PRE-SEASON TRACKER: TASSIE EDITION
Tiarne Swersky - April 5, 2018
Head Coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell provides an update on how each Magpie performed during Netball’s Tasmania Invitational Series against Wales and Northern Ireland.
With four Magpies off on Commonwealth Games duties, each of the six senior-rostered Magpies spent valuable time on court, while the team's six training partners rotated throughout the two games.
Find out how the Magpies Netball team is tracking with words on each player below.
Erin had a strong outing Tasmania. She played the majority of both games and she's continuing to build into the speed of our game. Since coming to the club, she’s had to adjust to our game plan and the connections with our players, but she’s doing it in true Erin fashion. She’s an amazing athlete, which is one of the reasons we looked at her in the off-season. Her timing and footwork will be a great addition to our team, and her dynamic play and change of speed fits really well into our style. She’s building and adjusting and it’s exciting to see it all come together.
Braz’s body is adapting back to the speed of netball and the short-style of the game. To be honest, we thought it would take her a little bit longer to adjust back into the netball program having just competed in the AFLW. But to her credit, she’s proved us all wrong. On the weekend in Tasmania, her skills in the air, her change of speed, her interceptions, her pure athleticism and the determination and doggedness in which she applies her craft; her opponents looked pretty afraid coming up against her. She was very impressive.
Tasmania was such a great opportunity for Shae to develop her leadership. Her and Alice took on that mantle across the trip as our leadership group, with Shae captaining the team across both games. She created such a calm environment for our players. One of our focuses across the pre-season has been building a space where our players can try and experiment with new things on the court. If they don’t quite get it the first time, they’ve been encouraged to try and try again. And Shae helped facilitate that environment and was instrumental in ensuring our players felt comfortable on and off the court. Shae also played three of four positions across the weekend which is a credit to her versatility.
Tilly is building into that work rate that is required at the elite level. She just keeps stepping up, no matter who the opposition is. Once she settles into the rhythm and speed of the game, she swallows up those intercepts and her long arms affect the contest and the flow of the game. It’s so exciting to see her build and get better with every game. It was also great to see on court with Sharni. Those two haven’t played together as of yet, so that was very exciting for her.
Sharnz has been working her way back from injury so we managed her load throughout the Tassie trip. She played three quarters against Wales, and the whole team got behind her as she stepped onto the court for the first time since June. With her ankle injury, we’ve been concentrating on her footwork. With every minute of play, that improved. Her game sense, given she hasn’t been on court for quite a while, picked up from where it left off last year. Her ability to read the play and direct traffic from the defensive third is instrumental for us, so it was great to have her back.
Alice had some really great volume and accuracy in her shooting over the weekend. Her ability to lose her opponent is just incredible. She is elusive on that netball court and it’s a credit to the work she puts in with her timing, change of speed and footwork in training. She just manages to get the ball wherever she pleases in that circle, and that's going to be an important asset for us in 2018. Her rotations with Erin and Sam Gooden were pretty exciting, so that was a positive sign for the team.
She has a flair in the way that she plays that is infectious to the rest of the team. She’s a force to be reckoned with. Her ability to find space and take control of the ball with half a second release is amazing. Ness is an exciting prospect in our mid court and we’re excited to see her continue to flourish throughout the season.
Mel had a tough gig in Tasmania. She was playing in keeper which isn’t her traditional position at this level. The opposition had to work very hard to get the ball over her and her jumping is amazing. She’s done a lot of work over the off-season to execute that jump, so that was pleasing to see that come to fruition on court.
Mary came in for that second game against Wales and her ability to read the play and get into the right position to force errors is critical for our team. She plays a different style to our other keepers, but the pressure that she applies is working really well with our defensive unit.
Sam’s presence on the court is growing and growing. We are working hard on ensuring Sam has direct eye contact with all of our attacking options, because she’s so open, so often. You know when the ball gets in her hands she’s going to turn and shoot it. There’s not many tall goalers her height who can shoot from long range like she can.
Sharni came on in the second game and made a really strong impact with her energy and level of play. She also fitted seamlessly into the game plan. That’s a skill. To be able to come on and off as a young athlete and make an impact is really impressive. It was great to see her out there with the SSN program.
Cody is nearly ready to take the court again. She was in Tasmania as captain of our ANL team and she did a fantastic job. It can be difficult to have an impact when you’re not playing, but Cody’s presence and encouragement of her teammates was really important. I can’t wait to see her get back on the court in the next few weeks.
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