2021 ANZ Premiership vs. VNSL Team of the Week: Round 5/16

IN the next edition of our new series, Draft Central has composed two Teams of the Week with one side each hailing from the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) and the other from the ANZ Premiership.

ANZ Premiership:

GS: Grace Nweke (Northern Mystics)
GA: Te Paea Selby-Rickit (Mainland Tactix)
WA: Shannon Saunders (Southern Steel)
C: Claire Kersten (Central Pulse)
WD: Maddy Gordon (Central Pulse)
GD: Elle Temu (Northern Stars)
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic)

BENCH: George Fisher (Southern Steel), Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (Northern Stars),  Anna Harrison (Northern Stars)

It was a one woman show in the Mystics goal circle with Grace Nweke paving the way with her volume to post. The goal shooter inflicted plenty of pain on the scoreboard with her aerial abilities on full display as she toyed with the defenders. Nweke finished with a round high 59 goals from 63 attempts at an impressive 94 per cent. Te Paea Selby-Rickit was not the most accurate goaler this round but it was her match-winning goal and composure under pressure that saw her earn the spot in the starting seven. Classy with ball in hand, Selby-Rickit controlled proceedings for the Tactix in attack and most importantly was not afraid to go to post when it counted finishing with 20 goals from 29 attempts.

Southern Steel captain, Shannon Saunders was influential around circle edge to deliver pinpoint passes into the goalers and use her change of direction to keep her opponent guessing. Playing in wing attack, Saunders attacking mindset came to the fore with her hot hand and silky footwork to dance around the perimeter on full display throughout the game as she racked up 23 goal assists. The centre bib goes to Claire Kersten who was once again a pillar of consistency through the midcourt for the Pulse with her hard two-way running, slick hands and defensive nous. Kersten was involved in just about every passage of play whether it be attack or defence and the stats back it up as she recorded 18 goal assists, two gains and an intercept. Teammate Maddy Gordon takes out the wing defence position as the tenacious midcourter flexed her muscles around circle edge with her sheer athleticism. Able to ply her trade in defence and then flick a switch to transition the ball down the court in a blink of an eye is what gifted Gordon the start.

Elle Temu is back in the side for her second week in a row with the defender impressing and utilising her closing speed and physicality to win back her fair share of ball. Her netball smarts were on full display, attacking the ball with the outside arm and taking advantage of her leap to cleanly contest in the air racking up six gains and three intercepts. The goal keeper position goes to Temalisi Fakahokotau with the Magic defender working in overdrive to try and reduce the speed with which the ball was entering the goal circle while her ability to attack the rebound was also impressive. Although her side did not get the win she rendered her opponent inaccurate and created a wealth of chances for the Magic to forge forward.

England international, George Fisher put up another strong performance under the post with her clever body positioning, silky footwork and accuracy to post helping guide her side to a win. Joining her on the bench is Mila Reuelu-Buchanan with the centre a master with ball in hand. Her spatial awareness, deft touch and lightning quick footwork a couple of prominent features of her game play. The final spot goes to Anna Harrison who was once again an excitement machine down back with her long ranging arms creating a wealth of turnover ball.


GS: Donnell Wallam (Leeds Rhinos)
GA: Niamh McCall (Strathclyde Sirens)
WA: Caroline O’Hanlon (Manchester Thunder)
C: Gia Abernethy (Strathclyde Sirens)
WD: Imogen Allison (Team Bath)
GD: Funmi Fadoju (London Pulse)
GK: Eboni Usoro-Brown (Team Bath)

BENCH: Joyce Mvula (Loughborough Lightning), Beth Cobden (Loughborough Lightning) Vicki Oyesola (Leeds Rhinos)

It is hard to go past Donnell Wallam who stood tall for Leeds Rhinos in their sole outing. Acting as the get out of jail free card under the post, Wallam made the pass look good into the circle and most importantly converted at a relatively high rate to walk away with 52 goals for the game. Joining her in the circle is Sirens goal attack Niamh McCall who had a game to remember posting 19 goals and only missing two showcasing her impressive accuracy and also her workrate to keep the scoreboard ticking over, putting up goals from anywhere within the circle.

Caroline O’Hanlon secured the wing attack position with her efforts across both games to hit circle edge with precision and showcased her impressive timing. Her confidence on the delivery was also prominent as she backed her execution and intuition into the Thunder goalers. Strathclyde Sirens centre, Gia Abernethy got the nod given her stellar game across the court. Her work both ways was second to none but her defensive tendencies really shone through in the clash as amassed two intercepts and a deflection. The wing defence position falls to Imogen Allison with the speedy midcourter employing some strong hands over pressure and impressive read of the play to pick-up three intercepts. She was a key cog through the midcourt for Team Bath able to mount pressure down back and then provide that release and reset pass in attack.

Funmi Fadoju had a day out for the Pulse with her tenacity and closing speed on full show. although she racked up a couple more penalties than she would have liked, the goal defence made up for it with her ability to win ball back amassing six intercepts and six deflections. alongside her in defence is none other than Team Bath goal keeper, Eboni Usoro-Brown. The Team Bath player was in scintillating form once again as she got hands to a wealth of ball to disrupt the attacking rhythm of the opposition collecting four deflections.

Looking to the bench and a couple of Loughborough Lightning teammates pair up with Joyce Mvula starring under the post with her split and nous to edge closer to the ring while Beth Cobden was a real workhorse down in wing defence credit to her ability to grind out games. The final spot goes to Vicki Oyesola who worked tirelessly down back for Leeds Rhinos consistently buttering up to throw herself into the contest and win ball back.

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