New South Wales Swifts 29 def West Coast Fever 23
The New South Wales Swifts had to grind hard for a six goal win against a determined West Coast Fever outfit. At times the play was sloppy from both teams which was likely caused by the testing of new combinations. Nat Haythornthwaite again donned the goal attack bib. Her 9 goals from 14 attempts may not seem impressive but her off the ball work in creating space for feeders and her shooting partners, more than made up for it.
The Roses star credits her ability to play both wing attack and goal attack as the reason for her effectiveness in creating the opportunities, “because I play both positions I feel like I have that connection. I am always working on that. But, it helps that because Paige (Hadley) is quick and knowing that if I’ve got the ball I can just give it because she will put herself not the line to catch it.”
The Fever looked to have solved some of the transition woes displayed in earlier games as they managed to find circle edge easier during the first half of the match. Alice Teague-Neeld built confidence the longer she was on court. So much so that two minutes before the end of the first half, she put up her first shot of the tournament, much to the delight of the raucous Queensland crowd.
Fever captain, Courtney Bruce, isn’t worried about Teague-Neeld’s lack of goals stating that “it’s a big learning curve. They (Kaylia Stanton, Alice and Emma Cosh) need to get a chance to shine in case, heaven forbid, Jhaniele (Fowler) ever goes down.”
Of her own game, Bruce confirms she loves playing goal defence. “It’s a different style. I’m obviously not so tight in the one on one marking but I’ve got different strengths in my height and my ability to read the play. It is something I am enjoying doing though.”
GIANTS Netball 46 def Magpies Netball 37
Magpies looked to have picked up where they left off in the morning session. They were precise and clinical in their approach to the game, despite not fielding their wing defence specialist, Ash Brazill, who was absent due to her AFLW commitments.
Giants took a while to warm into the game, however by the 5 minute mark, they found their groove, off the back of some smothering defence by Sam Poolman and Kristiana Manu’a. Their strong on body defence and ferocious attack of the ball saw the Giants go on a four goal streak which allowed their side to finish the quarter on even standing.
Giants mid court player, Amy Parmenter, has been relishing her time on court during this tournament. “This has been amazing. To actually get out there and play against all of these big dogs is a dream come true.”
Parmenter has slotted into the team with ease and has been a standout on the feeds and in applying her defensive pressure. She credits captain, Kim Green, in tutoring her on putting in the perfect bullet pass. “To be able to train with Kim every day and see how she goes about her game, I have been trying to take in as much as I can.”
Running with the momentum of the first quarter, Giants ground out two more solid quarters before finding another gear to run away with the final quarter by 6 goals. Despite the loss, it was Magpies who qualified for the grand final against Melbourne rivals, Vixens.
Speaking after the game Magpies founding member, Kim Ravaillion, believes it was her side’s execution of their passes that let them down. “We made our own errors so we need to go back and look at that and see what we can do and make sure we aren’t making those silly errors tomorrow. We also need to capitalise on the turnovers that we do win.”
“We need to work on EVERYTHING and tick EVERY box in order to win the grand final tomorrow.”
Melbourne Vixens 42 def Sunshine Coast Lightning 35
The Melbourne Vixens were the only team to finish off the Suncorp #TeamGirls Cup pool rounds undefeated.
Caitlin Thwaites, Ine-Mari Venter, and Vixens stalwart, Tegan Philip, made effective use of angles and dodges to expose weaknesses in the developing Lightning defensive end. Thwaites and Philip seemed to have worked out the kinks from the previous day and were able to effectively open up the circle for each other.
Thwaites admits they are still a work in progress and was unsure what to make of her run at goal attack. “They are letting me out of the box! It has been a good challenge. It has forced me to look at the game from a few different angles. But it is a good thing to have three shooters who can effectively cover both shooting positions. Hopefully it will add strength to the team.”
It is hard to believe, but Sunshine Coast Lightning and New Zealand Silver Ferns legend, Laura Langman, is adamant she received a schooling from the formidable Vixens mid-court. “I think I was found wanting today. I went a bit wonky and my angles were funky. So, there are areas which can be polished.”
Langman holds hope that a ‘three-peat’ (a third Suncorp Super Netball title in as many years) is not out of the question for the Lightning. “I think one of our strengths is how versatile we are in terms of the number of positions each team member can play. I think that will hold us in good stead in terms of changing up within a game, but also to change from game to game.”
Queensland Firebirds 45 def Adelaide Thunderbirds 33
The Queensland Firebirds showed promising signs of a return to their best when they faced the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the last game of day two of competition.
The tournament hosts again played around with their back line, opting to switch Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe between goal keeper and goal defence fluidly. Jenner was more effective in goal defence as she matched Thunderbirds goal attack, Cody Lange, for speed and elevation.
The Firebirds front end looked settled, fielding the regular faces with the addition of Jemma Mi Mi in at centre for much of the game. Talking of the opportunity presented to her during this tournament, Mi Mi said, “it has been great to get out there and try to solidify the connections. We have a lot of competition within our team for starting seven spots which can only make us stronger.”
Mi Mi put out her best performance of the tournament, feeding her shooters 17 times and collecting two gains and one intercept. Despite not having won a game during the preseason tournament, the Adelaide Thunderbirds are looking strong.
Acting captain and English Roses defender, Layla Guscoth, believes the results of the tournament don’t reflect what the real Thunderbirds outfit can do.“We have only been together a few weeks so we are still learning about each other. I think there is a lot of promise, I mean we are stepping up right now without three of our stars this weekend. So, all the growing and leadership we are developing right now can only lead to bigger things.”
Goal attack, Code Lange, was also pleased with the South Australian presence, particularly in the Thunderbirds attack end. “I am so proud of those girls. It is awesome to play alongside these girls. I grew up playing with Kelly (Altman). So, it is an absolute honour to see them pulling on a Thunderbirds dress.”
Day 2 of play was far less dramatic in terms of injuries than day 1: One, minor, casualty was Magpie’s Kelsey Browne who was involved in a heavy collision during the Magpies match against Giants. She quickly returned to court after being checked by medical staff – though she sported a nice shiner to her right cheek.
There was good news to report on Chelsea Pitman’s injury, when staff confirmed that it was a calf strain which took her from the court yesterday. Pitman will remain sidelined for the rest of the #teamgirls cup but is expected to return to the court soon.
Giants wing defence, Jaime-Lee Price, was rested from the afternoon game, following her collision in their earlier match. She did need a few stitches to her top lip but will be back on court soon.