14/04/2024

Charlie Bell in action for the Sapphires. (Photo: Netball Australia)

Day two of the Australian Netball Championships certainly didn't disappoint with two matches being decided by a point and an Australian Netball legend returned to the court for the first time since 2019.

Day Two of the Australian Netball Championships certainly didn’t disappoint. Two matches were decided by a point, while an Australian Netball legend returned to the court for the first time since 2019.

QBE Swifts Academy (53) defeated by West Coast Fever Reserves (54)

It was a very close game to start off Day Two action with the West Coast Fever Reserves getting the first win on the board for their ANC campaign over the Swifts Academy.

It was a slow start for the Fever, with the Swifts able to make the most of a few turnovers in the opening minutes of the game with Laura Woods strong under the post with 12 goals in the opening quarter.  

The combination of Natalie Medhurst (26 goals) and Sloan Burton (28 goals) worked well for most of the game in the goal circle with Ingrid Moss and Emma Cosh working well in the midcourt and feeding the ball into two shooters.

Defender Rudi Ellis was too strong for the Swifts Academy, having four intercepts in that match, three of which came in the third quarter.

Going into the final quarter, the Fever had a handy seven goal margin but the Swifts threw everything at the Fever in the last quarter to undo this. Alison Miller (five goals) and Sophie Fawns (18 goals) shot at 100 per cent accuracy in that final quarter, which helped to close the gap.

Although they lost, Audrey Little was strong in the centre for the Swifts. She had 10 goal assists and 13 feeds in that final quarter alone, with a total of 15 goal assists and 21 feeds.

Despite this effort to close the margin, it wasn’t to be for the Swifts. A match saving tip from Fever goal defence Shannon Eagland was the answer the Fever needed to stay ahead, with Medhurst scoring down the other end with just seconds left.

Tasmania (45) defeated by Sunshine Coast Lightning (62)

The Sunshine Coast Lightning have won its first game of the tournament with a 17-goal win over Tasmania.  It was a hotly contested match for the most part of three quarters before the Lightning put their foot down in the last quarter to bring the margin back to 17 goals.

The Lightning started with a bit more of a mobile shooting circle with Martina Reekers (22 goals) starting the game in goal shooter, pairing with sharpshooter Reilley Batcheldor who chipped in with six goals. Reekers and Batcheldor combined well with Annie Miller and Ava Black in the midcourt to help the Lightning get on top of Tasmania.

Shelby Miller was strong in the midcourt for Tasmania, playing both wing attack and centre. She was a real playmaker for Tasmania having 26 feeds and 17 goal assists and featured in a state league level connection with Hayley McDougall (30 goals).

It was a strong second quarter for Tasmania with Miller and Grace Pullen really strong and causing plenty of headaches. Tasmania went on to win the second quarter 15-14.

For the second half the Lightning went with a tall goal circle with Annika Lee-Jones (25 Goals) and Annabelle Lawrie (11 goals) making a strong combination with Lee-Jones shooting at 100 per cent for the quarter.

It was pure dominance in the final quarter for the Lightning for a 20-9 quarter with the Lee-Jones and Lawrie combination really starting to get going.

The combination of Bridey Condren and Lily Gribble was a strong one, with the pair really able to apply that defensive pressure to allow for the Lightning to re-gain possession. Gribble finished the match with three intercepts, while Condren had one.

Shelby Miller in action for Tasmania. (Photo: @NetballAus/Twitter)

Victorian Fury (55) defeated Southern Force (54)

Victorian Fury have claimed its second win of the tournament with a one goal win over the Southern Force. This result occurred despite a second quarter blitz from the Force, which saw them lead by as much as six points.

Both teams started the match opting for tall shooters with Emma Ryde once again providing a strong option under the post for the Fury, while newly signed Thunderbird Lucy Austin took the court in the Forces’ first match of the tournament.

The shooting combination of Austin (38 goals) and Lauren Frew (17 goals) proved provide plenty of headaches for the Fury defenders, especially in the open half.  Fury defender Maggie Carris came on during the second quarter and was able to stem the flow of the pair, finishing the match on three intercepts.

Chlesea Blackman and Molly Watson created a formidable partnership in defence while combining for seven intercepts. While Tyler Orr was strong in the centre having 17 goal assists and 25 feeds for the match.

It was a 15-8 third quarter going the way of the Fury, which allowed the Victorians to get within two points. During this stretch of time within the game, the work of Ruby Barkmeyer (12 goals) and Claudia Mawson (nine goals) in the goal circle, allowed Fury back into the contest.

The midcourt for the Fury were instrumental in the one goal victory with Tayla Honey and Hannah Mundy continuing their fine form from game one. Honey had 20 feeds and 14 goal assists, while Mundy had 24 feeds and 10 goal assists.  

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Collingwood Magpies (67) defeated Queensland Sapphires (63)

Collingwood claimed its second win of the tournament with a four goal win over the Queensland Sapphires.

It was a tight opening quarter with both teams unable to break ahead for the first half. Collingwood got ahead by capitalising on errors from the Sapphires to go into the first break with a three-goal lead.

Jane Cook (25 goals) was dominate under the post in the opening half for Collingwood, using her height to her advantage to take the ball at the highest point. The battle of Montana Holmes and Macy Gardner was one to keep an eye on in the opening half, with both players playing key roles for their sides.

A string of four consecutive goals to the Magpies to start the third quarter put the Magpies in good stead for the rest of the match. Uneeq Palavi (24 goals) was instrumental in Collingwood’s second half dominance.

The Sapphires didn’t go down without a fight as they were able to get back into the contest on a few occasions however they just couldn’t keep up with the Magpies on a consistent basis.

Leesa Mi Mi was dominate in wing attack for the Sapphires again, having 26 goal assists and 33 feeds. While Mia Stower (31 goals) was dominate in goal attack adding five goal assists to her name, working well with both Olivia Dijkstra (16 goals) and Charlie Bell.

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