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Team Girls Cup Session 2 Wrap

The stage is set for a massive final pool round after an intriguing second session, complete with derbies and traditional rivalries.

Day two of the 2022 Suncorp Team Girls Cup kicked-off with overflowing car parks and a celebration of one of the all-time greats of the game in Caitlin Bassett. Thank the netball gods for later time slots on Saturday’s this season and last second World Cup winners.

Game one of session two was the traditional ‘Western Derby’ between the Adelaide Thunderbirds and West Coast Fever, and it was the team in green all the way, finishing with a 12-point win.

While I’m trying to focus on some of the lesser-known players in these wraps, it’s hard not to highlight Courtney Bruce’s enormous performance in this one. We all know how good the reigning Liz Ellis Diamond is at goal keeper, but there is something about seeing her flying through that middle third in the GD bib that is so exciting, and her long balls into attack are devastating.

I was really impressed with Latanya Wilson’s game at wing defence, as I was with her Friday night performance, and expect to see her have a big impact for the Tbirds in 2022. She is so fast and brings that Amy Parmenter-esque creativity to the wing defence position that is vital in transition.

Next up was GIANTS Netball vs the Collingwood Magpies, with the Pies running away with a 10-point win after a tight opening quarter.

GIANTS fans would have liked what they saw from new training partner Eliza Burton, who looked quick and decisive at wing attack. I was particularly impressed with her elusiveness off the ball, always seeming to find herself wide open in the pockets and demanding the ball. Great first showing.

This was a totally different Magpies team to the one we saw late last night, who were much more direct in attack and confident through the middle. In Shimona Nelson, the Pies have a 23-year-old Jhaniele Fowler in the making, and we’ve been crying out for them to use her like the Fever use the seven-time MVP. Good things happen when your 195cm shooter is taking 50+ shots per game. Feed her, put up 60, and let that stella defence suffocate the opposition.

That one was followed up by probably the game of the tournament so far, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning overcoming a slow start then holding off the Queensland Firebirds to win 50 to 45.

The Lightning are a fascinating team a month out from the season, and this game was a true highlight of that. With so much up-and-coming youth being asked to step into big roles, the talented veteran core is going to have to step up and lead the way. Steph Wood was hitting everything, Laura Scherian and Mahalia Cassidy were everywhere and Kate Shimmin’s effort is always impressive. If they keep leading by example, the young Lightning depth chart will follow, as they did today.

I’m not sure if anyone else felt the same, but it felt like we were seeing something important when Donnell Wallam went ballistic in the opening 10 minutes of this one. Whether it was the smile on her face when she hit her first shot or whether it was the realisation that the Firebirds attack end is going to be fun to watch despite the fact Romelda Aiken will sit out the season to become a mum, it just felt big. And when it all comes down to it, Wallam looks really really good. Exciting!

Session two wrapped up with a sloppy old defensive game between old rivals Melbourne Vixens and NSW Swifts. It was all locked up at 24 a-piece at three-quarter time, but and eight points to two final frame helped the Vixens remain undefeated going into the final session.

Because it was such a defensively dominated game, I’m going to focus down back, starting with the Vixens.

2021 was a down year for Vixens goal keeper Emily Mannix, and she has spoken about her struggles with confidence last year. So, it was great to see her really come out and dominate an opposition player like she did today. With new recruit Olivia Lewis by her side, Mannix managed eight gains and six deflections for the game. Positive signs a month from Round 1.

Someone who never seems to lack confidence is Sarah Klau, who was her usual immense self in this one. Rahni Samason was impressive in session one, but Klau got the better of the young Vixen in this one. Her gains numbers weren’t through the roof like her Melbourne counterpart, but she certainly passed the eye test, making life difficult for Samason and Barkmeyer. With her flying alongside Maddy Turner and Teigan O’Shannassy, this Swifts defence is set to be awful to play against, once again.

Match Report and Pic : https://supernetball.com.au/

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