Netball Scoop – Suncorp Super Netball – Round 7, 2021
Contributors – Jenny Sinclair, Andrew Kennedy, Jane Edwards, Georgia Doyle, Katrina Nissen and Ian Harkin
Photographers – Danny Dalton, Simon Leonard
Visuals – Dr Alice Sweeting
Sunshine Coast Lightning 58 def. GIANTS Netball 52 (14-15, 14-13, 12-12, 18-12)
Collingwood Magpies 67 def. Melbourne Vixens 51 (15-15, 16-11, 19-13, 17-12)
Adelaide Thunderbirds 58 def. NSW Swifts 53 (13-11, 15-14, 14-13, 16-15)
West Coast Fever 79 def. Queensland Firebirds 59 (19-17, 18-16, 21-20, 21-16)
Kiera Austin (GIANTS) – ACL (season)
Liz Watson (Vixens) – foot (season)
Ash Unie (Lightning) – ACL (season)
Maddie Hinchliffe (Lightning) – foot
Emily Mannix (Vixens) was named in the team in place of Rahni Samason, but was a late withdrawal after experiencing soreness in her hand in morning training. Samason returned to the match day squad in her place
Netball Scoop’s inaugural Chair, Michael Hutchinson suffered a broken wrist at netball training. Michael will need surgery, ruling him out of the upcoming AMMNA nationals. Best wishes for your recovery, Michael.
GIANTS head coach, Julie Fitzgerald coached her 350th national league games during Round 7. While she’s coached across a range of teams, she’s done a remarkable job of developing home grown NSW talent, many of whom have gone on to coach at senior levels.
Your thoughts on the number of young NSW athletes you’ve developed for the GIANTS.
“I’m immensely proud of that – it’s an achievement for us to have been successful with home grown talent. When Netball NSW made the decision that if there were going to be two teams in Sydney they would both be under their umbrella, I think that was very brave thing for them to do, and a big thing for them to launch themselves into. Part of the reason they did that was because we had so many talented players playing across the league in the different teams. So in some ways I think the GIANTS have a responsibility to look after NSW talent by bringing them through and it’s certainly given me an enormous amount of satisfaction.”
And your former athletes who’ve gone on to coach or commentate?
“I’m really proud that they’ve stayed in the game. They’ve obviously really enjoyed the time that they’ve spent playing, and they’ve loved the sport enough that they still want to be involved at a high level and give as much as they can.”
Thunderbirds goal keeper, Shamera Sterling played her 50th National League Game on Saturday night and had an impressive outing. See stats below.
Firebirds defender, Kim Jenner also played her 50th National League Game in Round 7.
On her 50th match, Kim said, “I absolutely love this club. This crowd is absolutely amazing, so I am glad I got to play my 50th in front of them today. Though not the outcome I would have wanted.”
West Coast Fever have annihilated the past record of wins to open a season. They have seven victories in a row, besting the previous mark of five for GIANTS in 2017.
ROOKIE OF THE ROUND
Latanya Wilson (Thunderbirds) made the most of her 20 minutes on court. The 20 year old Jamaican rotated between goal defence and wing defence, and snaffled 1 intercept and 4 deflections for a total of three gains. Her 9 penalties were on the expensive side considering that she played just a third of a match, but at an aerial 188cm she created plenty of challenges for the Swifts forward line to deal with.
PLAYS OF THE ROUND
In the GIANTS v Lightning clash the television graphic showing the score and time left in the quarter went out on strike. Cue the quick thinking of a Channel 9 cameraman, who frequently but briefly cut in with a shot of the stadium scoreboard, in order to keep fans updated. The commentators Annie Sargeant and Cath Cox also did a great job of keeping people in touch with the very close margin between the two teams.
The scoreboard issues didn’t end there, also impacting the following game.
JUST FOR FUN
TEAM OF THE ROUND
Once again, we can’t go past the Adelaide Thunderbirds, winning their second game in two weeks, and knocking off a top four team to boot. They played with confidence and hunger across the match, winning all four quarters for the first time in their SSN history.
Creating an exceptional 21 gains, the defensive end led by example with Shamera Sterling (8 gains), Shadine van der Merwe (4 gains) and Latanya Wilson and Tilly Garrett (3 gains each) proving a formidable obstacle over which the Swifts stumbled. The Thunderbirds 26 turnovers would generally have been too costly to post a win, but fortunately for them, the Swifts threw away 31 turnovers, while only winning 7 clean possessions.
One of the most accurate predictors in Round 7 was the amount of centre passes that winning teams converted. As shown in Dr Alice Sweeting’s visual below, the four teams that won converted 73% or greater of their centre passes to goal. In contrast, the four teams on the wrong end of the margin converted less than 60% of their centre passes to goal. The smallest difference between a winning and losing team was 15%.
The variance between the teams was:
- Lightning +15% defeating GIANTS
- Magpies +17% defeating Vixens
- Thunderbirds +15% defeating Swifts
- Fever +25% defeating Firebirds
In the Thunderbirds’ unlikely victory over the Swifts on Saturday, the Swifts recorded just seven gains for the game, shared between only three players. By contrast, the Thunderbirds had 21 gains across the court, with six different players coming up with the ball.
Of interest here is the wing defence bib, where Shadine van der Merwe (Thunderbirds) had her most impressive game in Suncorp Super Netball to date, causing multiple positional changes at wing attack for the Swifts and recording four gains and zero turnovers for the game. By contrast, Paige Hadley struggled to contain Maisie Nankivell, who had the most goal assists of anyone on court.
Wing defences famously do a lot of work that isn’t necessarily shown by statistics and while it’s a position that is overlooked, the Swifts are the only team to not sign a specialist wing defence, preferring to play different players out of position with Paige Hadley or Lauren Moore usually given the job.
As shown in Dr Alice Sweeting’s graph, three of the four winning teams had more than 20 gains for the match, with the remaining winner, the Magpies, still converting one more gain than their opponent.
TALKING POINTS OF THE ROUND
Rahni Samason out. But then in again!
While Rahni Samason was initially not named in the ten to face the Magpies, Emily Mannix was a late omission after pulling up poorly from training the night before with soreness in her injured hand. Samason was renamed in the ten and went straight into the starting seven. While she was not on court for the full 60 minutes, this does raise questions about the look of the Vixens front line going forward.
Stacey Francis-Bayman wore her heart on her….head when she wore rainbow braids in honour of Pride Month. She said, “The DNA braids are getting their first run this week because a person’s sexuality is a cell deep, incredibly important part of one’s identity and sense of self. I’m always proud to have my authentic self on display.”
There isn’t yet a Pride Round in the Suncorp Super Netball league, but given the enormous amount of support the Pride House ambassador received, and the need for diversity and inclusion in our game, it should be strongly considered. More about Stacey’s ambassadorship can be read in this Netball Scoop article by Esther Nelson.
Netball Australia named its new CEO this week, Kelly Ryan. With a background in marketing and leadership, and having spent the last 15 years working in elite sport, Ryan will undoubtedly show strong guidance as netball grapples with the many opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Ryan has said that she will take time to understand where netball’s priorities should lie, but that relationship building and a people-first approach are highly important to her. .
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
Victoria has had everything thrown at it lately, with the latest a wild storm that has left houses without power for up to five days (and still counting in some cases). A huge shout out to one fan who got her priorities right.
And just because we enjoyed it, here’s another ripper. Sam Gooden’s supershot prowess wasn’t needed in the Thunderbirds victory against the Swifts.
STAND OUT STATISTICS
Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 62/64 (96.9%)
Shimona Nelson (Magpies) – 55/63 (87.3%)
Romelda Aiken (Firebirds) – 41/43 (95.3%)
Sasha Glasgow (Thunderbirds) – 3/3
Gabby Sinclair (Magpies) – 3/3
Helen Housby (Swifts) – 3/4
Alice Teague-Neeld (Fever) – 3/5
Tippah Dwan (Firebirds) – 3/6
Sophie Dwyer (GIANTS) – 3/8
Jo Harten (GIANTS) – 3/8
Gretel Bueta (Firebirds) – 3/9
Gabby Sinclair (Magpies) – 25
Verity Charles (Fever) – 24
Maisie Nankivell (Thunderbirds) – 22
Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 10 (4 intercepts, 2 deflections with gain, 4 rebounds)
Karla Pretorius (Lightning) – 9 (3 intercepts, 2 deflections with gain, 3 rebounds, 1 unknown)
Amy Parmenter (GIANTS) – 8 (6 intercepts, 2 deflections with gain)
Shamera Sterling (Thunderbirds) – 8 (6 intercepts, 1 deflection with gain, 1 rebound)
Jodi-Ann Ward (Magpies) – 10
Amy Parmenter (GIANTS) – 8
Sunday Aryang (Fever) – 8
Centre Pass Receives
Gretel Bueta (Firebirds) – 28
Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 24
Steph Wood (Lightning) – 23
April Brandley (GIANTS) – 5
Kelsey Browne (Magpies) – 5
Kim Ravaillion (Firebirds) – 5
Kadie-Ann Dehaney (Vixens) – 19
Maddy Turner (Swifts) – 17
Amy Parmenter (GIANTS) – 16
Kate Moloney (Vixens) – 8
Molly Jovic (Magpies) – 7
Level on 6 – Kelsey Browne (Magpies), Paige Hadley (Swifts), Jo Harten (GIANTS), Hannah Mundy (Vixens), Lenize Potgieter (Thunderbirds), Maddy Proud (Swifts), Kim Ravaillion (Firebirds) and Rahni Samason (Vixens)
Jhaniele Fowler (Fever) – 116.5
Courtney Bruce (Fever) – 100.5
Amy Parmenter (GIANTS) – 94.5
Fever – 94.8%
Thunderbirds – 91.9%
Swifts – 90.6%
Firebirds – 7
Fever – 6
GIANTS – 6
Firebirds – 18
GIANTS – 16
Fever – 8
Lightning – 24
Thunderbirds – 21
Fever – 20
Lightning – 10 (3 attack, 7 defence)
GIANTS – 8 (5 attack, 3 defence)
Magpies – 7 (6 attack, 1 defence)
Vixens – 33
Swifts – 30
Thunderbirds – 26
Firebirds – 67
Swifts – 61
Thunderbirds – 56
Fever – 496
Magpies – 403.5
Lightning – 376
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 58 def GIANTS NETBALL 52
By Andrew Kennedy
In one of the smartest and closest games of the year, GIANTS confronted their bogey team, Sunshine Coast Lightning. With first place on the ladder up for grabs, neither squad had true ascendency at any point in the match. GIANTS needed to ignore their historical struggles – not winning against the Queenslanders since Round 1 of 2018. They also were beleaguered by two recent losses and especially a drop in shooting potency.
The game was anyone’s to win, with the lead swapping regularly and nowhere beyond two goals. In the final quarter, smart coaching from Kylee Byrne made the Sydney shooters overwork themselves, while Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni had their best game for the season. The match turned when Lightning used a super substitution and demolished the opposition.
Praise must be heaped on Amy Parmenter, GIANTS wing defence. She seems to be building back to her best with six intercepts in one match. Add to that she is such a clean and astute player, her unique play around the circle edge is an inspiration for her team.
Time and again the Lightning shooters have the answers. Coach Kylee Byrne made the right substitutions, using the advantage of Cara Koenen’s economical moves on the baseline, and swapping her with the tough holds of Peace Proscovia, while Steph Wood spins the heads of defence out the front.
Lightning midcourt could be forgiven for flailing after Laura Langman retired in 2020. However, the club ethos and passion has been passed on, and Mahalia Cassidy was smart in her zone defence, playing well off the movement of Laura Scherian and Maddy McAuliffe. Even up the court Sherian also was tenacious, running her lines to draw focus, while GIANTS deliberately shouldered her in attempts to slow her down – the effect was Lightning holding a 3 on 2 advantage at the back late in the second half.
WHAT needs improvement?
Captain Jo Harten has now had two below par games in a row, shooting well below her standards. Her drop in form is a symptom of second guessing. GIANTS need to calm their processes, let the results come, and probably abandon the super shot. They also need to move on and innovate for Maddie Hay, who had a superb opening to 2021, but has been covered at wing attack in recent weeks.
Again it’s critical for GIANTS to get rebounds. When they have missed a shot, they lost possession on 11 occasions this week. They allowed Sunshine Coast seven rebounds, and it was simply too easy for the Queenslanders to push Harten and Sophie Dwyer off the mark.
WHERE was it won?
The gambit of putting Proscovia to goal shooter in the fourth quarter gifted Lightning the win. Other teams will be on notice that Lightning have three equivalent goalers with different strategies. While Koenen had 34/37 in the first three quarters, the Ugandan star changed the attacking structure, and held her space for 16 goals at 100%.
WHERE was it lost?
It was a dog day for GIANTS shooting. You simply can’t win at this level with 71% accuracy. Removing their regrettable supershots of 6/16 at 38%, they hit 82% of 1-pointers, which is the lowest in the league. GIANTS are a team renowned for creativity, but they need to do the basics much better and sink simple shots.
The main move for the game was the introduction of Proscovia in the last 15 minutes. The margin for the match was never more than two goals, but the Sydney team had no answer to the secure feeds to the re-jigged Sunshine shooting circle. The heads of GIANTS dropped, and they went down with a valiant effort.
HOW did she do that?!
Jo Harten was all at sea in the third quarter, with 4/5 shots, 3 turnovers, and -22 Nissan Net Points. She was perhaps fortunate to be sent off with a blood ruling for 60 seconds to have an excuse to compose herself, when Matisse Letherbarrow made her debut, hitting 1/1 in her cameo.
MVP: Karla Pretorius
Giants: GS Harten, GA Dwyer, WA Hay, C Price, WD Parmenter, GD Brandley, GK Poolman
Lightning: GS Koenen, GA Wood, WA Scherian, C Cassidy, WD McAuliffe, GD Pretorius, GK Maweni
COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 67 def MELBOURNE VIXENS 51
By Jane Edwards
Shimona Nelson was in a commanding mood, scoring 55 from 63 attempts and pulling in six rebounds against three for the Vixens defenders. Even more pleasingly for her was the ease with which she received the ball. In this game, there was much less need for her aerial heroics, and she regularly took passes from perfectly timed pop leads at mere mortal level.
Jodi-Ann Ward built a strong game at GD, gradually wearing down Rahni Samason, then Mwai Kumwenda and then Kaylia Stanton to win 10 deflections and five defensive gains overall.
Gabi Sinclair was awarded MVP for a tireless game at GA, replicating the current Australian fashion that discourages anyone but the GS from scoring (she finished with 9, or 18% of the Magpies’ total, and 25 goal assists). A netball fan yearning for the moving circle must think that last season’s premiership-winning strategy of three rotating shooters balancing the load was but a virus-induced vision.
The Magpies benefitted from almost every positional matchup on court. Nelson outmaneuvered Kadie-Ann Dehaney most of the game, covering the Vixens keeper in clouds of doubt about whether to move her feet around or body up in the hope of deflecting a feed. The less experienced Sinclair played high and wide, keeping Jo Weston busy outside the circle and Nelson with a clear circumference to work in.
Kelsey Browne was fast enough and short enough to run around Kate Eddy and pass quickly before she established her long reach over the ball, while WD Ash Brazill and Ward both tagged their young opponents into looking flat-footed and mono-paced. The Magpies played to their strengths: they moved the ball quickly via Brazill, Jovic and Browne, they gave Nelson a paddock to play in around the post, and they choked the Vixens attacking third so effectively that the forward five players coughed up 26 of the team’s 33 turnovers.
WHAT needs improvement?
The Vixens still struggle with timing and movement bringing the ball into attack. With repeated defensive pressure, leads and passes are slowed to a predictable and interceptable pace, so that the attacking players must rely on their individual strength and footwork to win the ball against an opponent sitting persistently on their hip. There is only occasional ball speed variation or diversionary leads to make the players’ lives easier as they battle the ball into Mwai Kumwenda to score. The rotation of Moloney to WA is becoming a regular sign that the brains trust are hoping to appease some netball deity rather than a tactical match-winning manoeuvre.
WHERE was it won?
It’s the sign of a well-coached team when the players put in a concerted effort to score quickly at significant moments. The Magpies did this in the last five minutes of every quarter, moving the ball quickly through the central corridor to Nelson who was defining clear passing space against Dehaney. Their score from the ten minute-mark of each quarter was 8-3 in the first, 6-3 in the second, 8-5 in the third, and 9-4 in the fourth. This scoring strategy placed insurmountable pressure on the Vixens from the beginning of each quarter, when every turnover represented another lost opportunity to claw back the deficit.
WHERE was it lost?
Ten minutes into the first quarter with the score at 5-11, the Vixens had lost and regained possession of their centre pass when Kumwenda sent a lovely swift inside ball to Samason loping steadily into the circle with Ward distantly following. If Kumwenda had held the pass for a moment longer, or if Samason had put on an extra burst of speed, she might have landed with the ball closer to the post. As it was she missed an awkward mid-range shot, Geva Mentor rebounded neatly, and the Magpies scored in transition, turning a potential deficit of 7 goals into 5. From this point on, Sinclair efficiently levelled the score with two super shots, and Collingwood was never behind again in the match.
It was similar repeated moments of slight misunderstanding in the attacking third that lost the game for the Vixens. Duplicated leads and a crowded goal circle caused regular confusion for the feeders trying to determine a safe space to pass into; whatever Mentor and Ward could contribute on their own merit was a bonus.
HOW did she do that?!
This is less the celebration of one incident than the appreciation of a body of work: Ward did an outstanding job to repeatedly convince the feeders that there was room to put the ball into the circle, then closed the gap to force a deflection, intercept, dropped ball, or wider lead away from the post. Her nimble movement and closing speed were an effective complement to Mentor’s stubborn positioning in this game.
MVP: Gabi Sinclair
Magpies: GS Nelson, GA Sinclair, WA Browne, C Jovic, WD Brazill, GD Ward, GK Mentor
Vixens: GS Samason, GA Kumwenda, WA Mundy, C Moloney, WD Eddy, GD Weston, GK Dehaney
ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS 58 def NSW SWIFTS 53
By Georgia Doyle
With the Thunderbirds coming off their first win of the season, and the Swifts their most convincing win to date this season, the fact that these two sides sat at opposite ends of the ladder did not mean anything when they hit the court in front of the vocal 6,000 strong Adelaide crowd. It was the Thunderbirds who got out to the fast start, executing a strong full court defence which tested the Swifts’ trademark patient play.
It was particularly through the mid-court that this put Swifts under pressure, forcing several backwards or parallel passes before being able to break over their attacking transverse line. Thunderbirds were able to maintain this for much of the game, while Swifts struggled to execute the clean play they are well known for. Both teams were accurate to post, with Thunderbirds getting more opportunity in part due to the sensational defensive work which turned over triple the amount of ball of the Swifts defenders.
The game was closely contested for 60 minutes, with Thunderbirds continuing to show their grit and determination, managing to hold on to the lead when the Swifts came back at them at various points throughout the match, Supershots in the final quarter from Housby and Wallace brought the game back to a four goal margin, but it was too little too late for the Swifts who were unable to capitalise when given opportunities in the earlier parts of the game.
The Thunderbirds continued to show their grit and determination, managing to hold on to the lead when the Swifts came back at them at various points throughout the match. Thunderbirds finished the game having won all four quarters, the first time they have managed this in five seasons of SSN.
The defensive unit for the Thunderbirds was sublime for the entire 60 minutes, combining for a total of 18 gains throughout the match – with Sterling collecting eight for herself in an impressive outing for her 50th National League Game. This also forced a wide array of changes through the Swifts forward line, including sending Sam Wallace to the bench after she only managed 13 goals in 30 minutes, compared to 16 in the first quarter last week. Nat Haythornthwaite also played a brief period in the circle, but was unable to provide the spark coach Briony Akle was looking for.
After only two minutes Sophie Garbin was injected back into the game in her place. While Sterling gets much of the credit at the back, it’s the work done out the front by Matilda Garrett, Shadine Van de Merwe and Latanya Wilson that set-up ball for her to have a crack at. Sterling has also cleaned up her game this week, committing only six contacts compared to an average of 13 across her last three games. Wilson’s injection to the game was well timed, she played a total of 20 minutes across GD and WD and interrupted the play, causing a Swifts turnover, within minutes of entering the court each time.
Both teams played simple, traditional netball. Shying away from the supershot, and instead working the ball close to post for the more assured chance at goal. The Thunderbirds in particular in recent weeks have opted to bring on Sam Gooden for the super shot period, but tonight coach Tania Obst chose to keep Lenize Potgieter and Georgie Horjus on court. The lack of interruption to the flow of the game paid dividends, and each player rewarded Obst with high accuracy shooting throughout the match. This meant the ball remained in their hands and allowed Swifts less chance at clawing their way back into the game.
Even in the final quarter when Helen Housby attacked the super shot taking three shots from four attempts to get the difference to four, the Thunderbirds remained steady in their game plan and were able to steer home their second win for the season, and the first in front of their home crowd.
Potgieter played her best game of the season, shooting with good volume and accuracy and stronger on her holds compared to previous weeks. She was also able to get on the move, leading out of the circle to release pressure when needed and also creating space for herself with some fancy footwork to roll off her opponent. While she will be looking to decrease her turnovers, six across the game, her connection with the attacking end is continuing to build and will only get stronger as the season progresses.
WHAT needs improvement?
The Swifts were unable to find a settled line up throughout the game making a total of 25 changes in an attempt to combat a solid Thunderbirds line. Particularly through the defensive end, the dominance of the Thunderbirds shooters couldn’t be nullified by any of the combinations the Swifts put on court. Maisie Nankivell also had one of her best games at WA, highlighting the Swifts lack of specialist WD. Three players took court in that position, Paige Hadley, Maddy Turner and Lauren Moore, none of whom had the desired effect of disrupting the Thunderbirds attacking connections.
Akle’s changes were given little time to settle, potentially further contributing to the messy play, Swifts finished with 31 turnovers, 17 of which coming from experienced midcourters Maddy Proud, Hadley and Haythornthwaite. Swifts defenders were also unable to have their usual strong impact, only finishing with seven gains between them, compared to a total of 21 from the Thunderbirds.
WHERE was it won?
Thunderbirds stuck with a settled line up for a second week in a row, opting to bring players for impact and to disrupt their opposition rather than to try and bring the team back into the game. They stuck to their game plan for the best part of 60 minutes, allowing their defenders to pick up lots of ball that was converted on by their attackers whose connections are growing week to week.
Swifts are known for their depth across the court, especially WA with four of their 10 able to comfortably fill that role. This game neither Proud nor Haythornthwaite provided what the team needed in that position, instead Van de Merwe continued on her strong form for the 2021 season, finishing with four gains plus one deflection in just 50 minutes of play, earning her MVP honours.
WHERE was it lost?
The Swifts were unable to find stalwart Sam Wallace under the post effectively due to the strong defensive work of the Thunderbirds. While she was accurate to post, she wasn’t getting the volume of ball she needed to push the Swifts in front. Thunderbirds came out with a strong defence, particularly during through court transition, which put the Swifts in chase mode all game. They only held the lead three minutes into the first quarter, and with the line-up unable to settle and build due to the constant changes made in an attempt to combat the smooth play from the Thunderbirds they were unable to get themselves back in front.
It’ll be back to the drawing board for Swifts, after polarising performances over the last two weeks, they will be looking to get a strong win over a building Firebirds team next week, before taking their bye week to reset and come back stronger in the second half of the season.
HOW did she do that?!
Haythornthwaite was flying out of court in the pocket chasing an overcooked pass, she managed to take the ball with one foot in court and send a pin-point perfect pass over the top of Sterling into Wallace in the middle of the shooting circle for a mid range goal.
MVP: Shadine van der Merwe
Tania Obst (Thunderbirds Coach)
On sticking to the game plan for a full 60 minutes
“Unfortunately sometimes, losing can become a bit of a habit so it’s about understanding, just keep sticking at it and trust the process and if you continue to do that you’ll get more goals through the ring and that’s what we were able to do tonight… our ability to do that for longer…got us over the line”
“We did a few little tweaks with [the game plan] for this season, we’ve added a couple more dimensions to it but it is about the consistency at training, it’s building the connections”
On the threat Thunderbirds pose for the remainder of 2021
“Any team on any given day can actually win, we have no ceiling on us but it is all going to be about our processes, there will be learnings from this game, but it’ll be about putting them into play. If anyone wants to underestimate [us] do that at your own peril because we have world class athletes in our team and combinations that are building”
“When we were playing pre-season matches, our second time we played the opposition we were able to come back and add to our game…we’ve now got a round under our belt and now we just need to start putting it together”
On the decreased use of the super shot
“[The Swifts] generally haven’t been shooting a lot of two pointers, and we’ll play to what is happening out on the court…we have [three shooters that can] shoot 2 pointers…the game was very tight, we were just plugging away winning the quarters, there was probably no need to try and push it out
Thunderbirds: GS Potgieter, GA Horjus, WA Nankivell, C Petty, WD van der Merwe, GD Garrett, GK Sterling
Swifts: GS Wallace, GA Housby, WA Haythornthwaite, C Proud, WD Hadley, GD Turner, GK Klau
WEST COAST FEVER 79 def QUEENSLAND FIREBIRDS 69
By Katrina Nissen
Fever had dominators up and down the court today. At the back they were led by Courtney Bruce who is in career best form. She finished the game with 100.5 Nissan Net Points and 12 gains (see individual stats above for more). In the middle, Verity Charles had a fantastic outing and had the better of Firebirds captain, Gabi Simpson. Charles dished a staggering 37 feeds, took 16 centre receives and only had 1 turnover. And, of course, Jhaniele Fowler was a powerhouse at the back, finishing the game with 62 goals at 97% accuracy. She also contributed defensively, picking up 1 intercept.
Speaking after the game, Jhaniele said she is playing with so much joy lately which is definitely showing on court.
Over the last several matches, the Fever have been guilty of letting their opponents blow the game out in the first half. Today, they managed to stick with the Firebirds and grind out a nearly consistent 60 minute performance. They delivered a full court press right from the start and burnt the Firebirds with their blistering ball speed and box defensive style.
Of interest, is the way the Fever’s defensive styling changed during the power 5. Their work rate increased, and the defence became smothering with players defending passes rather than their opponents ensuring no pass into the circle was easy.
The Fever were also able to put their foot down in the final five minute blocks of each quarter, pushing their lead back out whenever the Firebirds looked threatening. Other than drawing this section of the third quarter, thanks to three supershots from opponent Dwan, the Fever outscored the Firebirds each time.
Last five minutes of each quarter – scoring
Q1 Fever 10 – Firebirds 5
Q2 Fever 9 – Firebirds 3
Q3 Fever 7 – Firebirds 7
Q4 Fever 7 – Firebirds 5
The Firebirds started the game with their usual flare. But they were unable to sustain it, with the Fever having a defensive answer for each ‘trick’. When Tippah Dwan entered the fray at 3/4 time, the Firebirds were able to play a more traditional, slower, direct game which seemed to steady the side. Dwan’s 9 minutes in the third, helped the side close the 6 point deficit to 3.
WHAT needs improvement?
The Firebirds were caught flat footed at times throughout the match. Too many times the side was caught behind a wall of Fever defence resulting in forced, high passes or held balls. Moving into the back half of the season they will need to work on pushing forward and going to the ball rather than relying on those high passes.
The dreaded cross court ball struck again for the Firebirds this match. It is becoming a desperate habit by the Queenslanders where they have no options coming forward so opt for the cross-court ball which is easily plucked mid-flight by their opponents. Or, is it that the side are spending too much time on the straight drive, and relying on their foot speed to beat opponents, rather than using their cuts and fakes?
While Fever won the match, they certainly did not have it all their way. They finished the game with a goal to gains percentage of 60%, down from their season average of 77%. This difficulty in converting won balls will be an area which Stacey Marinkovich will want to address heading in to the backend of the season.
WHERE was it decided?
The game wasn’t locked away until the final 3 minutes. While it is never ideal to rely on the Power 5 to draw in a deficit and win a game, it has been done before. Unfortunately, for the Firebirds there were a few too many misses which were rebounded or turned over by the Fever and then converted.
HOW did she do that?!
In a show of great athleticism, Gretel Bueta saved a wayward ball which was headed over the baseline then drove back into the circle to collect the ball and score within the 2 point zone.
MVP: Jess Anstiss
Stacey Marinkovich (West Coast Fever coach) on connections through court.
“I think it is actually our back line and our front line working well together. We are talking a lot about that at the moment. It is the attacking defenders that help momentum that way and our attackers helping our defenders get ball. So, when you have that cohesion out on court, you feel protected, and you can play with confidence to keep executing skill. I think we did that for a large period of time tonight.”
Firebirds: GS Aiken, GA Bueta, WA Mi Mi, C Ravaillion, WD Simpson, GD Jenner, GK Hinchliffe
Fever: GS Fowler, GA Glasgow, WA Charles, C Anstiss, WD Francis-Bayman, GD Aryang, GK Bruce
WHAT’S NEXT (Round 8 SPLIT ROUND)
Sat 19 June 3pm Swifts v Firebirds Ken Rosewall Arena
Sun 20 June 1pm GIANTS v Thunderbirds Ken Rosewall Arena
~ SPLIT ROUND ~
Sat 26 June 3pm Lightning v Magpies USC Stadium
Sun 27 June 1pm Fever v Vixens 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.
Listen now on your favourite podcast aps.