Australian pathways talent prove their place in SSN

THE return of Suncorp Super Netball saw some fresh faces take the court thanks to the introduction of the rolling subs and extended benches. The rule change has allowed clubs to give their training partners some valuable court time to develop their craft and have a profound impact. We take a look at a couple of Round 1 newcomers to the league as well as some familiar but yet still developing prospects for each team.

Adelaide Thunderbirds

Boasting a new look line-up for season 2020 it was the young guns that took the competition by storm, none bigger than 18-year-old goaler Georgie Horjus. The Kangaroo Island product wowed with her composure to sink six goals from nine attempts. With speed to burn she carved up the attacking third while fellow youngster Maisie Nankivell took her game to the next level with her physicality at the contest. Her seamless transition from wing defence to centre provided that spark through the midcourt for the Thunderbirds racking up 12 goal assists and three gains in what was an impressive performance. New to the Thunderbirds line-up but not new to the SSN, Sam Gooden displayed her long bomb shooting registering nine super shots. Charlee Hodges returned to the fold after spending last year with the Northern Stars while Tayla Williams also debuted showcasing the Thunderbirds’ willingness to throw the bibs around and look to the bench.

Collingwood Magpies

It is fair to say that the Magpies are a shell of the team they used to be with a host of key players not in the squad this year. But that change paved the way for some young up and coming players to gain some valuable SSN minutes with Molly Jovic enjoying the court time. The speedy wing attack slotted into the mix seamlessly with her speed, 1-2 punch to hit circle edge and vision into the circle. Youngster Nyah Allen also had an influence with two super shots to her name despite only racking up a couple of minutes on court. But it was the work rate of Melissa Bragg that was prominent for the Pies with the wing defence working in overdrive to combat the experience and star power of Liz Watson. Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward debuted for the Pies and asserted her dominance on the court while fellow goal defence Matilda Garrett also showed glimpses of her potential with her tagging style of defence, while Emma Ryde debuted for the Pies with a wealth of experience behind her at the level.

GIANTS Netball

Although she has become a familiar name for many it was the increased game time that really allowed Kiera Austin to shine for the GIANTS. Replacing the retired Kim Green out in wing attack, Austin rose to the challenge with the shooter-come-midcourter feeding the ball into the circle with ease and precision while also sliding into the goal circle to hit the long bomb in the final five minutes of the term. No surprise that 2019 Rising Star Amy Parmenter continued her merry way with the wing defence causing havoc with her ball winning ways and speed off the mark while exciting defensive prospect Matilda McDonnell also plied her trade. After spending three years with the GIANTS as a training partner, Maddie Hay made her highly anticipated debut with her timing and slick hands on show and youngster Sophie Dwyer was injected to sink the long bomb and did just that, finishing with two super shots from two attemps.

Melbourne Vixens

In her debut match for the Melbourne Vixens Kate Eddy did not skip a beat with the talented wing defence taking like a duck to water in her new colours. Coming back from injury Eddy did not take long to adapt to her new surroundings showcasing her impressive three foot marking and deceptive speed to cover her opponent at every turn. Her versatility to switch from wing defence into goal defence is exactly what the Vixens needed displaying not only her skill but so to her netball smarts. Jacqui Newton also made her Suncorp Super Netball debut and while it was only a couple of minutes she quickly immersed herself into the the action.

NSW Swifts

Lauren Moore sent netball fans into a frenzy in her first full game with the New South Wales Swifts as the goal defence completely and utterly dominated across the four quarters with her tenacity and speed. She threw herself into every contest available and displayed her never say die attitude to constantly harass her opponent and create turnovers to propel the ball back down the court and into attack for the Swifts. She generated plenty of excitement for onlookers racking up valuable tips and intercepts to disrupt the flow of her opposition team in attack. Meanwhile goaler Sophie Garbin also plied her trade with her ability to come on and have an influence despite being down on her normal accuracy.

Queensland Firebirds

With no Gretel Bueta it was goaler Tippah Dwan that stood up in her place, wowing many with explosiveness and confidence to back herself from range. Although she is not the tallest shooter Dwan showcased her ability to create the play out the front and then deliver into Romelda Aiken under the post while also proving her netball smarts to get herself into damaging positions in the goal circle. Macy Gardner continued to find her form with the young midcourter displaying her speed and quick hands to give and go around the circle edge. Defensively it is hard to go past the combination of Kim Jenner and Tara Hinchliffe with the duo continuously improving with their tenacity and ability to shut down goals to post and skill to rotate through both goal keeper and defence. Still developing her craft, midcourter Lara Dunkley also fitted in effortlessly into the Firebirds attack with her calm and composed nature to re-offer around circle edge and provide support with her strong hands and clever positioning while both Mia Stower and Hulita Veve also made an appearance.

Sunshine Coast Lightning

Littered with experience and international stars across the court it was Cara Koenen that was the main focal point when it comes to young talent with the goaler leading the way under the post.  Although it took a while for her to find her feet and rhythm in attack, once Koenen settled into the match her skill shone through with her strong holds and silky movement doing the talking in the goal circle. She was down on her usual accuracy sitting at 81 per cent but still managed to pile on the pain with 35 goals from 43 attempts firming as a commanding presence for years to come both domestically and internationally.

West Coast Fever

After featuring in a couple of games last season Sunday Aryang burst out of the blocks in Round 1 with her defensive pressure. Despite playing out of position in goal defence Aryang took everything in her stride using her long arms and quick footwork to win ball back and drive ball through the centre third. Olivia Lewis and Emma Cosh also got some valuable time on court but it was 24-year-old Alice Teague-Neeld who took the step up that the Fever needed with the goal attack showcasing her range and playmaking abilities sinking 10 goals, four of which were from two point range.

Centre Pass Podcast: Georgie Horjus interview (Round 1 wrap)

Centre Pass Podcast: Molly Jovic interview (Round 1 preview)

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