Super Netball mid-season All-Star team
With the Suncorp Super Netball bye weekend upon us and the season almost at the halfway mark, it’s a great time to stop and take stock of how the players are travelling after six rounds.
Already in Season 2 we’ve seen a number of players take the next step and become genuine stars of the competition, as well as some players who haven’t quite hit the lofty heights they reached in 2017.
And with two international series looming later this year, the microscope has never been more sharply focused on each individual player, to determine who’s been performing and who’s got work to do.
If we were to pick a Super Netball All-Star team after six rounds, here’s how it would look!
GS: Jhaniele Fowler (West Coast Fever)
Really there’s no competition here. Fowler has turned Super Netball on its head in her debut season, potting 321 goals and instantly turning the West Coast Fever from easybeats into ladder leaders and title favourites. With 78 more goals than her closest rival, Romelda Aiken, Fowler is a mercurial talent and is an easy choice at goal shooter.
GA: Helen Housby (NSW Swifts)
The international flavour continues at goal attack, with Housby parlaying her Commonwealth Games form into a sensational start to the season. The 23-year-old has been a human highlight reel in recent weeks, and her performances are given further weight by the fact that while her goaling partner Sam Wallace is tall, Wallace isn’t a Jhaniele Fowler, Caitlin Bassett or Romelda Aiken-calibre force in the ring. The Brit has 131 goals against her name, along with 72 goal assists and 124 centre pass receives, and her defensive game makes her the full package, with five intercepts and 16 deflections.
WA: Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens)
Arguably the most competitive position in the competition, with Kim Green and Madi Robinson also deserving of recognition. Watson gets the nod here as the ultra consistent midcourt bull who has continued performing each and every week, despite her team’s mini form slump in the last few rounds. Green has been outstanding and her leadership is a major factor in the Giants’ winning start to the year, but a wing attack’s primary role is distributing the ball to their goalers, and Watson leads the competition with 178 goal assists – 22 more than Green and 55 more than Robinson. The other important factor to note is whether a wing attack’s circle feeds are in scoring position, and again Watson tips out Green, with 69% of her 265 circle feeds ending in a goal, while 64% of Green’s result in a score.
C: Serena Guthrie (GIANTS Netball)
Opposition centres must dread stepping on court against Guthrie. They know they’re about to be physically worked over and made to earn every single ball, and then be stung the other way if they don’t match the England Rose’s workrate in attack for the Giants. Her 10 intercepts and 17 deflections are the kind of numbers you’d expect from a circle defender, making her arguably the best defensive midcourter in the world right now.
WD: Ash Brazill (Collingwood Magpies)
In case you missed our Netball State of Origin teams, we picked Brazill at wing defence for Queensland ahead of Diamonds starter and vice-captain Gabi Simpson, so it stands to reason that the Magpies WD earns selection here, too. In a team that’s had its struggles defensively this season, Brazill has been a shining light, with a highlight reel of 17 intercepts and 17 deflections, all while playing on the opposition’s speediest player. Simpson has been solid, as always, and often removes her opponent from the play completely, but with turnovers at an absolute premium in the high-scoring Super Netball competition, Brazill gets the bib.
GD: Karla Pretorius (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
Number one on the list of players who’ve taken their game to a new level this year. The South African has been piling up best-on-court awards, with her partnership with Geva Mentor forming arguably the most lethal defensive combination in the league. Pretorius leads the competition in intercepts (21) and sits third for deflections (25), all while hounding opposition goal attacks
GK: Geva Mentor (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
A resurgent Laura Geitz comes very close here, particularly as the only player who’s truly come close to silencing Fever goaler Jhaniele Fowler, while the Fever’s Courtney Bruce has also stepped up her game this year, though she was let down by a disappointing performance in the team’s lone loss against the Firebirds. But for sheer consistency of performance, as well being as the ever-present on-court threat required of goal keepers, you can’t go past Geva Mentor. With 32 possession gains and a competition-leading 45 deflections, Mentor hounds opposition goalers into submission, and her performance this season probably deserves more credit than in 2017, as she no longer has Laura Langman out front in the midcourt.