Boom, bust or hold: Which recruits have delivered this season?
They were the players who were brought in to help take their Suncorp Super Netball teams to the promised land.
But while some recruits have delivered in spades for their franchises through the first 10 rounds of the season, others haven’t quite been able to fulfill that promise.
Here are the players who’ve boomed, busted or have held ground during the 2018 Super Netball season thus far.
ERIN BELL (MAGPIES) – BUST
Bell was recruited to fill the gaping hole in Collingwood’s attacking end, with Cody Lange struggling to have an impact at goal attack last season before rupturing another ACL, and Alice Teague-Neeld unable to take the next step that many thought she would.
But it’s been a disappointing season for the former Adelaide Thunderbirds player, who is shooting at below 72% accuracy in a league where 85%-plus is now the standard, and hasn’t been able to alleviate any of the pressure on Caitlin Thwaites.
At 31 years old and with a resume like Bell’s you’d be brave to write the experienced attacker off, but Collingwood would have expected more than what they’ve gotten this season.
JHANIELE FOWLER (FEVER) – BOOM
Boom, boom, boom, boom.
Has one individual ever had more of an impact on a netball club than Fowler has had at the Fever?
The Jamaican was the only major new inclusion at a franchise that won just two games last season, and yet they now sit atop the Suncorp Super Netball ladder and are en route to winning the minor premiership.
Yes, other players in the Fever line-up have also improved around her, but it’s hard to imagine that the West Coast team would be anywhere near their current position if Fowler wasn’t there potting 50-plus goals a game.
She broke the national league scoring record in her first game and hasn’t looked back, and is unquestionably the recruit of the season.
LEANA DE BRUIN (THUNDERBIRDS) – HOLD
De Bruin may or may not have known what she was getting herself into when she signed on with the Thunderbirds.
But at 41 years old, the former Silver Fern took on the captaincy of the inexperienced Adelaide side and has performed admirably under difficult circumstances.
Whether or not she remains at the Thunderbirds beyond 2018 remains to be seen, but there’s no question she’ll have helped fast-track the development of the young players around her like Charlee Hodges and Shimona Nelson.
CAT TUIVAITI (THUNDERBIRDS) – BUST
Tuivaiti’s ‘bust’ status is not of her own doing, of course. When you sign on to be a franchise’s pin-up player and then do your ACL just days later, you’re never going to be able to produce the return that the team was hoping for.
But the reaction from fans when it was announced she was finally ready to pull on the Thunderbirds dress last week – and her steady performance in the closing minutes of Adelaide’s loss to Collingwood – gave a glimpse of what might have been if the veteran Kiwi had been able to get out there earlier in the season.
That said, with only a handful of minutes of netball under her belt, sadly she’s a bust.
SOPHIE GARBIN (SWIFTS) – BOOM
As the record-breaking leading goalscorer in the Australian Netball League last season, Garbin was always going to find a home at a Suncorp Super Netball franchise.
And the young WA star’s stocks have only increased this season, with a number of eye-catching performances.
She shot to prominence in her first game in Swifts colours, netting 18 goals from 19 attempts against the Queensland Firebirds in Round 1 after entering the game and helping to pull back and eight-goal deficit to win by one.
While her opportunities haven’t been consistent, she’s performed almost every time she’s been called upon and will likely be an important part of the Swifts’ setup moving forward.
SHIMONA NELSON (THUNDERBIRDS) – HOLD
The Thunderbirds took a punt on then 18-year-old Nelson after Cat Tuivaiti ruptured her ACL, and the tall young Jamaican has been a real surprise packet, improving every week as the Adelaide team’s focal point in the goal circle.
She still makes a few too many handling errors, but has 334 goals against her name in her debut season – not far behind Mwai Kumwenda and Caitlin Bassett – and certainly has a future at the top end of the sport.
With new Thunderbirds coach Tania Obst seemingly expected to focus on local talent first, it will be interesting to see whether Nelson has a Super Netball home in 2019, but she’ll certainly find interest somewhere.
LAURA GEITZ (FIREBIRDS) – BOOM
You could argue that Geitz isn’t exactly a recruit, given she’s been a Firebirds player since the ANZ Championship days, but after a year off and a disappointing season from her club while she was having her first child, Geitz has been huge factor in the Firebirds’ return to finals contention this year.
The veteran defender, who retired from international netball this week, has taken herself right back to where she belongs as one of the most influential players in each and every game she plays, and has been invaluable to Tara Hinchliffe’s development.
She’s the kind of boom recruit every team would kill to have waiting in the wings.
BONGI MSOMI (THUNDERBIRDS) – BUST
Thunderbirds coach Dan Ryan hoped that the lightning-quick Msomi would add some sizzle to the team’s attacking end, but the South African international has instead been only a bit-player for the struggling Adelaide side.
While she’s shown flashes of brilliance, Msomi has been used mostly off the bench in recent rounds and has managed only 35 goal assists for the season, while at times contributing heavily to the Thunderbirds’ hefty turnover count.