Netball Scoop – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 4, 2021
Contributors: Cara Gledhill, Katrina Nissen, Emily Klaffer, Ian Harkin, Jenny Sinclair
Photographers: Unfortunately Netball Scoop didn’t have photographers at two of the matches, but we hope you enjoy the additional images today by Kirsten Daley and Marcela Massey
Collingwood Magpies 68 def. Queensland Firebirds 65 (17-15, 16-18, 19-16, 16-16)
West Coast Fever 70 def. Adelaide Thunderbirds 62 (13-21, 21-13, 21-14, 15-14)
Sunshine Coast Lightning 58 def. NSW Swifts 54 (18-18, 14-15, 14-10, 12-11)
Giants Netball 68 def. Melbourne Vixens 54 (13-8, 19-18, 17-16, 19-12)
Maddy Proud (Swifts) – Ruled out of Round 4 with a foot injury sustained in last weekend’s game.
Matilda Garrett (Thunderbirds) left the court in the second quarter with an upper arm injury, but returned to the court in the third quarter.
Marc Henning (umpire) – retired mid-match with illness
Kristiana Manua (Giants) returned to the court for Round 4 after missing the first three rounds with a calf injury.
Kiera Austin (Giants) – ACL (season)
Liz Watson (Vixens) – foot (season)
Ash Unie (Lightning) ACL (season)
Maddie Hinchliffe (Lightning) – foot
Briony Akle coached her 50th elite game in the Swifts’ loss to the Lightning.
ROOKIE OF THE ROUND
Maddie Hay was absolutely outstanding in the GIANTS’ win over the Vixens on Sunday. She finished the game on 25 goal assists from a blistering 48 feeds, 2 deflections, 23 centre pass receives, a pickup and just one turnover. The GIANTS’ rookies are looking like experienced campaigners, with Sophie Dwyer also on fire shooting 28/36.
PLAYS OF THE ROUND
There were many moments of individual brilliance, but our shout out this week goes to all the athletes who chased down loose balls to try and keep the ball in play, or come up with a gain.
The most notable effort was by Ash Brazill (Magpies), who caught a ball, threw it over an opponent to no one, chased it up, and just as it was sailing out of court, launched herself into the air and tipped it backwards over her head to the waiting arms of Shimona Nelson. Surely one of the most spectacular pieces of work this season.
TEAM OF THE ROUND
Giants Netball continue their unbeaten streak with a convincing win over the Melbourne Vixens. They look like a completely different team to last year, with solid connections right down the court. But they are our team of the round for two reasons:
- Their defensive efforts – They finished the game with 20 gains including 8 intercepts and 7 pickups. They converted 60% of these gains to goals.
- The confidence of their rookies. Maddie Hay and Sophie Dwyer are playing with incredible maturity and confidence. This speaks volumes for the culture within the team – on and off court – for them to be able to come out and play so freely.
Love it or hate it, the tactics around the super shot have been interesting so far this season. In Round 4 at least, the super shot had only limited impact on the results (although you have to feel for the Vixens, who had crept back to within one goal of the GIANTS in the third quarter, only to be blown away by SIX supershots by Jo Harten and Sophie Dwyer).
However, the supershot may impact on percentages come finals.
We have seen teams like Giants and Firebirds freely putting up the two pointers. In Round 4 Giants nailed 65% of them. Their season accuracy average is 52% and we expect that to rise as the season goes on. Firebirds hit 55% of their attempts in their Saturday clash, an improvement on their season average of 52%.
On Sunday, the Swifts goalers were instructed to just go for the ones. At 90% accuracy, they are the most accurate shooters in the competition. However they are also one of the most inaccurate teams on the super shot, only hitting 47%. Is coach Briony Akle playing cautious or thinking toward the end of the season when goal percentage is equally important as winning games?
TALKING POINTS OF THE ROUND
The opening match of the round, between Magpies and Firebirds, was played at the Silverdome in Launceston. This means that both teams and umpires had to travel and while the teams arrived on Friday, the umpires unfortunately got delayed. Their flight was meant to leave at 8pm on Friday but did not leave until 2am Saturday. Also doing it tough was Marc Henning, who had to exit the match he was umpiring midway through, while Michelle Phippard is yet to be sighted on a court this season.
Collingwood attract much bigger crowds in Tasmania than they do in Melbourne, which begs the question of whether the Apple Isle should have a team of its own.
Channel 9 continue this season’s trend of using former netball stars as sideline commentators. In this round, Kim Green, Kierra Trompf, Chelsea Pitman and Nat Medhurst provided astute analysis based on their knowledge and experience of playing the game. Other athletes including Sharon Finnan-White and Josie Janz-Dawson have also been in fine form in previous rounds.
In an interesting trend picked up by Craig Moyle ( @Old_Rando ), Fever have won just one of their first quarters, but all of their 2nd, 3rd and 4th quarters. Their quarter by quarter wins have been remarkably consistent, as they continue to extend their lead across matches.
It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of their first quarter failures – possibly a combination of travel fatigue (3 of 4 games away from home), limited pre-season matches, or nerves as they fight to keep their season alive. In rounds three and four, the margin of -9 and -8 were particularly poor and it’s certainly an area of their game they will need to address.
Fever scores per quarter
Quarter Aggregate score across 4 games Average score across 4 games
1 -17 -4.25
2 +22 +5.5
3 +21 +5.25
4 +19 +4.75
There were plenty of big hits in Round 4, including some monsters by Kelsey Browne, Jess Anstiss, Matilda Garrett, Stacey Francis-Bayman, Kate Eddy, Jamie-Lee Price and Paige Hadley. The latter’s opponent, Mahalia Cassidy, spent plenty of time on the boards, and looked visibly shaken after one fall, while Garrett had to leave the court for treatment to her arm.
A number of them went undetected by the umpires, re-opening the question as to whether more oversight is needed – a third umpire with specific tasks to carry out, or a match review panel.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
STAND OUT STATISTICS
Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 55/59 (93.2%)
Shimona Nelson (Magpies) – 53/54 (98.1%)
Cara Koenen (Lightning) 39/43 (90.7%)
Jo Harten (Giants) – 7/9
Sam Gooden (Thunderbirds) – 5/7
Sophie Dwyer (Giants) – 5/7
Maisie Nankivell (Thunderbirds) – 26
Maddie Hay (Giants) – 25
Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 24
Centre Pass Receives
Laura Scherian (Lighting) – 31
Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 27
Nat Haythornthwaite (Swifts) – 25
Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 9 (1 intercept, 4 deflections with gain, 4 rebounds)
April Brandley (Giants) – 7 (2 intercepts, 1 deflection with gain, 3 rebounds)
Sarah Klau (Swifts) – 7 (1 intercept, 3 deflections with gain, 3 rebounds)
Phumza Maweni (Lightning) – 7 (4 intercepts, 1 deflection with gain, 1 rebound)
Karla Pretorius (Lightning) – 7 (3 intercepts, 1 deflection with gain, 3 rebounds)
Maddy Turner (Swifts) – 21 (18 contact, 3 obstruction)
Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 18 (14 contact, 4 obstruction)
Sarah Klau (Swifts) – 17 (14 contact, 3 obstruction)
Jamie-Lee Price (Giants) – 7
Paige Hadley (Swifts) – 6
Georgie Horjus (Thunderbirds) – 6
Verity Charles (Fever) – 6
Ash Brazill (Magpies) – 6
Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 6
Collingwood Magpies – 94.1%
West Coast Fever – 85.9%
NSW Swifts – 85.2%
Adelaide Thunderbirds – 6
Queensland Firebirds – 5
Sunshine Coast Lightning – 4
Melbourne Vixens – 63
GIANTS Netball – 59
NSW Swifts – 56
GIANTS Netball – 20
Sunshine Coast Lightning – 16
Queensland Firebirds – 15
Collingwood Magpies – 23
Queensland Firebirds – 23
Adelaide Thunderbirds – 21
Sunshine Coast Lightning – 21
COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 68 def QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 65
By Emily Klaffer
Tasmania hosted its first Suncorp Super Netball game in over two years with the home team Collingwood Magpies taking on the Queensland Firebirds. Magpies had previously won all three of their matches in Tasmania so went in to the match confident of their home court advantage.
Both teams kept the same starting seven as round three and it was the battle of the midcourt with two of the best wing defences in the league – Ash Brazil and Gabi Simpson – on court, gun Kelsey Browne darting around the circle edge, and Kim Ravillion returning to face her old side for the first time after having 2020 off for the birth of her daughter.
The Magpies went into the match after a confidence boosting win, while Firebirds were battle weary after a beating from the Giants. Both teams played similar games, relying early on their two major targets down each end in Shimona Nelson and Romelda Aiken and their superb line-up of midcourters.
With teams like the Magpies and the Firebirds, can you really choose just one player? The stand-out section of the court was arguably the mid-court, with Kim Ravillion turning in a phenomenal performance in a full sixty-minute game at centre. Ravaillion finished with 21 goal assists, 43 feeds and an intercept. Kelsey Browne gave Gabi Simpson something to think about as she used her speed to tear apart the game, and was a wise head in support of her young shooting line in Gabi Sinclair and Nelson.
Nelson continues her reign as one of the league’s rising stars with a high scoring and accurate performance, shooting at 53/54 at 98%. She was unflappable under the post despite the flying efforts of the three Firebirds defenders, and just as importantly gave away just 2 turnovers.
WHAT worked well?
With two tall and strong Jamaicans at each shooting end, it’s hard not to toss the ball in the air and wait for them to grab it. Each team had this luxury with Aiken and Nelson, and both were form with Nelson shooting at a remarkable 98.1%. The connections to circle were strong for both teams – Firebirds with the luxury of the unbreakable Gretel Bueta- Aiken shooting combination to start off with as well as Kim Ravillion who scored sixty-one Nissan Net Points before half time.
The game plan for both teams was to keep that shooter-feeder connection strong, resulting in a high scoring match. Magpies however persisted with their GS GA combination the whole game while the Firebirds continued to make changes in their front line during the second half.
It’s a deliberate strategy from incoming coach Megan Anderson, but reasonable as Bueta has only just returned from giving birth to her first child and the option of Tippah Dwan is mouth-watering considering her ability to score in the super-shot zone. Keeping a strong front line and letting the mid-court and defence do what they do best seems the “what worked well answer” this week for these teams.
Both teams featured strong defence, although the Firebirds were heavily on the right side of the ledger with 15 gains to the Magpies 9. Pleasingly the Firebirds also reduced significantly reduced their penalty rate to just 44 this week, down from 95 in the first round. However, it wasn’t quite enough to take the points off the Magpies, who’s desperation in critical moments won them the game.
WHAT needs improvement?
Once again, turnovers have proved costly for both teams, who are ranked 1st (Magpies) and 3rd (Firebirds) for the balls they throw away. In this match each team coughed up 23 turnovers. The Firebirds shooting end was expensive – combining for 8, while Collingwood’s midcourt pair of Kelsey Browne and Ash Brazill combined for 12.
The Magpies defensive end have created the second highest number of gains of all teams, so if they can reduce their number of errors, it should translate to winning games.
Both teams were also guilty of pushing out leads of five (Firebirds) or six (Magpies) goals, before handing them straight back to the opposition. It’s an area of concern that both coaches will look to address.
WHERE was it won?
The coaching move of Ash Brazill into centre midway through the fourth quarter had immediate impact. She replaced the tiring Molly Jovic, and the combination of fresh legs and a good connection with Nelson, saw the Magpies move ahead.
WHERE was it lost?
Scores were level-pegging in the final quarter, when Kim Ravaillion failed to get a centre pass safely away. Jacqui Newton (Magpies) tipped the ball, it was immediately picked up by teammates, and raced down court for a goal. The Magpies didn’t look back from that point on.
Quote: (Nicole Richardson, Magpies Coach)
“That’s the brand of netball we want to put out week after week”
“It was a credit to both teams and I was super proud of what our girls put out, they were challenged today and they responded to the challenge and were able to come away with the win.”
Magpies: GS Nelson, GA Sinclair, WA Browne, C Jovic, WD Brazill, GD Ward, GK Mentor
Firebirds: GS Aiken, GA Bueta, WA Dunkley, C Ravaillion, WD Simpson, GD Jenner, GK Hinchliffe
WEST COAST FEVER 70 def ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 62
By Ian Harkin
Four wins from four matches has West Coast Fever now into the positive numbers on the ladder. They sit in fifth place on four competition points, after a 70-62 victory over a gallant Adelaide Thunderbirds team. Once again, as has been their trait in recent matches, Fever started slowly, but they gradually wore down their opponents and ran out comfortable winners. Thunderbirds meanwhile, remain without a win, but with some encouraging signs for the future.
As has been a recurring theme in recent times, it was the two bookends – Jhaniele Fowler and Courtney Bruce – who had the greatest influence on the result of the game. It must give opposition coaches nightmares thinking about a plan to combat this duo. To their credit, Thunderbirds managed to keep both of them quiet in the first quarter, but it’s a huge task to keep them quiet for a whole game.
As the game wore on, Bruce became more and more involved, her mere presence in the circle making the Thunderbirds’ feeders anxious. The home team pressed hard in the fourth quarter (at one stage narrowing the gap to just four goals), but this was when Bruce came into her own, picking up five possession gains for the quarter to make the game safe.
The gains made by Bruce at one end of the court, were almost inevitably converted by Fowler at the other end. Jamaican team mate Shamera Sterling actually had the better of Fowler in the first quarter, but that didn’t last. Fowler went on to do what she normally does. She was relentless, piling on goal after goal, and with Sasha Glasgow playing well in support, this is turning into a terrific combination.
Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich has shown she isn’t afraid to make changes. The positional changes she made at the start of the second quarter turned out to be winning ones. Emma Cosh didn’t have a happy first quarter at wing attack, so she was replaced. Stacey Francis came on at wing defence, and both Jess Anstiss and Verity Charles pushed across one position. Then, in the fifth minute of the second quarter, Glasgow was brought into the game, replacing Alice Teague-Neeld at goal attack. All of these moves worked well for Fever, and may be a pointer to the team she will play more often from now on.
Thunderbirds made a tremendous start with an almost flawless first fifteen minutes. Although Fever eventually wore them down, there were positives to come out of the game for the home side as well. In particular, Hannah Petty and Maisie Nankivell both had strong games in the midcourt, and Sterling looked like a rejuvenated player. As a team, they gave up just 21 turnovers for the game which is clearly their lowest number for the season so far. This shows that perhaps the connections are just coming together.
WHAT needs improvement?
It is difficult to work out exactly what is happening with Fever’s sluggish starts. For three consecutive games, they have started poorly, allowing their opposition to win the opening quarter, only to then turn it all around and win the following three. It has been such a noticeable feature of their matches, you could be forgiven for thinking it was all part of a plan. Surely not?
Despite Glasgow’s impressive form, Marinkovich has so far stuck solid with Teague-Neeld as the starting goal attack. But she must be having second thoughts. Teague-Neeld has failed to grasp the opportunities presented to her, while Glasgow has certainly taken hers.
Meanwhile, it’s a similar story for Thunderbirds’ coach Tania Obst. She still seems no closer to working out just which is the best way to utilise the different skills of her three shooters, Lenize Potgieter, Georgie Horjus and Samantha Gooden. She will need to find the solution soon.
WHERE was it won and lost?
You could say this game was won and lost between the ears as much as anything. Showing great character, the Fever side never panicked, even when they were being thoroughly outplayed in the early stages. It’s hard to believe Thunderbirds could play any better than they did in the opening quarter of this game. Everything worked perfectly for them. But that didn’t deter Fever.
They stood firm and just bided their time, confident they would be able to work their way back into the game, and eventually come out on top. This Fever team has become accustomed to winning, and their calmness under pressure is admirable. It’s a stark contrast with the Thunderbirds who are still a young, inexperienced side, not quite possessing the same belief.
HOW did she do that?!
With two and a half minutes left on the clock, we saw a desperate piece of play from the Thunderbirds as they tried to make one last push. The play was in the Fever goal third when a stray pass from Anstiss went over Fowler’s head. The ball then hit the post and Thunderbirds’ defender Matilda Garrett grabbed it, but realising she was toppling out over the goal line, Garrett hurled a high ball in hope over her head. It was then that Sterling leapt up and took an Aussie Rules style mark to gain possession. Spectacular!
Thunderbirds: GS Potgieter, GA Horjus. WA Nankivell, C Petty, WD Van Der Merwe, GD Garrett, GK Sterling
Fever: GS Fowler, GA Teague-Neeld, WA Cosh, C Charles, WD Anstiss, GD Francis, GK Bruce
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 58 def NSW SWIFTS 54
by Katrina Nissen
Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius came alive in the second half. Maweni collected 5 gains and Pretorius 4, for the half. They both went out hunting and Pretorius covered the transverse line, while Maweni floated around the top of the circle to restrict the Swifts flow in attack.
In the past few Rounds, Steph Wood has faded in the second half. This week, when Lightning coach Kylee Byrne noticed Wood’s work rate drop off, she switched her to goal shooter. The shift didn’t increase her goal rate however, it did give Wood an opportunity to read the play and apply her impressive court smarts. She became effective in second and third phase play and created space in the circle for Koenan to drive to the post.
Until that shift in opponent, Swifts goal keeper, Sarah Klau was doing impressive work on Cara Koenan. She learned early on that Koenan was going to drive the baseline all afternoon. So, Klau used her superior footspeed to manoeuvre around the body to apply pressure and get her hand to rebounds, deflections and loose balls.
WHAT needs improvement?
Both teams played with some incredible speed through the midcourt. For the Swifts, their speed possibly got too much for them. Two of their main ball carriers, Nat Haythornthwaite and Paige Hadley, had 11 turnovers between them for the match. For a side who usually treasures possession, they will want to tidy that up next week, particularly if Maddy Proud isn’t match fit.
Lightning needs to work on their missed shot conversion. Of the 11 goals they missed in this match, they only rebounded and converted 1. By contrast, the Swifts converted 33% of their missed shots. If faced with another close match, this missed shot conversion could be the deciding factor.
WHERE was it decided?
This game came down to the last few minutes and in the end, it was composure which won it for the Lightning. The home side cleverly pressed the Swifts wide by clogging the middle channel. This forced the Swifts played desperate netball. When combined with time pressure, their desperation forced them into long or across court passes which the Lightning defenders read beautifully and snaffled.
HOW did she do that?!
Phumza Maweni must be taking shot block lessons from teammate, Kate Shimmin. She executed a stunning, clean block one minute before three quarter time, off the shot of Sophie Garbin. Maweni flicked the ball to teammate Maddie McAuliffe who launched the ball into transition which ended in a successful conversion off the hand of Koenan.
Lightning: GS Koenen, GA Wood, WA Scherian, C Cassidy, WD McAuliffe, GD Pretorius, GK Maweni
Swifts: GS Wallace, GA Housby, WA Haythornthwaite, C Hadley, WD Moore, GD Turner, GK Klau
GIANTS NETBALL 68 def MELBOURNE VIXENS 54
By Cara Gledhill
Two of the Giants rookies stood up for the Giants and ensured they came away with a comfortable win. Sophie Dwyer was impressive in goal attack and then goal shooter, willing to shoot from around the circle no matter what time of the game it was. She was also instrumental in setting up attack for the Giants throughout the game.
Similarly, Maddie Hay quietly but admirably went about her work. Where Jamie-Lee Price has shone with her feeding ability in previous games, she was kept relatively quiet by Kate Moloney. In her absence, Hay stepped up delivering over 40 feeds for the game and committing just one turnover for the entire game.
For the Vixens, Mwai Kumwenda was superb, dragging in some off-target feeds and running the attacking play for the Vixens. Hannah Mundy also had a strong game, taking the bulk of centre pass receives after she came on in the first quarter and with some strong defensive plays including two intercepts.
In the first quarter, Kaylia Stanton replaced Ruby Barkmeyer at goal attack and Hannah Mundy slotted into wing attack to allow Kate Moloney to go back into her familiar position of centre. This change significantly opened up the Vixens attacking circle and set up a more free-flowing game in attack. In particular, Stanton was instrumental in drawing her goal defence to the edge of the circle to allow the easy high ball into Kumwenda. Stanton grew into the game, committing no turnovers in the second half of the game and feeding better as the game went on. Neither player has quite taken hold of the goal attack bib for the Vixens just yet, but this was Stanton’s best outing for them so far.
The Giants seemed to be biding their time in this game and were really only able to extend their lead once they cut the number of turnovers in attack. They looked most comfortable when Hay was hitting the circle edge, rather than making short passes in and around the circle which were snapped up by defenders
WHAT needs improvement?
The Vixens opened the game well, but then had eight unanswered goals scored against them. Despite picking up plenty of defensive ball, they were unable to transition it down the court and make it count on the scoreboard. From five gains in the first quarter, they were only able to score from two and they trailed the Giants by varying amounts for the remainder of the game.
WHERE was it won?
With the supershot a constant threat, the Giants only looked a certainty of winning midway through the fourth quarter. The Giants had been slow to start the game, but left the best to the final quarter. A Harten shooting show in the last five minutes was enough to seal a bigger margin than the rest of the game suggested.
WHERE was it lost?
The Vixens came within three goals in the third quarter, but simply could not string together enough goals to ever go into the lead. Stanton had great attacking play, but will look to lift her shooting accuracy, finishing on 47%. The inability of the Vixens to keep up with the Giants in the last quarter and to shoot the supershots when they needed to will be a continuing concern, with only Kumwenda looking comfortable to take the supershot.
HOW did she do that?!
There is nothing quite as terrifying for an opposition player as Jo Harten in the final five minutes of a quarter looking like she will take the shot from anywhere. What would have been a relatively respectable scoreline for the Vixens was torn to absolute shreds when Harten put away three supershots in the final five minutes of the game.
Vixens: GS Kumwenda, GA Barkmeyer, WA Moloney, C Smith, WD Eddy, GD Weston, GK Mannix
Giants: GS Harten, GA Dwyer, WA Hay, C Price, WD Parmenter, GD Brandley, GK Poolman
Sat 29 May 3pm Firebirds v Vixens Nissan Arena
Sun 30 May 1pm Thunderbirds v Lightning Netball SA Stadium
Sun 30 May 3pm Swifts v Magpies Ken Rosewell Arena
Mon 31 May 8pm Fever v Giants RAC Arena
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.
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