NWC 2019: Team of the Week – Stage One

WITH all 16 nations competing across the three days we have looked at some of the top performers based purely off statistics to create this weeks’ Team of the Week. In their debut World Cup, Zimbabwe have managed to get two players in the side while Australia’s dominance has also seen two players get the nod in our Draft Central Team of the Week.

GK: Courtney Bruce (Australia)

The Diamonds goal keeper has showcased her defensive prowess throughout the campaign so far collecting plenty of ball and creating doubt in the feeders minds. Her long reach, athleticism and netball intuition has proven hard to stop sitting second in the competition for the number of intercepts with nine from her two games. The talented defender oozes class and composure with ball in hand only registering one turnover while also getting timely tips with 14 deflections to her name.

GD: Felisitus Kwangwa (Zimbabwe)

The Gems goal defence has taken the competition by storm with her tenacity, excellent read of the play and defensive pressure. Kwangwa sits on top of the table for the number of intercepts with 14 along with 18 deflections showcasing her skill and ability to get hands to ball and pose a dominant threat for Zimbabwe. She has relished the big stage unfazed by star players such as Gretel Tippett working hard to win the ball and regain possession for her side.

WD: Karin Burger (New Zealand)

In her first World Cup appearance, Burger has made a name for herself inserting herself in the contest and consistently creating turnover ball. Her long reach and deceptive speed makes her a challenging prospect for wing attacks to come up against with the defender plying her trade in wing defence. She has shown her versatility to switch between circle defence and wing with her ability to win ball a real feature of her game racking up four intercepts and nine deflections.

C: Caroline O’Hanlon (Northern Ireland)

Despite coping a big knock in her first game against Australia, O’Hanlon has gone from strength to strength. Her gut running through the midcourt and vision is second to none allowing her to slice through the defence and deliver well weighted passes into the shooters leading the competition with 106 feeds. Her quick footwork and clever leads into space make her hard to stop when on song making her a real threat for Northern Ireland.

WA: Kelsey Browne (Australia)

Brown has been in blistering form for Australia hitting the circle edge with great pace and precision. She leads all comers with 85 goal assists credit to her dynamic movement and speed to burn off opponents and deliver the ball accurately into the shooters. Her work across the transverse line is second to none coming out hard at the centre pass racking up 41 receives while her second phase work is also impressive to shake off defenders.

GA: Te Paea Selby-Rickit (New Zealand)

The Silver Ferns shooter has shown her versatility switching between goal attack and goal shooter making her presence felt in the goal circle with her timely dodges, baseline drives and shooter to shooter interplay. Selby-Rickit is a real impact player that can inject herself into the game with her accuracy and vision notching up 62 goals from 67 attempts.

GS: Joice Takaidaz (Zimbabwe)

The Zimbabwean goal shooter has put on a shooting masterclass throughout the first stage of the World Cup. Her accuracy to post and strength to hold space and work the angles makes her hard to stop. She has well and truly left her mark on the competition with her strong hands and ability to control the ball even when it is coming in with pace or errant passes. She is the top scorer with 118 goals from 128 attempts showcasing her prevalence and high conversion rate.

BENCH: Shonette Azore-Bruce (Barbados), Bongi Msomi (South Africa), Jhaniele Fowler (Jamaica)

There were a few that were unlucky to make the starting seven but have managed to secure a spot on the bench. Barbados defender Shonette Azore-Bruce made her presence felt across the court with her defensive pressure well and truly up. Although she won plenty of ball back with nine intercepts and 10 deflections she drew plenty of attention from the umpire with the physical defender registering 33 penalties, something she will want to address going forward. Through the midcourt South African Bongi Msomi has been electric using her speed and dynamic movement to evade opponents and create space in the attacking third. The SPAR Proteas captain worked tirelessly in the opening couple of matches to hit the circle edge with pace and precision racking up 99 feeds while also doing a wealth of work to bring the ball down with 50 centre pass receives. Jamaican shooting machine Jhaniele Fowler has continued her dominance under the post with the imposing figure near on impossible to stop. Her accuracy to post, clever footwork and height makes her a commanding figure in the goal circle slotting 109 goals from 114 attempts along with seven rebounds.

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