NS SCOREBOARD – SSN Round 6

NS SCOREBOARD – SSN Round 6

Netball Scoop – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 6, 2021

Contributors – Katrina Nissen, Ian Harkin, Jenny Sinclair, Cara Gledhill, Georgia Doyle, Andrew Kennedy.

Photographers – Danny Dalton, May Bailey, Simon Leonard, Marcela Massey

 

Please keep your eyes peeled for our Netball Scoop Exclusive: A deadly celebration of Indigenous Rounds, coming to you in the next couple of days. 

 

RESULTS

West Coast Fever 78 def. Collingwood Magpies 55 (24-14, 20-11, 15-20, 19-10)

NSW Swifts 63 def. Giants Netball 51 (18-17, 18-15, 13-9, 14-10)

Queensland Firebirds 61 def Sunshine Coast Lightning 52 (18-10, 19-13, 10-18, 14-11)

Adelaide Thunderbirds 54 def. Melbourne Vixens 48 (13-14, 12-13, 12-8, 17-13)

 


 

 


 

INJURIES

Emily Mannix (Vixens) – will miss Rounds 5 and 6 with a fractured knuckle
Kiera Austin (GIANTS) – ACL (season)
Liz Watson (Vixens) – foot (season)
Ash Unie (Lightning) – ACL (season)
Maddie Hinchliffe (Lightning) – foot

Umpire James Matthews left the court at half time of the Fever/Magpies match, and was replaced. Michelle Phippard has also been missing in action, but we’re informed we will see her in action at some point in the season. 

 

Kiera Austin on the slow road to recovery. Image May Bailey

 


 

MILESTONES

Congratulations to Cara Koenen (Lightning) who shot her 1000th national league goal.

 


 

ROOKIE OF THE ROUND

While Sunday Aryang is looking like a seasoned campaigner, it’s just her first year with a full time contract. She’s currently owning the goal defence bib for West Coast Fever, while her combination with Courtney Bruce looks far more polished than their brief time together would suggest. 

Aryang is one of the in form goal defences in the competition, averaging 4.3 gains per match with her anticipation and quick feet, and is also proving to be a safe pair of hands in transition to attack. 

 

Sunday Aryang has been in exceptional form for Fever, forcing her way into the starting seven each week. Image May Bailey

 


 

PLAYS OF THE ROUND

With the ball moving to the Swifts’ circle edge, Jamie-Lee Price ran from the middle of the attacking third, launched herself into the air, and picked off a pass to the circle edge. She managed to do it while not going off side or contacting her opponent, and flick-passed the ball back into court to a teammate. Remarkable. 

 

Jamie-Lee Price pulled in this magnificent circle edge intercept. Image Danny Dalton

 


 

TEAMS OF THE ROUND

This week we’re naming two teams of the round, with the Thunderbirds picking up their first win of the season. To quote Annie Sargeant, it wasn’t the prettiest of netball, but a win is a win.  The Thunderbirds had pushed out to a seven goal lead when the hot hands of the Vixens’ shooters cut the lead back to one. In a similar mood to her expletive fired time out of round 5, Shamera Sterling wasn’t going to let the game slip. She came up with two crucial gains in the final moments of the match, spurring the Thunderbirds on to victory. 

Round 6 was vintage Swifts, as they produced their premiership season winning form of 2019. Playing a safe brand of netball, the Swifts didn’t mind how many times they had to play the ball around, as long as it stayed in their hands. Their 12 goal victory was the GIANTS’ second loss of the season. GIANTS, Swifts and Lightning are now all equal on points, with the former still topping the ladder by a 2% margin. Fever rounds out the top four, although hold a 10% margin over other teams. 

 

The win meant a lot to the Thunderbirds – smiles and a big sigh of relief. Image Marcela Massey

 


 

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

There’s been criticism over recent years that defensive flair has been lacking in matches, with defenders limited in the number of gains they can make. 2021 is certainly proving to be the exception. Across the 48 team performances this season, just 19% have recorded less than double digit gains, with the Magpies (21 – Round 2), Giants (20 – rounds 2 and 4) and Fever (20 – Round 6) all hitting over 20.

Of course, it’s what teams are able to do with their gains that is crucial. In this round, the Gain to Goal conversion rate has been outstanding. The Swifts showed why they were the 2019 champions in their Derby against Giants Netball in their patience in working the ball into the circle to secure an 85% conversion rate. In the following game, Firebirds dominated the Lightning with their gain conversion, converting 91% of their gains to goal, compared to Lightning’s 50% conversion.  In the Round’s opening match, Fever converted 70% of their gains, to Magpies 50%. However, no-one has topped Fever’s Round 1 match against Melbourne Vixens, where they had a staggering 100% Gain to Goal conversion rate! 

The Thunderbirds had a massive discrepancy between the number of feeds into the circle and number of attempts at goal. They recorded 94 feeds into the circle, but only 56 of these resulted in an attempt at goal. A few factors could contribute to this: Are the shooters not getting themselves in good enough position to take the shot? Are the feeders not selecting the most appropriate pass option? Are the opposition defenders forcing players to areas of the circle they are not comfortable shooting from? Regardless, every time a ball has to be re-fed into the circle is an extra opportunity for the opposition to pick up a gain. So, working on improving their feed-attempt efficiency will be key as the season progresses. 

Dr Alice Sweeting has taken a closer look at the league’s average conversion off their own centre pass. Fever are leading the way by converting, on average, 45 goals per match. Vixens have the lowest centre pass conversion rate of 32.

Dr Alice Sweeting examines centre pass conversion

 


 

Coach Ali Tucker-Munro with the Indigenous All-Stars. Image Danny Dalton

 

TALKING POINTS OF THE ROUND

As an SSN curtain-raiser, the inaugural GIANTS’ Academy v Indigenous All-Stars match was the brain child of coach and Gomeroi woman, Ali Tucker-Munro, who said, “We need to look at opportunities where girls who are in the high-performance pathways who are really challenged by the expectations put on them in terms of balancing their cultural and community obligations and responsibilities against the demands of the high performance environment. What better way to provide that environment in a culturally safe space.”

The match was hugely successful, and hopefully the start of further opportunities at this level for more young Indigenous women. 

After the abysmal trolling of last week that GIANTS’ captain Jo Harten called out, she told Channel 9’s netball coverage that she’d received thousands of messages of support. An article from England’s Netball Players Association highlighted research showing that in the 2019/20 season, the abuse of footballers had increased by 42%. It’s a shocking rise, and perhaps just the tip of the iceberg with some athletes not confident or comfortable enough to report the abuse. Players Associations are investigating how they can better protect their athletes, and are also providing support for the cases when it does occur. 

While Twitter user Noely regularly reminds us of how poor media coverage of women’s sport is with her #ballsonly reports, one newspaper that has been quietly lifting it’s game is the West Australia. On most days of the week, there are regularly around five women’s sport articles. 

 

Jo Harten endured a difficult week, and was slightly below her best during the derby. Image May Bailey

 


 

TWEET OF THE WEEK

 

Joey Nicita can never resist a good pun, and now it seems, a meme.

 

The NSW Swifts’ media account.

 


 

STAND OUT STATISTICS

 

INDIVIDUAL

 

Shooting Volume

Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 59/60 (98.3%)
Sam Wallace (Swifts) 58/58 (100%)
Shimona Nelson (Magpies) 39/41 (95.1%)

Supershots

Sasha Glasgow (Fever) – 5/6 (83%)
Samantha Gooden (Thunderbirds) – 6/10 (60%)
Sophie Dwyer (Giants) – 4/9 (44%)
Rahni Samason (Vixens) – 4/7 (57%)

Goal Assists 

Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 26 
Kim Ravaillion (Firebirds) – 20 
Jess Anstiss (Fever) – 20 

Gains

Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 11 (5 intercepts, 3 deflections with gain, 3 rebounds)

Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Vixens) – 7 (3 intercepts, 1 deflection with gain, 3 rebounds)
Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) – 6 (4 intercepts, 1 deflection with gain, 1 rebound)
Tara Hinchliffe (Firebirds) – 6 (3 intercepts, 3 rebounds)

Deflections

Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 8

Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Vixens) – 7
Jo Weston (Vixens) – 7

Pickups

Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 5 
Karla Pretorius (Lightning) – 4 
Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) – 4 

Centre Pass Receives

Helen Housby (Swifts) – 27 
Gretel Bueta (Firebirds) – 26
Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 24 

Penalties 

Tara Hinchliffe (Firebirds) – 21 (13 contact, 8 obstruction)
Kim Jenner (Firebirds) – 20 (16 contact, 4 obstruction)
Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Vixens) – 17 (11 contact, 6 obstruction)

Turnovers

Jemma Mi Mi (Firebirds) – 10 
Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 7 
Gretel Bueta (Firebirds) – 7 
Kate Moloney (Vixens) – 7 

Nissan Netpoints

Courtney Bruce – 114
Sam Wallace (Swifts) – 92.5 
Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS) – 91
Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 90.5 

 

Welcome to Country prior to the Lightning-Firebirds game. Image Simon Leonard

 

TEAM 

 

Shooting Accuracy 

Swifts – 63/63 (100%)
Fever – 71/78 (91%)
Magpies – 51/60 (85%)

Supershots

Fever – 7 
Giants – 6
Thunderbirds – 6 
Vixens – 6 

Turnovers 

Magpies – 29 
Firebirds – 27 
Lightning – 27 

Gains

Fever – 20 
Vixens – 14 
Swifts – 13 
Thunderbirds – 13 

Penalties 

Firebirds – 76
Magpies – 73 
Thunderbirds – 73 


 

MATCH REPORTS

 

WEST COAST FEVER 78 def COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 55

By Cara Gledhill

 

WHO dominated?  

Courtney Bruce had an outstanding game, winning MVP for the second time in a row and for the fourth time this season. Her partnership with Sunday Aryang only grew over the game with them able to confuse space in and around the circle. She was able to pick up imperfectly placed passes to Shimona Nelson, while also putting pressure on the Magpies feeders around the circle edge. Bruce finished the game on 11 gains. 

Sunday Aryang was also solid in goal defence for the Fever. Her efforts weren’t necessarily rewarded by Nissan Netpoints, but she played an instrumental role in shadowing Gabby Sinclair’s every move, particularly during supershot periods. This also provided excellent pressure in front of Bruce, who was then able to reap the rewards.

It would be remiss to miss the efforts of Jhaniele Fowler here who was her usual accurate self, shooting 59 goals from 60 attempts, equalling her highest volume for the season, despite spending the last four minutes of the game having a rest on the bench. Fowler provided a strong target, positioning her body to take in the most impossible feeds over the experienced hands of Geva Mentor.

For the Magpies, Ash Brazill was a shining light in a disappointing game for them, as she continues to make a case for national re-selection. She started the game at wing defence, but shifted to centre in the second quarter. She finished the game on three intercepts, four deflections, six goal assists and three pickups. Not captured in these statistics were the efforts she had on her opponents off the ball, continuously covering leads, putting pressure on the receiver, making second efforts and playing a key role in attack.  

WHAT worked?

The Fever started with sharp (super)shooter Sasha Glasgow at wing attack, Charles pushed up into wing attack, Jess Anstiss at centre and Stacey Francis-Bayman at wing defence. The Fever who have not scored more than 16 goals in an opening quarter this season piled on 24 goals this time including two supershots from Glasgow.

Stacey Francis-Bayman was effective in wing defence, limiting Kelsey Browne’s movements onto the circle edge and allowing the two defenders to come through to clean up.

The Magpies notably improved in attack when Ash Brazill moved into centre, with Jodi-Ann Ward shifting to WD and Jacqui Newton coming on at GD. Browne’s timing on the second phase lifted and Brazill was able to muscle her way through the congestion.

WHAT needs improvement? 

The Magpies turned over the ball 29 times during the game. This included 12 turnovers in the fourth quarter where the Fever overran them, despite making several key positional changes, including giving Fowler an exceptionally rare rest on the bench.

Adding to coach Nicole Richardson’s woes were centre pass conversion and gain conversion where they were simply outplayed. The Magpies converted 59% of their centre passes compared to the Fever’s 81% and scored from just half of their ten gains for the game.

The Fever will be concerned about the dip in form they had in the third quarter as the Magpies started to find their feet in attack and Jacqui Newton got in the head of Sasha Glasgow. While the Fever had built enough of a buffer, they lost the quarter by five goals, scoring just 15 (compared to 24, 20 and 19 in the other three quarters).

WHERE was it won?

With the Magpies going into the first break down by ten goals, the Fever had well and truly put their first quarter woes to bed. The Fever didn’t look back from here, and despite a lull in form in the third quarter, always looked like running away winners.

WHERE was it lost? 

There were moments of brilliance from the Pies throughout the game, but their lack of consistency and high turnover count let them down. While they were drawn with the Fever at the nine minute mark of the first quarter, the Fever then went on to score 13 goals (including two supershots) to the Magpies’ three sending them out to a ten goal lead. From here the Magpies never threatened for the lead for the remainder of the game.

HOW did she do that?!  

Mel Bragg didn’t waste the few minutes of court time she got in wing defence. Spotting Courtney Bruce’s eyes elsewhere, Bragg launched the longest possible legal feed in netball from just inside the centre third by the Magpies transverse line, which was then converted by Nelson.

Starting lineups:

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

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

 

Jess Anstiss gets a helping hand from foe, friend and former teammate, Ash Brazill.

 

Stacey Francis-Bayman and Jodi-Ann Ward battled for the aerial ball.

 

Courtney Bruce came up with 11 gains in the Magpies match. Image May Bailey

 

We’re going on a ball hunt (with apologies to Michael Rosen). Sacha Glasgow is happy and settled at her new club, and it’s showing in some strong performances. Image May Bailey

 


 

NSW SWIFTS 63 def GIANTS NETBALL 51

By Andrew Kennedy

 

The round six Sydney derby was full of passion and drama, as the teams played for points, position, pride, and for the Carol Sykes memorial trophy. Swifts wanted to wrest the silverware from their rivals, but most importantly to send themselves handily into the top two on the ladder, whilst GIANTS needed to correct the one-goal loss in Perth the previous round and consolidate top spot.

The opening quarter was stunningly dominated by attack from both sides, with a total of only two gains and two general play turnovers for the whole fifteen minutes, and a commensurately high tally of 18-17 to the red blue and white. Playing well enough to win any other quarter of any other match, the GIANTS still couldn’t best a NSW Swifts who were on fire.

From then on, with clinical execution and smart changes of attacking pattern, Swifts fended off every challenge and won the next three stanzas by three, four, and three. They dictated the play in attack and defence, and their opposition had no answers, flagging especially with their shooting in the third quarter. Even while retaining top place on the ladder, GIANTS were humbled with their lowest score for 2021, losing 51-63.

WHAT Worked Well?

The changes in attacking leads for Swifts found the GIANTS defenders wanting. In the first quarter Helen Housby had taken 71% of centre passes, ably sighting Nat Haythornthwaite on second phase at circle edge. In the second, they reversed the pattern, and Housby was found time and again inside the circle, able to plug crafty feeds to Sam Wallace who was unstoppable, en route to her third perfect shooting game of the season.

At the other end, Paige Hadley at wing defence and Maddy Turner at goal defence put massive pressure on the less-experienced GIANTS in Maddie Hay and Sophie Dwyer. Having both made teams of the week this year, Hay and Dwyer were suffocated and isolated, and hands over pressure progressively broke the GIANTS patterns, unsettling captain Jo Harten. It was the grinding effort from Hadley and Turner that started to reap possession gains after the first quarter. From then on, Hay scored only 2.5 Nissan Net Points in three quarters – as the best performing wing attack in the league, she usually would have scored around 52 points in that time.

The transition play from defence to attack for Swifts was sizzling. Whenever the back line took possession, Proud sprinted to the centre third for the outlet, nullifying much of the GIANTS through-court defence and giving Parmenter and Brandley no look at an intercept.

WHAT could improve?

The GIANTS midcourt struggled to have their usual potency. Price in particular had patches of barely mounting a jog, not able to keep her part in the defensive pattern. Despite regular shows of her flair and brilliance, the downside was leaving holes for the Swifts to punch through to the front easily.

GIANTS also failed to double-team Wallace. While Housby can be a huge threat in goals, she had only shot 2, 2, 1, and 0 in each of the quarters, and it would have been a good option to attempt to cut off Wallace, forcing variations by Swifts.

GIANTS were caught thoroughly off the pace in defence after the first quarter. This was shown by both their hefty penalty count of 63 to 43, and their uncharacteristically low rate of gains, totalling only nine. It’s quite common for any of the back four players to obtain that amount of possession individually, so the work-ons this week must include regaining their ability to dictate and dominate over the opposition.

WHERE Was It Won?

Swifts’ attack put on their best display since 2019. They had multiple options, excellent rotation, flat crisp passes within the first second, and 100% accuracy. Even trying four different circle defenders, GIANTS had no answers for any of the moves of Wallace, be it on a rock-solid hold, or a subtle roll or dodge to backspace. The Trinidad and Tobago import never lost her cool, powering to 58/58, without ever considering a supershot.

WHERE Was It Lost?

GIANTS struggled with their accuracy even from the first play, with Harten missing a close shot immediately. GIANTS season accuracy of 78% is the lowest of the league, and although they managed 80% today, it was their dismal 54% in the third quarter that produced their lowest score for any quarter of nine goals in 2021. The fourth quarter was almost as bad, tallying only ten – previously their lowest in 15 minutes this year was 13. Of their eleven misses, eight of them resulted in loss of possession. Harten, who normally scores 56 Nissan Net Points per match struggled with turnovers also, amassing MINUS 5.5, the worst for her club and her worst for the year. GIANTS need to improve both their accuracy and rebounding to get back to the winner’s circle.

HOW did she do that??

Jamie-Lee Price dominated the highlights reel with both aggressive contacts on her opponent Proud, and her sterling defensive gains. In the first quarter she snatched the ball and drove Proud to the ground, setting the scene for her tally of four intercepts for the match. But it was the unforgettable take in the power five of the third quarter that stood out most – Tayla Fraser made a long premature lead to the right pocket, and Proud launched a cross-circle pass. Price recognised the opening and took a screaming ball at full pelt, flinging it back into the waiting hands of McDonnell.

Starting lineups:

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

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

 

Sammy Wallace shot a perfect 58/58, despite April Brandley’s facials. Image Danny Dalton

 

Tilly McDonnell provided great energy on court for the GIANTS. Image Danny Dalton

 

Nat Haythornthwaite and Amy Parmenter had an enthralling encounter, but retired to the bench in the second half of the game. Image Danny Dalton

 


 

QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 61 def SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 52

by Katrina Nissen

 

WHO dominated?   

Kim Ravaillion was the standout for the Firebirds. Not only did she send three opponents to the bench but her work on court dictating play showed why she is a leader amongst this team. Ravaillion would take a pass, offload then direct where the next pass should go. She was lifting her side by being vocal in every time out and showed leadership on court by being a solid and safe option for every pass.  Ravaillion had zero turnovers, one intercept, one pickup and 26 feeds in her time on court. She was also economical in penalties, only conceding six for the match. 

Tara Hinchliffe was the standout defender on court. She was tenacious in defence and adjusted her positioning to minimise Cara Koenen’s ability to drive the baseline. Her timing on when choosing to leave the circle was also effective and allowed her to get to three intercepts. 

WHAT worked?   

The Firebirds, as they have done for much of this season, got out to a solid start. In this season’s other close matches, they have been guilty of allowing their solid lead to get them through the final minutes.  But unlike those games, they closed out this match by pushing on in the fourth quarter to win both the quarter and the game. 

The Firebirds significantly raised their gains to goal percentage this match – up to 92%. In previous matches they have floated around the 50% mark. 

When Lightning found their attacking rhythm, they were able to play at a blistering pace. The connections between Laura Scherian, Steph Wood and Koenen were on point and their ball speed left the Firebirds defence spinning. 

While the defensive unit for the Lightning were kept quiet today, Phumza Maweni did show some great growth. Throughout the match she adjusted her positioning on Romelda Aiken to allow herself to get to more ball. Her third quarter was her best as she collected 3 defensive gains. 

WHAT needs improvement?

For the Firebirds, they got sucked into the tension of the third quarter and lost the freedom they had in the first half. All the quick passes, fakes and off the body work of the second quarter slipped away as their play became more constricted. So as cliché as it is, the saying ‘stick to their game’ is something which the Firebirds will be wanting to continue. They are one of the only teams in the competition who have been given a licence to use their flare, and it is undoubtedly one of their strengths which is unbeatable when used correctly. 

Lightning are one of the more accurate teams in the competition but today they were shooting at 81%. This percentage would usually be okay if they had pulled in the rebounds and converted on those missed shots. Today, they only pulled in four rebounds and converted 25% of those. 

WHERE was it won? 

The Firebirds withstood the third quarter fightback from the Lightning and four minutes into the final quarter they broke the centre pass, goal-for-goal rhythm to take control on the final term. Their smothering defensive press, from all over the court, forced the Lightning into errors.

WHERE was it lost? 

The Lightning’s first half will be one which they will want to forget. They conceded 18 turnovers and only collected three gains. Their time in passion averaged 46% which, for this side, is quite unusual. This means they were unable to dictate the pace of the game and were forced to play a brand unlike they are used to.

HOW did she do that?! 

There was a particularly nice passage of play from the Lightning in the third quarter where Wood took the pass at the top of the circle, flicked it to Koenen, who then flicked it to Wood on the drive to the post who then dished it to Koenen to put through the post. The ball speed, foot speed and the timing of the play shows the great connection the two have. 

Quotes 

Gabi Simpson (Firebirds – captain) – “We absorbed the pressure and pressed on.”

Starting lineups: 

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

Firebirds: GS Aiken, GA Bueta, WA Mi Mi, C Ravaillion, WD Simpson, GD Jenner, GK Hinchliffe

 

Jemma Mi Mi on the drive, tracked by Maddi McAuliffe. Image Simon Leonard

 

The Firebirds defenders put their opposition under pressure all day. Image Simon Leonard

 

Phumza Maweni defending Gretel Bueta’s shot. Image Simon Leonard

 

Cara Koenen trying to pass the ball around the long reach of Tara Hinchliffe. Image Simon Leonard

 


 

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 54 def MELBOURNE VIXENS 48

By Georgia Doyle

 

The final game of Round 6 had lots on the line for both teams, Thunderbirds were still hunting their first win of the season while Vixens needed to back up their strong performance from last week and show that it was not a fluke. The game was relatively level up until the final quarter, when the Thunderbirds put their foot down and took advantage of the lack of home crowd for the Vixens that were forced out of Melbourne due to COVID. With 100% shooting from the one point zone in the final quarter for the Thunderbirds combined with only four turnovers, compared to 75% shooting and eight turnovers, the Vixens lacked the ability to close out the match. It ultimately cost them the game while allowing Thunderbirds their first win of 2021.

The big question is where now for the Vixens, with Emily Mannix initially predicted to be out for two weeks with her knuckle injury, she is due to return to the side for Round 7. What does this mean for Samason and the shooting end? Their only win and their next best performance came with Samason on court and two of their contracted shooters on the bench. While the defence end has not missed a beat with Mannix out, could having her back in the squad and pushing Samason out mean a return of their attacking woes, will these two weeks on the bench for the contracted shooters act as a motivator and trigger some strong performances, or is there some loophole that enables Samason to stay in the squad? Only time will tell.

WHO dominated? 

Both GKs dominated for their respective sides, continuing their outstanding form from the previous week. Kadie-Ann Dehaney for the Vixens finished with six gains plus four deflections while Shamera Sterling for Thunderbirds had seven gains across the game and one deflection. Both caused the need for rotation across the GS position. 

Dehaney in particular was causing headaches for Lenize Potgieter who had three turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game, forcing the change for Sam Gooden to enter the game in her place. Potgieter settled into the game when she returned to court in the second quarter, committing only an additional three turnovers in her remaining 38 minutes on court. 

Sterling was also off putting to both Vixens shooters, with considerable drops in their accuracy compared to the previous week where both shooters sat above 90%, this week Kumwenda finished 28/32 regular goals and 2/4 super shots and Samason was 10/13 regular goals with 4/7 super shots. The pressure Sterling was able to apply in the ring was crucial in getting turnover ball for the Thunderbirds, although they were unable to capitalise as much as they would have liked, only scoring from 54% of their gains.

WHAT worked? 

For Thunderbirds, it is clear that their tactic is to bring Gooden on for the super shot period, but at times they leave it too late for her to have any real impact. With Potgieter on during the super shot period, defenders force her into the super shot zone then she passes off and defenders have an extra opportunity to pick up a ball. This was highlighted in the statistics with Thunderbirds having a MASSIVE 94 feeds, with only 56 attempts at goal. 

Gooden has been fantastic at coming into games cold and nailing the super shot, but she only played 11 minutes of a possible 20 in the super shot period and managed 6/10 in this time. If she was on court for the entire 20 minutes, plus more of general play, their capacity to score more and push out leads could increase significantly.

WHAT needs improvement? 

Vixens have really exposed their lack of a second option in WA with Liz Watson out this season. Hannah Mundy had five general play turnovers in her 50 minutes on court, so the move of Moloney to WA for the final 10 minutes of the game seemed like a good choice until she committed three turnovers in 10 minutes including a coach killer stepping call. 

While this pushed Allie Smith into centre, which was effective, a team cannot have their captain committing that many turnovers in the final period of a game they are pushing to win. A defensive heavy side can have it’s benefits, but when you are unable to convert the turnover ball due to poor attacking connections it does not result in an effective game plan.

WHERE was it won?

The Thunderbirds really put their foot down in the final quarter, despite winning both second half quarters by four they went on a streak of seven unanswered goals in the final quarter, managing to push the margin out to 10 thanks to some impressive defensive work that not only allowed them to pick up clean ball but also forced Vixens into uncharacteristic errors. 

It was only thanks to the super shot that Vixens were able to lessen the margin, with Vixens nailing 4/6 super shots to finish up the game. If Thunderbirds are able to come out with the same intensity they showed a few weeks ago against Fever and maintain it in the second half as they did in this game, expect them to continue taking wins because they have the fire power all over court to dominate most teams in the league if they can string together a four-quarter performance.

WHERE was it lost?

The Vixens would have taken a lot of confidence from last week’s performance into the game this week, especially from debutante Rahni Samason. While this week could hardly be considered a poor performance, with a decrease in volume and accuracy from Samason the Vixens may be left wondering what could have been if they had made changes to the shooting circle. 

Samason was good with her feeds to fellow shooter Kumwenda, with 14 of her 16 leading to an attempt at goal but it seems that this week defenders had time to work her out and put more pressure on her shooting compared to last week where she was relatively unknown at this level. A short stint on the sidelines to look at the game before re-injecting her with a fresh perspective, especially as she seemed to fade out more as the game progressed, may have been what she needed to reinvigorate herself and help the Vixens push on. 

HOW did she do that?! 

With 10 minutes remaining in the final quarter, and scores close at 38-42 favouring Thunderbirds, Sterling showed her aerial strength coming from behind Kumwenda to get the tip and follow up with a gain. Thunderbirds then powered through the court and were able to convert. This was the start of a seven goal run for the Thunderbirds that saw them push out to a lead of 10 and really put the pressure on the Vixens that they were unable to match, despite their best efforts in defense and impressive super shot numbers to end the game.

Starting lineups:

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

Vixens: GS Kumwenda, GA Samason, WA Mundy, C Moloney, WD Eddy, GD Weston, GK Dehaney

 

Georgie Horjus breaks away from Jo Weston. Image Marcela Massey

 

Rahni Samason wasn’t quite as polished as Round 5, but still did an admirable job. Image Marcela Massey

 

A steal by the Vixens on the edge of the Thunderbirds shooting circle sparked a revival in the last quarter. Image Marcela Massey

 

The ball spills loose after the contest. Image Marcela Massey

 


 

WHAT’S NEXT (Correct as at 12.20pm Monday 7 June)

 

Saturday 12 June 3pm  Giants v Lightning Ken Rosewell Arena

Saturday 12 June 5.30pm  Magpies v Vixens Ken Rosewell Arena

Saturday 12 June 7pm  Thunderbirds v Swifts Adelaide Entertainment Centre 

Sunday 13 June 1pm  Firebirds v Fever Nissan Arena

 

 


 

PODCASTS

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

Listen now on your favourite podcast aps.  

 

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