worked?   

GIANTS normally have the troublesome stat of worst turnovers. For the season, they have three players in the top ten, with Harten first on eight per match, Dwyer third with seven, and Price tenth with five. They cut down on their flair and risk in attack, and made sensible short sharp passes much like the Swifts, so that those players improved with three, six, and three respectively. Even though Swifts also had less than 20 turnovers, it was the surprisingly calm play from GIANTS that gave Swifts very little chance to get gains, with only eleven for an entire match.

Jo Harten had scored in the negatives for Nissan Net Points in three of the last five matches – her return to form was based on simple play. Clever holds on the side that made Klau play out of her comfortable position, identifying a mismatch against the shorter Turner, nice shooting, availability for the dish-off from Dwyer, and not using too many super-shots.

Swifts showed signs of their usual game plan, but lacked tenacity except in one area. They still dominated in pickups, leading 14-8, but most of the difference was achieved early in the game. GIANTS were revved up by coach Julie Fitzgerald and were faster onto contested ball in the last 20 minutes. 

WHAT needs improvement? 

Swifts should turn their disappointment in this match to inspiration. They needed to employ more spunk and instinct in defence, and their principal goal attack Helen Housby needed to get more involved in shooting – 9/10 for a match isn’t enough to divide the GIANTS defence, especially when Poolman had the measure of Wallace.

Amy Parmenter has been the GIANTS wing defence lynchpin, but in this match she didn’t match her penalties to possession. She had only three gains, when she often can get six or even ten, and she was struggling with 13 penalties, many of which were contacts at circle edge, alleviating pressure built by her team. Rather than competing from the side she could come off the body to the back and try tipping the ball to a teammate rather than collecting it herself.

WHERE was it won? 

It was a complete team game from GIANTS, but praise is well-deserved for their youngsters, Maddie Hay and Sophie Dwyer. Hay continues to be a rock at wing attack, a fast and thoughtful player, who can fit into all the set plays required and give safe feeds from any angle. Dwyer, who shot 19/19 for 1-pointers this game, also knows how to check and balance with her senior shooter Harten, either passing to or exploiting the backspace.

WHERE was it lost? 

Swifts struggled in the third “championship” quarter. The GIANTS stepped up their full-court defence intent, and Housby shot zero goals – she was replaced for seven minutes by Sophie Garbin. It also was the only quarter that Swifts had more turnovers. They lost it 13-18 and there was the story of the final scoreline. 

MVP: Maddie Hay (GIANTS)

Starting lineups:

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

Giants: GS Harten, GA Dwyer, WA Hay, C Price, WD Parmenter, GD Brandley, GK Poolman


 

WEST COAST FEVER 6 def ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 44

By Amy Cooper

 

WHO dominated?  

While the scoreboard may say otherwise West Coast Fever did not have it all their way. Adelaide Thunderbirds had a great start, taking the lead in the first quarter. Ahead by 3 at one stage, the away team shooting circle was firing early, with Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus both shooting at 100 percent, and defender Shadine Van Der Merwe having an immediate impact. However, Thunderbirds began to struggle under the Fever defensive game in the second quarter, and saw their lead and confidence slip away.  

Shamera Sterling took the opportunities when they were available but the visitors struggled to score off turnover ball. Fever began to apply the pressure, causing the Thunderbirds to make errors, with several players in negative for Nissan Net points.

Coach Tania Obst looked for answers, using the interchange extensively but nothing slowed the home team after the first break.

Fever continued to dominate, wanting to keep pushing till the end after recent losses and to give both the crowd and outgoing coach Stacey Marinkovich a win for their last home game of the season. 

WHAT worked? 

Fever changed their style of defending, taking the Thunderbirds by surprise. Athletes in green flooded throughout the midcourt to take up space, then drew back to the one on one style once the opposition had possession. This forced Thunderbirds wide, allowing the hunters of Courtney Bruce and Sunday Aryang to come out flying. Bruce finished the game with 4 intercepts and 6 gains, with Aryang taking 3 intercepts and 4 gains.

A whole team focus on defence saw attackers Sacha Glasgow and Verity Charles also picking up defensive intercepts, Glasgow particularly impressive with 3 intercepts and 5 gains. 

Thunderbird bench player Samantha Gooden stepped up in goal attack when called upon. Responsible for keeping her team in touch with the growing score line by sinking the supershots when it mattered. After coming on in the second quarter Gooden finished the game with 5 supershots from 7 attempts.

WHAT needs improvement? 

It was a tough game for the visitors.
The Adelaide Thunderbirds made a large amount of skill errors, producing 39 ball handling errors throughout the match. Unfortunately, they also failed to score off rare opportunities, nailing just 2 goals from 11 gains at the very low rate of 18%.

While they had a great start and moments of brilliance the young Adelaide side needed to go back to basics. Struggling across the transverse line, there was limited ball supply to their international and accurate goal shooter in Potgieter.

Once in the circle their conversion to goal rate was high – Potgeiter shot 26/26 at 100% – but without scoring off their centre passes or turn over ball the Thunderbirds will continue to struggle against the strong defensive teams. 

WHERE was it won? 

After a slow start Fever regrouped after the first break to come out hard. Scoring 8 goals to 1, Thunderbirds called a time out to stop the flow but this only spurred Fever on, going on to lead by 9 by halftime. The Thunderbirds failed to recover from the Fever surge.

Known to bring the game home strongly, Fever did not disappoint, winning each quarter and building on their lead.

Glasgow entered the game in the third quarter and made an immediate impact, picking up a mid-court turnover and then scoring. Confident, she began taking chances with the supershot, pushing the score out and supporting the ever dominant goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler. 

In the final minutes the home crowd took to their feet, relishing their opportunity to see their team in what is most likely their final home game under coach Stacey Marinkovich before she takes on her full time Australian national team role. 

WHERE was it lost? 

Midway through the second quarter Thunderbirds were scrambling. Skill errors across the whole court saw a huge number of turnovers.  Looking for options Obst made twenty interchanges in the second quarter alone. 

The Thunderbirds failed to settle and the mistakes kept coming.

Goal Shooter Potgeiter became frustrated with the ball supply and passing in, and as their main scorer this was felt across the whole team. 

HOW did she do that?!

As always Jhaniele Fowler was outstanding, with 30 straight goals without a miss in the first half. Finishing with 57 goals from 58 attempts, her dominance saw her outpoint one of Suncorp Super Netball’s best goal keepers, and fellow Jamaican superstar, Stirling. 

MVP:  Jhaniele Fowler (Fever)

Starting lineups:

Fever: GS Fowler, GA Teague-Neeld, WA Charles, C Anstiss, WD Francis-Bayman, GD Aryang, GK Bruce

Thunderbirds: GS Potgieter, GA Horjus, WA Nankivell, C Petty, WD van der Merwe, GD Garrett, GK Sterling

 

Quotes 

“I’m really thankful to have played a part in the club’s growth, but we’ve still got the season to finish and I’m forever grateful to Fever for giving me the opportunity as a rookie as a coach. I wouldn’t be anywhere if it wasn’t for them giving me a go so I owe them a lot.”

Coach Stacey Marinkovich on her last game at RAC arena

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the athleticism of two of Jamaica’s finest – Shamera Sterling and Jhaniele Fowler. Image Clinton Bradbury

 

Stacey Francis manages to steal the ball from Maisie Nankivell. Image Clinton Bradbury

 

Shadine van der Merwe has been effective at wing defence this season – featured here attacking the ball for an intercept. Image Clinton Bradbury

 

Screen or sandwich? Potato, potatoh. Image Clinton Bradbury


 

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 59 def SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 49

By Emily Klaffer

 

WHO dominated?

It’s hard for a veteran and fan-favourite like Gretel Bueta not to come out and dominate in front of the Firebirds home crowd. In just her second game this season playing the full sixty minutes, she stepped it up another level with the late absence of Tippah Dwan, and when Bueta raises another level, that’s dangerous. Her unbreakable combination with Romelda Aiken and 100% shooting accuracy in regular time as well as a supershot added to her fine consistent game. She spearheaded the attacking end for the Firebirds and came in second in feeds and assists behind her teammate Kim Ravaillion.

Ravaillion has returned to days of old showing her outstanding form and leadership in the purple dress. She finished the game with 64 Nissan net points, nineteen assists, thirty-one feeds and a brilliant defensive effort with two intercepts and four gains.

It’s also not hard to go past Cara Koenen – playing out of position isn’t easy, but she used her incredible foot speed and upped the pace in the absence of Steph Wood. Showing an impressive versatility, Koenen finished the game with 30 goals from 32 attempts.

WHAT worked?

The Bueta-Aiken combination stumped Lightning defenders as it has done for many seasons. A few early wins for Phumza Maweni and some under the post misses for Aiken told an early story of worry for the Firebirds but the second half showed that a bond on court like that cannot be broken.

The Firebirds also exhibited their attacking work from defence allowing Lara Dunkley, Bueta and Ravaillion to establish their set plays through the work down court from captain Gabi Simpson.

WHAT needs improvement?

The whole sixty-minute clash was a physical affair with plenty of talking to from the umpires. The Firebirds defenders, particular Kim Jenner, often rack up an enormous number of penalties which allows shooters to capitalise on out-of-play defenders. A huge eighty-four penalties from the Firebirds raises the question, if they were tidier in the beginning of the game, could have they reached their lead quicker?

With a number of Lightning athletes injured during the physical match, it potentially altered the course of the game. There are questions over whether the umpires should have done more to rein it in, and what the fallout might be. With the end of the season so close, the loss of Wood and Scherian would seriously impact the Lightning’s chances in the finals.

WHERE was it won?

The two teams were not easy to separate for most of the game. What was panning out to be a nail biter changed into a more in control game from the Firebirds due to the cool heads from Aiken, Bueta, Simpson and Ravaillion. Once they hit the lead, they refused to relinquish it, with Simpson particularly influential in keeping the pressure on in the last 15 minutes.

WHERE was it lost?

Injuries have plagueg the Lightning this year with both Ash Unie and Maddie Hinchcliffe missing the start of their season. Their luck didn’t change however with Steph Wood coming off at the start of the match with a knee injury and Laura Scherian leaving the game gingerly after a clash with Rudi Ellis. Both unfortunately didn’t see the second term.

With horrific loses like that, Lightning had to use some previously untested combinations which didn’t look as confident, while the game making ability from Wood was heavily missed. The Firebirds exploited this in the last quarter to finish their game strongly.

HOW did she do that?! 

Cara Koenen, who was playing out of position in goal attack, landed her second supershot of the year right on the quarter time buzzer on her first attempt. Clearly the extra fatigue from roaming another section of the court didn’t affect her shooting skills. Her team were visibly excited by the effort which gave Lightning a handy two-goal leading into the second quarter.

 MVP: Gretel Bueta (Firebirds)

Starting lineups:

Firebirds: GS Aiken, GA Bueta, WA Dunkley, C Ravaillion, WD Simpson, GD Jenner, GK Ellis

Lightning: GS Koenen, GA Wood, WA Scherian, C McAuliffe, WD Cassidy, GD Pretorius, GK Maweni

 

A slightly late challenge from Rudi Ellis was unlucky for Laura Scherian. Image Simon Leonard

 

Laura Scherian took little part in the game afterwards, following an ankle injury on landing. Image Simon Leonard

 

Phumza Maweni challenging Romelda Aiken for a ball. Image Simon Leonard

 

Cara Koenen played out almost a full game at goal attack, finishing with 31/36. Image Simon Leonard

 


 

WHAT’S NEXT 

There isn’t an available fixture for Round 12 as yet. Watch our socials for future information. 

 

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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