Draft Central Courtside Comments: Post-season wrap – Midcourter

THE 2020 Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season saw plenty of fresh faces step up to the plate, with Draft Central introducing its Courtside Comments series which focused on one player across the round and their individual highlights, key moments and improvements during the match. Now that the season is done and dusted, Managing Editor Taylah Melki and Senior Editor Sophie Taylor look back at each player’s season as a whole, discussing their overall form in 2020.


The next Courtside Comments post-season wrap looks at the six midcourters we focused on throughout the season in Maisie Nankivell, Molly Jovic, Mel Bragg, Emma Cosh, Tayla Honey and Maddie Hay. Each midcourter starred in their own right and majority of them rotated through a variety of positions showcasing their respective high levels of endurance, adaptability and overall netball smarts. Wing attacks Hay, Honey and Cosh were pivotal for their respective sides with Cosh stepping up to the plate when Ingrid Colyer went down, amassing 97 goal assists for the Fever while Hay recorded 164 assists along with 19 deflections and three intercepts. Although Honey only got limited court time she managed to find plenty of ball registering 24 goal assists, 50 centre pass receives, two intercepts and five deflections in her five appearances. Jovic was a shining light for Collingwood throughout the season, collecting 114 goal assists with her defensive pressure also evident through her 10 intercepts and 25 deflections. Teammate Bragg plied her trade in wing defence, covering the court well to amass 18 intercepts and 42 deflections while Nankivell was a key cog in the Thunderbirds unit producing 16 intercepts and 29 deflections, a reflection of her defensive tendencies while her attacking attributes also came to the fore in 2020 registering an impressive 157 goal assists.

Here’s what we had to say:

Maisie Nankivell – Adelaide Thunderbirds (C/WD/WA)

Courtside Comments: Round 1

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

An exciting young prospect who put herself out there in the latter stages of the 2019 SSN season and did not skip a beat coming into 2020. Th zippy midcourter is a crucial part of the Thunderbirds lineup and consistently proves she is more than capable of running her opposition players off their feet, showcasing both her attacking and defensive attributes as she did so. Nankivell is an exciting talent given her excellent agility, ability to weather physicality and her creative footwork, credit to her background in Aussie rules. She was a constant threat around the court, able to consistently provide an attacking option by linking up well with Chelsea Pitman and Shadine van der Merwe through the midcourt. Her willingness to hunt the ball was testament to her drive, and the young midcourter really developed her craft as the season went on, no longer the newbie in the Thunderbirds ranks.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

It was very much see ball, get ball for Nankivell who let no one stand in her path such was her commitment to the contest. Highly versatile Nankivell added more an attacking string to her bow especially in the latter half of the year, finding herself out in the wing attack position. But Nankivell did her most damage through centre and wing defence, able to lock down her opponent and nullify their impact. The gut-running midcourter was not afraid of the physical contest and instead thrived off it, hunting any loose or cross court ball to provide the thunderbirds with a chance to regain possession. Her quick hands and zippy footwork enabled her to dance around circle edge up both ends and create timely tips and deflections. Nankivell grew with confidence throughout the season and that was particularly evident when it came to releasing passes into the circle, credit to her improved spatial awareness and ball control.

Molly Jovic – Collingwood Magpies (C/WD/WA)

Courtside Comments: Round 4

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

When it comes to breakout midcourters in season 2020, there is no doubt Jovic is a player who is brought up time and again with the first year player bursting onto the scene and rarely taking a backwards step. A midcourter who gets the job done, no questions asked, Jovic provided the gut-running through the centre and continuously stepped up to the plate to prove herself on court. While Jovic did not bring a heap of flair to the court, it was her ability to go and go and control ball movement that allowed her to impact the play so consistently and effectively. An efficient ball-mover credit to her speed and development, the young midcourter was rarely on the back foot or overawed by her more experienced opposition, and once Madi and Kelsey Browne were unable to return she well and truly stepped up again to propel herself into the contest. While Jovic was somewhat of an unknown quantity coming into the season, she well and truly showcased her excitement-generating skill.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

It is fair to say that Jovic left no stone unturned throughout the 2020 season with her ability to find the ball and bring it down the court with great ease. Her two way running was second to none, covering the court seamlessly and injecting speed. She was as consistent as they came and was a real barometer for the Pies often setting the tone with her approach through court. Jovic persistently displayed her ability to have an influence through centre, wing defence and wing attack largely in part to her netball nous and skill to know when to go and when to hold. Her ability to read the play and create attacking forays enabled her to hit the circle edge and push Collingwood forward. The 25-year-old’s defensive attributes also lifted a notch throughout the season, picking up a wealth of deflections and proving to be a menace across the court with her three foot marking and hustle.

Maddie Hay – GIANTS Netball (WA)

Courtside Comments: Round 7

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

Another 2019 training partner who was elevated for SSN 2020, Hay stepped up with ease this season using her clean hands and vision to have a consistent impact throughout. Having learnt off the best in Kim Green over the last few seasons, the wing attack proved she was a consistent and safe option in the goal third, providing a quality option on circle edge and elevating her matchplay constantly to prove she was capable of holding down the starting bib. While Hay was quiet in patches, the midcourter was a formidable option when she got going and used her clean footwork to consistently dart around and find pride of place in the pocket to feed lightning fast passes into the goal circle. Hay is another who will only improve with more court time, with some great skills and confidence on show this season.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

Earning herself the starting wing attack bib, Hay oozed a wealth of confidence and composure on court. Only in her first year of SSN, the talented midcourter possessed a cautious and clinical approach in the attacking third to thread the needle into her respective goalers in Jo Harten, Caitlin Bassett and Kiera Austin. Not boasting a wealth of speed, Hay relied on her precision passing to get the job done and her nifty footwork around circle edge to claim prime position and deliver. Her balance and strong hands were key and will only get better with time. Her work rate was unquestionable and while she floated in and out of games at certain times there is plenty of upside surrounding the wing attack who showcased glimpses of what she could be with further exposure to the top level.

Mel Bragg – Collingwood Magpies (WD)

Courtside Comments: Round 11

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

Bragg was in the unprecedented position at the end of the 2020 season, finding herself as the most experienced midcourter on the list despite only being elevated to the main Magpies list this season. But the composed midcourt-defender was not overawed by the leadership opportunity and instead took it as a chance to step up and command ball consistently, and leading the drive down court from wing defence off the example of Geva Mentor down back. An undeniable talent given her ability to zone in on the loose ball and drive forward, Bragg forced her wing attacks to think about their every move and adjust to her body-on-body style, given her speed and three foot marking to constantly apply hands over pressure. While it was not a great season for the Magpies, there is no denying the development of Bragg – and Jovic – paid off and will see the wing defence wreak havoc once more next season.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

Highly underrated, Bragg showcased her class throughout the 2020 season with her ability to hunt down the loose ball and put in the hard yards across the court. She was a real impact player for the Pies, able to wear her opponent down with her dogged style of defence and never say die attitude. Her deceptively long arms and speed off the mark enabled her to create a wealth of turnovers while her fancy footwork around circle edge allowed her to stop her opponent in their tracks and clog up space. She was a real workhorse and often stepped up to the plate when it came to transitional play through court, unleashing passes into the likes of Shimona Nelson under the post, which was a testament to her increased confidence and skill. Bragg consistently buttered up after each contest to apply hands over pressure and read displayed her ability to read the play and come out flying for a big intercept such was her agility.

Tayla Honey – Melbourne Vixens (WA)

Courtside Comments: Round 12

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

A highly touted young midcourter, Honey proved she can step it up in 2020 with her clean and agile movement, and while at times she was overawed by the contest and let a few passes slip, there is no denying the youngster benefited off the court-time she had. The young attacker is a consistent threat credit to her ability to sight her goalers inside the circle, and when required she was able to switch on and turn heads with her speed and court coverage. Honey had a real opportunity to prove herself in the latter stages of the season with an ankle injury to Liz Watson opening up a starting position. While the wing attack bib ended up being shared with training partner Elle McDonald, Honey worked hard to offer an alternate option with her speed counterbalancing McDonald’s strength and showcasing her netball nous in a successful first official season with the Vixens after being sidelined with injury last year.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

With limited court time it is fair to say that there were only short glimpses of what Honey is capable, but in saying that her bag of tricks is relatively full. Her general court coverage was impressive, popping out at the centre pass and as her confidence grew so did her second phase play and off-the ball movement. Although guilty of a few turnovers, Honey never gave up the fight, working hard to win ball back and find space in the attacking third to create impressive passages of play. Her one-two punch with the likes of spearhead Kate Moloney was key when on court for the Vixens, while her deft touches worked wonders for Mwai Kumwenda and Caitlin Thwaites holding strong under the post. She still has plenty of development left in her and can be seen as a bit of a raw prospect given the limited minutes in 2020.

Emma Cosh – West Coast Fever (WA/GA)

Courtside Comments: Round 14

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

Like Honey, Cosh got an opportunity to really prove herself thanks to a season-ending injury to Ingrid Colyer, and while some players could have been overwhelmed by the opportunity, Cosh took the chance in hand and did not look back. The goal attack turned wing attack was a threatening fixture on circle edge, using her knowledge of positioning inside the circle to continuously propel ball into the goalers and time it to perfection. A taller wing attack than Colyer, Cosh used her lean frame and height to continuously provide an option around circle edge, and consistently applied attacking pressure with her willingness to contest and zip around the attack. While her versatility to impact out in goal attack was not utilised in the second half of the season, her ability to be an option in both positions is a threatening prospect given her damaging form in just a few rounds of full games.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

The 27-year-old proved to be a revelation out in the unfamiliar position of wing attack for the Fever, with her ability to read the play and glide across the court on show. Her strength at the centre pass was key, coming out hard and providing an option while her deft passes into Jhaniele Fowler were crucial to the Fever’s success particularly in the backend of the season. A smooth mover, Cosh grew with confidence each time she stepped out on court and worked her way into the contest credit to her spatial awareness and netball nous. Cosh was hardly overawed by the occasion, burrowing down to do the work and swing the ball around with some clever triangle play and used her impressive timing to create space inside the attacking third. Her ability to read the attacking patterns also allowed her to clear out space and enabled Alice Teague-Neeld and Verity Charles to lead the way.

Courtside Comments: Gamechangers – Semi-finals // Preliminary final // Grand final

Centre Pass Podcast // Molly Jovic interview

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments